The multiple roles of the C-17 Globemaster III

  • Published
  • By Capt. Naomi Evangelista
  • 65th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
The C-17 III Globemaster here serves as the visual centerpiece of the United States' static display coral at the 2010 Farnborough International Air Show here.

The eight crew members accompanying the newest cargo aircraft to the international event are from the 301st Airlift Squadron, a Air Force Reserve at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. The crew is made up of four pilots, three load masters and one crew chief.

Maj. Steve Hahn, an instructor pilot at the 301st AS who is participating in the air show, said he chose to fly the C-17 in 2000 because it was the Air Force's most modern airlift aircraft at the time.

"The C-17 was designed for multi-role functions," he said. "Its strategic and tactical abilities join the missions of the C-5 (Galaxy) and C-130 (Hercules) into one aircraft. It does everything, and not many aircraft can do that."

The C-17 is capable of rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in the deployment area.

"Supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom are our main priorities," Major Hahn said, "but we also support a lot of other missions."

"We provide humanitarian relief any time there's a natural disaster and we support in helping clean up those areas," said Tech. Sgt. Brandon Williams, a C-17 loadmaster whose primary job is to ensure the plane is loaded, tied down properly and balanced. "We also do a lot of aeromedical evaluations. It's a large part of our mission and we're ready to support whenever there's a need."

Another aspect of the 301st AS mission is showcasing the C-17's equipment and mission, and one way they accomplish this is to participate in air shows like Farnborough.

"I've already met with several hundred people over these first couple of days to include senators and other distinguished visitors," Sergeant Williams said. "Executives from a lot of companies who make different products also have come on board to see their product in use."

"We get to deal with a lot of different countries who may purchase this aircraft, so it's not a show purely for public relations like most other shows," Major Hahn said.

The Farnborough International Air Show isn't your traditional public air show because of the business and trade aspect that is unique to this event.

"Not only does the United States operate the aircraft we have, but a lot of our allies operate the aircraft as well," Sergeant Williams said. "But we're all one team fighting for the same thing."