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10 C-17s, 2 wings, 1 launch

McCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash., - Ten C-17s, such as this one flying past Mount Rainier here, will launch Dec. 20 in a show of team work between the active duty 62nd and Reserve 446th Airlift Wings and the various units that must pull together to accomplish the mission. (Air Force file photo by Adamarie Lewis-Page)

McCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash., - Ten C-17s, such as this one flying past Mount Rainier here, will launch Dec. 20 in a show of team work between the active duty 62nd and Reserve 446th Airlift Wings and the various units that must pull together to accomplish the mission. (Air Force file photo by Adamarie Lewis-Page)

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Local residents will see a rare sight when they look to the skies Wednesday.

Several McChord agencies will combine efforts to fly a formation training exercise consisting of 10 C-17s here Wednesday morning.

The objective of the exercise is to test all the organizations and different aspects of the mission that have to come together to facilitate launching, executing and recovering a large formation of C-17s in a short period of time.

"One of the key capabilities the C-17 gives the Air Force is the ability to resupply forward locations with troops and equipment by airdrop," said Brig. Gen. Eric Crabtree, 446th Airlift Wing commander. "The opportunity for the active duty and Reserve units at McChord to practice these large formation missions together is a testament to the total force nature of C-17 operations. Both wings are true professionals in the business of combat airlift."

Once the 10 aircraft are launched, aircrews from the 62nd and 446th Airlift Wings will work together to drop container delivery system bundles, typically used to re-supply troops in isolated forward operating bases; single heavy equipment platforms, which simulates infiltration or delivery of large pieces of equipment; and dual row equipment drop, typically used during the insertion of a combat force to seize an airfield or other piece of high value terrain.

"This type of exercise takes a concentrated effort from many organizations on base to pull off," said Lt. Col. Gregory Schwartz, 8th Airlift Squadron and mission commander. "It's a great chance to get some valuable training and test our abilities to work together to meet a significant mission requirement."

Key players include the 62nd and 446th Maintenance Groups which will generate, launch and recover the aircraft; the 62nd Aerial Port Squadron which will build and recover the various platforms for the airdrop portion of the mission; and the 62nd Logistics Readiness Squadron which will supply the transportation and fuel for the aircraft.