Last evacuated C-17 returns home

Col. Jimmy Canlas, 437th Airlift Wing commander, welcomes home Airmen of the 437th AW returning with the final evacuated C-17 Globemaster III Sept. 15, 2017 due to Hurricane Irma’s potential landfall here. Twenty-two C-17s were evacuated to alternate locations and eight were diverted in response to the hurricane. Airmen of the 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron ensured the relocated aircraft were maintained and prepared to conduct hurricane recovery operations to the south from alternate installations including Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

Col. Jimmy Canlas, the 437th Airlift Wing commander, welcomes home Airmen of the 437th AW returning with the final evacuated C-17 Globemaster III Sept. 15, 2017 due to Hurricane Irma’s potential landfall at Joing Base Charleston, S.C.. Twenty-two C-17s were evacuated to alternate locations and eight were diverted in response to the hurricane. Airmen of the 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron ensured the relocated aircraft were maintained and prepared to conduct hurricane recovery operations from alternate installations including Scott Air Force Base, Ill. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Sullivan)

Airmen return to Joint Base Charleston Sept. 15, 2017 with the final C-17 Globemaster III that was evacuated due to Hurricane Irma’s potential landfall. Twenty-two C-17s were evacuated to alternate locations and eight were diverted in response to the hurricane. Airmen from the 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron ensured the relocated aircraft were maintained and prepared to conduct hurricane recovery operations from alternate installations including Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

Airmen return to Joint Base Charleston, S.C., Sept. 15, 2017 with the final C-17 Globemaster III that was evacuated due to Hurricane Irma’s potential landfall. Twenty-two C-17s were evacuated to alternate locations and eight were diverted in response to the hurricane. Airmen from the 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron ensured the relocated aircraft were maintained and prepared to conduct hurricane recovery operations from alternate installations including Scott Air Force Base, Ill. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Allison Payne)

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. (AFNS) -- The final C-17 Globemaster III evacuated due to Hurricane Irma’s potential landfall returned here Sept. 15, 2017.

In response to the hurricane, 30 C-17s were relocated by Sept. 9, 2017. Twenty-two C-17s were launched from Joint Base Charleston, while eight C-17s scheduled to return here diverted to alternate locations.

Maintainers from the 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron helped evacuate the C-17s with less than 24 hours of notice. According to Capt. Christi Bausch, the 437th AMXS Gold Aircraft Maintenance Unit officer in charge, a typical maintenance squadron operates with approximately 600 maintainers, this crew operated with 61 Airmen and 15 aircraft, launching missions every day.

“Everybody definitely played their part,” said Bausch. “They all had a good attitude and each of them will tell you that just watching the impact of their efforts and seeing how they’re helping out families puts it all into perspective…why they’re there and why it’s important.”

Capt. Bryan Butler, the 437th AMXS officer in charge, said he was impressed with the efficiency of his team during the short-notice evacuation.

“I think it went really well because we got all the tools, testers and equipment on the aircraft to two separate locations with two separate teams,” said Butler. “We sent aircraft to Barksdale Air Force Base and to Scott AFB, and we also sent additional folks to Travis (AFB) to do some aeromedical evacuation missions out there.”

C-17s were also relocated to Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. Airmen with the 437th AMXS ensured relocated C-17s were maintained and prepared to support hurricane relief efforts.

“People stepped out of their normal jobs every day,” said Master Sgt. Timothy Raines, the 437th AMXS production superintendent. “It was a team effort, everybody chipped in and made the effort happen. It didn’t matter what the obstacle was, they just made it happen”

Although the relocated C-17s have returned, the 437th Airlift Wing is prepared to respond to any future hurricane relief support that may be needed.

“Communication flow is really important, and the way people are willing to work with each other is key to being able to succeed,” said Butler.