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Pacific mission demonstrates C-5M upgrades

Senior Airman Elias Wilson, 22nd Airlift Squadron, offloads cargo with Airmen from the 730th Air Mobility Squadron after arriving to Yokota Air Base, Japan, March 5, 2017. The team worked together to offload nearly 50,000 pounds of various cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Senior Airman Elias Wilson, 22nd Airlift Squadron, offloads cargo with Airmen from the 730th Air Mobility Squadron after arriving to Yokota Air Base, Japan, March 5, 2017. The team worked together to offload nearly 50,000 pounds of various cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Airmen from the 22nd Airlift Squadron and the 730th Air Mobility Squadron, download cargo off of a C-5M Super Galaxy after arriving at Yokota Air Base, Japan, March 5, 2017. The team worked together to offload nearly 50,000 pounds of various cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Airmen from the 22nd Airlift Squadron and the 730th Air Mobility Squadron, download cargo off of a C-5M Super Galaxy after arriving at Yokota Air Base, Japan, March 5, 2017. The team worked together to offload nearly 50,000 pounds of various cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Capt. Scott Robinson, left, and Capt. Brett Boudreaux, both pilots assigned to the 22nd Airlift Squadron, prepare to land a C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft at Yokota Air Base, Japan, March 5, 2017. The C-5M delivered 70,000 pounds of cargo and seven passengers flying Space-Available travel during the Pacific channel mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Capt. Scott Robinson, left, and Capt. Brett Boudreaux, both pilots assigned to the 22nd Airlift Squadron, prepare to land a C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft at Yokota Air Base, Japan, March 5, 2017. The C-5M delivered 70,000 pounds of cargo and seven passengers flying Space-Available travel during the Pacific channel mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Senior Airman Elias Wilson, 22nd Airlift Squadron, secures cargo on a C-5M Super Galaxy prior to a flight to Yokota Air Base Japan, March 4, 2017. Wilson, along with two other loadmasters, secured approximately 70,000 pounds of cargo along with seven passengers flying Space-Avaliable travel. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Senior Airman Elias Wilson, 22nd Airlift Squadron, secures cargo on a C-5M Super Galaxy prior to a flight to Yokota Air Base Japan, March 4, 2017. Wilson, along with two other loadmasters, secured approximately 70,000 pounds of cargo along with seven passengers flying Space-Avaliable travel. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Staff Sgt. Matthew Larson, 22nd Aiirlift Squadron, secures cargo on a C-5M Super Galaxy prior to a flight to Yokota Air Base Japan, March 4, 2017. Larson and his team of loadmasters secured approximately 70,000 pounds of cargo along with seven passengers flying Space-Avaliable travel. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Staff Sgt. Matthew Larson, 22nd Aiirlift Squadron, secures cargo on a C-5M Super Galaxy prior to a flight to Yokota Air Base Japan, March 4, 2017. Larson and his team of loadmasters secured approximately 70,000 pounds of cargo along with seven passengers flying Space-Avaliable travel. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

A C-5M Super Galaxy, assigned to the 22nd Airlift Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, California, sits on the ramp prior to a flight to Yokota Air Base, Japan for what's known as a PAC Channel mission March 4, 2017. Since the C-5M upgrade, the aircraft is able to fly direct to Yokota AB without the need to be refueled or make a stop in Hawaii or Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidhom)

A C-5M Super Galaxy, assigned to the 22nd Airlift Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, California, sits on the ramp prior to a flight to Yokota Air Base, Japan for what's known as a PAC Channel mission March 4, 2017. Since the C-5M upgrade, the aircraft is able to fly direct to Yokota AB without the need to be refueled or make a stop in Hawaii or Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidhom)

A C-5M Super Galaxy, assigned to the 22nd Airlift Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, California, sits on the ramp prior at Travis AFB, March 4, 2017. Since the C-5M upgrade, the aircraft is able to fly direct to Yokota AB without the need to be refueled or make a stop in Hawaii or Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidhom)

A C-5M Super Galaxy, assigned to the 22nd Airlift Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, California, sits on the ramp prior at Travis AFB, March 4, 2017. Since the C-5M upgrade, the aircraft is able to fly direct to Yokota AB without the need to be refueled or make a stop in Hawaii or Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidhom)

Staff Sgt. Piere Manivong, 22nd AS, completes a pre-flight inspection of the flight controls prior to a flight to Yokota Air Base, Japan March 4, 2017. As a flight engineer, it is Manivong's job is to do pre-flight inspections of the aircraft prior to the pilots coming on board the aircraft to make sure everything is safe for the flight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Staff Sgt. Piere Manivong, 22nd AS, completes a pre-flight inspection of the flight controls prior to a flight to Yokota Air Base, Japan March 4, 2017. As a flight engineer, it is Manivong's job is to do pre-flight inspections of the aircraft prior to the pilots coming on board the aircraft to make sure everything is safe for the flight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Tech Sgt. Timothy McCarthy, 22nd AS, walks around a C-5M Super Galaxy March 4, 2017, during a pre-flight inspection. As a flight engineer, it is McCarthy's job is to do pre-flight inspections of the aircraft prior to the pilots coming on board the aircraft to make sure everything is safe for the flight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Tech Sgt. Timothy McCarthy, 22nd AS, walks around a C-5M Super Galaxy March 4, 2017, during a pre-flight inspection. As a flight engineer, it is McCarthy's job is to do pre-flight inspections of the aircraft prior to the pilots coming on board the aircraft to make sure everything is safe for the flight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Staff Sgt. Matthew Larson, 22nd Airlift Squadron, secures cargo on a C-5M Super Galaxy prior to a flight to Yokota Air Base Japan, March 4, 2017. Larson and his team of loadmasters secured approximately 70,000 pounds of cargo along with seven passengers flying Space-Avaliable travel. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)
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Staff Sgt. Matthew Larson, 22nd Airlift Squadron, secures cargo on a C-5M Super Galaxy prior to a flight to Yokota Air Base Japan, March 4, 2017. Larson and his team of loadmasters secured approximately 70,000 pounds of cargo along with seven passengers flying Space-Avaliable travel. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – A C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft from the 22nd Airlift Squadron flew a Pacific channel mission March 4 - 5, 2017, from Travis Air Force Base, California delivering cargo to Yokota Air Base, Japan

“The Yokota mission is our proof of the C-5M concept,” said Lt. Col. Cory Damon, 22nd AS commander. “The range and capabilities we can provide to the Pacific theater is vast. We are the only one that can take all this cargo to Yokota without stopping or refueling.”

“We’re able to get up to higher altitudes quicker,” said Damon. “We have the potential to save over 30 hours per mission by flying direct. The advances in technology not only help cut fuel and improve velocity, but allows AMC to support a broader area. It’s not just the C-5M and the upgrades, it’s a culture change in how we employ the mobility enterprise.”

The C-5A B, and C models underwent the M model upgrade in 2014. The new ‘M’ model upgrade increase fuel efficiency and stay in the air longer, extending its global mobility range and capabilities.

“We save gas because we’re flying the ‘M’; we save time because we don’t need to do it in two days, we can do it in one; we save people because we don’t need to send three people, we can send two pilots and fewer load masters, we save enroute structure because we don’t have to get gas at Hickam,” said Lt. Col. Richard Linton, 22nd AS operations officer.

Because of the C-5 upgrades and efficiency of the 22nd AS, mobility Air Forces wings globally don’t require the extra maintainers to service the C-5M during the Pacific channel missions. This allows the maintenance allocations to be spread to other bases where they are needed. 

The 22nd AS is routinely flying missions to Yakota AB, around three times per month.

“We are humbled by the fact that we do this every day. It’s normal for us,” said Damon. “It’s just another mission to most of us, but when we step back and look at what we enabled. The C-5 is a strategic asset, projecting strategic power because no one else has a C-5 and the capabilities that it provides.”

The 22nd AS has a rich history in the Pacific.

The 22nd AS was originally the 22nd Transport Squadron, activated in April 1942 at Essendon Airdrome near Melbourne, Australia. In July 1942, it was redesignated the 22nd Troop Carrier Squadron and was a prime participant in the South Pacific.

“The mission in the Pacific has a lot of historical significance, as well with our heritage since we started in the Pacific in World War II,” said Damon. “Anything we do in the Pacific goes back to that heritage.”

The 22nd flew many important missions form Tachikawa, Japan, flying the C-124 Globemaster before being redesignated the 22nd Military Airlift Squadron and was deactivated in 1958. In 1972, the 22nd was reactivated at Travis AFB as part of the 60th Military Airlift Wing flying the C-5A Galaxy until falling under Air Mobility Command at Travis in 1992.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect current capabilities of the C-5M.