Mike Sanchez, MAFFS maintenance supervisor, who has 15 years of experience with the aerial firefighting mission.
Leonard "Gonzo" Gonzales, propulsion mechanic, who deployed with the MAFFS team to California in August for the first time.
MAFFS' aircrew, lead planes and other mission essential personnel recently sharpened their skills during a four-day MAFFS training event hosted by the Forest Service and North Carolina ANG, which was primarily held in Greenville, South Carolina, and four nearby forestlands.
In response, four Air Force wings have committed to annual MAFFS training, ensuring they are available as a secondary line of defense.
At the request of the USFS, MAFFS aircraft and aircrews remain activated to provide support throughout the Rocky Mountain region.
Since MAFFS aircraft first provided support to the Black Forest fire last June 12, more than 169,000 gallons of fire retardant have been dropped on Colorado wildfires.
This year's MAFFS
operations have dropped more gallons of fire retardant than during the last nine fire seasons, officials said.
My family and I were waiting for the phone to ring (for the 302nd MAFFS capability to be activated).
During the early morning hours of June 24, in 90-plus degree heat, they began loading the large Forest Service MAFFS II tank systems into the cargo bay of the two MAFFS-designated 302nd C-130s within view of the fire's advancing smoke and flames.
Under normal circumstances, all eight of the 302nd AW's MAFFS aircraft and the Airmen who fly and maintain them would attend the annual training together.
Each of the four MAFFS C-130 wings is required to have a minimum of five certified crews.
is specialized equipment that is loaded into the cargo bay of a C-130 and is capable of dropping up to 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant at one time.