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Moseley: C-17 'worth weight in gold' in Pacific

by Louis Arana-Barradas
Air Force Print News

10/7/2005 - SAN ANTONIO  -- Basing C-17 Globemaster IIIs in Hawaii will boost Pacific Air Force’s airlift capabilities in the region, the Air Force chief of staff said Oct. 6.

Gen. T. Michael Moseley said with the huge transports flying out of Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, U.S. Transportation Command and Air Mobility Command can better “move things around” in the theater.

“The C-17’s proven its worth in gold” for the Air Force in the war on terrorism and for humanitarian relief, the general said.

“The thing has proven to be just an amazing aircraft,” he said.

Hickam will receive eight C-17s from February to September 2006. It will be the first time the Air Force bases C-17s at an overseas base, said Maj. Paul Wright, 15th Airlift Wing spokesman.

The wing will operate Pacific Air Forces first strategic airlift mission jointly with the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 154th Wing. That makes it the first time an active-duty and a Guard unit will integrate to perform such a mission, the major said.

The aircraft will be assigned to the 535th Airlift Squadron.

The two wings have been working since August 2004 to build a new infrastructure to handle the transports. When it activates, the unit will have more than 550 active-duty and Guard Airmen, and give the command its first strategic airlift wing, Major Wright said.

“Hickam will become the main airlift hub in the Pacific,” he said.

General Moseley said having C-17s in Hawaii will allow the Air Force to work much closer with the Army -- which has thousands of troops on the island. It will also allow TRANSCOM and AMC to use the aircraft to solve strategic problems in the region.

“So to have these aircraft in the Pacific, and have them here at Hickam in a centrally located place is going to be money for us,” the general said.

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