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Steve Noll’s Travel Diary

Monday, 11 Jan 2010

Location: Iraq

MapWell, I have successfully made it over the 1/2 way mark (as of 23 Dec 09) and am gaining speed toward my redeployment home around 23-25 Mar 10. The only problem is that the first three months were a steady load of work and as of Christmas, all of a sudden, I have several major projects that will no doubtedly keep me very busy until I leave. One item is an airdrop training demonstration here in country (can't say much more) that involves a couple aircraft and several hundred jumpers. This will be the first time we have conducted a personnel airdrop since 2003 when we dropped troops in combat in Northern Iraq to seize an airfield.

Another item involves writing a piece of doctrine for the relationship of how the USAF supports the US Army with airlift. It is evolving into a new support role/relationship which gives the Army commander(s) more say on the prioritization of airlift of their resources.

Additionally, I am working (as all the agencies are) to refine the plan to draw down forces in Iraq from about 100,000 to 50,000 by the end of Aug 2010. My piece involves how to move them out of country by Airlift. Imagine how long it will take to move 50-60,000 troops by air when you can only put 55 on a C-130 and 150 on a C-17.

i have also developed a plan to redeploy troops from an airfield near their base instead of them having to travel to Baghdad by helicopter, which saves the helicopters to do more important missions and reduces the threat to the troops since they aren't flying around in a helo back and forth getting shot at.

We are ALL considering the effects of our drawdown and our actions on the upcoming Iraqi elections in March.

Either way, I will leave after my replacement gets here and is trained up so no matter where the project(s) stand, another competent AMLO will replace me and carry the torc forward.

I do look foward to getting home to my wife, family, dog, greenery, rain, beer, and restaraunts. Most importantly snuggling with Tonya in front of a fire in the fireplace. Ahhh, the simple pleasures in life....

Lt Col Steve Noll