Military News

Monday, July 20, 2015

Dover C-5Ms ready for wartime mission

by 1Lt Sarah E. Bergstein
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

7/20/2015 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del -- The C-5M operators and maintainers of the 436th and 512th Airlift Wings here have been breaking records and raising the bar for global mobility.

Due to Dover's C-5M performance throughout the past several months, Air Mobility Command's C-5M fleet is now one step closer to reaching Full Operational Capability.

"Team Dover's C-5M community, consisting of the 436th AW and 512th AW, exceeded key performance parameters for executing both wartime and peacetime operations under the C-5 modernization program, nine months ahead of schedule," said Col. Michael Grismer, Jr., 436th AW commander. "This means Team Dover is ready today to execute our C-5M wartime tasking; a constructive first step on the way to our entire AMC and AMC-gained C-5M fleet reaching Full Operational Capability."

According to regulations, Full Operational Capability, or FOC, occurs when all major commands fully attain capability to effectively employ C-5M aircraft.

For 17 consecutive months, Dover C-5Ms exceeded the home station logistics departure reliability rate standard (whether all of the scheduled aircraft took off on time) of 75.8 percent.

Team Dover also exceeded the AMC standard of a 75 percent Mission Capable rate. The MC rate (whether the aircraft is capable of meeting mission requirements) for the month of May was 81.3 percent, the third highest average in Dover AFB history. The previous two records were 82.7 percent in November 1991 and 81.5 percent in June 1994.

Additionally, Team Dover's seven-month rolling average C-5M MC rate is also above the standard at 75.7 percent.

Finally, the ability to now carry heavier loads over an extended range offers capability to support wartime missions and contingencies without having to refuel the aircraft.

"Our teams [the 436th and 709th Airlift Squadrons, the 436th Operations Support Squadron and the 436th and 512th Aircraft Maintenance Squadrons] are making it happen at the right level and working through situations at a much lower level" said Maj. Danzel Albersten, 436th AMS commander. "The team effort between the active and reserve squadrons is enhanced by the great support of off-equipment maintenance from the 436th and 512th Maintenance Squadrons."

"Our maintainers care about what they do and understand the need for the aircraft to fly so they work very hard-- with pride-- on fixing the aircraft right the first time," he said.

Albertsen went on to say that when the entire C-5M fleet reaches Full Operational Capability it will drive home the significance of three words-- Rapid Global Mobility. For the Air Force, this means having the ability to project capabilities around the globe, anytime, anywhere, in force, and on demand.

The success of the C-5M at Dover can be attributed to the Airmen, training, technology, hard work, and teamwork, among other things, said Albertsen.

An example of how the maintainers have been successful is that newer systems on the aircraft eliminate excessive troubleshooting. Specifically for the C-5, the anti-skid system which keeps the brakes from locking up on landing would immediately cancel a mission and take between four and six hours to troubleshoot on a legacy C-5 "A" or "B" model, not counting the repair. Today's C-5M narrows the fix down to one gear and can be troubleshot and repaired in less than two hours, enabling the aircrew to stick with the aircraft and fly the necessary mission.

"The future of the C-5M enterprise mission is expanding because of the foundation built by the Total Force Enterprise," said Lt. Col. Matthew Husemann, 9th Airlift Squadron commander. "The maintenance and ops teamwork at both Dover and Travis [AFB] is built on a culture of excellence and grounded in the superb training of all Airmen."

"The mission support, medical, maintenance, and ops professionals have partnered to maximize the capabilities of this impressive aircraft," he said.

Husemann went on to say that the C-5M maintainers had a steep learning curve to understand and master the new systems, but they have worked diligently and overcome obstacles to provide the Air Force an outstanding Rapid Global Mobility platform.

He added that the other service branches lean heavily upon the Air Force's Global Reach capability; and the communication and teamwork in the C-5M has exceeded standards and raised the bar for excellence in the airlift community.

The C-5M brings new capability and reliability over the legacy C-5 fleet. Air Mobility Command exploited the Super Galaxy in the recent Afghanistan retrograde, where it was employed for the first time in an expeditionary role to retrograde 25.5 million pounds of cargo in 152 missions - all while closing out Camp Bastion ten days early, and setting record cargo loads in the process.

The leadership of both the 436th and 512th Airlift Wing's operations and maintenance squadrons recognize Team Dover's C-5M performance is more than just a consequence of the modified airplane--it is also a testament to the changing culture in the C-5 community.

"This is positive news for our Mobility Air Forces and affirms the C-5M program, which brings proven operational capability with fiscal responsibility," said Grismer. "Our young maintenance and operations professionals have changed the culture on how we operate this amazing flying machine."

Grismer also gave kudos to AMC's global en-route enterprise, which provides maintenance, aerial port, and command and control to keep the C-5M mission moving around the world.

He said, "Success would not be possible without our dedicated en-route teammates, who provide critical services in support of our global mobility mission."

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