JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. — The first of four C-17 Globemaster IIIs was transferred from Joint Base Charleston to the Charlotte Air National Guard, N.C. April 7, 2018 as part of a congressional mandate.
Through this directive Joint base Charleston will send 16 C-17s to four Air National Guard bases.
“Between Joint Base Charleston and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, we have been transferring airplanes to West Virginia, Tennessee, New York and now Charlotte,” said Norman Moore, 437th Maintenance Group deputy director. “Congress mandated the Air Force transfer aircraft to those locations to help replace their fleets with C-17s. We will additionally be sending four C-17s to Pittsburg ARS next fiscal year.”
The transfer marks a transition for the Charlotte ANG from flying the C-130 Hercules to the C-17. The new airframe expands their mission sets such as aeromedical evacuation and airdrop capabilities.
“We came down to Charleston to do conversion training, look over the aircraft and get a good idea of the situation and the condition of the aircraft,” said Master Sgt. Larry Boles, 145th Air Wing aircraft mechanic. “They provided us a really good overview of the aircraft and some great insight we haven’t gotten before. They gave a lot of real helpful information. It’s going to definitely increase our capabilities. It’s a whole new mission with different load capabilities.”
Charleston is home to the 373rd Training Squadron Detachment 5, which is responsible for C-17 Globemaster III initial skills crew chief training (Type 3), advanced skills technical training (Type 4), and international training, the only U.S. Air Force C-17 Trainer Development Team for crew chiefs. Through training courses with the 373rd TRS and hands-on experiences with maintainers assigned here, Charlotte ANG Airmen learned the ins and outs of their new planes before the transfer took place.
“They come here for training classes to learn the tech data on this new air frame,” said Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Wiley, 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron lead production superintendent. “We make sure the experience and knowledge of someone who’s been working on the C-17 for 15 years is passed on to them for use at their home station.”
Wiley provides a unique perspective to the Charlotte ANG maintainers as they prepare to replace a fleet of C-130s with C-17s because he has been a maintainer for both aircraft.
“Some of it’s the same, some of it is different,” said Wiley. “Systems progress and evolve to get better with newer jets.”
Members from both maintenance teams reviewed every aspect of the jet together to ensure JB Charleston had everything functioning properly before the transfer became official.
“We look at the aircraft pretty extensively,” said Moore. “We look at the outside appearance, we do a home station check inspection and look at all the delayed discrepancies. We do the best we can to give them a really good airplane.”
As the installation with the largest C-17 fleet, Moore said Joint Base Charleston is always happy to work any trouble shooting issue any base may have and welcomes calls from Charlotte ANG Airmen.
“We have a partnership with all the C-17 bases,” said Moore. “We have the most experience and a phenomenal maintenance team here. Anything they need, we’ll be glad to help them out.”
Boles was grateful for the hospitality and insight shown to him and his team as they began their transition to the C-17. He hopes the partnership continues and the two geographically close bases can work together to provide rapid global mobility.
“New aircraft like the C-17 with its capabilities will strengthen our mission and make us even more of an asset to the military,” said Boles. “The team here was outstanding. It was even more than we were expecting. They made everything seamless and enjoyed sharing their knowledge.”