C-17 crew gets Army Strykers into the 'fight'

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Damon Kasberg
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Air Mobility Command's mission is to provide rapid, global mobility and sustainment for America's armed forces, a capability demonstrated during Steadfast Javelin II, a large-scale, joint, multinational exercise held on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, from Aug. 31 through Sept. 11.

The exercise further focuses U.S., NATO and partner forces on concepts such as decisive and sustainable land operations.

Aircrew from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, boasted AMC's airlift abilities when they loaded Strykers and Soldiers from the 2nd Calvary Brigade into their C-17 Globemaster IIIs and rapidly deployed them to Latvia as part of the exercise.

"I absolutely love flying the C-17," said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Brian Dunlap, 7th Airlift Squadron C-17 co-pilot. "We can transport cargo, Soldiers and equipment anywhere in the world and our missions can vary from airlift and airdrops to medical evacuations. For Steadfast Javelin II, each of our aircraft airlifted three Strykers along with vehicle crew members from Ramstein to Latvia, allowing the Army to accomplish their objectives."

U.S. Army Strykers are vehicles designed to quickly and safely transport Soldiers throughout their area of responsibility. They also provide vehicle-borne weapon systems, enabling them to engage a wide variety of threats. Unlike heavy armored vehicles, Strykers have low logistic requirements, allowing them and their crew to rapidly deploy in great numbers.

"Our Strykers are very fast and quiet, so they can maneuver stealthier than heavily armored vehicles," said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. David Chadburn, 2nd Calvary Regiment platoon sergeant. "The Air Force enables us to put our Soldiers where ever we're needed."

"It's awe inspiring to see so many Strykers loaded in an aircraft," he add. "It really shows how far we can reach out and put Soldiers on the battlefield."

The success of airlifting Soldiers and equipment to every corner of the world begins long before getting in the air. Training together ensures everyone knows how to safely and properly load cargo into the C-17s. Stryker crew members and C-17 loadmasters spent time prior to takeoff working together to make sure the vehicle drivers knew exactly how to enter the aircraft.

"It's not just about speed," Dunlap said. "It's about making sure people are safe and equipment doesn't break."

It's during these types of exercises that different military branches learn to appreciate each other's strengths and come together to accomplish the mission.

"The Air Force has been great," Chadburn said. "They welcomed us with open arms and trained us on what to do. Our unit's mission is to be deployable anywhere in a short notice; we couldn't do that without the Air Force."

"I learned that there's a lot more than just Air Force during this exercise," Dunlap said. "Working with our allies and the Army is essential when we're executing operations to perfection."