The RAAF marked 10 continuous years of Hercules deployments to the Middle East on February 11.
Two C-130H aircraft arrived in the Middle East on February 11 2003 to support Operation Bastille in the Persian Gulf, since then RAAF C-130Hs and C-130Js have transported 220,000 passengers and some 43,000 tonnes of cargo in the Middle East Area of Operations.
More than 1,000 RAAF personnel have been deployed in support of the C-130 detachment over the 10 years. Today 50 personnel support two C-130Js based at AL Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates.
Commending the RAAF, the government acknowledged three milestone missions flown by Hercules crews during the detachment. In April 2003 an RAAF C-130H became the first coalition aircraft to land at Al Asad Air Base following its capture by Australian Special Forces units. In September 2006 Hercules aircraft from the detachment were used to evacuate Australian citizens from Cyprus to Turkey following the outbreak of hostilities in Lebanon, while in 2010 RAAF Hercules participated in Operation Pakistan Assist II in response to floods in that country.