Gonzales airman deploys to Afghanistan

Staff reports
Lt. Col. C. Todd Prejean is currently in Afgahanistan serving a one-year deployment.

Lt. Col. C. Todd Prejean is currently assigned to the 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group at Kandahar Air Field Afghanistan, serving on a one year deployment as the 441st Air Expeditionary Advisor Squadron Commander.

In this capacity, Prejean is part of an advisory team of about 40 personnel responsible for training more than 200 Afghanistan National Army Air Corps personnel. The ultimate goal is to build a force of 1,800 to establish air power for Southern Afghanistan.

Prejean and the Combined Air Power Transition Force will continue to partner with the ANAAC until conditions are set for a professional, fully independent and operationally capable Afghan air force that meets the security requirements of Afghanistan. This task can be challenging because it requires numerous specialties and skills. This can include anything from advising on how to run a dining facility to operating, maintaining and sustaining relatively complex MI-17 helicopters.

Since arriving in December 2009, Prejean has been instrumental in helping stand-up Kandahar’s first Air Corp Wing. He performs instructor/evaluator pilot duties teaching Afghan pilots basic helicopter skills, navigation, GPS usage, tactics, formations and advanced helicopter maneuvers in the Soviet built MI-17 Hip.

Under Prejean’s mentorship, the Afghanistan National Army Air Corps has flown 20 sorties delivering 1,000 passengers and 12,000 kilograms of cargo throughout Afghanistan. The Air Corps also delivered 4,000 kilograms of ballot materials supporting the recent Afghanistan Presidential Election.

Thanks in large part to Prejean’s efforts, the 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group is on schedule to complete their task of preparing the Afghans to independently operate their Air Corps before 2016.

Prejean is permanently assigned to the 55th Rescue Squadron, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, as the Director of Operations. Before deploying to Afghanistan, he completed several weeks of intensive pre-deployment training. Training included live-fire weapons operations, cultural awareness, convoy tactics, advanced combat medicine skills, conversational Dari language, a full week of hands-on evasive driving and Mi-17 pilot training.