Air Force Base
the new Millennium
A line-up of 62 AW C-141B
loading troops for deployment.
August of 1990, totalitarian Iraq invaded Kuwait, on the
shores of the Persian Gulf. Within days the 62nd poured a
stream of C-141s, aircrews, and support crews into Operation
Desert Shield, the effort to deter further aggression from
Iraq. The 97th MAS from the 446th MAW, was called
to active duty and became, temporarily, part of the 62nd MAW.
The operations tempo was unprecedented. By October, the United
States had over 210,000 troops in Saudi Arabia, with more
coming every day. USAF airlift, including the 62nd, made it
all possible. This was a mobilization of troops and materiel
like the world had never seen.
In September of 1990 McChord lost one of it's longest serving units with
the deactivation of the 25th Air Division. The
Northwest Air Defense Sector (NWADS) would takeover the
functions of the 25th AD.
January 1991, Desert Shield became Desert Storm, as allied air
power was unleashed upon the invaders with irresistible force.
The 62nd and 446th joined the rest of the Military Airlift Command
and the US Air Force Reserve in
providing round-the-clock airlift to the Middle East, keeping
the air war supplied, and aiding the build up of ground forces
for the highly successful, though brief ground war in
February. Before long, Kuwait was free, although the
tremendous effort put forth by the 62nd and 446th had accelerated the
aging process of their C-141s. The increased payloads and almost
incessant flying would have lasting negative effects on the
fleet of StarLifters.
the war, the 62nd found itself involved, once again, in the
business of saving lives. In June 1991, Mt. Pinatubo, in the
Philippines, erupted. Within days Americans in that country
were ordered to evacuate, and the 62nd plunged head first into
Operation Fiery Vigil, bringing most of them to McChord.
PHOTO BY DEN
PASCOE - airliners.net
a reflection of the changes within USAF organizations, unit designators
worn on McChord C-141's would change from 62nd MAW / 446th MAW
(Military Airlift Wing) to 62nd AW / 446 AW (Airlift
Wing), much like this example carried on the "City of
Tacoma" C-141B 66-0137.
changes occurred within the Air Force organizational structure,
one of those changes was the deactivation of the Military
Airlift Command on June 1, 1992. To replace the Command the
Air Force formed the Air Mobility Command, a command with
greater responsibilities. As a reflection to those changes,
62nd Military Airlift Wing became the 62nd Airlift Wing on
1, 1992. The renamed Wing's squadrons were also effected, now
called Airlift Squadrons.
early 1992, 62nd AW and 446th AW crews and aircraft began participating in
Operation Provide Hope, helping to deliver hundreds of tons of
food and medicine to the former Soviet Union.
446th AW not only proved to be one of the best C-141 units,
but the best Airlift Wing during Rodeo ‘92 held at Pope AFB,
N.C., the 446th was recognized as Best Overall Wing.
Operation Provide Relief (later known as Restore Hope),
rushing food supplies to the starving people of Somalia, the
relief of victims of hurricane Andrew in our own country, and
relief efforts for the Guamanian victims of typhoon Omar kept
our crews and aircraft on the move.
struck the 62nd on 30 November 1992. Four C-141s were taking
part in what was supposed to be a routine local air
refueling/airdrop mission. The four StarLifters were refueling
with two KC-135 Stratotankers of the WA ANG's 141st Air
Refueling Wing over north central Montana. Two of the C-141s
-- S/N's 65-000255 and 66-000142 -- collided in mid-air,
killing all 13 crewmembers. Ten of the men were from the 36th
AS, two from the 8th, and one from the 4th.
October 30, 1992 C-141 66-0206 was dedicated as the
"City of Tacoma" and carried the three colors (red,
silver, and blue) of the
62d's three Maintenance organizations . C-141B -0206 would
later be reassigned to Altus AFB, she would be the last C-141
assigned to that wing.
PHOTO BY WALLY VAN WINKLE
their time at McChord A-10A
"Warthogs" from the 354th FS had been one of the
USAF’s most deployed units.
January 5 1993, the
354th Fighter Squadron
"Bulldogs" were activated at McChord AFB as a
geographical separated unit from it's parent Wing, the 355
at Davis-Monthan, AZ. Even though their primary
mission was to support the Troops at nearby Fort Lewis and the
Yakima Firing Center, the "Bulldogs" were one of the
USAF's most deployed Squadrons. The squadron stay was a
short one, on October 1, 1994 the squadron was inactivated at
McChord and reactivated at Davis-Monthan.
strong earthquake hit Los Angeles, California, in January of
1993. Within hours an 8th AS crew was on its way to that area
with a 60-person Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
team, plus 37,937 pounds of search and rescue gear, tents,
generators, and other equipment.
October 1, 1993, the 62nd lost one of its squadrons, the 36th
AS, as that designation was to be moved to Yokota Air
Base, Japan, and the C-141 unit at McChord to be redesignated
as the 7th Airlift Squadron, last based at Travis AFB, CA. The
62d was once again made up of its three original
squadrons, the 4th, 7th, and 8th.
skill and airmanship paid off once again for the 446th AW in
Rodeo 1993 at Little Rock AFB, Ark The win took home trophy's
for grading out as the Best Airlift Wing, Aircrew, Airdrop,
Maintenance Preflight Inspection in the C-141 category in the competition.
mid October Two members of the 446th AW's 40th Aeromedical
Evacuation Squadron assist in airlifting Army Warrant Officer
Michael Durant out of Mogadishu, Somalia. Durant was held
captive for 11 days after his MH-60 Blackhawk "Super
64" was shot down in the middle of the city. The story of
the raid was later the subject of a book and a movie.
relief efforts kept the 62nd busy throughout 1993 and 1994. In
July 1994, a 4th AS crew was fired upon while flying a Provide
Promise mission into Sarajevo, in the former Yugoslavia. The
very next day, four 62nd aircrews and C-141s, along with
approximately 140 airmen and 70,000 pounds of supplies, left
for Operation Support Hope, the Rwandan humanitarian relief
effort. Just flying Provide Relief / Restore Hope, the 62nd
off-loaded more than 8,000 tons of cargo between December 1992
and August 1994.
Air Museum's C-124C Globemaster II at Rodeo '94.
many months of preparation, McChord played host for its first
AMC's Airlift Rodeo Competition began in late June of 1994,
Since 1979, the Airlift rodeo has featured the best Airlift
Crews from the Air Force and from Countries across the world.
The 446th Airlift Wing earned the Best C-141 Airlift Wing in
Rodeo ‘94, picked up their fourth Best C-141 aircrew award
in the last five Rodeos and also earned the Best C-141 Airdrop
and Best C-141 Preflight titles.
a grueling 10 day composition , the 178th
/ 119th FG
was from the North Dakota ANG compiled the highest overall
score during the 1994 William Tell Meet and beat out 11
top Fighter Squadrons for the overall Championship. Later that
year the Unit won the 1994 Hughes Trophy becoming the only Air
National Guard unit to win the award twice. The
"Hooligans" are also the only F-16 unit to ever win
January 1, 1995 the Northwest Air Defense Sector and the Southwest Air Defense Sector
would combined and reformed as the to Western Air Defense
Sector (WADS) responsible for more than half of the air
defense of the Continental United States .
the terrorist bombing of the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah
Federal Building in April 19, 1995, both of McChord's Airlift
Wing were called on to help. Four hours after the bombing an
aircrew from the 313th AS / 446 AW flew a 62-member Federal
Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) team into Oklahoma
City, three days later, another aircrew from the 97th
AS / 446 AW flew four badly needed special burn beds, and a
box full of stuffed animals, to the Children’s
Hospital of Oklahoma City. Later a 4th AS / 62 AW aircrew left Andrews
AFB, Maryland, carrying 56 members of the Montgomery County,
Maryland, Urban Search and Rescue team (including four dogs
and 16 tons of equipment). Eventually, more than 26 tons of
equipment were delivered by 62nd AW crews.
AW C-141 StarLifters line up for takeoff.
late 1995, Bill Clinton ordered the deployment of 20,000 U.S.
troops to the former Yugoslav Republic of Bosnia, as part of a
multinational peacekeeping force. Eighteen crews and six
aircraft from the 62nd were in place at Rhein Main Air Base,
Germany, by 18 December, ready to do their part. In spite of
severe weather conditions, McChord crews and aircraft were
soon flying troops and equipment into Tazsar, Hungary, for
Operation Joint Endeavor.
January 1996 nearly 170 McChord members, operating under a
provisional wing located at Rhein Main Air Base Germany,
continued supporting airlift missions into Tuzla and Sarajevo,
Bosnia-Herzogovina. and Taszar, Hungary in support of
Operation Joint Endeavor. Six aircrews and five propositioned
McChord C-141 StarLifters received aid from 122 ground support
augmentees. Led by the 62nd Operations Group Commander,
Colonel Thomas R. Madson, support personnel from McChord
serviced C-5 Galaxy, C-17 Globemaster and C-141 Starlifter
aircraft, delivering more than 9,480 troops and 21,600 tons of
the night of May 15, 1996, aircrews from the 4th, 7th, and 8th
Airlift Squadrons took part in Big Drop III, the largest
airdrop since World War II. The 62nd was one of 28
participating units flying a total of 144 airlifters to
simultaneously deploy 6,000 U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division,
U.K. 5th Airborne Brigade personnel, and their heavy equipment
onto three drop zones on Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
C-141's played an important role in Big Drop III.
April 1996, aircrews from the 4th, 7th, and 8th Airlift
Squadrons provided equipment and personnel transportation in
support of an Air Power Expeditionary Force in the Middle
Eastern Kingdom of Jordan. A four-ship contingency from
McChord flew missions into the region as part of Operation
played host to the Bases second International Airlift Rodeo
this time hosted by the U.S. Transportation Command. The 62d
and 446th AW's did very well in the competition with the 446th
defending its crown as best C-141 Aircrew for the fifth time.
The unit was also named as the Best C-141 Wing during the
July 1996, a 4th Airlift Squadron crew evacuated 68 injured
troops from Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, following a bomb blast that
killed 19 airmen. The crew diverted to Dhahran from Rhein Main
Air Base, Germany, flying a C-141 configured for aeromedical
operations. A 17 hour flight, with one refueling stop
completed the transport of passengers to Eglin AFB, Florida.
in 1996, Teams that attended the William tell Weapons
Meet were to be assembled differently than the had been
in the past. In previous Meets teams competed as units
(Squadrons or Wings) , in the 1996 each major Command, the Air
Force Reserve, the Air National Guard, and a combined Canadian
team would compete against each other for the right to be
known as the best in the Air. Team ANG would be represented by
FS / 142d FW from Portland, OR and the 1994 Champions,
North Dakotas 178th FS / 119 FW "Hooligans".
Another Northwest Fighter squadron, the 114 FS /
173 FW flying
the Air Defense F-16 flew for its command, Air Education and
Air Force base achieved another environmental first by having
a cleanup site delisted from the National Priorities List
(NPL). The site was a 22 acre stretch of land where aircraft
used to be cleaned and drained of fuel. After nearly 10 years
of self-repair, the site met the requirements for delistment
from the NPL.
1997, the 62 AW provided airlift support for numerous joint
and combined training exercises such as Cobra Gold, Tandem
Thrust, Northern Edge, Green Flag, Cooperative Nugget and
Joint Task Force Six. The wing also participated in several
accident response exercises, in addition to sustaining high
penguins pass by a C-141 from 62d AW as it sits on the ground
January 1997, the 62nd Airlift Wing received the tasking to be
the primary airlift for the re-supply of the US Antarctic
Program, commonly referred to as Operation Deep Freeze. From August
16-30, 1997, Lt Col Ray Phillips and crew flew the first
WINFLY 97 missions to Pegasus Airfield in preparation for the
Annual Operation Deep Freeze missions. During the annual
mission, September 30, - November 15, 1997, the 62 AW along with
crews from the 446
AW, delivered 1,039,001 pounds of cargo and
1,478 passengers to McMurdo Air Station, Antarctica.
March 7, 1997 a coin flip determined that McChord's last
Globemaster II Squadron would be the first Globemaster III
unit, that Squadron being the 7th Airlift Squadron.
March 27, 1997, Major Randy Woodward and crew, 4th Airlift
Squadron, flew through the reduced vertical separation minimum
(RVSM) airspace over the North Atlantic. This flight
represented one of the most significant changes in oceanic air
traffic management in the last 40 years.
62nd Airlift Wing provided humanitarian relief throughout 1997
as well. On April 21, 1997, three C-141s and crews flew
missions in support of the relief efforts at Grand Forks,
North Dakota. These missions included delivering Federal
Emergency Management Administration personnel, more than
20,000 pounds of equipment and cargo to Grand Forks Air Force
Base to assist the city of Grand Forks just 13 miles from the
base. On April 23, 1997, a crew from the 8th Airlift Squadron
flew an additional relief mission to Grand Forks to deliver
equipment and 32 Civil Engineering personnel from McConnell
a regular channel mission, Captain Brian J. Mullin and crew,
7th Airlift Squadron, volunteered and flew a 120 flight hour,
21 day augmented air refueling mission. While dodging Typhoon
Tina and Super Typhoon Winnie the crew airlifted an emergency
burn and trauma team to Guam after a Korean Airline 747
crashed, performed an emergency evacuation of a two day old
infant and flew 16 missions moving elements of III MEF, a Navy
Special Warfare Unit.
mid 1997 WADS would be in its final stages of it's second
major restructure in over a year, Air National Guard Col Scott
Powel would assume command of WADS from his active Air Force
counterpart Col R.O. Smith signaling the beginning of the end
of the active Air Forces last responsibility of the Air
Defense mission in the Pacific Northwest. On
October 1, 1997 the Washington
Air National Guard officially assumed responsibility for the
air sovereignty and air defense mission of the Western Air
Defense Sector. An
official change of command ceremony for new WADS Commander
Col. John Cromwell proclaimed the end of a challenging
three year operation that saw a virtually seamless
transformation from an "active duty-owned" to an
"Air National Guard-owned" mission.
additional humanitarian mission included the deliverance of
relief supplies from Kadena AB, Japan to Ho Chi Minh City,
Vietnam after Typhoon Linda devastated the area in early
November 1997. The typhoon unleashed torrential rains and
winds that wiped out coastal villages, killed hundreds of
people and left thousands homeless.
June 1998 McChord hosted its third Airlift Rodeo, the host
unit, the 62d AW was named the best C-141 Wing in the
PHOTO BY ERNEST WHITE, II
McCHORD AIR MUSEUM
view McChord's newest Airlifter C-17A "The Spirit of
July 30, 1999 hundreds of onlookers witnessed the dawn of a
new era for airlift in the Pacific Northwest as they saw the
arrival of two of the most capable transport planes ever made
- the Boeing C-17A Globemaster
III. C-17A named "The
Spirit of McChord" flown from Boeing's Long Beach
plant by Gen. Charles "Tony"
Robertson, Jr., commander-in-chief United States
Transportation Command and commander Air Mobility, was the
first of 48 planes to be assigned to McChord and the 62d AW.
The arrival of the C-17 Globemaster signaled the beginning of
the end for the Wing's workhorse the C-141 Starlifter. As C-17
arrived C-141 were flown the "bone yard" at
Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona.
A combined Air Force Reserve and active-duty C-141 aircrew from
McChord scramble to airdrop emergency medical supplies to the
South Pole for a doctor who discovered a lump in her breast.
The 97th Airlift Wing aircrew gains international attention as
they airdrop six bundles of medical supplies as well as fresh
fruit in outside temperatures of close to 100 below zero in
the back of the C-141 with the doors open.
The McChord reservists aboard one the new C-17's transported 11
sets of what are believed to be American servicemen from the
Korean and Vietnam wars. It was the first time remains from
two separate wars were repatriated at the same time.
of the 62d AW's conversion to the C-17, the 2000 Airlift Rodeo
was held at Pope AFB, NC. Both the 62d and the 446th AW sent
C-141and C-17 teams to compete in the events. After the smoke
cleared the 446th was once again named the best C-141 wing.
PHOTO BY ROBERT STETTER
62d AW C-141's can be seen in this lineup of retired
StarLifters. These aircraft and other C-141 stored in the
Davis-Monthan AFB “Boneyard” provide many valuable
keep other C-141's in the air.
a January 21, 2001 change of command ceremony inside
Oregon Air National Guard's main Hangar, Col.
Garry C. Dean assumed command of the 142nd Fighter Wing becoming
the units first man of color to do so. Since joining the Wing
at the rank of Captain in 1990, the 1978 Air Force Academy
Graduate, who is African American, has been a racial trailblazer, becoming the units
first man of color to become a fighter pilot, the first to be
promoted to Colonel, and the first to hold numerous commands
within the wing including Command of the 123rd Fighter
"Redhawks" and later 142d Fighter Wing Vice Commander at the
Portland based wing.
September 11, 2001 four commercial airliners were used by to
launch history's worst attack against the US by any foe. As the
airliners stuck New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon,
controllers at McChord's Western Air Defense Sector gave orders
for the fighters at the Sectors four alert sites to maintain a
runway alert status, parked, armed and engines running at the end
of each sites runway . Shortly thereafter, all jets on
runway alert were ordered back to their alert hangars
to maintain battle station status (pilots on alert duty
inside their cockpits) this status was maintained until
Later that afternoon, WADS
controllers identified a blip headed for the US West Coast, a
Boeing 747. By this time, all aircraft over the United States
had been ordered to the ground with all transoceanic aircraft
inbound to the United States restricted from entering US airspace. WADS
gave the "scramble" order two F-16C's
of the 144th Fighter Wing/194th Fighter Squadron (California
ANG) to identify the inbound 747. The F-16 were cleared
for a afterburner takeoff and dash to intercept the 747. The California Guardsmen with help from
the 747 and escorted the jumbo jet to San Francisco
International Airport. The airliner was low on fuel and the
pilot felt that he couldn't reach an Airport in Mexico or
Canada. Earlier that day, another WADS unit on
duty in the East coast to found themselves the
middle of this days tragic events.
Photo by Tech.
Sgt. Lance Cheung
fully armed 123rd Fighter Squadron / 142nd Fighter Wing
F-15A Eagles fly a combat air patrol mission over the Pacific
For months after the terrorist attacks, the 142nd FW
maintained aircraft on alert at McChord AFB and their base in
after the two commercial jetliners were flown into the Twin
Towers in New York City, F-16 ADF's (Air Defense Fighter) from
the North Dakota Air Guard's Detachment 1, 119th Fighter Wing were scrambled to New York from their
location at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. The unit has maintained
a detachment of two F-16's on alert at the base since late 2000
and is under the command of
the Northeast Air Defense Sector,
their way to the site of Trade Center attack , the three
fighters flown by Maj. Dean Eckman, Maj. Brad
Derrig; and Capt. Craig Borgstrom were
diverted back to Washington, D.C. area after a third hijacked airliner
was flown into the Pentagon. As the F-16's neared the city the
pilots were directed to fly a Combat Air Patrol (CAP) around
the D.C. area and were also given the chilling orders to shoot
down any threatening civilian airliner, this would be the beginning of
a CAP around the area that would
last for months.
Radar Controllers and fighters assigned to the
Western Air Defense Sector and other Active, Guard, and
Reserve units flew CAP's in the sky's of America,
24 hours a day in the first days following September 11. In a
operation codenamed "Noble Eagle" American and
Canadian fighters flew more than 20,000 air defense missions
in the operation compared with only 150 in 2000. More than
13,000 people, 100 fighters, and a total of 150 tankers and
AWACS surveillance planes joined the effort. Fighters on strip
alert scrambled against potential targets 320-plus times.
PAINTING by Rick Herter
Artist Rick Herter's painting "First Pass" depicts
Major. Dean Eckman lead pilot in a three plane element from
Detachment 1, 119th Fighter Wing ND ANG, flying over the
Pentagon shortly after Hijackers crashed American
Airlines Flight 77 into the southwest side of the building.
This "pass" in F-16A S/N 82-0926 was
first combat sortie in the defense of the Pentagon and the US Capitol.
In a response to the terrorist attacks against America on September
11, 2001, President George Bush initiates war
against terrorism named Operation Infinite Justice, later
renamed Operation Enduring Freedom. McChord units supported
these efforts by airlifting troops and supplies destined for Afghanistan.
McChord C-17 also helped in a humanitarian airdrops that
hundreds of thousands of the rations for starving Afghans.
March 11, 2002 a
team of 13 Air Force Reservists and one active-duty member
flew the last offshore C-141 mission for the 446 AW. On March
19 C-141B 66-7955 flown by members of the Active duty 62 AW started
out on what would be the last mission for StarLifters at
McChord, both missions flying cargo to stations across the
April 9, 2002, the McChord community said their goodbyes to a
loyal friend. C-141B 65-000267 wearing the signatures of current
and past crews who flew and maintained the Starlifter at
McChord, took off on her final fight into retirement. What was
once home to a fleet of 48 C-141's, McChord will now perform
its current Airlift mission with the very capable C-17A
June 20, 2002 McChord received it's 34th C-17A, S/N 00- 0187
from Boeing's Long Beach Factory. This would be the
last factory delivered Globemaster for the Wing until May
aircrew and well-wishers of McChord's last C-141 Starlifter
mission gather around before the plane's departure to
Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ for storage.
After more than a decade of violating UN Security Council Resolutions
imposed against the country, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein would
be presented with an ultimatum from US President George Bush
in September of 2002. In
a speech addressing the UN General Council, President
Bush challenging the organization to swiftly enforce its own
resolutions against Iraq stated “The conduct of the Iraqi
regime is a threat to the authority of the United Nations, and
a threat to peace. Iraq has answered a decade of U.N. demands
with a decade of defiance. “We cannot stand by and do
nothing while dangers gather. We must stand up for our
security, and for the permanent rights and hopes of mankind.
By heritage and by choice, the United States of America will
make that stand.”
later the UN Security Council would unanimously approve
Resolution 1441 imposing tough new arms inspections on Iraq
with in days inspectors would enter the country, unfortunately
the Iraqi Government were not fully cooperative. In late
December, President Bush would approve the deployment of U.S.
Forces to the Persian Gulf; McChord personnel and their
C-17’s would again play an important role in the Gulf
In January of 2003 additional personnel and aircraft from both the 62d
and 446th Airlift Wings would deploy to locations all around
the world in support airlift operations. By the end of January
all McChord Aircraft supporting this effort would fly their
missions from Charleston AFB, SC, the only East coast C-17
Base. Similar C-17 stage operations had been operating into Afghanistan from a
base in Germany. After repeated noncompliance to UN demands Operation
Iraqi Freedom begins. “On my orders, coalition forces have
begun striking selected targets of military importance to
undermine Saddam Hussein’s ability to wage war,” Bush says
in an address to the nation.
During the time of war McChord personnel would be in the thick of the fight
by Tech. Sgt. Stephen Faulisi
from the Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade prepare to board the
62d Airlift Wing's "Spirit of 9-11, Let’s Roll” the
transport was one of 15 Globemasters from the 62d and
437th AW used in the first combat insertion for the C-17.
the night of March 26, busy C-17 crews McChord were not too
busy to make history. Under
the cover of darkness from there forward operation location at
Aviano, Italy performed by crews and aircraft from both active
duty and Reserve, from both McChord and Charleston AFB, S.C.
and 15 C-17’s led by 62d AW Commander Col. Bob Allardice
would fly into combat in to the hostile sky’s of Northern
Iraq to delivering Army Paratroopers. The nine-hour mission,
covering distance roughly the equivalent of Seattle to St.
Louis, delivered 1,000 members of the Army's 173rd Airborne
Brigade into to an area north of Baghdad. This mission, the
largest combat airdrop since
the invasion of Panama in December 1989 in
Operation Just Cause, was the
first combat insertion of paratroopers using a C-17.
avoid possible small arms fire the night of the airdrop, C-17s
used "tactical descents," dropping at a rate of
about 4,000 feet per minute, before leveling off to drop the
1,000 Army paratroopers who secured the airfield. Including
the five nights that followed, the Bashur mission totals were
impressive: 17 C-17s; 62 missions; 2,175 passengers; 3,060
short tons of cargo, including M-A1 Abrams tanks; 408
vehicles. "There's a huge amount of pride when you're
involved in an operation like this," said Col. Allardice,
"We (trained) for years with the Army to be able to
project power anywhere in the world. To finally get the
opportunity to execute that kind of mission is a big
April, McChord's green tail flash would be a common
sight to viewers watching the rescue and return of the POW's
(Prisoners of War) from the Army’s
507th maintenance Company held after weeks in
captivity in Iraq. C-17’s (00-0181 & 00-0183) would be
called upon to fly these noble missions.
by smSgt. David H. Lipp
Lt. Col. Dana S.
Mullenhour of the North Dakota ANG’s 119th Fighter Wing
steers his F-16 through a shower celebrating the completion of
60,000 accident-free flying hours in the F-16 Fighting Falcon
for the 119th Fighter Wing.
a two-versus-two tactical intercept training mission on May
14, 2003, F-16’s
from the North Dakota ANG’s 119 FW established a new flight
safety record for Air National Guard Fighting Falcons. Hours compiled
during the training flight pushed the wings accident-free hour
total passed 60,000 hours with out a loss of an aircraft or
pilot. Since converting into the F-16 in 1989, The
"Happy Hooligans" have flown more than 38,729
sorties in the Air Defense Fighter version of the Falcon, achieving 50,000 accident-free flying
hours on May 17, 2001 and 40,000 hours on Nov. 3, 1998. “The Happy
Hooligans have an unparalleled safety record, when you examine
the facts,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Haugen, North Dakota
Adjutant General and a former 119th FW Commander.
“We’ve now flown beyond 60,000 hours in F-16s, we flew
more than 51,000 hours in F-4 Phantom fighters, and before
that, another 21,000 hours in F-101 Voodoo fighters.” The
Hooligans' last aircraft accident occurred 25 years ago when
the unit was flying the F-101B Voodoo interceptor.
the 10th day of the 10th month at 10 minutes after 10am The
McChord Team grew by one squadron, after months of anticipation
10th Airlift Squadron became the newest of
the 62d Airlift Wing's C-17 squadrons. The 10 AS, which
last flew the C-23 Sherpa in Europe (as the 10th Military
Airlift Squadron) until it's deactivation in 1991, is one of
the Air Force's more historic transport squadrons, and was
very active flying C-47's African and European theaters in
World War II. With a personnel strength of more than 80
members upon activation, the 10th will double in size by April
2004 were it will be at full strength.
Aircraft Commander reviews navigation charts with his
Co-Pilot from the cockpit during a routine
December 10, 2002 a McChord C-17 was rocked after an explosion
the aircrafts number 2 engine shortly after takeoff from
Baghdad International Airport. This was not an accident, the
Pratt and Whitney engine was hit what was believed to be an
infrared guided shoulder-launched Surface-To-Air missile.
impact just shuddered the plane," said Capt. Paul
Sonstein, the mission's aircraft commander. The crew
immediately started going through emergency checklists, and
planning their return to the airport. With Captain Sonstein
flying the plane, co-pilot 1st Lt. Andrew Oiland ran the
checklist and worked the radio. Behind him sat another C-17
pilot, Capt. Anne Lueck, who watched over the cockpit to
ensure nothing was missed.
Sgt. Jim Alexander, a Reserve loadmaster at McChord, had the
best view of the engine from his jump seat behind Capt.
Sonstein. "We had a very large flame coming out of the
top of the engine, it looked like a flamethrower sticking out
of the top." With Sergeant Alexander scanning the engine
and monitoring the fire, the C-17s other on-board loadmaster
and fellow 446th Reservist, Staff Sgt. Eric Olson, was
downstairs taking care of the passengers and coordinated
everyone's escape once they landed.
partnership between personnel from “Team McChord’s” two
C-17 Wings, the 62d and 446th Airlift Wings saved the lives of
Sixteen persons, (including the five crew members) and the
$200 million dollar airlifter.
President Dick Cheney pins the bronze star on Air Force Maj.
Brian S. Robinson during a ceremonies in which he and other
Airmen and Soldiers received metals for their heroic deeds
during major Combat Operations in Iraq.
December 22, 2003 McChord was center stage for a visit from Vice
President Dick Cheney, the first from a Vice President since
1994. After a meal with the Men and Women of the local
Military, Vice President Cheney thanked the Members McChord
and nearby Fort Lewis and their families for their
contributions in the War on Terrorism. To honor some who
carried out those missions, the Vice President pinned medals
on nine airmen and soldiers who fought combat operations in
members from the 62d and 446th whose skill and teamwork saved
the lives of their passengers and their airplane after
managing to land their crippled jet at Baghdad IAP were all awarded Air Metals for their
"exceptional teamwork” after their
plane was hit by a shoulder fired missile. Receiving the honor were Capt.
Paul Sonstein, Capt. Anne Lueck, First Lt. Andrew Oiland from
the 62d AW, Tech. Sgt. James Alexander, and Staff Sgt. Eric
Olson from the 446th AW.
honored was Maj. Brian Robinson who received a Bronze Star on
for his meritorious service in planning 1,400 successful
missions in Iraq, which included the massive 1,000-troop
airdrop of the Army's 173rd
Airborne Brigade over Northern Iraq in the early stages
of the war, the largest since World War II.
March of 2004 the McChord Crew who led the March
26, 2003 mission
to drop the Soldiers of the 173rd
Airborne Brigade over Northern Iraq received news that
they were winners of the National Aeronautic Associations
Clarence Mackay Trophy. The award presented annually for the
most meritorious flight of the year and for gallantry,
intrepidity, unusual initiative and resourcefulness was first
awarded in 1911, the original trophy is on display at the
National Air and Space Museum.
crew of the lead C-17 (call sign Vijay 10) consisted of
Members from all of McChord's active flying units, Lt. Col.
Shane Hershman,(7th AS), Maj. Bob Colvin, (8th AS), 1Lt. Matt
Clausen, (4th AS), MSgt. Shawn Brumfield, (62nd OG), and MSgt.
Chris Dockery, (7th AS). The crew of Vijay 10, members of
the along with active and Reserve crews from Charleston
AFB, S.C., and McChord, flew four more night missions.
were the aircrew for Vijay 10 the lead C-17 Globemaster III on
the March 26, 2003, airdrop over northern Iraq.
Just as they have done in the past, the Men and Women of McChord
and their associated units are more
than ready to set the pace into the new Millennium.
| McCHORD's C-17's
provided and maintained by:
McChord Air Museum Foundation
AFB, WA. 98438-0205
May 10, 2004