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Combat Art Articles

VALUE: Combat-Proven Readiness for 75 Years ... Transforming the Future!

  • Published

Reach C-17 Painting

lithograph      In the press link

Artist: Lt. Col. Warren Neary
Medium: 16"x20" oil on panel
Date: 2023

Reach 864, the flight designation for a C-17 Globemaster III commanded by Capt. Dennis Conner, delivered more than just passengers from Aug. 23 to 24, 2021. Departing Ramstein Air Base, Germany, the flight path followed through a landing at Al Udeid Air Base Qatar, and then to Hamid Karzai International Airport. The plane left Afghanistan with 456 passengers, 270 of them children, bound for safety in Qatar. There were only two loadmasters to tend to all passengers. One passenger required early medical attention from the flight nurse, Capt. Leslie Green. While in a holding pattern, another passenger, a pregnant woman, locked herself in a lavatory along with two other individuals. The flight crew determined that the pregnant passenger was in labor. Although Conner proceeded to make an emergency landing at Al Udeid, Green, assisted by Master Sgt. Leah Schmidt, helped deliver a baby girl while the plane was on approach. The crew’s journey encompassed more than 30 hours of continuous duty from alert to return to station. During that time, however, they performed tireless service in transporting these vulnerable people to safety. Humbly noting that, “the hard part, [the new mother] did by herself,” Green captured the collective sense of admiration for those going through such challenging times. Reach 864 departed Afghanistan with 456 passengers; it landed with 457, a new baby and demonstration of the Total Force’s versatility in the most unanticipated-of circumstances.

Flight crew and medical staff:
- Capt. Dennis Conner, Aircraft Commander, 701st Airlift Squadron – U.S. Air Force Reserve
- Lt. Col. Wesley Adams, Mission Pilot, 701st Airlift Squadron – U.S. Air Force Reserve
- Maj. David Gantt, Mission Pilot, 701st Airlift Squadron – U.S. Air Force Reserve
- Capt. Leslie Green, Flight Nurse, 375th Air Expeditionary Squadron – U.S. Air Force
- Master Sgt. Leah Schmidt, Load Master, 701st Airlift Squadron – U.S. Air Force Reserve
- Tech. Sgt. Dennis Hiott, Load Master, 701st Airlift Squadron – U.S. Air Force Reserve
- Master Sgt. Adam Stewart, Flying Crew Chief, 315th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron– U.S. Air Force Reserve
- Master Sgt. Joshua Lewis, Mission Essential Personnel, 315th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron – U.S. Air Force Reserve