Chief Master Sgt. Larry Williams, the 436th Operations Group superintendent, speaks with members of the 9th Airlift Squadron July 15, 2010, on the flightline at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Chief Williams took part in a 30-day mission to deliver Army helicopters to units in Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Roland Balik)
Members of the 9th Airlift Squadron at Dover Air Force Base, Del., wait on the flightline July 15, 2010, to welcome home the returning crew members from a mission to deliver more than 100 helicopters to Army units in Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jason Minto)
by Staff Sgt. Chad Padgett
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
7/21/2010 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Working with other agencies in a hostile environment on a quick turn around rotation, four airlift crews managed to deliver more than 100 helicopters to Army units at three locations in Afghanistan.
U.S. Army teams assisted the C-5 Loadmasters in Rota and 3 locations in Afghanistan.
"The Army was great to have on the ground and helped the loading and unloading of over 100 helicopters run smoothly," said Tech Sgt. Scott Cassyd, 709th Airlift Squadron, C-5M Loadmaster.
The Crews would take turns between Naval Station Rota, Spain, where the helicopters were delivered by boat and the three locations in Afghanistan where the Army was eagerly waiting. When one crew landed at a forward operating location, they would 'tag out' with the crew on the ground who would fly back to get the next batch of helicopters. This was the first time the C-5M 'Super Galaxy' was put into this type of a deployed construct, flying on a near constant schedule.
"Swapping crews downrange helped ensure our C-5s would minimize their downrange exposure," said Capt. Cory Damon, 9th Airlift Squadron, C-5M Evaluator Pilot. "With forward deployed unloading teams and maintenance personnel we were able to turn aircraft back to Rota quickly. The entire operation focused on the exceptional ability of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to come together to directly improve our combat capabilities downrange in a short time span. Military Sealift Command, Air Mobility Command, Air Force Reserve Command, and the Army's 4th Infantry Division were integral in the accomplishment of this mission."
The three newest C-5M aircraft commanders were given a heavy responsibility as they took the reigns to lead over 75 percent of the C-5M missions. Capt Paul Seidel, Capt A.J. Pratt and Capt Ryan Ness, all from the 9th Airlift Squadron have been Aircraft Commanders for 3 months. They were the first-ever Aircraft Commander upgrades in the C-5M and are now fully qualified to lead up to 22 crewmembers in combat operations like these.
"We enjoyed accomplishing this mission over the last 30 days," said Capt. Ryan Ness, 9th Airlift Squadron, C-5M Aircraft Commander. "We always look forward to demonstrating the C-5's unique abilities, and all of the personnel involved were dedicated to the on-time delivery of the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade's helicopters."
Coordinating four aircrews at four separate locations while working with other agencies in hostile areas may have been a challenge for the Dover Crews, but they were able to over come all obstacles and deliver the necessary materials needed to help the war fighting mission.
"These missions provided another excellent opportunity to support our joint team members in Afghanistan and to showcase the C-5M's increased reliability and direct delivery performance capabilities," said Capt. Matt Jaeger, 9th Airlift Squadron, C-5M Evaluator Pilot.
7/23/2010 10:47:46 AM ET Emily you're absolutely correct. The fine folks at Westover ARB played a huge role in this operation. In fact the Rota Stage commander for this operation was from Westover. As an air mobility guy I truly know how important the Reserve and Guard are to completing the AMC mission. We couldn't do everything we do without our ReserveGuard partners. That said in defense of the author sometimes the article isn't about specific groups of Airmen but it's about the significance of the event itself. In this case active-duty and Reserve Airmen working side by side with our sister services to support our joint and coalition warfighters in Afghanistan. Great work by everyone involved and a true testament to our newest C-5 airlifter the Super Galaxy
Mark Diamond, Scott AFB
7/23/2010 9:43:59 AM ET Thank you PB Of course there are always other crews personnel supoorting agencies from not only the AF but from other militarycivilian branchesagencies as well. Everybody deserves some credit and if people feel some kind of way about it submit something to AF.mil and run it up the chain. The big picture being the C-5M combined with the other C-5B models reflected great worthiness in securing the future for the C-5. Period.
Fais, New York
7/22/2010 2:16:03 PM ET Emily -- The story was written by a Dover PA. Where's the story from Westover's PA? Let them tell that side of the story.
7/21/2010 8:35:24 PM ET Westover Air Reserve Base supplied half of the force and the commanders of the entire operation. Sad to see you gave them absolutely no credit.