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Manas C-17 Shuttle: Since late March, three Pacific Air Forces C-17s have been flying around-the-clock missions from Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan, into Afghanistan to deliver special cargo in support of the US troop surge there. These PACAF assets include aircraft and personnel from the 517th Airlift Squadron at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, and the 535th AS at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. They have been arranged into a “stage” operation, whereby they expedite critically needed supplies into Afghanistan without interfering with other missions already scheduled from Manas. They have been moving gear like the matting necessary to build temporary aircraft parking ramps for multiple new Marine Expeditionary Force airfields. Much of the cargo has flown into Manas from Japan aboard contracted 747 freighters. It is then transloaded onto the C-17s. As of late April, the Air Force says these C-17s have transported more than 5,280,000 pounds of cargo downrange. (Manas report by TSgt. Phyllis Hanson)