Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

June 16, 2016 at 6:13am

A swift response

Paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division load their equipment into a 62nd Airlift Wing C-17 Globemaster III on Pope Army Air Field, N.C., June 6, 2016. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Naomi Shipley

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Three McChord air crews demonstrated their air mobility capabilities by delivering more than 250 82nd Airborne Division soldiers, Polish and British Forces and their equipment to Poland during Exercise Swift Response 2016, June 7.

Exercise Swift Response 2016 is a significant month-long military crisis response annual training event for multinational forces in the world that includes more than 5,000 participants from 10 North Atlantic Treaty Organization nations including the United States.

C-17 air crews with the 4th, 7th and 8th Airlift Squadrons at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, flew in formation with several other C-17 crews from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, to work with other units to provide tactical airlift support to the Army and our allies in Europe.

The flight from Pope Army Air Field to the drop zone in Poland took more than nine hours and required some serious preparation.

One C-17 in particular flown by Lt. Col. Jaron Roux, 62nd Operation Support Squadron commander, carried more than 72 paratroopers, a rigging platform, a British Howitzer and an Army Humvee.

And in the dark of the night, Roux, his crew and the other air crews loaded their aircraft and departed on their 4,000-mile journey over international waters with one common goal; to provide safe and reliable rapid global airlift.

All three of the McChord tails received fuel from the KC-10 or KC-135 air refueling tankers midflight to enable their mission, since the aircraft necessitated additional fuel to prevent having to land for it.

The flawless 15-minute-long execution performed by the KC-10's crew for Roux and his jet allowed for 80,000 pounds of fuel to be transferred to the jet while maintaining their route.

Just a few hours later, the crew was put to the test, yet again.

When the back door of the C-17 opened for the equipment air drop in Poland, the nearly 100 Army soldiers inside the jet looked on in awe.

With the swift pull of a parachute out of the back of the aircraft, a few seconds later, the equipment was gone.

Next up was the paratroopers.

One by one, with the assistance from the jump masters and two C-17 loadmasters, the paratroopers began to jump from the side doors of the C-17.

All paratroopers and their equipment made it safely on the ground to perform their tactical training.

Army Capt. Justin Schumaker, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade 82nd Airborne Division, was on the aircraft to support the paratroopers and assist in their jump.

"Everybody did really well," said Schumaker. "These guys jump at least once every three months, but it's not every day they get to jump into Poland. They were definitely excited."

Roux said overall, the McChord air drops were very successful.

"We executed the plan," said Roux. "The crews were always where they needed to be and when, to provide safe and reliable global airlift.

The exercise provided an opportunity for all partners to train like they fight.

"Whenever we go to a fight, we are never alone," said Roux. "It will always be a joint effort with our coalition partners."

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