By Staff Sgt. Austin L. Thomas, JFHQ-NCR/MDW Public AffairsOctober 6, 2016
WASHINGTON (October 1, 2016) -- Soldiers from the U.S. Army Priority Air Transport Command's (USAPAT) Pacific Flight Detachment (PFD), were welcomed back onto U. S. soil by their headquarters command at Joint Base Andrews, Md., after a four-month deployment to Afghanistan.
The detachment was greeted at the hangar by family, friends, fellow Soldiers and their senior leadership. A barbeque celebration was held in PFD's honor before they returned to their home station at Joint Base Pearl Harbor/Hickam, Hawaii.
"Our Pacific Flight Detachment is re-deploying from Afghanistan today," said Lt. Col. Heather L. Maki, USAPAT commander. "They've deployed consecutively for the past three years on various length rotations. This rotation was four months long supporting the commander of Resolute Support. We are really excited to get the team back."
USAPAT headquarters is based at Joint Base Andrews and has a subordinate flight detachment located in Hawaii. USAPAT falls under the U.S. Army Aviation Brigade and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington.
"My guys were absolutely unbelievable," said Maj. Courtney L. Kiluk, commander PFD. "They were able to adapt quickly to any situation thrown their way, and provided an unparalleled level of service. My pilots are the best in the Army. It was amazing to work with and learn from them."
The PFDs mission enabled the commander for Resolute Support (COMRS) to perform battlefield circulation, reaching out diplomatically to surrounding countries in his area of responsibility, and flying back to Washington for congressional meetings.
"We are normally stationed at Joint Base Pearl Harbor/Hickam, Hawaii where we support the U.S. Army Pacific Command (USAPAC) commander," said Kiluk. "When the COMRS needs air support, we are the unit they pull from."
"Anytime anything happens in theater when the commanding general is traveling, he needs to be able to communicate back," said Sgt. 1st Class Ryan K. Caudill, deployed 1st Sgt., PFD. "Proving air transportation and secure communication around the world and in theater for the COMRS is very important, he still has to be able to run the battlefield from wherevers he's at. During this deployment we we're spread out with crews in D.C., in Ireland, and operations back in Kabul, Afghanistan at any given time."
USAPAT plans, coordinates and conducts worldwide executive airlift in support of U.S. Army senior leaders, DoD executives, Congressional delegations and combatant commanders. They serve as the U.S. Army proponency for C-20 and C-37 executive jet aircraft.