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NEWS | Dec. 4, 2020

437th AW delivers airlift capability to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base

By Staff Sgt. Lance Valencia Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

An aircrew from the 15th Airlift Squadron stationed at Joint Base Charleston, delivered two Halverson loaders, ground vehicles used to off-load and on-load cargo from aircraft, to Naval Station Guantanamo Bay (NSGB), Cuba, on
Nov. 12, 2020. The aircrew conducted an off-station trainer, OST, to swap loaders that were at NSGB with working loaders that came from Joint Base Charleston.

Capt. Spencer Dewey, a C-17 Globemaster III pilot and aircraft commander assigned to the 15th AS, explained what missions the training supports.

“There’s a critical Navy and Marine mission at Guantanamo Bay,” said Dewey. “We are here to directly support a critical U.S. mission and it would be impossible without the essential ground equipment we brought. When airlift missions come in, the Navy can provide the proper ground support.”

Senior Airman Thomas Franklin, a vehicle mechanic assigned to the 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron, also accompanied the aircrew to NSGB to repair the loaders at the base in order to load them onto the aircraft. He explained why cooperation between the 628th Air Base Wing and 437th Airlift Wing is vital to Joint Base Charleston’s success.

“I’m pretty lucky with my job. I can see the difference I make on the flight line,” said Franklin. “We can’t get anywhere without them and they’ll have a hard time loading things without us.”

The 628th ABW provides essential mission support to the 437th AW to complete its global mobility mission. Dewey explained how the training mission can better prepare junior pilots.

“This airfield itself has a lot of special procedures,” he said. “It has tight air space and lots of regulations so it was good studying for us. The terrain mixed with the winds, and the special procedures of Cuba all make it a challenging place, and a great place, to bring the younger pilots. As an instructor we are getting them out of that preset training that they’re used to in Charleston. There’s not a continent the C-17 doesn’t go to, so getting them out of Charleston into new environments gets them ready to advance in their C-17 careers.”

C-17 aircrews are a key piece to Air Mobility Command’s mission to provide rapid global mobility throughout the world anytime.