RENO, Nev. --
A team of Air Force Reservists from Joint Base Charleston’s 701st Airlift Squadron gained first-hand mentorship from senior C-17 Globemaster III pilots, themselves with decades of experience, while heading westward to Reno, Nevada, over the Rocky Mountains during training, March 9-12, 2023.
The 701st Airlift Squadron, a component of the Air Force Reserve’s 315th Airlift Wing, is one of the three Reserve airlift flying squadrons located at JB Charleston.
The focus of this training mission was on skills that can't easily be accomplished locally at Charleston, such as flying over terrain, adverse weather, and aerial refueling including practicing emergency procedures.
Lt. Col. Jeff Meyers, 701AS C-17 pilot with 28 years of experience said, “This training is key to honing all skill sets required to operate in a combat environment, by ensuring secure radio procedures, navigation, aerial refueling, high altitude terminal approach procedures, and low level tactical training in mountainous region, all while building relationships with the maintenance support team who accompanies us."
Meyers helped train two brand new C-17 pilots completing their seasonal on-the-job training, 1st Lt. John Waller and 1st Lt. Dylan Carroll. Here they have the opportunity to learn from pilots who have been flying since before the C-17’s introduction into the Air Force in 1991.
"We're constantly learning each and every mission and the challenge keeps me striving to be better,” said Waller. “Learning everything, from new techniques to effectively operate the aircraft, or how to balance mission accomplishment with taking care of your crew.”
“This mission allows us new co-pilots to receive invaluable instruction from the most experienced instructors and pilots in the squadron,” said Carroll. “It provides us the opportunity to apply the skills we have learned in real-world situations and experience new situations we have not encountered with elite counterparts.”
One of the many functions of training is not only maintaining the ever-evolving technology of the aircraft, but building a team that can tackle any mission, anywhere.
“Not only does this training build squadron morale and teamwork, but it exercises our support staff in a simulated deployed environment to basically perfect their support actions away from the main base,” said Meyers.
Whether with new or well-seasoned aircrew, missions like these keep airmen connected. Waller even flew over the location he had first ever taken flight as a pilot.
“The mission has provided me with personal experiences that will last a lifetime and this is only the beginning,” said Waller. “Before joining the 701AS, I had never traveled outside of the continental United States. As of now, I've traveled to more than 20 countries and 5 continents in only 6 months.”
Carroll showed similar feelings.
"Being in the 701st has finally let me apply the skills I have been learning in real world missions," said Carroll. "This has allowed me to see the bigger picture of how important our mission is as a C-17 crew and why it is so crucial to excel in everything we do.”