General discusses air mobility objectives

awoolen@macon.comJanuary 14, 2010 

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE — Maj. Gen. Susan Desjardins spoke about objectives and needs for the Air Mobility Command during a luncheon at the Horizon Club on Wednesday.

Desjardins is the director of strategic plans, requirements and programs for the Air Mobility Command, headquartered at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. She made her remarks as the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Air Force Association Carl Vinson Memorial Chapter 296.

A command pilot with more than 3,800 flying hours, Desjardins addressed three areas the headquarters oversees — tactical and strategic airlift, air refueling and aeromedical evacuation.

Desjardins said the process that once took 10 days to evacuate a wounded soldier now takes just three days.

“It’s the incredible vision of medical folks for the wounded,” she said.

Desjardins also recalled when the KC-10, an aerial refueling aircraft, was introduced in 1985 at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, where she was stationed.

“It doesn’t smell like a new car anymore,” she said to laughter.

She said the main acquisition the military needs is a new tanker to replace the KC-10. The KC-10 is being maintained and refurbished with new carbon fiber brakes to help modernize the aircraft, but Desjardins said the AMC does not have the number needed.

The AMC also has a new mission called direct support, a joint venture with the Army that calls for 38 of the C-27J Spartan Joint Cargo Aircraft. The training center for the C-27J is located at Robins. When completed, the facility will include a classroom, a flight trainer and a fuselage trainer. The first C-27J to be used for training arrived Sept. 9. The fuselage trainer will be ready for training by July 2010 and the flight trainer is scheduled for 2011.

Desjardins and Brig. Gen. James Stewart, director of plans and programs for the Air Force Reserve Command, will travel to the Pentagon next week to talk about budget needs for its missions.

During the luncheon, the AFA presented Melissa Spaulding, director of education at the Museum of Aviation, with the Jane Shirley McGee award for her work in community education.

To contact writer Angela Woolen, call 923-5650.

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