Canadian partners

By Staff Sgt. Naomi Shipley, 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs on June 16, 2016

For the last few years, Team McChord has participated in a joint partnership with the Royal Canadian Air Force exchange program, geared toward loadmasters and pilots.

For two of those years, RCAF Sgt. Wes Ramsay, 8th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, has been part of Team McChord and has participated in various C-17 missions including the recent Exercise Swift Response 2016 in Europe.

The exercise was a large-scale multi-national exercise, which included thousands of participants from 10 NATO nations.

Ramsay is a full qualified loadmaster and performs the same duties on the jet as any other "load."

The only significant difference between him and the other loadmasters at McChord, aside from his accent, are the patches on his flight suit, otherwise he's just another part of the crew.

Lt. Col. Jaron Roux, 62nd Operation Support Squadron commander, said Ramsay's presence on the aircraft and exercise is a direct (local) example of reinforcing our NATO partnership at McChord.

"Ramsay is an asset to the team," said Roux. "He is an exceptional loadmaster; he brings a Canadian perspective to the team and by working with him we are truly embracing the coalition we train for in exercises like Swift Response. We are strengthening that bond."

Ramsay said the challenges in the integration stem mostly from language differences.

"It was a whole new language and a whole new culture," said Ramsay. "It's the same aircraft, same job, and it's pretty much the exact same rules, but it's a different understanding."

Ramsay said that out of all the missions he's flown in his career, the mission to Poland for Exercise Swift Response 2016 sticks out because it's a realistic training scenario.

"This mission is probably the best memorable one I've done," said Ramsay. "We're planning a real scenario; we're loading the aircraft to the maximum extent possible and we're conducting air drops. We're training like we should fight."

Ramsay said working with aircrew, including at McChord, creates a tight-knit bond.

"It's a family with integrity," Ramsay said. "We hold each other accountable and each member has to hold themselves individually accountable, because we're flying thirty thousand feet in the air and essentially everyone has to back each other up, because every day you'll need each other."

The best part of the day for Ramsay and his crew is when the mission is complete.

"It's a good feeling when we find out that nobody got injured and everything landed where it was supposed to land, and overall, everything was a success."