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The Real Rogue Squadron

  • Published
  • By Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Word
  • 75th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron

On “May the Fourth,” many people may have visions of space battles come to mind. However, the 75th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron (EAS), known as “Rogue Squadron” plays a very real and vital role in the Horn of Africa which has nothing to do with science fiction.

“We are the primary airlift for the Horn of Africa,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Patrick Sines, the commander of the 75th EAS. “We are tasked with carrying vital supplies to austere locations. Being able to help those folks down range is a huge reward.”

Stationed on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti (CLDJ), the 75th EAS provides airlift support to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), which has an assigned area of interest that includes Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Seychelles and Kenya.

“You’ve got to have airlift, especially in this area of responsibility,” said Sines. “Being able to move freely throughout the area through airpower is vital to success. Having boots on the ground is needed, but you have got to be able to resupply those boots. Making sure we can meet the strategic objectives of the area is huge.”

The 75th EAS is specifically a deployed unit. It can be made up of various Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard units from the U.S. The current iteration of the 75th is mostly assembled from the 910th Airlift Wing, an Air Force Reserve unit from Youngstown, Ohio. For many members, it is their first deployment.

“There is a lot of work to be done,” said Staff Sgt. Sydnie Schwenk, a crew chief with the 75th. “The desert inspections area are all new for a first time deployer. It’s really interesting to learn all those new inspections and how to go about them.”

The heat and dust in the desert conditions of Djibouti can be a unique challenge for a Reserve Airman on their first deployment, but it can also show them what they are capable of and why their job is important.
“In the beginning of the deployment, we had a lot of hard work,” said Senior Airman Justin Young, an electrical and environmental specialist with the squadron. The aircraft were not cooperating with the heat, but we managed to turn that around and get everything fixed. The best part is being outside of the United States and seeing some of the stuff that is going on downrange.”

No military mission can have success without supplies, and the 75th EAS stands ready to deliver those supplies on a moment’s notice. However, the EAS could not carry out its mission without the hard work of the personnel on CLDJ.

“There is a huge amount of support that goes into making these missions happen,” said Lt. Col. Sines. “A lot of the people across the base are supporting us. It’s the people preparing the food for our crews, the people that are driving the fuel out to our planes, the people that are getting the cargo ready here, they are not a part of our squadron, but they make a huge impact on the success of our mission. It is daily that we are going out and putting ourselves in harm’s way to deliver what we need to deliver, and our crews rely on that support every single day.”

Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti serves as an expeditionary base for U.S. military forces providing support to ships, aircraft, and personnel that ensure security and stability throughout Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia. The Department of Defense supports our African partners with capacity building, strengthening defense institutions, and supporting a whole-of government approach in the region so diplomatic and developmental solutions can take root.