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From This Week's Week In Photos


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1. Since when was it called Joint Base Balad? Does this mean the AF runs it or the Army? Guessing AF, since it would probably be called JLSA Anaconda if the Army was in charge...

2. How the fvck did they get 5 53s in the air at the same time? Those must be the last 5 waiting to go to DM...

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Just announced on 17 June, see link at the end of the article for more info:

More Than an Air Base: The Air Force and Army have come together over the name of a key facility American and coalition military have been using in Iraq, deciding on Joint Base Balad, rather than just Balad Air Base. Balad has served as home to USAF's only wing in Iraq and also as the Army's logistics headquarters, Logistics Support Area Anaconda. At the same time, the Air Force took charge of base support functions. According to Lt. Col. Pat Ryan, the 332nd Expeditionary Mission Support Group deputy commander: "Balad is the hub for all Army logistics and is the base of choice for airpower. Being the senior airfield authority, it just makes sense for the Air Force to take the lead here." The change in support ownership means the air expeditionary wing will handle such things as food service, lodging, vehicle operations, base upkeep, and construction projects, as well as base defense, for the more than 30,000 military members, civil servants, contractors, and third country nationals who live on the base. (Balad report by 1st Lt. Lisa Spilinek)

As for the five -53s, miracles do happen! I guess the pic was taken from a -53, though; as I only count four...


A five-ship formation of MH-53 Pave Low helicopters flies June 12 over the Gulf of Mexico. The aircraft are assigned to the 20th Special Operations Squadron from Hurlburt Field, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Emily Moore)

Still a sweet pic!

Cheers! M2

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stellar reporting as usual! That's only 4 helos...

I'm going to guess that the picture was taken from the fifth helo (well, first if you count front to back), so it probably was a five ship formation, even if they didn't get all of them in the shot.


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On our "8-ship, Launch the Fleet" day, I had the wonderful opportunity to work the DZ. Since apparently there was nothing else to report on that day, AFN was out there too. As the formation came over the ridge line on the run-in, the reporter asked, "Where are the other planes? I only count five. Didn't you say this would be an 8-ship?"

All I could say was, "Oh, yeah... The rest will be along shortly." (Riiiight)

They still said 8-ship in the report.

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