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News > Wing welcomes "big" change to flying mission
C-5 arrival at Wright-Patt
The first of 11 C-5A Galaxy's for the Air Force Reserve Command's 445th Airlift Wing arrived at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, on Oct 3. The C-5s are replacing the C-141 at the unit. Leading the crowd going to view the newly arrived Galaxy are the newest members of the Air Force Reserve Command who took the oath of enlistment in the cargo hauler duing a mass enlistment ceremony.
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Wing welcomes "big" change to flying mission

Posted 1/12/2006   Updated 1/13/2006 Email story   Print story


by Tech. Sgt. Charlie Miller
445th Airlift Wing

1/12/2006 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, OHIO -- There’s been a big, big change at the wing. The Dayton reserve wing received its first of 11 C-5A Galaxies Oct. 3. 

Air Force Reserve Command wings don’t change aircraft very often, and the 445th Airlift Wing is no exception, having flown C-141 Starlifters since the wing’s activation Oct. 1, 1994. All that will soon be history. 

The C-141s are being retired, and the C-5A’s are replacing them. The transition should be complete by next June. 

When the first C-5 arrived at Wright-Patterson, about 350 military people, civilians and military retirees turned out for a ceremony celebrating the wing’s new flying mission.
Brig. Gen. Bruce Davis, 445th AW commander, landed the wing’s first C-5 a minutes after the noon hour. After the flight crew secured the plane, he exited the plane and walked to a podium to tell the crowd about the wing and its change from C-141s to C-5s.
“Today, we exchange one old war bird for another old war bird,” said the general, referring to exchanging 40-year-old C-141s for 35-year-old C-5s. 

After delivering his remarks, General Davis led a group of 20 young men and women onto the C-5 where he swore them in to the Air Force Reserve and the 445th AW. 

“This is the first time we’ve ever done anything like this,” said Master Sgt. Thomas Zwelling II, 445th AW Reserve Recruiting. “The new Airmen really enjoyed it. It’s not everyday a general swears you in. We, at the recruiting office, have been gearing up for this for a month.” 

After the enlistment ceremony, most of the 350 people stood in line for a chance to walk up one of the two aircrafts ramps and tour the C-5. Many climbed up one of the two steep ladders to the flight deck and the passenger area. They toured the upper deck of the plane, checking out the cockpit, crew quarters and the windowless passenger area that is similar to commercial airliners. 

Several children went to the ceremony, which was open to all base personnel and their families. Some of the youngsters seemed awestruck by the sheer size of the plane. Others beamed as they took turns sitting in the pilot and co-pilot seats pretending to take off and land. 

“I’ve taken my 4-year-old son to the Air Force Museum several times, but this was the first time he’s stepped inside an in-service aircraft,” said Ernie Sigler, an information technology program manager for the National Air and Space Intelligence Center’s Communication and Information Directorate at Wright-Patt.
“I saw this as a golden opportunity to give him a hands-on experience with the aircraft. I wanted him to see the Air Force for its full-spectrum mission, not just in a fighter or bomber role,” Mr. Sigler said. 

“We were both very impressed! I’m excited that these increased capabilities are now available to our forward deployed personnel through the 445th AW. They will come in very handy. I haven’t had much experience with this aircraft outside of seeing it at air shows, but I hope to have more,” Mr. Sigler said. 

Another person thrilled to see the C-5 is Tech. Sgt. Clarine Blakely of the 445th Logistics Readiness Squadron. 

“It gave me goose bumps,” the sergeant said. “The idea of seeing something that huge land; it was truly awesome. I feel fortunate to be part of the 445th. The new taskings for this wing will be interesting, and I’m really looking forward to flying in the C-5.” 

The C-5 is one of the largest aircraft in the world. Its cargo area can accommodate six Greyhound buses. First built in the late 1960s, it was designed to provide strategic airlift for deployment and supply of combat and support forces. 

“With a wing span of 222 feet, it is capable of moving 291,000 pounds of cargo as far as 1,530 nautical miles or 180,000 pounds of cargo as far as 3,200 miles,” said Col. Brian Dominguez, 445th AW vice commander, during his address to the crowd. 

“To reach these distances, it has 12 integrated wing fuel tanks that hold 51,150 gallons of fuel. Wouldn’t you hate to fill that up at today’s gasoline prices?” the colonel questioned in jest. 

One of the unique features of the C-5 is its ability to kneel from its normal stance of 10 feet to just three feet off the ground. This allows drive-on and drive-off loading and unloading from the front and the rear. 

“Although we will miss the dearly loved C-141, we do embrace the change,” Colonel Dominguez said. “The C-5 will bring us a new mission transporting cargo and people all over the world. We look forward to the change and the challenges that are ahead.” 

The 445th AW has a proud flying history. Two different Air Force Reserve groups were combined to form the wing 11 years ago. The 906th Fighter Group, which flew the F-4D Phantom II and the F-16 Fighting Falcon, and the 907th Tactical Airlift Group, which flew the C-119 Flying Boxcar, C-123 Provider and the C-130 Hercules, were deactivated, and the 445th Airlift Wing was activated.

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