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Airmen and marines load vehicles into a C-5M transport at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, Oct. 6, 2014. Air Force photo by SSgt. Jeremy Bowcock

​With US forces continuing to draw down in Afghanistan, Air Mobility Command has begun using the C-5M transport, a strategic capability, in a tactical role to carry war materiel out of the country to staging bases, according to a release. This move has helped ease demands on the highly tasked C-17 fleet. AMC officials had to change planning models to accommodate the larger C-5M in the new role, said Maj. Francisco Flores, theater direct-delivery division chief in the 618th Air Operations Center. Designed to fly one long eight-to-10-hour mission per day, C-5Ms are now conducting three short flights daily into several expeditionary airfields in Afghanistan, states the Oct. 24 release. "We've never seen a C-5 used like this," said SMSgt. William March, an AMC logistics management specialist. This usage has increased the stress on C-5M components, such as landing gear, creating a need to change logistics support practices a bit. Since commencing these operations in August, C-5Ms have flown more than 70 sorties from Afghanistan, carrying 381 vehicles and more than 460 pieces of equipment, states the release. As part of the military drawdown, US and British forces this past weekend turned over their combat facilities in southwest Afghanistan to Afghan national security forces, announced the Pentagon. This is the first region of Afghanistan to transition from NATO to Kabul’s control.