Lending a Helping Wing

A crew from the 21st Airlift Squadron at Travis AFB, Calif., was about to leave for a typical overseas mission when they got a call telling them to expect reassignment. The C-17 Globemaster III crew ended up transporting an Air Force family and other injured Americans back to the United States after the March 22 terrorist attacks in Brussels, according to a May 26 release. The first leg of the trip was to take troops and Humvees from a base in the US to the Middle East, but on the way back, the crew learned they would travel from Incirlik AB, Turkey, to Ramstein AB, Germany, for an “aeromedical evacuation mission.” Once in Germany, the plane was reconfigured into a mobile intensive care unit before flying to Brussels to pick up five patients and a 10-person Army burn team. The plane took the patients to Texas before returning home to Travis. SrA. Max Oldroyd said that while he has flown many missions, “this is probably the one that will stick with me the most.” A1C Austin Copeland said it was “very heartwarming” to be able to help those who were injured. Capt. Grant Hadley, a pilot and the aircraft commander, said that often, the airmen are transporting “a big metal box,” and it is difficult to know what impact their work has. “It’s easy to get bogged down and not remember the real impact, but with these sorts of missions, you can’t help but see the real impact, because it’s right there in front of you.”