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March accepts AF Reserve Command's first C-17

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif. -- (From left) Brig. Gen. James Rubeor, Ron Marcott, Rep. Ken Calvert, Maj. Gen. Robert E. Duignan and Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald unveil the "Spirit of California." Air Force Reserve Command's first C-17 Globemaster III arrived here Aug. 9. General Rubeor is the 452nd Air Mobility Wing commander, Mr. Marcott is the Boeing airlift and tanker vice president, and General Duignan is the 4th Air Force commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Thomas P. Dougherty)

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif. -- (From left) Brig. Gen. James Rubeor, Ron Marcott, Rep. Ken Calvert, Maj. Gen. Robert E. Duignan and Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald unveil the "Spirit of California." Air Force Reserve Command's first C-17 Globemaster III arrived here Aug. 9. General Rubeor is the 452nd Air Mobility Wing commander, Mr. Marcott is the Boeing airlift and tanker vice president, and General Duignan is the 4th Air Force commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Thomas P. Dougherty)

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, CALIF. -- The 452nd Air Mobility Wing received Air Force Reserve Command’s first C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft in a ceremony Tuesday at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, Calif.

Maj. Gen. Robert E. Duignan, 4th Air Force commander, and an aircrew from the 452nd AMW made the flight from the Boeing’s Long Beach, Calif., facility to the base.

“We’re extremely proud and excited to receive Air Force Reserve Command’s first C-17 here at March,” General Duignan said. “It’s an extraordinary aircraft that increases our ability to accomplish our Total Force, global-reach mission, which is critical to the war on terrorism. The 452nd is the first Reserve wing with the Globemaster III, and it will continue to demonstrate the capacity of our Citizen Airmen to serve America.”

This delivery marks the first time an AFRC unit will actually “own” a C-17. Associate units at McChord Air Force Base, Wash., and Charleston AFB, S.C., share C-17s, as well as flying and maintenance responsibilities with active-duty Air Force crews.

Eight more C-17s will be delivered to the unit by January 2006 to replace the

wing’s fleet of C-141s, the last of which was retired earlier this year. The base is undergoing a $50 million facilities upgrade and infrastructure improvement to accommodate the new aircraft.

“With its unique capabilities, the C-17 is revitalizing March Air Reserve Base and ensuring that its mission remains critical and relevant well into the 21st century,” said U.S. Rep. Ken Calvert, whose district includes the base.

“When these airplanes hit the ramp at March, they won’t be there for long, they will be off taking the fight to the enemy in the war on terrorism,” said General Duignan. “This aircraft allows us to get to the fight much quicker with bigger payloads, which allows those Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen fighting on a daily basis to get the job done.”

In addition to March ARB, C-17s are based at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C.; McChord AFB, Wash.; the Air National Guard base at Jackson, Miss.; McGuire AFB, N.J.; and Altus AFB, Okla. Four C-17s are leased to the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force.

“We are open for business,” said Brig. Gen. James Rubeor, 452nd AMW commander, explaining that wing aircrews and maintainers have been training for this day for the past several years. About half of the 452nd’s aircrews and maintainers are already fully qualified on the C-17, he explained.

The C-17 fleet has amassed more than 850,000 flying hours and in the global war on terrorism and has flown combat missions for more than 1,400 consecutive days

with record-setting reliability rates. With a payload of 160,000 pounds, the C-17 can take off from a 7,600-foot airfield, fly 2,400 nautical miles and land on a dirt runway in 3,000 feet or less.