Carolina skies turn grey during large formation exercise
By Michael Dukes, 315th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 31, 2017
JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Aircrews from the 315th and 437th Airlift Wings took off the morning of May 25, from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, in 18 C-17 Globemaster IIIs as part of a large formation exercise over Carolina skies.
Exercise Bonny Jack was combined with an Army joint forcible entry exercise that included about 1,600 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
“Exercises like this build teamwork and help our aircrews to stay sharp. No doubt, the best in the world at what they do,” said Col. Jeanine McAnaney, 315th AW vice commander.
McAnaney, who was flying in one of the participating jets said, “It’s a win-win-win opportunity anytime we get a chance to work with our active duty partners at the 437th as well as the Army’s mighty 82nd Airborne Division! We all get better at what we do, so when the call to action comes, there’s nobody better prepared.”
After taking off from Joint Base Charleston, the 18 aircraft gave a rare spectacle for Charlestonians as they flew in close formation along the Cooper River and over the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. bridge. A short time later the jets landed at Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina, where they picked up 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers.
In coordination with the C-17’s packed with paratroopers, three prepositioned Charleston jets carrying the Army’s heavy support equipment to be dropped on the same landing zone.
As the jets flew over the LZ, jumpmasters and loadmasters continued to peer out the paratrooper doors to check conditions. But despite fair skies, the DZ safety officer called off the jump due to high winds. The paratroopers seemed disappointed by the news, especially since they were hoping to commemorate the division’s 100 years of service and sacrifice.
The C-17’s returned the paratroopers to Pope Field before returning home after a long day.