Dover receives 13th C-17

C-17 Globemaster III

C-17 Globemaster III

This thrilling flyover by a USAF C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter can be yours. Find the poster, framed art print, 2009 calendar, or holiday greeting card set of your choice at The PatriArt Gallery.

Dover Air Force Base was once the home to 28 C-5 Galaxy aircraft, the largest aircraft in the Air Force inventory. Then on June 4, 2007, the 436th and 512th Airlift Wings received their first C-17 Globemaster III, a smaller bird than the massive C-5, but it was the newest airlifter the Air Force owned.

More than 15 months later, Team Dover received its 13th and last C-17 Wednesday. Since the first aircraft, members of Dover’s 3rd and 326th Airlift Squadrons have flown C-17s in support of natural-disaster relief efforts, NATO humanitarian airlift operations and Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

From MEDEVACing servicemembers from Thule, Greenland, to saving lives in Iraq and Afghanistan by moving supplies to take convoys off of dangerous roads, Team Dover has traversed the globe delivering cargo anywhere, at any time, in the Porsche of U.S. airlifters.

“Our last airplane closes the first chapter of the 3rd Airlift Squadron’s new history,” said Lt. Col. Keith Thibodeaux, 3rd AS commander. “We are aircraft complete, we have all our required pilots, loadmasters, aviation resource specialists and civilians.

“However with the close of one chapter a new one begins, and so with news of a May ’09 Expeditionary Airlift Squadron Deployment, we are ready to take a squadron that has been flying the mission from day one of the first arrival and deploy to the AOR and become the tip of the spear,” he said.

Since June 4, 2007 the 3rd AS has flown more than 1,050 mission sorties, moved more than 22 million pounds of cargo and carried more than 8,500 passengers.

“Every day you can walk through the halls of our squadron and see the pride our aircrew members take in being able to support their country, their fellow warriors and their squadron,” said Colonel Thibodeaux. “Hard thing about it is, on any given day in the squadron now, you will only see a third of our total force, the rest are out executing the mission.”

Executing the mission is something C-17s, Dover’s in particular, are very good at. Dover Air Force Base boasted the highest Mission Capable Rate and Home Station Logistics Departure Reliability Rate in Air Mobility Command for fiscal year 2008.

Mission Capable Rate measures how many aircraft are ready to fly at any given time and the AMC standard for C-17s is 87.5 percent, said Lt. Col. Ray Briggs, 736th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander.

“In September, we had a 90.4 percent mission capability rate, the highest in the command for five of the last six months,” said Colonel Briggs. “We ended fiscal year ’08 with a 97.2 percent mission capable rate for the year.”

Home Station Logistics Departure Reliability Rate measures how reliably a base launches its aircraft and the AMC goal is 90.4 percent, he said.

“We ended September with a 98.2 percent HSLDR, highest in the command for two of the last three months,” said Colonel Briggs. “For fiscal year ’08, we had a 93.7 with Travis (AFB, Calif.) as our next closest competition at 92.5 percent.

“It is remarkable when you can have either the mission capable rate or the departure rate be the best in the command, but to have both best in AMC for the entire fiscal year is practically unheard of,” he said.

From the metrics Colonel Briggs provided, you can see the C-17 produces some of the highest reliability and mission capable rates in the Air Force, said Colonel Thibodeaux. “This is quite profound when you consider we fly no-fail missions on a daily basis.

“The squadron has completely embraced our new mission,” he said. “it is fast paced, exciting, spans the globe and we get to save lives and deliver freedom on a daily basis flying the Dover tail flash.”


James Bolinger


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