The last C-5B mission for the 709th Airlift Squadron came to an end on Dover Air Force Base, Del., April 5, 2012. The Reserve C-5 unit will now fly C-5M models. (U.S. Air Force file photo/Roland Balik)
by Master Sgt. Veronica Aceveda
512th AW Public Affairs
4/6/2012 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, -- Members of the 709th Airlift Squadron landed their unit's final C-5B Galaxy mission here April 5, 2012, marking the end of an era for both of the 512th Airlift Wing's flying squadrons.
The 709th AS currently flies the C-5 Galaxy, and the 326th AS flew the C-5 until its conversion to the C-17 in 2007.
"The C-5B has served the 326th and 709th Airlift Squadrons well over the years," said Col. D. Scott Durham, 512th Operations Group commander. "Many of the reservists here at Dover have flown all four variants and will miss the last C-5B as it transfers to a different wing."
The particular aircraft, which served as the Reserve C-5 squadron's final C-5B mission, now becomes a part of the inventory at Travis Air Force Base, Calif.
"While we say adios to the last of our B models, it's not the end," said Durham. "Many of the Bs will be modified to the M variant, so some of these planes will not see the bone yard for quite a few years but continue to support the United States in all its efforts."
Master Sgt. Dave Guertin was one of the 709th AS loadmasters who served with three other reservists and nine active-duty Airmen on the historical flight in and out of Afghanistan and through Europe. By the end of the 12-day mission, the mixed aircrew had moved more than 500,000 pounds of cargo and about 100 passengers.
"I thought it was interesting being a part of the final one," said Guertin, who has flown on C-5B missions since 2008. "You kind of felt like you were losing something but knew you were gaining something in return."
Guertin, who has also been flying on the newest C-5M model said he had forgotten about the difference in lighting between the two airframes.
"It was so dark on the C-5B," he said. "As a loadmaster, you can really appreciate the new lighting in the C-5M's cargo compartment. It's completely different."
The C-5 Galaxy aircraft, as a weapon system, has evolved since its inception in 1968, first from the A to B model and now with the Avionics Modernization Program, to the C-5M model. The newest C-5, referred to as the Super Galaxy has a new engine system, which delivers a 22 percent increase in thrust, a 30 percent shorter take-off roll, has a 58 percent faster climb rate, allowing significantly more cargo to be carried over longer distances.
"Preliminary results on the reliability of the C-5M are challenging the results we see on the newer and smaller C-17," said Durham. "With this renewed airframe, we hope to field a more agile and reliable C-5M fleet crewed by some of the most experienced C-5 operators and mission movers the Air Force Reserve has to offer."