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Airman's two cents on Incentive Flight

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tom Brading
  • Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs
We all play vital roles to our missions' overall success. From the top-tier decision-makers, brand new Airmen and everyone in between, we embody certain elements that ensure we constantly obtain excellence as one, undivided, team.

However, sometimes it's easy to forget the impact we make on the big picture. For Airmen, like myself, who work hard in offices all day and hear the occasional plane engine roar or spot a C-17 flying while driving home, that's about as close as we'll ever get to the flight line.

Some might wonder, "How does my job impact what goes on over there?"

The 437th Airlift Wing answered that question by opening the doors to a C-17, firing up the engines and allowing selected individuals who normally don't fly, the opportunity to experience it firsthand.

The 437th Airlift Wing conducted its quarterly Incentive Flight Jan. 12. Airmen, Sailors and civilian personnel earned an opportunity to fly in a C-17 Globemaster III as a reward to their exceptional work and dedication with their respective squadrons.

I was fortunate enough to earn a ride on this flight and the experience was definitely an eye opener.

"You weren't chosen at random," said Chief Master Sgt. Larry Williams, 437th Airlift Wing Command chief as he welcomed the group prior to take-off at the passenger terminal. "Your leadership selected you because of all of your hard work and dedication."

The pilots flew at a low-level (approximately 1000 ft.) over the South Carolina coastline. I was able to immerse myself in a window view of the Atlantic Ocean as it sparkled like a sheet of diamonds until it faded into the sky.

I was flying high enough to see Charleston landmarks such as the Ravenel Bridge, the light house at Folly Beach and the historic buildings downtown, which all seemed connected, yet, I was low enough to see the streets were alive and filled with moving vehicles while other people enjoy the beaches.

My bird's eye view of the city, diverse yet connected, was a gratifying experience. It reminded me of how we work here at JB Charleston.

We may have multiple wings filled with various objectives by many different supervisors and a midst the chaos of our busy work schedules we can sometimes forget why we're here.

The overall objective is successful because of all the smaller mission's we accomplish on a daily basis. Since arriving at JB Charleston, I have learned we are one team. The quarterly Incentive Flights are a great reminder of the power one team can accomplish.

"Incentive flights, such as this one flown by the 17 Airlift Squadron, are our way to share the impact of each airman and civilian working in Team Charleston," said Capt. William McDougall, 17th Airlift Squadron safety officer. "Many people think a C-17 just takes off for a mission. There's support and planning portions that begin weeks or months ahead of time. Without CE maintaining the runway, maintenance prepping the jet, or medical keeping the pilots healthy, the mission stops and we do nothing."

This was not only an exciting experience, but also helps us develop as Airmen professionally. The Incentive Flights are a reward, but the bigger reward is being acknowledged for hard work while enhancing joint base and total force partnerships.