Air Force Lt. Gen. Gary L. North, commander, 9th Air Force and U.S. Air Forces Central, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., spoke with online journalists and bloggers during a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable, April 1 and explained his role as the combined force air component commander of U.S. Central Command, since February 2006. In this capacity, North has been overseeing the air war in Afghanistan along with all air operations for Iraq and other areas of Central Command’s theater. "We anticipate in 2009 that we will at least surpass 16 million pounds and most probably be up between 20 million and 25 million of pounds of air dropped equipment and supplies as the fight continues," said North. He added that another part of their mission is air medical evacuation. "[It] is a large portion of what we do to ensure either with rotary wing or light fixed wing that we're able to extract our wounded from forward operating locations, bring them to a theater level hospital in Afghanistan and then be able to [transport] them out to a regional hospital in Europe and then back to the states as required," he added.
Joining us on the call were Greg Grant, www.nextgov.com; Noah Shachtman, www.blog.wired.com; Jim Dolbow, www.blog.usni.org; David Axe, www.warisboring.com; CJ Grisham, www.soldiersperspective.com; and Andrew Lubin, www.themilitaryobserver.blogspot.com.