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Published:October 27th, 2006 10:40 EST

Air Force major works 'down under' in support of mission

By SOP newswire

ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE BASE RICHMOND, Australia (AFPN) -- While the air show here ended Oct. 22 and the C-17 Globemaster III crew from Hawaii headed back to their home at Hickam Air Force Base, one U.S. Airman remained -- not because he missed the flight home, but because he's already home.

Maj. James Hearn, commander of Detachment 1 of the 735th Air Mobility Squadron out of Hickam AFB, is the lone U.S. servicemember stationed here.

"Our mission in Australia is to support all DOD aircraft that (are here) in support of U.S. interests in the country," Major Hearn said. "We handle the passengers, the cargo, the ground servicing ... and all of the other associated supports that take care of the crew and make sure the mission gets off without a hitch."

Major Hearn was last assigned to the 730th AMS at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Now that he is in Australia, he feels his mission has not changed, it is just performed on a smaller scale.

"We have all the exact same jobs but instead of doing them with 300 people, we do them with seven people," he said.

As the detachment commander, Major Hearn is in charge of aircraft maintenance, air support transportation and taking care of passengers and crew members at his assignment ... an assignment he finds challenging, yet rewarding.

"There's a lot of times I have to make command decisions and do it right then and there," Major Hearn said. "I think the experience gained from the assignment is much more rewarding than the personal gain that you get from just living in Australia. I think the job is wonderful and I love it."

So as other units that supported the air show returned to their respective air bases, Major Hearn stays on, ensuring that if their plane is ever in the land "down under," it will be well taken care of.