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Supporting Operation Odyssey Dawn
Airmen load cargo on to a C-5M Super Galaxy on March 25, 2011, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The cargo is bound for Italy in support of Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn, which is the U.S. Africa Command task force established to provide operational and tactical command and control of U.S. military forces supporting the international response to the unrest in Libya and enforcement of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973. UNSCR 1973 authorizes all necessary measures to protect civilians in Libya under threat of attack by Qadhafi regime forces. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Jason Minto)
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Team Dover supports Operation Odyssey Dawn

Posted 3/31/2011   Updated 3/31/2011 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Danella Shea
512th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

3/31/2011 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Three Team Dover C-5M Super Galaxy aircrafts delivered cargo in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya March 23-27.

Both the Air Force Reserve's 709th Airlift Squadron and active-duty's 9th AS here worked overtime this past weekend in a tag-team effort of several cargo transport missions, delivering 387, 000 pounds of cargo.

On March 18, the Secretary of Defense approved and ordered the use of military forces against the government of Libya. According to Department of Defense officials, "coalition forces are striking targets that pose a direct threat to the civilian population. The targets, such as Libyan military sites and air defense systems, were carefully chosen to reduce enemy capability while minimizing risk to the civilian population."

But, in order for the strike operations implementing the no-fly zone to continue, the 'bullets' have to make it to the fight and that is where Dover Air Force Base delivers.
Delivering oversized cargo is the name of the game here at Dover AFB, Del. Therefore, providing support for Operation Odyssey Dawn may up the tempo, but it is nothing new for Team Dover.

"Higher headquarters is starting to realize that if you have a high-priority, 'no fail' mission, with a large amount of cargo, you give it to the C-5M because of the reliability of the airplane," said Col. David Hafer, 436th Operations Group commander.
The commander was on one of the first three missions 'out of the gate' this past weekend.

"[Higher headquarters] come to Dover because when the system has a short-notice, high-priority mission, they also know that we are going to generate the crew, generate the airplane, load the cargo on the East Coast and get the goods to the fight faster," he added.

"That's what the airframe is here for - to support the Air Force, the Army, the Navy, all the different branches and units," said Lt. Col. Michael Semo, 709th AS pilot and C-5M program chief.
The airplane is designed to move 100 percent of outsized cargo for any of the services, anywhere in the world - fast and on time.

"These are very rapid-fire missions," said Capt. Matt Matis, 9th Airlift Squadron pilot and aircraft commander on one of the missions.
When the C-5M gets back to Dover from carrying out the mission, there is about a four to five hour window where aerial port is loading more cargo, maintenance is working any issues and we are switching out crews before heading back out, he said.

"It's not just the U.S. supporting this no-fly zone and other operations in Libya; it's us doing our part with Dover's airlift aircraft to support this international operation, and they need this stuff right now," said Colonel Hafer. "We understood as a crew; loadmasters, flight engineers and pilots; that the airplane needed to come back to Dover, so we could do it all over again."

Beginning March 23, an aircrew from the 709th AS flew direct to Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, from Dover with 160,000 pounds of cargo.

"This was a high-priority, short-notice mission to replace the Tomahawks that were released during the first days of military action in Libya," said Colonel Semo. "The C-5M is the only aircraft that could make the trip with that weight without air refueling."

Upon the crew's return March 25, the aircraft was only on the ground for a few short hours before being deployed on yet another 'high-priority' mission, this time to Aviano Air Base, Italy.

"It's pretty awesome to see this happening," said Chief Master Sgt. Larry Williams, 436th OG superintendent and a flight engineer on one of the missions. "We left on Friday, delivered our 155,000 pounds of cargo, de-positioned the plane to a base in Germany to free up space in Aviano and returned back to Dover on Sunday. We spent our weekend supporting this effort and came back to work today as if we were never gone."

By using the C-5M to deliver direct, the Dover aircrews were able to transport more cargo faster without refueling in-flight, freeing up tanker assets to support other ongoing operations.

"A lot of times when you are looking at heavy airlift, you have to either compromise cargo weight for fuel weight or fuel weight for cargo weight," said Colonel Hafer. "The C-5M allows the system to plan a mission taking a whole lot of cargo and a whole lot of fuel, so we can take it farther into the area of responsibility without tanker support. And, we can do it more reliably."
Colonel Hafer called the mission one of the top three most rewarding missions he has flown in his career, and he has been flying the airplane for 20 years.

"We are excited that we get to fly a piece of equipment that our nation's leaders can count on to get the missions done," he added.

As of now, Dover AFB has four C-5M aircraft, all of which are involved in the support of the international crisis in Libya.

As long as there are bona fide requirements to support the no-fly zone and Operation Odyssey Dawn, the 436th OG commander said he expects Dover to continue to be one of the key hubs to deliver war fighting materials to locations in southern Europe.

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