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North Carolina Air National Guard returns to MAFFS mission

  • Published
  • By Deidre Forster
  • 153 AEG
The North Carolina Air National Guard's 145th Airlift Wing
will return to flying MAFFS Aug. 14, six weeks after four of the unit's
Airmen were killed in a C-130 crash during a fire fighting mission in South

"Charlotte's MAFFS 8 will replace MAFFS 9 from California, for three weeks
while the 146th Airlift Wing's C-130 undergoes required maintenance. We're
excited to have North Carolina back in the fight and look forward to having
them fly with us again," said Col. Jerry Champlin, 153rd Air Expeditionary
Group commander.

"Our folks from Charlotte are ready to re-join our MAFFS brothers and sisters
in the fire fighting going on in the Northwest of our country. We all feel
it is extremely important for our people to get back to this critical mission
and we will carry the memory of MAFFS 7 in our hearts as the wildland fire
fighting continues," said Col. Roger Williams Jr., 145th Operations Group

On July 1, MAFFS 7, a North Carolina C-130 equipped with a Modular Airborne
Fire Fighting System, crashed near Edgemont, S.D., while supporting the White
Draw fire. Four of the six crewmembers were killed. That was the first
major incident in the 40-year MAFFS mission history. The incident is under

MAFFS are operated by four military units: The 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming
Air National Guard; 146th Airlift Wing, California Air National Guard; 145th
Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard; and the 302nd Airlift Wing,
U.S. Air Force Reserve Command.

Since being activated June 25, the MAFFS fleet has released more than
1,309,363 gallons of fire retardant during 547 drops on fires in eight states
in the Rocky Mountain area. The 302nd Airlift Wing performed the millionth
drop on Sunday; the 500th drop was made Wednesday by the same unit. This
year's MAFFS operations are on pace to exceed MAFFS operations in 2008. That
year MAFFS units dropped 1,313,900 gallons of retardant.

MAFFS is a joint Department of Defense and U.S. Forest Service program
designed to provide additional aerial firefighting resources when commercial
and private airtankers are no longer able to meet the needs of the forest

MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the U.S. Forest
Service that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less
than 5 seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide.
Once the load is discharged, it can be refilled in less than 12 minutes.