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C-5 lands at Bagram, opens galaxy of capabilities

by Capt. Michael Meridith
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs


9/28/2007 - BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (AFPN) -- The Sept. 22 landing and launching of one of the Air Force's largest aircraft at Bagram Air Base promises to bring "tremendous" capability for the movement of critical cargo across the region, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing officials said here.

The Air Force's C-5 Galaxy landed here without interrupting wing flying operations, a first for Bagram AB, said Col. Jon Sutterfield, the commander of the 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Group.

The completion of runway upgrades last December helped make Sept. 22's landing and launch possible and opened the door for possible future visits, said Belinda Williams, the Bagram AB airfield manager.

"We're definitely ready to see more C-5 landings in the future," she said "Everything went smoothly."

Previous landings have required the movement of other aircraft on the flightline to accommodate the massive plane.

The C-5 is the largest airlifter in the Air Force inventory and has the ability to carry 36 pallets of cargo. In comparison, a C-130 Hercules can only carry six to eight pallets of cargo, depending on configuration. In addition, the C-5 has the benefit of nearly unlimited range through aerial refueling.

"One of the big advantages of bringing the C-5 here is bypassing the main (U.S. Central Command area of responsibility) hubs to get cargo to the warfighter faster," Colonel Sutterfield said. "It's a huge force multiplier."

Colonel Sutterfield also noted that the landing was the culmination of months of effort involving teamwork among the staff at the Combined Air and Space Operations Center in the AOR, the Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., and members of a host of organizations at Bagram AB, to include maintenance, security forces, transient alert and airfield management.

"It was a true team effort with a great result," said Master Sgt. Jamie Cabral, a transient alert quality assurance evaluator, who noted it took less than three hours for the aircraft to land, offload nearly 16,000 pounds of cargo and take off again.

"The bottom line is that bringing the C-5 here enables us to bring in more cargo, tools and personnel enabling the 455th to continue to take the fight to the enemy," Sergeant Cabral said.



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