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Gateway To Afghanistan Fairchild Air Force Base archive

MONDAY, OCT. 25, 2010

SUNDAY, OCT. 24, 2010

Manas coverage in print editions

Here's an electronic recap of the Manas-related articles published over the past week in The Spokesman-Review's print editions:Tuesday (10.19.2010): Front-line support -- A look at a typical refueling mission over the rugged battlefields of Afghanistan.Thursday (10.21.2010): Rebuilding hope -- A look at the humanitarian assistance...

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FRIDAY, OCT. 22, 2010

Col. Dwight Sones, commander of the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing in Kyrgyzstan, has made community outreach a key focus of the U.S. air base. The base hosted an estimated 2,000 Kyrgyz visitors Oct. 18, 2010, for tours and demonstrations celebrating the more than 600 civilians from the Bishkek area who work at the Manas Transit Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Manas Transit Center

Manas Transit Center, where hundreds of airmen and women from Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane are regularly deployed, is a key supply and refueling hub for U.S. and coalition combat operations in nearby Afghanistan. Photographer Colin Mulvany and deputy city editor David Wasson recently...

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TUESDAY, OCT. 19, 2010

A child holding a balloon watches from a classroom window at the Solnyshko preschool in Vasilievka, Kyrgyzstan, as airmen from the 92nd Air Refueling Wing make a humanitarian visit at the school Monday, Oct 18, 2010.  (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman Review)

Airmen visit preschool

Airmen from the 92nd Air Refueling Wing out of Fairchild Air Force Base made a humanitarian visit to the Solnyshko preschool in Vasilievka, Kyrgyzstan, on Monday, Oct 18, 2010. The children received donated winter coat, balloons, stuffed animals and school supplies, as well as the...

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At the Manas Transit Center, Marines with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, make preparations for haeding downrange in to Afghanistan Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Off to war

At the Manas Transit Center, Marines with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, make final preparations for haeding downrange in to Afghanistan Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010.

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MONDAY, OCT. 18, 2010

At the Manas Transit Center, Marines with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, unload  gear in preparation for haeding down range in to Afghanistan Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Nursing a double tall

It is 12:30 a.m. and I just gave up my bunk to a U.S. Army officer heading to Afghanistan. I have only six hours left of my stay at the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan. This place is jamming with a surge of new arrivals...

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SUNDAY, OCT. 17, 2010

An F/A-18E Super Hornets from the decorated U.S. Navy attack squadron VFA 105, commonly known as the "Gunslingers," were among the half dozen fighter jets refueled Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010 above Afghanistan by a Fairchild-based KC-135R Stratotanker and crew on deployment in Kyrgyzstan. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

`Gunslingers' on patrol over Afghanistan

Two F/A-18E Super Hornets from the decorated U.S. Navy attack squadron VFA 105, commonly known as the "Gunslingers," were among the half dozen fighter jets refueled Saturday above Afghanistan by a Fairchild-based KC-135 tanker and crew on deployment in Kyrgyzstan.The carrier-based strike fighters rely on...

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SATURDAY, OCT. 16, 2010

Sleepless in Kyrgyzstan

It is 4:40 a.m. in the morning in Kyrgyzstan and I can't sleep. I've been bunking with an Army soldier who is headed home from Afghanistan. He, like many others we've met, have that far-away stare that is so common with guys coming out of...

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FRIDAY, OCT. 15, 2010

Liftoff!

Experience what it is like to be inside a KC-135R Stratotanker as it takes off from Fairchild Air Force Base en-route to a deployment at the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan.

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THURSDAY, OCT. 14, 2010

Airmen with the 92nd  Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base strap in for a seventeen hour flight to the Manas Transit Center in  Kyrgyzstan. The aircrew and five maintainers flew to Kyrgyzstan aboard a Fairchild KC-135R Stratotanker refueling aircraft for a five-month deployment. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Not business class

Airmen with the 92nd Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base strap in for a seventeen hour flight to the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan. The aircrew and five maintainers are in route to Kyrgyzstan aboard a Fairchild KC-135R Stratotanker refueling aircraft for a...

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WEDNESDAY, OCT. 13, 2010

Kyrgyzstan bound

This is a different way of flying. Cargo is tied to the sides of the interior fuselage. Pallets are strapped to the floor. You carry your own food. There's just two window seats, and those are actually benches. There's just one bathroom. Even with the...

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TUESDAY, OCT. 12, 2010

Departure delayed

Mechanics plan to work through the night to figure out what's wrong with the jet's steering.Given the delay, the pilot and crew scrubbed the possibility of a Tuesday takeoff, opting instead for a Wednesday afternoon departure.

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During taxiing to the runway at Fairchild Air Force Base, our pilot noticed that he had trouble steering the nose gear of aircraft.  We have deplaned and await word whether we can continue on with the trip tonight, or come back tomorrow and try again. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Sputter....

During taxiing to the runway at Fairchild Air Force Base, our pilot noticed that he had trouble steering the nose gear of aircraft. We have deplaned and await word whether we can continue on with the trip tonight, or come back tomorrow and try again.

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Our KC-135R Stratotanker is prepped for takeoff from Fairchild Air Force Base Tuesday, Oct 12, 2010. We are headed to RAF Mildenhall, England, then on to Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan.

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...

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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.