JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
Airmen from Joint Base Charleston returned June 28 after representing their airlift wing and the U.S. Air Force during the world-renowned Paris Air Show held June 20 - 26.
The crew of 12 Airmen from both the 437th Operations and Maintenance Groups were selected several months ago by their commanders to attend this year's air show held at the Le Bourget Airport just outside of Paris, France.
"Each member of our team was excited and honored that they could represent their squadron, the Air Force and the United States in this international setting," said 1st Lt. Austin McCann, a pilot from the 15th Airlift Squadron. "It was an amazing opportunity that we were grateful to be a part of."
The Paris Air Show, the largest air show in the world, is held every two years just outside the city and brings hundreds of thousands of distinguished visitors and ordinary citizens alike from all around the globe.
The aircrew left Charleston June 15 and flew to Cape Canaveral, Fla., to pick up an MQ-9 'Guardian' unmanned aerial vehicle owned by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that would also be on display at the Air Show, and then began the long flight to France.
The Charleston Airmen were one of only three aircrew teams representing the U.S. military airlift fleet; alongside them were a C-130 and C-5 crew. Although, the C-17 crew did not conduct any demonstration flights during the show, the aircraft was on display every day for public viewing.
"I couldn't be more proud of the way this aircrew represented JB CHS and demonstrated our commitment to international security," said Lt. Col Chad Rauls, mission commander and 15 AS director of operations. "Our presence promoted international cooperation and also contributed to U.S. foreign policy objectives."
Each day from approximately 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. the Charleston C-17 crew hosted distinguished visitors, contractors and industry representatives from the United States, France, Belgium, Denmark and Romania, explaining the extensive capabilities of the C-17 and answering any questions.
"It was a great opportunity to highlight the C-17 and its capabilities to such a diverse and large audience," said Lieutenant McCann. "The individuals we have interacted with have been very receptive and curious to hear about our experiences operating the airplane."
Some of the distinguished visitors included South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, senators from Oklahoma and Hawaii, the Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force and the U.S. Ambassador to France just to name a few, said Colonel Rauls.
On June 23 the C-17 crew conducted a media flight for a number of international media outlets, allowing for further positive publicity of the aircraft, the U.S. Air Force and their mission.
The crew returned with a rare experience under their belt and with the contentment knowing that they displayed to the world the unique capabilities of U.S. Air Force's global reach and mobility.
"It's a rare opportunity in Air Mobility Command to stay at one place more than a day or two," said Colonel Rauls. "So to be able to represent the U.S. Air Force at an international air show and brag about what you do, it's awesome."