SATAF assists wing in conversion from C-5 Galaxy aircraft to C-17 Globemaster

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle
  • 167th Airlift Wing
A site action task force, or SATAF, convened here Oct. 29-31 to determine areas that will need to be addressed as the unit converts from the C-5 Galaxy aircraft to the C-17 Globemaster.

It was announced in February 2012 that the 167th Airlift Wing would receive eight C-17s to replace its current fleet of 11 C-5s. One of many aircraft changes throughout the entire Air Force aimed at aligning with new strategic guidance in the Air Force's fiscal year 2013 budget submission.

Eight working groups to include facilities, manpower, operations, maintenance, maintenance training, resources and planning, communications, and supplies and equipment were established at the wing.

During the SATAF the working groups met with their National Guard Bureau counterparts to determine what their action items would be. Representatives from Air Education and Training Command, Air Mobility Command, Air Force Material Command and Boeing were also on hand to lend their expertise.

"That's the whole purpose of the SATAF, to formalize the action items," said Lt. Col. Brandon Taksa, the 167th Airlift Wing's unit conversion officer.

Sixty-two action items were identified during the SATAF visit.

The major items that will need to be addressed include funding for maintenance and operations training, facilities modifications as well as funding for a C-17 simulator.

"The budget is the biggest challenge. If the dollars don't come then obviously the conversion will extend," Taksa said.

Other matters that need to be addressed for the conversion include the location of an assault strip and munitions storage. In addition, since the unit will receive the C-17s before the C-5s are transferred, a parking configuration to accommodate both aircraft will need to be determined.

"Our conversion rate is a yellow right now just because we have certain issues, but none of them are show stoppers," Taksa said.

Individual action items are rated on a green- yellow-red scale and then an overall conversion assessment is determined.

A green rating means the situation is low-risk, yellow means the standards are maintained by high risk workarounds or there is insufficient information to make an assessment. Red means there are disconnects with no solutions.

"This is the most greens I've ever seen at this early stage in the conversion process," said Lt. Col. Pete Thalheimer, NGB/A3Z conversion officer, while looking over a list of action items at the SATAF outbrief.

"Folks here at the 167th did awesome. Everyone was very supportive and the amount of preparation was obvious," Thalheimer said.

The unit's C-17 conversion office was stood up in July 2013. However, the unit won't officially enter into conversion until sometime during the summer of 2014.

"When your first major muscle move - whether it's people going to training or losing airplanes, something along those lines - that's when we'll officially enter conversion," Taksa said.

A small group of operators and maintainers are scheduled to begin training in June and July of 2014.

The C-17s will arrive, two per quarter, throughout fiscal year 2015. The C-17s will be coming from McChord and Charleston Air Force bases.

Taksa said the conversion will be over when the unit is operationally capable or three years after entering conversion, whichever comes first.