HomeNewsArticle Display

Air mobility squadron keeps C-17s ready for fight

Airman 1st Class Nathan Travis, a 5th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron aircraft electrical and environment systems journeyman, inspects wiring on the stabilizer strut of a C-17 Globemaster III at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia Jan. 13, 2017. Crew chiefs from the small squadron rely on specialists such as electricians to help out with inspections. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Park)

Airman 1st Class Nathan Travis, a 5th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron aircraft electrical and environment systems journeyman, inspects wiring on the stabilizer strut of a C-17 Globemaster III at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia Jan. 13, 2017. Crew chiefs from the small squadron rely on specialists such as electricians to help out with inspections. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Park)

Two Airmen from the 5th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron, grease points on the nose landing gear of a C-17 Globemaster III during a post-flight inspection at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia Jan. 13, 2017. The squadron flies an average of 2,500 sorties a year, moving 180,000 personnel and 80,000 tons of cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Park)

Two Airmen from the 5th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron, grease points on the nose landing gear of a C-17 Globemaster III during a post-flight inspection at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia Jan. 13, 2017. The squadron flies an average of 2,500 sorties a year, moving 180,000 personnel and 80,000 tons of cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Park)

Tech. Sgt. Devon Edwards, a 5th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron aerospace maintenance craftsman, fills a grease gun at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia Jan. 13, 2017. During post-flight inspections of the C-17 Globemaster IIIs, 5th EAMS Airmen grease approximately 200 points around the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Park)

Tech. Sgt. Devon Edwards, a 5th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron aerospace maintenance craftsman, fills a grease gun at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia Jan. 13, 2017. During post-flight inspections of the C-17 Globemaster IIIs, 5th EAMS Airmen grease approximately 200 points around the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Park)

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- Winning the fight against an adversary requires much more than just dropping bombs on targets and taking out key leaders. It requires coordinating the precise movement of necessary supplies to arrive at the right location at the right time; which is why logistics plays such an important role in the war-fighting effort.

Luckily, within the Air Force alone, Air Mobility Command has many aircraft at its disposal to perform logistical missions, but one aircraft in particular proves to be valuable not only for its capacity but also for the speed at which it gets supplies downrange: the C-17 Globemaster III.

C-17s are used frequently in the U.S. Air Force Central Command area of responsibility to get everything from clothing to bombs to a variety of locations around the region.

As a 386th Air Expeditionary Wing tenant unit, the 5th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron flies its Globemasters an average of 2,500 sorties a year from the wing’s flightline. These sorties are responsible for moving 180,000 personnel and 80,000 tons of cargo, said Capt. John Goodwin, 5th EAMS Aircraft Maintenance Unit officer in charge.

The 5th EAMS is a geographically separated unit that falls under the 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. They perform their mission not only from the flightline here, but also from a second location.

The squadron consists of more than 60 maintenance personnel who are responsible for ensuring their C-17s remain safe and operational to continue flying these important sorties throughout the AOR. They also fly the same amount of sorties as other expeditionary air mobility squadrons, but with nearly half the typical crew size, Goodwin said.

Since it is such a small crew, the few crew chiefs in the squadron rely on the help of specialists such as electricians and communication-navigation experts to help out with inspections, explained Staff Sgt. Derek Barrett, a 5th EAMS aircraft electrical and environment systems technician.

“If a jet comes down with a specific career field problem like electrical work, we’ll go out there and manage those problems,” Barrett said.

And there are a lot of these inspections. The process of degrading adversaries in Iraq and Afghanistan requires a steady movement of goods to various locations, which means these C-17s and others perform several sorties on a regular basis.

“We could have upwards of eight to 10 sorties or airlift operations for that day that can be coming in or leaving,” Goodwin said. “We could also be doing transient (aircraft), which don’t belong to us but they may be coming into this location for supplies. If anything goes wrong, we provide maintenance for those units that may need it.”

Many of these sorties require landing in austere environments which can cause wear and tear on the aircraft, especially the tires, which usually return with gashes, gouges and other forms of damage, Goodwin said.

Maintaining aircraft that are used at such a high operational tempo can itself be challenging, but coordinating between two different locations can bring another facet of difficulty to managing the spread-out squadron.

“The biggest challenge for me is to make sure that we’re in touch with both locations,” Goodwin said. “We do service C-5 (Galaxies) at one base and C-17s at another, so the diversity in what aircraft we’re servicing can also play a part.”

To combat this challenge, Goodwin said the squadron focuses on maintaining good communication to ensure everyone is on the same page and performing their maintenance safely, which is important as it means the aircraft can fly its mission effectively to get the necessary supplies downrange. This also serves as a point of pride for the 5th EAMS maintainers whose job it is to ensure the aircraft keeps flying these important missions.

“As we see the cargo go out and the passengers, I know that the work that we do will make a direct impact to missions in Iraq and all over the world,” Barrett said.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: Jumping from a plane becomes a big step toward friendship. 301 soldiers and airmen from @USArmyReserve, @usairforce, and…
Explosive Disposal Ordnance (EOD) Airmen are often assigned to some of the most dangerous missions and perform tact… https://t.co/xYc9Ip5psn
Start this year by supporting your #Airmen in their pursuit of #resiliency. Learn about common triggers of invisibl… https://t.co/6gJSfJKvcK
RT @OHNationalGuard: The @180thFW hosted members of the Nigerian Air Force recently Officers visited the 180FW in search of #bestpractice
RT @HiAirGuard: Airmen from 154th Security Forces Squadron became first responders during a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear…
RT @US_SOCEUR: U.S. #airmen assigned to the 352d Special Operations Wing perform maintenance on a CV-22B #Osprey aircraft in Szolnok, #Hung
RT @HQ_AFMC: The @AFResearchLab s X-60A program achieved a key developmental #milestone with the completion of integrated vehicle propulsio…
RT @DeptofDefense: If you want to get there as fast as possible, don’t stop for gas. ⛽ That’s why the @usairforce relies on airmen like Tec…
RT @DeptofDefense: Press ▶️ to learn more about @USAFCENT, the command that provides air & space warfighting capabilities to help defeat v…
Airmen with the Puerto Rico Air National Guard provide support at the “tent cities” to support Task Force South and… https://t.co/zg2yT0LqpS
Even the most advanced aircraft in history requires extensive maintenance performed by Airmen on the ground to kee… https://t.co/Kpv8JlzYIc
RT @AirMobilityCmd: Throwback Thursday and #TankerThirstThursday are the same game. Throwing it back to last month when a KC-135 Stratotank…
If you thought the C-5M Super Galaxy was cool before, wait until you hear @RichardHammond describe it and its capab… https://t.co/jbYbdyHx5q
Air National Guardsmen from @105AW are on the ground in Puerto Rico with their counterpart, @PRNationalGuard, provi… https://t.co/ZwzhCEpWY4
RT @HAFB: Join us for the Hill Air Force Base 80th Anniversary Celebration from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 18 at the Hill Aerospace Museum! A nu…
Ranges are crucial to the training and readiness of our warfighters. Get an inside look at how they prepare to figh… https://t.co/i5CnbpBGAw
.@cmsaf18 and his wingman, Senior Enlisted Advisor to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chief Master Sergeant… https://t.co/UD69jCjHPz
#AirForce is always looking for ways to improve processes and patient health care is no different. @JBSA_Official h… https://t.co/ysEFjoXYCE
RT @USAF_ACC: You know what day it is. #WarthogWednesday! 🐗👏 #DYK the weapon on the #A10Thunderbolt II is a 30 millimeter GAU-8 and is des…
RT @SpaceForceDoD: Earlier today, @SpaceForceCSO Gen. John W. Raymond became the first ever Chief of Space Operations. @VP Vice President M…