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A constant for 20 years

C-17 rededicated at McChord Field

Col. Scovill Currin, 62nd Airlift Wing Commander, watches as Maj. Gen.(retired) Donald Brown congratulates McChord Field airmen during last Friday’s C-17 Rededication ceremony. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

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Colonel Scovill Currin believes that Team McChord's best service is the standard for all others to follow.

"Team McChord has set the standard since the opening day," the commander of the 62nd Airlift Wing said last Friday morning as he stood on the port side of the Spirit of McChord, the first C-17 Globemaster III delivered to McChord Field two decades ago July 30, 1999.

"These airmen believe in something bigger than themselves, and it is fitting to celebrate this airplane."

Joining Currin under clear skies last Friday on a warm ramp in front of Hangar 4 were almost 400 local officials, Boeing officials, military retirees, and servicemembers to celebrate and rededicate that first aircraft.

Also in attendance was retired Maj. Gen. Donald Brown, a former 62nd AW and 22nd Air Force commander, who worked to make the Boeing-built C-17 a part of Air Force history.

Seated along with Currin and Brown on the make-shift stage was Mark Angelo, vice president of the government services unit within Boeing Global Services.

After relating some of the history behind the Army's need for an aircraft that could fly longer, carry more and land on shorter runways than any of its predecessors, Brown asked if there were any loadmasters in attendance.

A few hands -- to include this reporter's -- went up. Brown continued by pointing out that the C-17 has "the most fabulous cargo department ever built."

To underscore his point, Brown said the aircraft that defines McChord Field today is in part based on the work of Chief Master Sgt. William Cannon, a former McChord Base loadmaster and flight examiner, and for whom a street is dedicated near the 62nd AW's Headquarters building.

With Cannon's knowledge of cargo and what is needed to airlift it, he helped shape the aircraft that can deliver anything, anywhere in order to defend the country.

Currin commented on the history of the former loadmaster who helped shape the creation and now the 20th rededication of the Spirit of McChord.

"These machines change," he said in referring to the aircraft parked behind him, "but there is one constant -- the spirit, the passion and the talent of American airmen will not change."

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