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By Captain Jeff Kelly
/ Published September 11, 2017
A modified U.S. C-130 aircraft, assigned to the 910th Airlift Wing, sprays water simulating a pesticide solution during a field exercise as part of the Department of Defense Aerial Spray Certification Course, Jan. 13, 2016. The 910th Airlift Wing has been tasked with providing its unique aerial spray capability to assist with recovery efforts in eastern Texas, following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Youngstown Air Reserve Station's 910th Airlift Wing is home to DoD’s only aerial spray mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Bob Barko Jr.)
Smoke and the start of a fire retardant containment line dropped by a Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System-equipped C-130 Hercules aircraft near California’s South Fork Fire, south of Yosemite National Park are visible, Aug. 14, 2017. MAFFS-equipped C-130s and aircrews from the Air Force Reserve are providing support to the U.S. Forest Service fire suppression efforts from Air Tanker Base Fresno, California. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Thomas Freeman)
Tech. Sgt. Karen Moore, a loadmaster for the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, prepares a dropsonde to be released into the eyewall of Hurricane Irma. Crews have recently been flying missions continuously in three different hurricanes in the Atlantic region simultaneously. (U.S. Air Force photo by: Staff Sgt. Nicholas Monteleone)
For the first time in the nearly 70-year history of the Air Force Reserve, all three special mission units have been called to action simultaneously due to a series of catastrophic events that have affected wide swaths of the U.S.
The Colorado Reserve wing has been supporting the U.S. Forest Service requests for assistance with a MAFFS C-130H since July 30, 2017, in response to the U.S. Forest Service request for assistance, which began the federal activation of three MAFFS-equipped aircraft.
To complete the trifecta of AFRC special mission units providing emergency support currently, AFRC’s 910th Airlift Wing has been tasked with providing its unique aerial spray capability to assist with recovery efforts in eastern Texas, following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.
The 910 AW operates the Department of Defense’s only aerial spray capability to control pest insect populations, eliminate undesired and invasive vegetation and disperse oil spills in large bodies of water. Due to the large amount of standing, polluted water, populations of pest insects that can transmit diseases are increasing significantly. This poses a health risk to rescue workers and residents of Houston. Authorities have requested the 910 AW to treat more than six million affected acres.
This mission will primarily target mosquitoes which are capable of transmitting diseases such as malaria, West Nile virus, Zika and various types of encephalitis. Increased populations of these pest insects can eventually lead to individual cases or widespread outbreak of these diseases. The pest insects can also hinder recovery workers, resulting in less time in the field.
The 910th’s customized Modular Aerial Spray System is capable of a wide-variety of applications. For mosquito control, the system uses the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved and regulated material “naled,” which is not used in amounts large enough to cause any concern for human health, according to the EPA. The system disperses droplets small enough to land on a mosquito’s wing, using less than one ounce of naled per acre. That’s less than one shot glass for an area the size of a football field.
The Air Force Reserve is comprised of nearly 70,000 Reserve Citizen Airmen and will continue to innovate new ways in vital areas of defense to protect the United States.
Members of the media can contact Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command Public Affairs Director, Colonel Bruce Bender (310) 678-4153 or Chief, Plans and Programs, Captain Jeff Kelly (660) 624-0181 for queries.
- To stay up to date on the most current forecast and tasked Hurricane Hunter missions visit https://www.403wg.afrc.af.mil/media/hurricane-center.
- Video footage and digital photos of MAFFS drops are available on the Defense Video Imagery Distribution System: https://www.dvidshub.net/unit/302AW
302nd Airlift Wing MAFFS Fire Video: http://www.dvidshub.net/video/154817/maffs-2012-california-fires-flight