C-17 reaches 2 million-hour milestone

Photo Source: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Marie Brown
Photo Source: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Marie Brown

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, SC – The C-17 Globemaster III has now flown over 2 million hours.

This month, the C-17 Globemaster III celebrated its two millionth flight hour.

According to a report on Joint Base Charleston's website, the C-17 aircraft reached 2 million flight hours just four years after passing its first million-hour mark. The first million hours took 16 years to reach.

Although Air Mobility Command officials estimate the international C-17 fleet passed the milestone on Dec. 14, the achievement was commemorated on a Dec. 10 airdrop mission out of Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

The Dec. 10 milestone mission was a low-cost, low-altitude assignment to deliver 70,000 pounds of fuel to a remote location in Afghanistan. The aircraft, dubbed with the call sign "Moose 75," was from Joint Base Charleston.

The air crew was comprised of airmen deployed with the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron in Southwest Asia. Its members included Capt. Rick Kind, Capt. Patrick Murphy, Capt. Jordan Leicht and Senior Airman Carrie Symons from McChord Air Force Base, Wash.; Staff Sgt. Jason Fatjo from Joint Base Charleston and Staff Sgt. Paul Trowbridge from Hickam AFB, Hawaii.

The C-17 Globemaster III is the newest, most flexible cargo aircraft to enter the airlift service.  It is capable of rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in deployment areas. Joint Base Charleston has 58 C-17's.

"It's definitely an honor," said Captain Kind, the aircraft commander of the airdrop mission. "I think it's great the Air Force is utilizing us for what we're designed to do and using us at full capacity. We're flying nonstop, but it's great flying."

Air Force schedulers have doubled the number of airdrops in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility every year since 2006. Helping fellow service members in remote locations is what motivates C-17 crews to meet the high demand. For example, air deliveries keep approximately 970 trucks off dangerous roads per month.