HomeNewsArticle Display

Citizen Airmen help keep C-17s safe during Dorian

Hurricane Dorian

Hurricane Dorian, which at its strongest was a Category 5 hurricane, dropped to a Category 3 storm as it brushed the South Carolina coast, with the eye about 50 miles from Charleston. The storm pelted the Lowcountry with more than 10 inches of rain and delivered wind gusts approaching 100 mph causing flooding and power outages. (U.S. Navy photo via Naval Research Laboratory)

Empty flight line

This is what the Joint Base Charleston flight line looked like, absent C-17s and their ground support equipment, the day before Hurricane Dorian swiped the South Carolina Coast Sept. 5, 2019. Active duty and Reserve maintainers evacuated 24 C-17 Globemaster IIIs out of the storm's path. (courtesy photo)

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. --

A handful of Joint Base Charleston, S.C. Reservists spent their Labor Day with their active duty teammates to evacuate 24 C-17 Globemaster IIIs ahead of Hurricane Dorian.

Fifteen Reservists from the 315th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and 315th Maintenance Squadron here joined members of the 437th Maintenance Group to clear and launch the C-17s, Sept. 2, to Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. Charleston’s remaining C-17s were already away from the base on various missions and were not involved.

“Sometimes people wonder why we start the evacuation process so early. Well it’s not really the wind and rain that will keep us from working/launching jets, it’s the lightening,” said Chief Master Sgt. Michele Summers, 315th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “Our maintainers never complain about working in the worst kinds of weather, but lightning is a safety risk so we can’t ever chance that,”

Clearing a jet to launch involves fixing all the grounding discrepancies, or at least getting the aircraft to a PMC (partially mission capable) status so they can be flown out to safety.

“Once the aircraft are repaired, the generation process begins; fueling, servicing liquid oxygen, removing covers and plugs, starting up the APUs (auxiliary power unit); getting things ready for the flight crew’s arrival at the jet,” Summers said.

Once the maintainers have prepped the jet, aircrews arrive about 90 minutes prior to launch and run their preflight checks. “If all is well, engine start comes about 15 minutes prior to launch time, and then the jet taxis and takes off with no issues,” Summers said.

One Reserve aircrew from the 317th Airlift Squadron evacuated one of the jets, while the 437th Airlift Wing – who own the jets – flew the other 23 to Ellsworth AFB.  Twelve Joint Base Charleston C-17s were involved in off station operations at the time of the evacuation, so were not affected.

Joint Base Charleston Commander, Col. Terrence Adams also issued a limited evacuation order for the base effectively shutting down normal base operations.

Col. Gregory Gilmour, 315th Airlift Wing commander, represented the JBC Reserve component in the Team Charleston triad on the Crisis Action Team, alongside his fellow active duty commanders at the 437th AW and 628th Air Base Wing.

Hurricane Dorian, which at its strongest was a Category 5 hurricane, dropped to a Category 3 storm as it brushed the South Carolina coast, with the eye about 50 miles from Charleston. The storm pelted the Lowcountry with more than 10 inches of rain and delivered wind gusts approaching 100 mph causing flooding and power outages.

When the evacuated C-17s returned to Charleston Sept. 7-8, the 315th Airlift Wing’s Citizen Airmen were once again working side by side with their active duty teammates to recover the aircraft.

“The Maintenance Groups of the 315th and 437th work very well together as a matter of practice,” said Col. Thomas Walter, 315th MXG commander. “The combined efforts when clearing the ramp prior to Dorian, and bringing those jets home is a great example of how two units can become one whenever the mission requires.”

The base was back fully operational Sept. 9 with mostly minimal damage to trees.

Joint Base Charleston currently owns 36 C-17 Globemaster IIIs.

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.

 

315th AW Facebook 315th AW on  Instagram 315th AW on Twitter 315th AW on YouTube Dvids Behind the Wing Podcast