WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --
A 445th Airlift Wing C-17 Globemaster III aircrew recently earned several stamps in their passports when they participated in a contingency mission that took them around the world in five days.
Over the course of five days that began May 19, 2021 and accrued 60 hours of flying time, the C-17 and it’s aircrew visited and transited military bases and locales to include Creech Air Force Base, Nevada; Portsmouth International Airport at Pease; Ramstein Air Base, Germany; Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar; Naval Support Facility Diego-Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory; Kadena Air Base, Japan; Andersen AFB, Guam; Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; Barksdale AFB, Louisiana; and back home to Wright-Patterson AFB.
The trip was broken up into two missions. The first mission transported unmanned aerial vehicles to Southwest Asia and the second mission transported ground equipment to Barksdale.
Maj. Cassidy Helregel, 89th Airlift Squadron C-17 pilot, said the trip was unique and appreciated the support at each location that made for a smooth transition at each stop along the way.
“It was amazing how all this came together. Each stop along the way had to be just right to keep going and the support was phenomenal,” Helregel said.
The aircrew flew across all time zones and the international date line.
“When we’d fly to the west, we were chasing the sun. We actually saw the sunset for 8 hours. Also there was a time when you’d see the sunrise then set then rise then set, etc.” Helregel said.
Helregel said towards the end of the trip, it was like he was reliving another day.
“It was Sunday in Japan then at our next location, we went backwards in time to Saturday the day before!”
Part of the aircrew included a flying crew chief (FCC) from the 445th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. The FCC is responsible for the overall airworthiness of an aircraft while out in the system and are responsible for all servicing required while out on the road.
Master Sgt. Rodney McElfresh, 445th AMXS propulsion element chief, is a former flying crew chief with his fair share of stories of flying such a mission Helregel was on.
“On a mission like this, working with other military members is mostly the same as if you were at home station. There are various differences in some of the verbiage between the Air Force and sister branches and the equipment can be a bit frustrating as theirs is designed for different kinds of aircraft,” said McElfresh. “The same can be said if in a foreign country; the equipment may be different and also the language barrier is often and obstacle to overcome.”