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Travis AFB completes multi-unit MSTT

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexander Merchak
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — An aircrew made up of 23 Airmen from three different squadrons all part of Team Travis completed a Major Command Service Tail Trainer mission (MSST) alongside joint partners, Jan. 21 – 30, 2023.

The 22nd Airlift Squadron, 60th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and 921st Contingency Response Squadron supported the U.S. Marine Corps at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California, and the U.S. Coast Guard at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, in a joint mission.

MSTTs are training-focused missions managed by Air Mobility Command that allot monthly flight hours to the C-5M specifically for training. These missions provide opportunities for Airmen to refine their skills and qualifications through multiple flights within a designated timeframe. This MSST was focused on joint training to help facilitate joint operations interoperability and enhance readiness capabilities.

"This MSTT allows us to put to practice various concepts of the Combat Agile Employment model and increase our proficiency as aviators without using a mission allocated tail,” said Capt. Alec Dawson, 22nd AS C-5M Super Galaxy pilot and aircraft commander.

According to Dawson, the 22nd AS wanted training specifically for the loading and offloading of helicopter cargo.

“Everything we are doing on this mission falls under MSTT,” said Dawson. “Our squadron plans one each month with different DoD and civilian users with the shared benefit of boosting training for our squadron members and increasing operational familiarity with the C-5 as a mobility asset.”

The aircrew flew to Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, and partnered with Marines assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 169 to upload one UH-1Y Venom and one AH-1Z Viper helicopter. They transported both equipment and Marine personnel via C-5M to a live-fire exercise with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, demonstrating their capability to rapidly deploy.

“This MSTT gives us a good opportunity to train because we have loadmaster students that can get hands on with cargo like helicopters,” said Tech Sgt. Dominic Thibodeaux, 22nd AS loadmaster instructor. “By us getting this training, we are able to practice how we fight.”

The crew then flew to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, where they trained with the U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Security Response Team West, loading and offloading one OTH-MKIV  26 and one SPC-LE 33 boat onto the C-5M.

Enlisted air ground liaison element Airmen with the 621st Mobility Support Operation Squadron at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, advised the training and demonstrated proper restraint procedures.

“As a cargo aircraft, we get asked to pick up army, marine and navy equipment. It’s good training for both sides to be able to see how everything comes together,” said Thibodeaux.

Throughout the MSTT, the 921st CRS joint inspection team inspected over 100,00 pounds of cargo before the 22nd AS loadmasters could upload and offload the cargo.

“The original [MSTT] concept was to help alleviate the large backlog of C-5 loadmaster students,” said Dawson. “Since the program was initiated, we have overcome that backlog and boosted loadmaster qualification numbers by 300%. Now the focus has moved to increasing overall proficiency across all crew positions.”

This MSTT brought together seven units from five different bases and four different branches in a joint effort to enhance interoperability and readiness.