180th Airlift Squadron drops first ever Howitzer Published Nov. 4, 2009 By Staff Sgt. Michael Crane 139th AW Rosecrans, St. Joseph, Missouri -- The M198 Howitzer is a 10-ton, 36-foot long cannon used by the Army to launch artillery shells at the enemy. What does this Army equipment have to do with the 139th Airlift Wing? Members of the 180th Airlift Squadron participated in the first-ever Howitzer drop to a remote location in Afghanistan while deployed there in August. The drop was a total-force mission including Air National Guard, Air Force Reserves and active-duty personnel. The 180th AS has never air dropped an asset of this proportion. "We're used to dropping food or other equipment...'beans and bullets'," said 1st Lt. Mark Hanna, 180th AS co-pilot, who was on the C-130 that dropped the Howitzer. "And this drop went exactly according to plan...just as we trained as if it was any other drop." Under normal circumstances a Howitzer would be driven in via Army convoy, however "there's only one road that goes in and out and it's filled with [roadside bombs]," said Hanna. "An air drop was the preferred method over ground transportation." Members of the 180th AS returned home on Labor Day Sept. 7 and 11 after their 45-day deployment in Afghanistan. "It feels good to be back home," said Capt. Nicholas Kahler, 180th AS navigator. Members of the 139th AW arrived home to find their families, and lunch catered by a local restaurant, waiting to welcome them home.