JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
The 437th Aerial Port Squadron loaded a modified training helicopter onto a C-17 destined for Australia on Oct. 27, 2017. The equipment will provide the Australian military helicopter maintainers an additional capability to conduct training.
“It’s a training device called the composite maintenance trainer,” said an Australian Department of Defense logistic liaison officer. “The Australian government bought 24 helicopters and training devices. They’re going to be part of our training facility to instruct maintainers on all concepts of helicopter maintenance.”
The 437th APS’s mission is key to providing rapid global mobility here at JB Charleston. It also allows them to support movements such as these.
“The Aerial Port Squadron is vital to the movement of equipment, cargo and personnel,” said 1st Lt. Rebecca Ryti, 437th APS air freight flight commander. “Our unique capabilities here allow us to provide assistance to our mission partners as well as our international affiliates.”
The APS valued this load at more than 30 million dollars and 50,000 pounds. Because they’re Australian C-17s, a familiar aircraft to Charleston maintainers, it was an obvious choice as the stop between Tampa, Fl. and Australia.
“This is the nearest C-17 hub for us to get it home,” said the liaison officer. “Because of the location to Tampa and the capability the 437th Airlift Wing provides, it makes loading and staging out of here a lot easier. The Australian air force has a number of C-17s which fit in with the U.S. Air Force’s C-17 program making maintenance easier for us if we needed it.”
While the training devices aren’t built in Charleston, they are brought here to be delivered by Australian C-17s. Years of rapport building with the Australian government eased the process.
“The coordination takes months to make this happen between the Australians and us,” said Tom Dybowski, 437th APS airfreight operations manager. “What’s cool is they don’t have to come to our base. There are other options, because we’ve built a working relationship with them, we’re on a first name basis with this being the 4th mission like this.”
Being able to support relationships with allies is an important part of the mission here. The 437th, as well as the rest of JB Charleston, takes pride in their abilities to maintain such relationships.
“Missions such as these are crucial to sustain capabilities affecting our day-to-day operations, and our relationships with our partners worldwide,” said Ryti. “It brings such a great sense of accomplishment and pride to be the preferred point of contact for specialty movements.”