Volant Pine

Captain Chris Miller's experiences on rotation with Bravo Squadron

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Volant Pine was the active duty C-130 rotation to RAF Mildenhall in support of Military Airlift Command operations throughout EUCOM. Each CONUS-based active duty squadron would pull a two-month period of duty, with some personnel swapping out at the halfway point. The rotational unit was named "Bravo Squadron", the last remaining designation of its type before Delta Squadron reopened at Rhein-Main Air Base in Germany in 1991, and it's purpose was two-fold: Augment the 37th TAS intra-theater airlift capability, and provide European theater flying experience for CONUS-based crews.
The really nice part of the Pine rotation was that you got to go to Europe on the government's dime. There wasn't a lot of sitting around time, but there were still opportunities to tour the English countryside, as well as several of the other countries where we would "overnight" downrange. The downside is that it was between 60 and 70 days away from home, all in one block. Needless to say, in light of the current 90 and 120-day rotations to CENTCOM, 60 days a year to England ain't that bad... but back then, it was a big deal. We also sometimes had an issue with having too many missions that did not overnight downrange. When we stayed at Mildenhall, per diem was based on government meals and quarters being available. Downrange, you got paid more. Needless to say, the competition among crews to go downrange was strong. But essentially everyone got their fair share of flying and "good deals", and usually a three-day pass somewhere in there. And we always came home with a pallet-load of souvenirs.

E-Mail Last updated on 2 May 2006 by Chris Miller Go Top

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