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Lt. Col. Todd Garrett
Lt. Col. Todd Garrett, 9th Airlift Squadron commander.
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Total Force

Posted 10/19/2010   Updated 10/20/2010 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Lt. Col. Todd Garrett
9th Airlift Squadron commander

10/19/2010 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del.  -- It was exactly one year ago today that the guidon of the 9th Airlift Squadron, and the dynasty of the "Proud Pelicans" was passed to me. Who would have thought the time would go by so quickly! While I could brag about the 9th AS for the next 10 minutes (and I will a bit), that's not the moral behind the story today. The real reason I'm writing this article is to brag about the "Total Force" effort that takes place here at Dover every day. The bond we've developed with our 512th Reserve partners is one that epitomizes "Total Force Integration."

On Sept. 30, I travelled to Marietta, Ga., alongside a contingent of operators and maintainers from the Active Duty and Reserve side of the house for the delivery of the first production C-5M Super Galaxy, but that's not the first time we've teamed up with our reserve brethren. It's been happening since the inception of the C-5M program. Just two weeks ago an Acquisition Decision Memo was signed and the Air Force directed to "fully fund" the C-5M program. As it stands, 52 C-5s (49 B-models, 1 A-model and 2 C-models) will undergo the Reliability Enhancement and Re-Engineering Program. This would not have been possible without the "Total Force" effort we share here at Dover.

While it was a very diverse team that made this recent decision a reality for strategic airlift, it was the "Total Force" effort we developed with our Reserve team that made this vision happen here at Dover. In my 15-month tenure at Dover, every decision made involving the C-5M was done in concert with our Reserve counterparts. On Sept. 13, 2009, the "Spirit of Normandy," with 12-crewmembers from the 436th & 512th AWs set 41 world records in a single flight.

Shortly after that, Team Dover was called on again to "Deliver" and that's exactly what we did! From October, 2009 to January of 2010, Operational Test and Evaluation of the C-5M was conducted by our "Total Force" team of maintainers and operators when six active & reserve crews achieved a remarkable 74 percent mission capable rate and flew 34 scheduled surge missions showcasing the "Direct-Delivery" capabilities of the C-5M. Over the course of 34 missions, the "Direct Delivery" concept (an idea proposed by our own team) saved the Air Force 1.32 million pounds of fuel and 72 flight hours.

With the program still in jeopardy and a full-rate production decision looming; Dover was asked to do yet another first in the history of the C-5M and once again, and Team Dover delivered. From June to July, our "Total Force" team partnered with the C-5Bs to execute a flawless multi-modal movement of 103 helicopters and 500 pallets from Rota Naval Air Station, Spain, to three Forward Operating Bases in Afghanistan in a one-month period.

This was the first operational deployment for the C-5M where four "Total Force" Super Galaxy crews integrated with nine C-5B crews from both Active and Reserve units to execute 45 missions, achieving an 87.8 percent mission capable rate and saving the Air Force $19 million in C-5 flying hours. The total force integration between the reserves and active duty here at Dover is untouchable and has received accolades from our senior leadership in Air Mobility Command and we've set the standard for the rest of the Air Force!

You might be asking yourself why I'm writing about this and quite frankly, the answer is simple. Take a look around. I'll bet you don't have to look far to see "Total Force" embodied in your workplace today. If I were to walk down to the scheduling desk and look at the pucks on the board for today's local or tomorrow's mission, or I was to walk the flight line with our maintainers who are fixing and servicing our aircraft, I'd see the perfect mix of experience and leadership working as one team in a "Total Force" effort. In the 9th AS, we're proud of the relationship we've built with our reserve counterparts and we know the success of the C-5M program is a direct result of "Total Force Integration".

On Nov. 6, we'll raise the bar once again when our "Total Force" team of operators and maintainers, combined with the Air National Guard at Stewart Air National Guard Base and the Commander, Air Mobility Command, General Johns, delivers the first production C-5M right here to Dover; right where it all started!

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