Airmen from the West Virginia Air National Guard’s 167th Airlift Wing flew their first operational mission in the mammoth C-5 airlifter, delivering two Marine Corps CH-53 Super Stallion helicopters and some 60 marines to Djibouti, Africa, for Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. The 167th AW just last year converted from the C-130 Hercules tactical airlifter to the largest USAF strategic lift aircraft. Col. Roger Nye, 167th Operations Group commander, told journalist TSgt. Carrie Bernard, the C-5 proved “a lot more comfortable than the C-130,” remarking on its lack of vibration. Nye also commented that the aircrew was “taking copious notes” on the real-world C-5 flying experience to share with the rest of the 167th AW.
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.