Airmen Repair Damaged C-17

A small team of airmen assigned to the 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron in Southwest Asia deployed to a forward operating base in eastern Afghanistan to repair a damaged C-17 transport and save it from further harm in the face of enemy fire. These airmen braved mortar attacks to repair the airlifter in just two days so that it was ready to depart the base, according to a Nov. 20 release from the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, the squadron’s host unit. “We knew we had to work quickly and efficiently to get that aircraft out of FOB Shank. The base and flight line take mortar fire on a daily basis,” said MSgt. Roy Lee, a team member. The C-17 made a hard landing on Shank’s short runway and sustained significant damage, including 12 flat tires, eight broken brakes, and a fuel leak, states the release. On the last day of the recovery mission, a mortar round landed approximately 150 yards away from the repair crew. “The C-130 Hercules parked next to us sustained damage, so we knew we were fortunate,” said Lee. A Boeing contractor team supported the airmen during the mission, which took place in mid September. (379th AEW report by SrA. Bryan Swink)