167th Airlift Wing flies last Guard C-5 training mission

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jodie Witmer
  • 167th Airlift Wing
The distinct whistle of the C-5 Galaxy soaring over Martinsburg, W.Va. Sept. 25 marked the last C-5 training mission at the 167th Airlift Wing and within the Air National Guard.

The 167th received its first of 11 C-5s, Dec. 4, 2006 and launched its first C-5 mission, March 28, 2007.

Although the C-5 was sometimes a challenge, it flew a great mission, said Col. Shaun Perkowski, the wing commander of the 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg, W.Va. 

"Our maintainers and operators really met the challenge of the airplane." Perkowski said. "Across every group and through every building, we can be proud of meeting these challenges head-on and exceeding the standard."

From Aug. 2013 through July 2014 the 167th achieved an average mission capability rate of about 75 percent with the C-5, which was above the ANG's goal of 58.8 percent. 

Since 2007, the 167th has acquired more than 20,000 flying hours on the C-5 with more than 4,500 sorties. It has hauled more than 53,000 short tons of cargo and more than 34,000 passengers.

Lt. Col. Lisa Windle, a pilot at the 167th said the C-5 has its own charm, because of its size and the cool things that it does and hauls.

The wing span of a C-5 reaches about 222 feet, while the fuselage is measures about 247 feet long. Along with its impressive size it can haul up to 200,000 pounds of cargo.

"When you roll into somewhere in a C-5 it's almost like you get a little celebrity status because it's so large," said Windle. "People are kind of amazed by the airframe."

Senior Master Sgt. Richard Turpin, a flight engineer at the 167th, said he will miss the massive aircraft and the comradery of flying with a C-5 crew.

The remaining six C-5s, the last in the Air National Guard and based at the 167th, are scheduled to retire to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz. through May 2015.

"I think there's always that sense of nostalgia when you take these airplanes that have served honorably," Perkowski said.

The 167th has flown mission to all parts of the world and was the first unit to haul the Army's mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle egress trainers.

Eight C-17 Globmaster IIIs are scheduled to replace the 167th fleet of C-5s. The first C-17 arrived Sept. 25 after the C-5 completed its last training mission for the Air National Guard.

Having C-5s at the 167th put the base in a future position to accept basically any aircraft in the Air Force inventory, said Perkowski.

"I have every confidence that we will take on the new mission and the challenges and eclipse what we have done with the C-5 and C-130 world with the C-17," said Perkowski.