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Weddington man to head forest firefighting efforts

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Col. Charles Davis III of Weddington has been named to head Air National Guard firefighting efforts. (U.S. Air National Guard photo.)

A Union County man has been named commander of the Air National Guard’s forest firefighting efforts.

Col. Charles Davis III of Weddington will head the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System.

In that role, he will command three Air National Guard units and one U.S. Air Force Reserve Command unit. Those crews fly C-130 aircraft and use them as aerial tankers, fighting fires in cases when private and commercial air tankers are not effective.

Davis also commands the Operations Group of the N.C. Air National Guard’s 145th Airlift Wing, based at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. In civilian life, he is an instructor for Airbus A330 craft with US Airways.

“MAFFS is a team effort,” Davis said. “We protect lives and property from forest fires, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the U.S. Forest Service. The MAFFS modules are loaded into the C-130 cargo bays and enable crews to dump 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant on the leading edge of fires.

Ground crews can reload the systems in 12 minutes.

The three other units involved with MAFFS are the 146th Airlift Wing from California; the 153rd Airlift Wing from Wyoming; and the 302 Airlift Wing of the Air Force Reserve Command, based in Colorado.

Davis is a master-level navigator with the Air Force and served in operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. He has more than 5,300 hours’ flying time.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107; Twitter: @slyttle
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