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C-27Js Begin Operations at Kandahar: Several C-27J transports, the Air National Guard's newest aircraft, are now operating from Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, as part of the newly established 702nd Expeditionary Airlift Squadron. The unit flew its first-ever combat mission on Aug. 4. Air Guard and Army National Guard personnel are jointly operating these C-27s, which belong to the Ohio ANG's 179th Airlift Wing in Mansfield, during the nine-month overseas deployment. The airlifters will support forward operating bases. "The missions come from the Army, and will be flown by both Air Force and Army pilots and Air Force and Army loadmasters," said Michael Kemple, C-27 cargo maintenance manager with Kandahar's 451st Maintenance Group. He described the C-27 as "somewhere between the C-23 Sherpa and the C-130 Hercules" in size. "It is small enough for FOBs with short runways, but [has] a longer flying capability to reach the farther-away FOBs," he added. (Kandahar release)