VIDEO: C-17 ops in Japan

Just wrote an item for next week’s magazine about the relief efforts last month in Japan, and the performance of the C-17 in particular.Apparently Sendai airport was not fully open until 28 March following the tsunami on 11 March. The first C-17s, however, were going into Sendai on 20 March after the USAF’s 320th special tactics squadron and JSDF personnel cleared the runway.

The 320th has an interesting role: establishing drop and landing zones, combat medical care and evacuation, as well as combat search and rescue. In a war, these would be the guys in charge of repairing airstrips following their capture by US forces. Sendai, of course, was not a combat zone, but it may as well have been: wreckage of vehicles and aircraft strewn all over the runway and apron, making fixed wing ops extremely difficult. The urgency of getting aid to disaster victims would have put a great deal of pressure on the team to get the airfield up and running.

These three videos by USAF Staff Sergeant Mark Leahy give some scope of the C-17 mission to Japan, and the type of heavy kit they’re capable of getting into a key area fast.

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One Response to VIDEO: C-17 ops in Japan

  1. Eamon Hamilton 11 April, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    Japan, the United States and Australia have been making baby steps towards a trilateral air lift agreement since the RAAF got its second C17, largely centered on moving japanese units and equipment by US or Australian C17s, as a contingency against future humanitarian events in the Pacific, although a formal agreement is a while off. Events of last month could drive this yet.

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