C-17 Damaged in Afghanistan

A joint-service and civilian team reopened the airstrip at Forward Operating Base Shank in Logar province in eastern Afghanistan, removing a C-17 damaged in a recent landing mishap. “As soon as the aircraft overran the runway, we were looking at planning and how to recover the aircraft,” said Maj. Mel Ibarreta, 777th Expeditionary Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force Squadron commander at FOB Shank, in an Army release on April 23. Touching down in foul weather, the C-17, assigned to the 437th Airlift Wing at JB Charleston, S.C., severely damaged its undercarriage, rendering it immobile, according to the release. After consultation with manufacturer Boeing, the engineering team prepped the aircraft to move it to a suitable repair pad. The team towed the C-17 more than a mile over a specially constructed “bridge” to prevent the massive airlifter from sinking into the soil. “We’re really proud of having successfully moved the aircraft . . . as well as getting a C-17 back into the fleet,” said FOB commander Army Lt. Col. Gilbert Mestler. (Logar report by Army Sgt. Victor Everhart)