The first of eight new C-17 strategic airlifters arrived at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, where the active 517th Airlift Squadron and a new Air National Guard unit—the 249th Airlift Squadron—will share operation and maintenance duties. The 517th formerly flew C-130 tactical airlifters and gave up its last Hercules in March. SSgt. Francesca Popp reports that the units, which should receive their final C-17 in November, each provided crew members to fly the first Elmendorf C-17, named the “Spirit of Denali,” to the Alaskan base.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.