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Final 445th AW C-5 mission
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The massive C-5 Galaxy prepares to touchdown on a landing strip at Wright-Patt Sept 28 during its final mission here. C-5s have been assigned to the 445th Airlift Wing since 2005 and are being replaced by the C-17 Globemaster III. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Robert Nelson)
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445th C-5 era comes to an end

Posted 10/4/2011   Updated 10/6/2011 Email story   Print story


by 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

10/4/2011 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio  -- The Lockheed-Martin C-5 Galaxy cargo aircraft fleet reached the end of the final chapter in its rich history with the 445th Airlift Wing when Lt. Col. Eric A. Piel, 89th Airlift Squadron pilot, commanded the wing's last C-5 flight here Sept. 28.

"The C-5 was a good plane," said Piel. "It handled well, held everyone and everything we needed and has been through a lot of missions with us. It's great to be able to fly it one more time before we retire it."

The three-hour mission consisted of a number of "touch-and-go" landings. This is where the pilot touches the aircraft down on the runway and immediately lifts off again, routine training for the aircrew and nostalgic significance for the crew and spectators.

"It was my first aircraft to fly, other than the training aircraft," said Capt. Andrew Pierce, 89th Airlift Squadron pilot. "I am proud to partake in the final flight and be in that moment."

With a wingspan of 222.9 feet, a length of 247.1 feet and a height of 65.1 feet, the C-5 is the largest aircraft in the Air Force inventory and the third largest in the world. Its primary role in is as a strategic airlifter, moving personnel and material long distances.

The 10 C-5s assigned to the 445th began arriving Oct. 3, 2005 to replace the fleet of C-141 Starlifter aircraft, and have since been utilized in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Odyssey Dawn and other missions throughout the United States and the rest of the world, even making the occasional appearance at special events.

Senior Master Sgt. Mike Kalbfleisch, 89th AS flight engineer, has seen the C-5 carry people, Chinook helicopters, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles and even a submarine propeller.

"It's a bitter sweet feeling because it's a very capable airplane," said Kalbfleisch.

Some of the wing's C-5s have been assigned to other units, and some are being retired from duty. The 445th is now home to a fleet of Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, a high-wing, 4-engine, T-tailed military-transport aircraft capable of carrying large equipment, supplies and troops directly to small airfields in harsh terrain anywhere in the world day or night.

"This transition to a new aircraft leaves the 445th Airlift Wing well-postured to meet the nation's needs for airlift in the upcoming years," said Col. Stephen Goeman, 445th Airlift Wing commander.

One pilot had written on the dry-erase board next to the schedule of the C-5's final flight, 'The beginning of a new era.'

An official farewell ceremony for the 445th C-5 fleet will be held in hangar 4016 at 2 p.m. on Oct. 14, followed by a C-5 open house. The event is open to all Wright-Patt personnel.

For more information contact the 445th Public Affairs office at 937-257-5784.

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