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433rd Airlift Wing aircrew doubles-down on missions

By Staff Sgt. Lauren M. Snyder | 433rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs | June 18, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —

In mid-April, while en route from Texas to Norway, a 433rd Airlift Wing C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft and its crew were informed they were going have a small change of plans.

Instead of one mission across the Atlantic Ocean to the Arctic Circle, now they were running an additional delivery that spanned the United States from the east coast to the west coast in the same timeline.

In Delaware, loadmasters from the 68th Airlift Squadron expertly loaded a high-priority, one-of-a-kind prototype for safe travel to southern California.

The sensitive item could only be transported by a C-5 aircraft.

After dropping off the special delivery, the Alamo Wing aircraft and crew could resume their original mission, picking up equipment from the Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point in North Carolina, and take it to northern Norway.

The aircrew members’ flexibility and hard work, embodies the wing’s mission of having Reserve Citizen Airmen ready to respond anywhere, anytime.

“Our job is to move cargo: anyplace, anytime, and we have a worldwide mission,” said Capt. Kyle P. Byrne, a pilot with 68th AS. “This mission really showcases that, because we were told to go to Norway, at the last second.  We got dropped a high-contingency/tempo task, and the crew was able to take that and run with it.”

The team powered through the extra trip and work.

“Not only did they get that one-off mission done, but also to get the mission done getting to Norway was because the loadmasters, flight engineers, and pilots all leaned forward to complete that without adjusting the initial timeline,” said Byrne.

The crew pulled together to get the work done.

“It was 110% teamwork,” said Master Sgt Freddie J. Kondoff, 68th AS loadmaster. "Cargo is cargo. The C-5 was built to move outsized cargo; that’s what we train for, to figure out what we need to do to load items into the airplane safely. As a team, we worked together to get the cargo loaded and then get the cargo off.”

The will-do attitude of the crew members made a problematic situation achievable.

“Finishing both of those missions in the time we did was incredible--between the loadmasters and the engineers--they really allowed this mission to continue on time,” Byrne said. “It’s the hardest I’ve ever worked as an aircraft commander coordinating things, but without everybody on the crew doing a great job, it wouldn’t have mattered. Being in a position to complete the job and getting it done wouldn’t be possible without our people’s effort.”