Undisclosed Areas of Operation Afghanistan- When the RANGERS dropped into Granada to rescue American college students, fought in the jungles of Vietnam and streets of Somalia... they weren’t alone, they had coalition forces supporting them. Today in Afghanistan the same spirit of teamwork was witnessed as Armed Forces Entertainment RANGER Tour members participating in the DoD’s first ever series of tours focused on showcasing ‘Extreme Profiles in Courage’ by heroes of wars past, found itself stuck.
“There’s a war going on and we’re a part of it, but a low priority part of it in the big picture” said tour leader Robi Powers of American300, who has lead dozens of these types of resiliency tours for his nonprofit over the past 3 years. “We got stuck at an air base today without any possibility of US Air Force support due to priority rescheduling of several flights, it’s not the first time it’s happened and certainly won’t be the last... it comes with the territory.”
That ‘territory’ is the result of Colonel Kathleen Weatherspoon, Chief of Armed Forces Entertainment along with her staff of joint service military members, giving American300 resiliency tours some of the most aggressive, most remote location tour schedules that the DoD has to offer. ‘Where the Sun Don’t Shine’, is what American300 volunteer members like to call their brand of troop touring.
Luckily for the RANGERS the sun was shining bright today, as a C-160 crew out of northern Germany’s LTG 63rd Hohn 1st Wing... gave the nod to the ISAF travel desk to help get the Rangers and Powers to a remote Army Camp before sunset. “I’ve jumped out of these many times” said Mad Max Mullen to Major Timo Jing of Germany’s famous 63rd LTG. “What I like the most about this plane is the light and bell system for parachute drops” he added as he sat alongside the navigation officer who kept the plane flying in the right direction throughout the day.
With stops at air fields large and small, the Rangers got to know, Staff Sergeants Wangerin and Hagenow, pilots 1st Lieutenant Tannen and Captain Hoddels who along with Jing were on another 4 month deployment to AFG. “ ...these guys know how to fly, we’ve been doing combat take offs and landings all day... and every final touchdown has been softer then any commercial flight I’ve been on this year.” said Danny McKnight, (Col. ret) “I know how good are Air Force crews are.... I’ve spent my life around them, these Germans are top notch, no question about it.”
Late in the day and many airfields later the Rangers found themselves back in the care of the US Armed Forces. “If it hadn’t been for Coalition Forces working together and especially Germany’s 63rd Airlifters... we would have never made it.” briefed Powers to Lani Nevel, the DoD’s Quality of Life Director who along with Sergeant Major Speede had been tracking the teams progress over the past 30 hours. “It’s great to have you finally here, now let’s get you guys on some Black Hawks and out to a remote base for the night.” Twenty minutes later... the Ranger veterans of conflicts past were lifting off in UH 60 Black Hawks... headed towards more troops on the eve of the 18th anniversary of the battle of Mogadishu.
Stay with us as the Tour Continues..
Danke fur Alles 63rd!!!!
To follow the Tour on Facebook go to: ‘ American300 Warrior Tours ‘
To learn more about the Department of Defense Armed Forces Entertainment Office please visit: www.armedforcesentertainment.com
Join us at American300 by going to: www.American300.org