In the Military
Delegation to deliver 2nd C-17 to Hickam
Tomorrow 30 political and civic leaders, including three World War II and Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipients, will board a Hawaii Air National KC-135 Stratotanker jet and fly to Boeing Co.'s Long Beach factory in Southern California to participate in ceremonies surrounding the acceptance of Hickam Air Force Base's second C-17 Globemaster cargo jet.
Joining the group, which also includes two state legislators, will be Allen Kellogg, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in the Vietnam War, and two World II recipients, Barney Hajiro of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Shizuya Hayashi of the 100th Battalion.
The official party hosted by Maj. Gen. Robert Lee, who heads the Hawaii National Guard, includes Maj. Gen. Darryll Wong, commander of the Hawaii Air Guard; Brig. Gen. Peter Pawling, commander of the Air Guard's 154th Wing; and Col. William Changose, commander of Hickam's 15th Airlift Wing.
The 174-foot, $200 million troop and cargo jet will leave Boeing's Long Beach facility on Tuesday after a brief ceremony there. Col. Mike Compton, director of operations for the Hawaii Air Guard's 154th Wing, is expected to be a member of the flight crew that will fly the jet to Hickam, where it will be dedicated and blessed on Tuesday.
PHOTO GINA VANATTER / COURTESY OF BOEING CO.
Boeing Co. employees towed the Air Force and the Hawaii Air National Guard's second C-17 Globemaster cargo jet back from the flight line in Southern California after a test flight. The Globemaster will be flown to Hickam Air Force Base on Tuesday.
Once the Air Force-Hawaii Air Guard squadron gets all eight of its Globemaster cargo jets this fall, at least one of the aircraft will be at Hickam at all times, said Maj. Chuck Anthony, Hawaii National Guard spokesman. That jet will be available for state missions, including support of anti-drug and anti-terrorist operations.
The C-17 Globemasters aren't the only new aircraft the Hawaii Air Guard will be receiving.
The KC-135 Stratotanker, which will fly the Hawaii delegation to Long Beach tomorrow, is one of nine belonging to the 203rd Air Refueling Squadron. The squadron will get four more jet tankers in the next two years from Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City, S.D., which is being closed.
On Feb. 8, the Spirit of Hawaii - Ke Aloha -- the first C-17 Globemaster cargo jet -- was blessed and dedicated at Hickam. Eight Globemaster cargo jets will be part of the fleet crewed by the Hawaii Air National Guard's 204th Airlift Squadron, which is led by Lt. Col. Scott Kimsey, and the active Air Force's 535th Airlift Squadron, commanded by Lt. Col. Chris Advise.
The airlift squadron will be the first stationed at Hickam since the Vietnam War. Mississippi is the only other state responsible for maintaining and operating C-17s.
Until the Globemaster cargo jet unit was established at Hickam, the only aircraft stationed there were the F-15 jet fighters and KC-135 Stratotankers belonging to the Hawaii Air Guard's 154th Wing.
The two units are located at new $190 million Hickam operations and maintenance facilities.
Pawling said the combined active-duty and Air Guard unit will have more than 650 people. "Our piece is about 40 percent of that," Pawling said.
Gen. Paul Hester, the four-star general who commands all Air Force operations in the Pacific and Asia, said the airlift squadron will not only support troop movements from the West Coast to Asia, but also be available for humanitarian relief missions.
At the dedication ceremony, Hester said: "The C-17 does more than putting people in harm's way. In fact, it extends the better hand of America -- the humanitarian hand -- as it did during the Somalia relief and the earthquakes in Pakistan."
The Globemaster's 84-foot-long cargo area can accommodate three 19-ton, eight-wheeled Stryker combat vehicles and a squad of soldiers. Boeing, manufacturer of the C-17, says the aircraft with its payload of 160,000 pounds can land on runways as short as 3,000 feet.
The partnership between the Hawaii Air Guard and active Air Force units is the first time C-17 Globemasters will be stationed outside the mainland, and flown and maintained by citizen and active-duty airmen.
The C-17s will replace the five C-130 Hercules cargo planes maintained by the Hawaii Air National Guard since 1984. The last C-130 left the islands on Wednesday.
The Air Force will spend $15 million to build a short runway at the Big Island's Kona Airport to train its pilots on landing on short combat fields now being used throughout southwest Asia.
The Hawaii Air Guard said the C-17 can carry a payload four times greater than the C-130, going twice the distance in half the time.
Retired Maj. Gen. Eric "Rick" T. Olson, former commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division, has been named vice president, MPEG LA China -- an international patent licensing company.
"In the Military" was compiled from wire reports and other sources by reporter Gregg K. Kakesako
, who covers military affairs for the Star-Bulletin. He can be reached by phone at 294-4075 or by e-mail at email@example.com