BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Carson High graduate Craig Kenison is doing everything he can to make sure ground troops who come into contact with insurgents have all the intelligence they need in Afghanistan.
Kenison is serving with the Nevada Army Guard’s lone fixed-wing aviation unit – Detachment 45, Operational Support Airlift – which has been in Afghanistan since June and has already recorded more than 2,000 hours of flight time aloft over the combat zone performing aerial surveillance and combat support. As of early September, the unit had reported no injuries or serious incidents.
The small unit of about 15 Soldiers was assimilated into the 306th Military Intelligence Battalion upon its arrival and the aviators have been flying King Air 300 aircraft, a deviation from the unit’s usual C-12V Beech Super King aircraft.
“Like all deployments, sometimes it’s really exciting and sometimes it’s really boring,” said Staff Sgt. Craig Kenison from northern Afghanistan’s largest airfield. “But whether we are doing a boring or exciting mission, we all realize the information we are gathering is important, required information needed for ground troops.”
Kenison said an average night entails two, 3-4 hour flights that often include over watch for ground troops in contact with insurgents and intelligence gathering for future missions. The unit flies at night at a high altitude to mitigate the potential of ground-to-air attacks.
“We are holding up well,” Kenison said. “It’s the aircraft that are getting pushed to work hard; they have been flown a lot during this conflict.”
Kenison said it’s an interesting time to be stationed at Bagram Airfield. With the withdrawal of the majority of American troops from Afghanistan set to occur in the near future, a record number of Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines are now housed on Bagram.
“We expect 60,000 troops on this base later this year,” Kenison said.