May 2006 
Volume 05, Issue 1 
Cover Story

During a mission in late March, the C-17 fleet hit the major milestone of 1 million hours of flight. Here's a look at this historic mission.

C-17 Globemaster IIIOn March 19, a C-17 Globemaster III transporting wounded soldiers out of Iraq had the distinction of flying the fleet's one millionth flight hour. Fueled by unusually high reliability rates and extraordinary demand, the C-17 achieved this milestone more than a year ahead of schedule—evidence of Boeing's ability to deliver the capabilities its customers need. In the words of Gen. T. Michael Moseley, the U.S. Air Force's chief of staff, the C-17 is "an amazing aircraft … worth its weight in gold," supporting the global war on terrorism and providing humanitarian relief around the world.

On its millionth-hour mission, the C-17 tangibly demonstrated Gen. Moseley's sentiments. This is the story of the men and women who flew the historic flight.


Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership keeps C-17s flying

While the design, quality and reliability built into the C-17 helped the airlifter reach its millionth flight hour so quickly, Boeing's efforts in the field sustaining the U.S. Air Force fleet also were critical to the C-17's success.

Through the Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership (GSP) program, Boeing supports the C-17 fleet 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"Out in the field, we have Boeing people who have direct contact with the customer and the C-17 every day. This millionth flight hour is a testament to them and everyone who is involved with sustaining this aircraft," said Gus Urzua, vice president of Air Force Integrated Logistics and C-17 GSP program manager. "At many of the locations our Boeing team works in the same building as the maintenance squadrons. Our people are an integral part of the daily operations of air bases around the world."


Along for the ride

Boeing employees join record mission to bring back words and pictures

"It gets your attention on approach when the military personnel are putting on flak jackets and helmets, and you're sitting there in a polo shirt and jeans." That's one of the observations of Gary Lesser, communications manager of the C-17 program in Long Beach, Calif., after his first flight in the airlifter.

But Lesser's first trip in the C-17 wasn't just any flight. He and St. Louis videographer/photographer Kevin Flynn accompanied the historic million-hour mission on March 19 and 20. They were there to interview medical and military personnel, to cover the event for Boeing News Now and Boeing Frontiers, and to shoot footage for a video of the flight, "Million-Hour Mission: To Iraq and Back" (the video made its debut before 4,000 employees at Long Beach's "Thanks a Million" celebration on March 27). Lesser also served as a Boeing spokesman with external media aboard the flight, including crews from CNN, and ABC and NBC affiliates from Jackson, Miss., where the million-hour aircraft is based.



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