When the US Air Force invites you to fly with them it's hard to say no. Today we experience the C-17 Globemaster III, the Air Force's workhorse transport jet.
It was tough waking up at 5:00 AM to make the trip to Joint Base Charleston this week but we knew the early wake-up and 100-mile drive would be worth it.
Today, we join the United States Air Force… On a training mission. Of course, our true mission still remains here at Palmetto Weekend HQ.
Upon arrival at the base at around 0900 hours, we met our PAO (Public Affairs Officer for those unfamiliar with the almost unlimited military acronyms) who escorted us to the Air Force terminal.
Surprisingly the terminal looked and felt like any small airport terminal aside from the fact that most everyone was wearing military uniforms.
We went through a typical airport security check, camera bags and gear sent through an x-ray machine journalist through a metal detector.
Once we were found to be contraband free we were bussed to our big beautiful birds.
The C-17 Globemaster III is the second largest military transport aircraft in use today. It is capable of carrying over 130 paratroopers, multiple armored personnel vehicles, or a single M1 Abrams Tank. The C-17 is also equipped to deliver supplies for warfighting or humanitarian aid as well as serve as a giant flying ambulance to get our wounded back to safety.
This plane truly is a jack of all trades.
Our mission for the day was to train for a large scale para drop of troops and supplies and practice “low-level maneuvers”
16 Globemasters took flight from Joint Base Charleston, we flew over a training field and para-dropped our cargo, we then met up with some F-16 fighter jets out of McEntire Air National Guard Base and flew over the State House and Downtown Columbia, just to show off.
Then came the “low-level maneuvers”. I had assumed that low-level maneuvers in a jet the size of the C-17 just meant flying a few hundred feet off the ground for a bit. I was wrong…
The C-17 is as agile and nimble as a sports car and we found ourselves experiencing all sorts of positive and negative G-force as the big birds weaved their way through the mountains and valleys of Tennessee.
Finally, we headed back to Joint Base Charleston with a new appreciation for American military power and the men and women who sign up to put their lives on the line so that you and I can experience American freedom.
This Memorial Day we hope you choose to remember those who have lost their lives in service to our country and say an extra prayer for those who continue to live theirs in that same service.