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Team Dover C-5s return to the fight

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. – The first of Team Dover’s C-5M Super Galaxy airlifters took flight early Aug. 2 after a two-and-a-half-week Air Mobility Command commander-directed stand-down.

In a letter dated Aug. 1, Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, AMC commander, released five Dover AFB aircraft for immediate tasking. Those aircraft have had the necessary repairs to ensure the proper extension and retraction of the nose landing gear. The remainder of the Dover C-5 fleet remains on stand-down pending successful testing, repairs, and evaluation of nose landing gear.

"My top priority is safety and readiness of our fleet," said Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, Air Mobility Command commander. "Our Airmen are working deliberately and methodically at Dover and across the command to identify and resolve any issues impacting the C-5 fleet. We have put measures in place to ensure aircrew safety and reduce wear-and-tear on the aircraft."

Maintainers at Dover have been critical to quickly assessing and bringing about potential solutions.

"Team Dover has been at the forefront of the investigation, evaluation, and resolution for the C-5M nose gear malfunction, supported by staff, project office, engineers and teammates from total force bases at Scott, Robins, Travis, Westover and many more," said Col. Ethan Griffin, 436th Airlift Wing commander. "Our maintainers, aircrew and safety personnel are absolutely committed to delivering excellence and Dover pride while ensuring the continued viability of the C-5M enterprise and Rapid Global Mobility for our nation's defense."

The AMC commander directive, dated July 17, halted C-5M flying operations at Dover AFB following two C-5M nose landing gear malfunctions within a 60-day period during landings at Naval Air Station Rota, Spain. After careful consideration by Gen. Everhart, the decision was made to ensure the safety of Mobility Airmen.

During the stand-down, Team Dover maintainers conducted extensive C-5M nose landing gear inspections to identify, analyze and repair the issue.

This effort was a true Total Force endeavor. The maintenance crews were comprised of more than 200 active duty, Reserve and civilian Airmen. Additionally, engineers from Robins AFB, Georgia and Ogden Air Logistics Complex, Hill AFB, Utah, were part of the effort.

“When the fleet stood down, most of the maintenance Airmen took it to heart,” said Lt. Col. Shawn Stermer, 436th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander. “They took it very seriously and they wanted to be the ones who figured out a solution to bring us out of this stand-down. Many of them worked extended shifts in order to bring our C-5 enterprise back.”

A large portion of this work was only accomplished because of cooperation between the active duty and Reserve Airmen working side-by-side.

“Our Reserve team worked alongside the active duty in several phases of the stand-down,” said Col. Sherry Teague, 512th Maintenance Group commander. “From research to the actual work and testing, our 512th maintenance personnel stepped up and provided decades of experience to the problem-solving process."

Maintenance Airmen from the Air Force’s three other C-5 bases travelled to Dover AFB to learn the processes undertaken here at Dover. The goal is for them to become proficient at these inspections so they can return to their home bases to complete these inspections on their own C-5 fleets. These bases are Travis AFB, California; Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts; and Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

During the stand-down, Mobility Airmen continued to provide Rapid Global Mobility support for the warfighter. The stand down affected 18 of AMC’s 56 C-5s.

All C-5 ball screw assembly parts fleet-wide will be replaced to ensure compliance with standards of performance and maximize aircrew safety.