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433rd Airlift Wing welcomes Travis aircraft during California wildfires

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Iram Carmona
  • 433rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

In the late evening hours of Aug. 19, 2020, the 433rd Airlift Wing command post at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, was notified by the Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, that eight C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft from Travis AFB, California, would be evacuating to the airfield as a precaution against damage from the LNU Lightning Complex fires in Northern California.

The call, received by Master Sgt. Jonathan Starner, 433rd AW command post controller, kicked off a chain of events in preparation for the incoming aircraft. The next call was routed to the wing commander, Col. Terry W. McClain, after which coordination to help support the new mission began.

Several calls were routed to wing leadership to get the ball rolling. After McClain, the next call went to Lt. Col. Stuart Martin, 433rd Maintenance Group commander, for maintenance support. Once word was received that the Travis aircraft would be inbound, the 433rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron started preparing to receive and support the incoming aircraft.

Col. James C. Miller, 433rd Operations Group commander, was then notified for airfield approval. At 10 p.m., Tech. Sgt. Destry Taylor, 433rd AW command post controller, relieved Starner in coordinating with wing organizations and keeping leadership informed on the mission's progress.

A short time later, the host wing’s 502nd Logistics Readiness Squadron Air Terminal Operations Center was notified to prepare for incoming personnel. Since the 433rd AW is a tenant unit, the 502nd Air Base Wing was in charge of finding accommodations for the estimated 100 inbound Travis aircrew and maintenance personnel. Aug. 20, 2020 at 3:36 a.m., the first Travis C-5M arrived at JBSA-Lackland.

This is the second time this month the Alamo Wing has received aircraft from other wings for protection from hazardous conditions. Six aircraft from Dover AFB, Delaware, made their home here temporarily Aug. 3, 2020 due to Tropical Storm Isaias on the East Coast.

“We always deal with transients that come in from all over, and as a C-5 specific flightline, we’re more than capable of being able to take care of these aircraft,” said Master Sgt. Gerard L. Ontiveros, 433rd AMXS production superintendent.

A lot of coordination takes place to make a mission like this happen, and as the calls came in, command post officials did their part to ensure the right resources were secured for this effort.

“It’s really rewarding to know that the hard work we put into making this happen is important and essential to the missions that come down,” said Tech Sgt. Angela Lloyd, 433rd AW command post controller.

The various organizations and personnel involved in this mission were accustomed to working with this airframe; it was only a matter of working with a greater number of aircraft.

“It took us nearly two hours to get the flight line set up to receive the aircraft; it’s what we do,” said Master Sgt. David Ponce, 433rd AMXS, flightline expediter. “It’s what we’re here for, and just like last time with the Dover C-5’s, we’re going to do it with Travis.”

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