Mexico experiences their first C-17
By Maj. Wayne Capps, 315th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 08, 2016
BAHIAS DE HUATULCO, MEXICO -- It is extremely rare when a C-17 aircrew, with a combined 173 years of total flight experience, lands in a place they never visited.
But yesterday, Reservists from the 315th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Charleston, S.C. flew a mission supporting the Coast Guard into Bahias de Huatulco, Mexico.
“We were originally scheduled to deliver humanitarian aid to Nicaragua, but the Coast Guard had a helicopter that was stuck in Mexico because of maintenance issues,” said aircraft commander, Lt. Col. Jeff Smith, 300th Airlift Squadron pilot. “I think we are the first C-17 to ever stop here.“
Bahias de Huatulco is a small tourist and beach town in the most southwest portion of Mexico and the locals were extremely interested in meeting the aircrew and seeing the massive C-17 up-close.
As the C-17 arrived at Bahias de Huatulco International Airport, most of the airport employees came out to see the C-17 and take pictures. “This is a beautiful aircraft and everyone is taking selfies with it,” said Gustavo Galicia, a cargo specialist at the airport. “We are all excited that you came here.”
The airfield manager confirmed that the 315 AW aircraft was the first C-17 to ever land at the small thatched roof airport. “Well, I can honestly say that I have never flown into an airport that was an actual hut,” said Maj. Ryan Fleming, 300th AS pilot.
The aircrew quickly loaded the broken helicopter into the back of the jet and took off.
“It’s not every day that a crew this seasoned will fly into place where they have never been,” said Smith. “But, I guess that is what being in the Reserve is all about.”