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C-17A S/N 03-3123
Acceptance date - August 2004
McChord's 46th  factory delivered C-17A
Transferred  to Charleston AFB in 2005-2006?
photo by Airman 1st Class Michael Pallazola                                                            usaf

A U.S. Air Force team, from Kadena Air Base, Japan, boards a C-17 -3123 for a 45 day deployment to Sri Lanka, Jan. 5, 2005. The team is deploying as part of disaster relief following the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that struck off the coast of Indonesia causing tsunami waves that have affected 12 countries and killed over 150,000 people.

pHOTO BY Gene Duval                            Boeing

62d Commander Colonel Wayne Schatz speaks with Boeing employees before flying C-17 -3123 to McChord from Boeing's Long Beach CA factory.

Combat Pilot Takes Latest C-17 
By Gene Duval - Boeing

Air Force Colonel Wayne Schatz was the delivery official for Friday's handover of the latest C-17 in Long Beach. Like other senior officers who have served in this role, Schatz was a picture of health and vitality, showed lots of military bearing and was more than happy to address Boeing employees at the traditional delivery breakfast. But that's where the similarities ended.  

"The C-17 is like a C-130 on steroids," said the former C-130 instructor pilot, drawing laughter from employees. "I am now a total convert." Schatz is also the new commander of the 62nd Airlift Wing at McChord Air Force Base, Wash, one of the two major operational C-17 wings. Typically, Air Force delivery officials are pilots but have no C-17 experience. They are put through a quick simulator orientation, then fly the uneventful delivery flights under the watchful eye of instructor pilots. Wayne Schatz needs no such oversight. He has flown combat missions into Afghanistan and Iraq. 

"I'm not your typical delivery officer since I'm a fully-qualified C-17 aircraft commander," said the graduate of nearby Eisenhower High School in Rialto. Since the war on terrorism began, "C-17 crews have flown for 1,035 straight combat days and the C-17 has performed magnificently since that first day," he said.

The Colonel also touched on the softer side of his military career. "My family didn't have much money when I was growing up so I had to rely on scholarships. I have been very fortunate along those lines." Since graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1983, Schatz has completed not only the Professional Military Education required throughout an officer's career, but also three master's degrees, including one from the JFK School of Government at Harvard University.  

"I'm not as old as I look," he quipped when an employee asked about his earliest thoughts of becoming a leader. "I really didn't plan on staying in the Air Force, I had my eye on the airlines, " he said. "But I love military flying -- low-level missions wearing night vision goggles -- I really enjoy that! But it is the people in the Air Force who helped me stay, the quality of people is just phenomenal."  

During his visit to Southern California, Colonel Schatz took time to tour the Boeing Integration Center and the C-17 factory floor. "We're learning more and more every day about what the C-17 can do," he said. "The network centric capabilities planned for this jet are very important." But each time he spoke of the airplane, he always ended up talking about people.  

"I put young kids up in the C-17 -- 25 year-old pilots, 22 year-old co-pilots and 19 year-old loadmasters. And they do America proud," Schatz said. "I had a great time touring the line yesterday -- everyone seemed proud of what they are doing. That's why I stayed in the Air Force, and I see a lot of that here too."

photo by: SSGT MARIE CASSETTY                                                                                                               usaf

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Kevin Ulrich, right, with 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AMXS), and Staff Sgt. Christopher Brown, with 315 AMXS, marshals out the first of 20 C-17 Globemaster III aircraft (S/N 3123 formally assigned to McChord AFB) on Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 21, 2006, to participate in a large formation exercise. The C-17s, assigned to the 437th and 315th Airlift Wings are part of the largest formation in history from a single base and demonstrated the strategic airdrop capability of the U.S. Air Force.

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