Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: '62nd Airlift Wing' (60) Currently Viewing: 21 - 30 of 60

May 13, 2011 at 12:27pm

Airdrop levels in deployed areas reach 25 million pounds

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.  -- In 2010, an additional 30,000 U.S. forces poured into Afghanistan as part of a "surge" to further stabilize the area. As a result, statistics show, that level of forces may also be the leading reason why airdrop levels in 2011 are averaging around 6.25 million pounds dropped a month.

Through the first four months of 2011, statistics tracked by the Air Forces Central's Combined Air Operations Center in Southwest Asia show there were more than 25 million pounds of cargo airdropped for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. That figure nearly matches all the airdrop totals from 2006 to 2008 in the same region.

The current annual record for airdrops is 60.4 million pounds dropped from 2010. Records aside, mobility Airmen are focused on meeting the needs of the warfighters on the ground.

"We're flying round-the-clock missions, mostly air-land and to and from lots of little austere Army air fields throughout the country," said Capt. Andrew Thomas, 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron C-130 Hercules pilot at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, in a January 2011 AFCENT news report by combat correspondent Tech. Sgt. Stacia Zachary. "We're also doing airdrops here (at a rate) of about one to two drops per day."

The C-130 Hercules isn't the only Air Mobility Command-style airframe supporting deployed airdrop operations. The C-17 Globemaster III is also a part of the effort. In deployed locations, C-130s and C-17s are a part of expeditionary airlift squadrons at numerous bases throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

Both airframes use a variety of ways to deliver the airdrop cargo. For example, since March 2010, C-130s perform "low-cost, low altitude," or LCLA, airdrops where they airdrop bundles weighing 80 to 500 pounds with pre-packed expendable parachutes in groups of up to four bundles per pass. The drops, reports show, are termed "low-cost" to reflect the relative expense of the expendable parachutes. "Low-altitude" describes to the relative height from which bundles are released from the aircraft.

There's also the Joint Precision Airdrop System, or JPADS, that guides airdrop bundles to their drop zones using the Global Positioning System technology, and the Improved Container Delivery System, or ICDS, that allows for improved precision by factoring in the altitude, wind speed, wind direction, terrain and other circumstances that might affect the drop.

Also, for example, a C-17 Globemaster III can carry up to 40 CDS bundles for a combat airdrop mission. Each of those bundles are often built by U.S. Army parachute riggers who jointly work with the Air Force airlift community to get them delivered to ground troops in remote regions of Afghanistan.

If statistics continue at the current average of 6.25 million pounds per month, 2011 will be a new record year with more than 75 million pounds airdropped.    

February 4, 2011 at 12:17pm

Alternate routes available for McChord Field commuters

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Construction at the McChord Field Main Gate begins Feb. 10. Traffic revisions at the gate, accessible from Interstate 5, Exit 125, will impact all travelers entering or leaving the installation at Bridgeport Way until the work is completed.  During the period of construction the traffic lanes in the area of the McChord Field Main Gate and the Visitor Center will be constricted to one lane inbound and one lane outbound.  

To mitigate traffic impact and minimize delays, additional routes will be available for McChord Field commuters and residents:

  • Woodbrook Housing Gate, recently closed for construction, will re-open Feb. 10. Extended hours of operation, from 5 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday - Friday (except federal holidays) will remain in effect until the McChord Main Gate construction is completed. The gate is accessible from Interstate 5, Exit 124.
  • North Gate, recently opened to offset the impact of the Woodbrook Housing gate closure, will remain open during McChord Main Gate construction. Hours of operation will be 5 a.m.-7 p.m., except federal holidays. The gate is located at the north end of McChord Field, and is accessible from Interstate 5, Exit 127 via Highway 512 (at Steele St., proceed southbound to 112 St. S., then turn right - the gate will be ¾ mile ahead, to the left), or via the South Tacoma Way/Interstate 5 overpass (from exit, proceed southbound on South Tacoma Way/Pacific Highway, and turn left to continue east on South Tacoma Way. The gate on east side of the Interstate 5 overpass).

The McChord Main Gate will remain open 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, during construction- but traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction. Commuters are especially encouraged to use alternate routes, when possible.

Starting Feb. 4, the public can obtain additional information about the construction project at: http://www.lewis-mcchord.army.mil/des/le_home.htm.Construction is scheduled for completion in May.

January 26, 2011 at 4:45pm

Airmen, civilians honored at quarterly awards luncheon

The following Airmen and civilians were honored at the 62nd Airlift Wing/Team McChord Quarterly Awards Luncheon on Jan. 20.

Civilian Quarter of the Year Category IA: Lori Brisson, 62nd Medical Squadron; Kathleen Wipple, 627th Force Support Squadron. Civilian of the Year Quarter Catergory IIA: Roy Osman, 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron; Robert Snyder, 627th FSS.

Civilian of the Year Category IIB: Kelly Williams, 62nd Maintenance Squadron.

Airman of the Quarter: Airman 1st Class Courtney Nicholas, 62nd Operations Support Squadron; Senior Airman Just Perran, 5th Air Support Operations Squadron.

Noncommissioned Officer: Staff Sgt. Brandon Hower, 62nd OSS; Staff Sgt. Andrew Cox, 5th ASOS.

Senior Noncommissioned Officer: Senior Master Sgt. Curtis Stanley, 62nd AMXS; Master Sgt. Shane Hobrecht, 5th ASOS.

Junior Company Grade Officer: 1st Lt. Marc Marmino, 62nd Operations Group; 1st Lt. Monica Carter, 22nd Special Tactics Squadron.

Company Grade Officer: Capt. Summer Kolcum, 62nd AMXS; Capt. Patrick Lamie, 5th ASOS.

Honor Guard Member of the Quarter: Senior Airman Michael Robinson, 62nd MXS.

January 25, 2011 at 4:12pm

Construction on McChord Field gate begins Feb. 10

JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. -- Joint Base Lewis-McChord McChord Field main gate will be undergoing a major facelift starting Feb. 10.

JBLM Directorate of Emergency Services Chief of Installation Access Larry Freeman said everything is in place to begin work on the main gate.

"Starting Feb. 10, the Woodbrook Housing Gate will be back open for business," Mr. Freeman said.

As soon as the housing gate reopens, another gate project is set to begin.

"At the main gate at McChord they are going to start setting up cones, barriers and signage for that construction," Mr. Freeman said. "They'll start setting up late in the afternoon on Feb. 9."

The gate will be open to traffic that day, while crews place signs and cones. 

The traffic revisions that will affect motorists at McChord's main gate will begin Feb. 10, he said, the day the Woodbrook Gate is scheduled to reopen.

"They'll be working on the canopy at the main gate and the guard booths as well as everything that's underneath the canopy," Mr. Freeman said.

The access control point will remain in operation throughout construction, with some lane shifting of the inbound and outbound lanes, he said.

"It will initially close both of the inbound lanes," said Mr. Freeman. "They'll be closed Feb. 9 until April 17."

During that time, the two outbound lanes will exist as one inbound and one outbound lane, he said.

"After motorists get past where the canopy currently is, we're going to route traffic back to the inbound lanes and then we'll have our guards set up to check IDs and screen vehicles before we allow them to enter the installation," Mr. Freeman said. "We won't sacrifice security for convenience."

Alternate routes are designed to minimize delays, he said.

"We're going to extend the hours for the Woodbrook (housing area) Gate," said Mr. Freeman. "For the entire duration of the project, we'll have the gate open from (5 a.m.) to (7 p. m.), Monday through Friday."

The housing gate will continue to be closed on weekends and federal holidays, he said.
North Gate will remain in operation and will mirror the hours of operation of the Woodbrook Gate.

"We're hoping people will use the Woodbrook Gate and North Gate to get on and off McChord," said Mr. Freeman.

If people use the alternate gates and plan for some delay, the traffic flow during construction should be close to normal, he said.

"Phase 2 is where we're going to have to close down the two outbound lanes starting April 18 and lasting until May 2," Mr. Freeman said. "During this phase we will convert the two inbound lanes at the main gate to one inbound lane and one outbound lane." 

Throughout construction the McChord Field Visitor Center will remain in operation, though using other offices for routine transactions is recommended. 

Vehicle registration will not be conducted at the McChord Field Visitor Center during the duty day during construction, Mr. Freeman said. Vehicle registration at the visitor center will be from 5 to 7:30 p.m., Monday through Friday and all day on weekends and federal holidays. During the construction, Building 100 will be the primary location to obtain decals on McChord Field.

Starting Feb. 4, the public can use the following Web address to obtain additional information about the construction project:http://www.lewis-mcchord.army.mil/des/le_home.htm 

January 10, 2011 at 12:35pm

McChord among bases continuing to test alternative jet fuel

This from Air Force Times: An Air Force test to see how military cargo planes perform using commercial jet fuel is going so well, the test has been extended into a second year and will expand to fighters.

The Air Force wants to learn what happens when planes use commercial "Jet A" fuel instead of the Air Force's specialized fuel, "JP-8." If the Air Force switches worldwide to Jet A, the service hopes it will save about $40 million annually.

As of December, the Air Force had pumped 140 million gallons of Jet A - about 6 percent of the service's annual fuel consumption - into planes flying out of four bases: Dover Air Force Base, Del.; Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; and Minneapolis-St. Paul Air National Guard Station, Minn.

Air and ground crews reported no problems from Jet A, said Andre Kok, a spokesman for the Air Staff's mission support directorate at the Pentagon.

The test continues into 2011, with the goal of adding six bases by the summer and including fighters on the list of planes using Jet A. The bases have not been selected, Kok said.

January 6, 2011 at 3:55pm

4th Airlift Squadron returns home

MCCHORD FIELD, JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - More than 120 Airmen from the 4th Airlift Squadron returned Thursday after a 120-day deployment in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, New Dawn and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

The 4th AS Airmen were deployed as the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron to an overseas contingency location in the Middle East.

"Our deployment was a success as a result of the hard work, professionalism and safety-focus of many, including that of our sister squadrons," said Lt. Col. Ira Cline, 816th EAS commander. "We were fortunate to be a part of wide variety of missions including the delivery of M1A1 Abrams tanks into Afghanistan, life-saving aeromedical evacuations, transporting several distinguished visitors including the Secretary of Defense, airdropping more than 16 million pounds of CDS (container delivery system) bundles to remote forward operating bases and flying media and Boeing representatives on the C-17 Globemaster III's two-millionth flight hour. The entire team, top to bottom, simply did an outstanding job. I'm really proud of this group of Airmen."

During their deployment, the C-17 squadron flew 2,204 sorties, equaling more than 12,900 hours, moving more than 48,000 passengers and delivering more than 91.4 million pounds of combat sustainment cargo for U.S. military forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and operations in East Africa.

More on this story in the Jan. 13 edition of The Northwest Airlifter.

January 3, 2011 at 10:58am

Family, friends welcome 4th Airlift Squadron home

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - More than 120 Airmen from McChord Field's 4th Airlift Squadron will be greeted by family and friends here Wednesday, Jan. 5, after a 120-day deployment in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Operation New Dawn and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

The 4th AS Airmen were deployed as the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron to an overseas contingency location in the Middle East.

During their deployment, the C-17 squadron flew 2,204 sorties, equaling more than 12,900 hours, moving more than 48,000passengers and delivering more than 91.4 million pounds of combat sustainment cargo for U.S. military forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and operations in East Africa.

With the help of the 816th EAS, the C-17 Globemaster III celebrated its two-millionth flight hour this month. Although Air Mobility Command officials estimate the international C-17 fleet passed the milestone on Dec. 14, the achievement was commemorated on a Dec. 10 airdrop mission out of Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

"Our deployment was a success as a result of the hard work, professionalism and safety-focus of many, including that of our sister squadrons," said Lt. Col. Ira Cline, 816th EAS commander. "We were fortunate to be a part of wide variety of missions including the delivery of M1A1 Abrams tanks into Afghanistan, life-saving aeromedical evacuations, transporting several distinguished visitors including the Secretary of Defense, airdropping more than 16 million pounds of CDS (container delivery system) bundles to remote forward operating bases and flying media and Boeing representatives on the C-17 Globemaster III's two-millionth flight hour. The entire team, top to bottom, simply did an outstanding job.  I'm really proud of this group of Airmen."

December 28, 2010 at 11:28pm

McChord to receive new C-17 integrated training center

According to Air Force Magazine Online, the Air Force has awarded Boeing a $44 million contract to supply C-17 integrated training centers to three Globemaster bases, the company announced.  
Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, will receive the first ITC in the first quarter of 2012. McChord Field, which has 54 C-17s, will receive the second system in the third quarter of 2012, and an undisclosed third location will receive the third in early 2013.
"We are proud to add to the Air Force's training capability and support warfighter readiness with these new devices," said Mark McGraw, who oversees Boeing's training systems.
The ITCs consist of a weapon systems trainer, pilot and co-pilot station, loadmaster station, and related courseware and support equipment. The contract could be worth up to $72 million if two options are exercised.   

December 27, 2010 at 9:48am

McChord crew active in Operation Deep Freeze

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zeland (AFNS) -- An Air Force Reserve C-17 Globemaster III from the 728th Airlift Squadron out of McChord Air Force Base, Wash., is supporting Operation Deep Freeze by serving as a bridge for cargo and personnel moving between Christchurch, New Zealand, and McMurdo Air Station, Antarctica. 

The C-17 and its aircrew perform three to four round trips per week between the two locations. During each flight, the crew must navigate through difficult weather before landing on an ice runway at McMurdo. 

"This is probably the most dangerous peace time mission that we do" said Maj. Casey Guerrero, a C-17 pilot who has flown to Antarctica eleven times, "It's just that the weather changes so rapidly in Antarctica."

The ice cold and unpredictable weather is the biggest concern during the flights to Antarctica. The crew takes a number of precautions to ensure the aircraft is serviceable in the austere conditions. They turn on the hydraulic pumps early to make sure the fluid is at a proper temperature, and they cycle the flight controls while the aircraft is on the ground to ensure they stay above forty-five degrees. 

Another major concern is the lack of places to land on the route to McMurdo.
 
"There is nothing between Christchurch and Antarctica" Major Guerrero said, "so we have to watch our cold weather procedures, and if we have any kind of emergency we have to fuel-plan correctly so we can make it back to Christchurch." 

The crew has a predetermined point of safe return during each flight. At this point they check the weather and determine whether to press forward or turn back and return to Christchurch. Although the weather in Antarctica might be good for landing when the C-17 takes off from Christchurch, the rapidly changing weather has forced the crew to turn back a number of times. 

"It all depends on the weather," Major Guerrero said. "It's luck, nothing we can control."

The flights are a part of Operation Deep Freeze, an annual operation that supports the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation's research at sites throughout the Antarctic continent. The Joint Task Force - Support Forces Antarctica operation is led by 13th Air Force and includes strategic inter-theater airlift, tactical deep-field support, aeromedical-evacuation support, search and rescue response, sealift, seaport access, bulk fuel supply, port cargo handling and transportation requirements.    

December 20, 2010 at 1:41pm

9-year-old joins airlift squadron

MCCHORD FIELD, JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- After bouncing around from foster home to foster home, Mark Moore Jr. is relieved to be with a loving family during the holiday season. 

The 9-year-old Tacoma, Wash., native was selected by members of the 4th Airlift Squadron to participate in their "Pilot for a Day" program Dec. 17.

Pilot for a Day is an Air Force program that enables challenged youth a chance to visit an Air Force base, becoming part of the team in the process. The participants are usually selected through a partnership with a community hospital or foster program.

"There are so many different agencies and people working to make this day special for one child," said Capt. Chris Kojak, 4th Airlift Squadron Operations flight commander. "We all know how much it means to them. We try as hard as we can to make today perfect."

As a new member of Team McChord, Mark, along with his foster mother, brother and grandfather, took a ride in a fire truck at the McChord fire station. They tested out the emergency evacuation hanging hardness and climbed to the top of the command tower. They also got the chance to visit the 62nd Security Forces Squadron military working dog unit and tour the inside of a C-17 Globemaster III. 

"My favorite part was visiting the military dogs," said Mark. "I want to buy one when I get older. Not a mean one, but a nice one."

Moore's foster mother, Colleen Remaly, expressed his long awaited anticipation and excitement for the day's events. Her son, Jaden, is two years older than Mark, and she says they get along perfectly. 

"Instead of counting down the days until Christmas, they've been counting down for this," said Remaly. "They have not stopped talking about how awesome today is going to be."

After a long day of tours and demonstrations, Mark explained how the Air Force sounds like an appealing career choice. 

"I'm going to be in the Air Force when I grow up," said Mark. "I don't know what I'm going to do. But I really like this uniform. I want to wear it for a long time."    

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