Air Mobility Command’s stationing of C-17s within the Southwest Asia theater has made it possible to shift the new airlifters into routine aerial drop missions, like their truly tactical brethren, the C-130s. For instance, C-17 aircrews stationed at Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan, routinely are flying large loads into Afghanistan and dropping them to coalition ground forces when and where needed. One C-17 crew at Manas had their airlifter loaded with supplies when it got tasked last minute to convert to a medical evacuation mission. The crew unloaded nine of 18 pallets and converted remaining space to aeromedical evac mode, transporting the recently found Maj. Jill Metzger back to the States.
Adm. Christopher Grady, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and head of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, is pushing a “portfolio” approach to requirements and wants his position to have “more teeth” so he can enforce it.