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Gateway To Afghanistan

Dispatches from Manas

Don’t forget your earplugs

The KC-135 is loaded and the deployment briefing is done.

In addition to learning how to thwart potential hijackers, earplugs were passed out. Apparently, flying in a refueling tanker is quite a bit noisier than commercial jets. It’s also so cold that sleeping bags are considered necessary carry-on items.

The massive jet is being returned to the flight line at Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan after being overhauled at Fairchild. It’s carrying several pallets of humanitarian supplies and fresh Fairchild crews.

First stop, however, is an overnighter at RAF Mildenhall, north of London.


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About this blog

Fairchild Air Force Base supplies 80 percent of the military aircraft and flight crews operating out of Manas Transit Center, a key hub along one of the primary NATO supply routes into Afghanistan. The small base, located outside the Kyrgyzstan capital of Bishkek, is barely 400 miles from the Afghan border.


Colin Mulvany is a staff photographer for The Spokesman-Review.

David Wasson is a deputy city editor for The Spokesman-Review.

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