Robins Air Force Base delivers 500th C-17 aircraft

WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Robins Air Force base is a celebrating what base leaders are calling a huge milestone. Workers delivered their 500th C-17 aircraft.

What’s in a number?

Is it the 200 plus jobs created by one aircraft program? How about the 5,000 annual man hours it takes to maintain the planes? Hundreds of Robins Air Force Base personnel think the really amazing number is 500.

“That’s what’s so wonderful about this weapon system is its versatility and its flexibility,” Col. Jennifer Hammerstedt, the base’s 402nd Aircraft Maintenance Manager Group Commander, said.

The Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex celebrated it’s 500th delivery of the C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.

“It can carry heavy cargo into remote places. It can land on austere runways. It bridges the gap between our largest cargo aircraft, our C-5, and our smaller C-130 aircraft that we also work here,” Hammerstedt said.

“We have a huge impact. We’re responsible for the overall operational safety, effectiveness, and efficiency on the aircraft,” Col. Amanda Myers, the C-17’s System Program Director, said.

The base has worked on the C-17 project since 2001. Maintaining the planes is a steep task.

“The aircraft will come in, it’ll be stripped of all of its paint. It’ll be inspected, have different MODS and inspections accomplished on the aircraft. We put a new paint job on it and launch it back out to the war fighter,” Hammerstedt said.

Last year, the base brought in and shipped out 65 planes. This year the number of C-17s is less, but more attention is put onto to each carrier.

It’s awesome. It’s heavy maintenance. Aircraft is the future of Warner Robins. We’re really close to the agency and the union and with Boeing to ensure this workload continues to come to Robins,” Percy Jackson, an aircraft mechanic, said.

Base leaders say the versatile airplane is used for more than just fighting wars. It’s also used to help save lives.

“Other foreign partners are using their C-17s to help with disasters. When you see earthquakes in Nepal or any kind of flood situation, the C-17’s are there trying to get people to safety,” Myers said.

“For us to be able to do the heavy maintenance on that aircraft on recurring basis is a huge plus for the community,” said Hammerstedt.

It typically takes about three months to strip down and maintain each C-17. There are 222 flying for the United States all being sent around the world.

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