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22nd AS, lifeblood of the Air Force

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A C-5M Super Galaxy assigned to the 22nd Airlift Squadron conducted a Pacific channel mission March 4-11, 2017, delivering cargo to Yokota Air Base, Japan, and Osan AB, South Korea.

The mission delivered more than 161,000 pounds of cargo and brought passengers to the Pacific theater.

"Most of the cargo brought to Yokota AB and Osan AB will either be staying there or forward deployed throughout the Pacific region," said Capt. Brett Boudreaux, 22nd AS C-5M pilot and aircraft commander for the mission. "We're taking assets from the (continental United States) and delivering them to the Pacific region, enabling the Pacific Air Force mission."

Since the new 'M' model upgrades, the C-5M can now fly direct to Yokota AB without the need to stop at either Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, or Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The aircraft can also make the trip without the need to be refueled by a tanker, this saves time, money and aircraft for the Air Force.

"The channel completely changed when we got the M model," said Boudreaux.

The 22nd AS flies Pacific channel missions routinely - approximately three per month. Each mission is vital in projecting strategic power in the Pacific region.

"PAC channel missions are the lifeblood of the Air Force," said Capt. Scott Robinson, 22nd AS C-5M pilot. "While it may not be a glamorous mission, it keeps the Air Force moving. For anyone who has moved overseas, they know how important it is to get their unaccompanied baggage on time."

Robinson added that most unaccompanied baggage are pots, pans and other essential supplies, such as clothing and uniforms for military personnel and their families.

"It's items that arrive ahead of the individual so they can live and sustain their family while waiting on their household goods to arrive," said Robinson. "It's important it shows up on time so personnel don't have to go buy new uniforms or dishes."

The C-5M does more than just fly unaccompanied baggage. Most of the items moved by the C-5M are to help out the Army and Navy.

As a Transportation Command asset, the 22nd AS supports anything the Department of Defense needs moved, said Robinson.

"The Army has oversized trucks and helicopters that wouldn't otherwise be able to be shipped," said Boudreaux. "They need them fast and the C-5M can strategically place them faster than any other airframe. It is because of the weight we can take off with, as well as our range without needing to aerial refuel that makes the C-5M vital to the PAC channel mission."

Prior to heading back to Travis AFB, California, various cargo, including a main rotor blade for a Navy SH-60 Seahawk and more than 14 pallets of unaccompanied baggage for service members being reassigned to their next duty stations, were on-loaded to be delivered back to the United States.