News: C-17 makes inaugural landing at FOB Shank
By Task Force Bayonet Public Affairs
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III made its inaugural landing at the recently constructed airfield at Forward Operating Base Shank Sept. 9.
The C-17 is the largest cargo plane in use in Regional Command-East, and its landing provides new opportunities for the soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team and RC-East.
“The significance of the C-17 landing today is monumental to the logistics here in Afghanistan,” said U.S. Army Maj. Pete Gilbert, a native of Laurel, Md.
“It’s a great capability, not only for the brigade, but I think for all of RC-East,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Curtis Johnson, a native of New Haven, Ind., and the 173rd Brigade Support Battalion commander. “As FOB Shank becomes a strategic hub, it’s basically going to act as a pressure relief valve of all of RC-East and allow us to get men, weapons and equipment in here much quicker.”
Until now, the 173rd depended on UH-60 Black Hawk and Ch-47 Chinook helicopters and ground transportation to move personnel and equipment throughout Logar and Wardak provinces, their area of operation.
“This allows us to bring in personnel, as well as equipment by fixed wing and frees up those rotary-wing assets for key missions throughout AO Bayonet, as well as RC-East,” said Johnson.
The new air field has been two years in the making, and thanks to the 173rd and the Army Corps of Engineers, the first C-17 landing was a success.
“I think it went excellent,” said Gilbert. “I talked to the pilot, and he said there were no issues on the approach or on the landing itself, so that’s great news.”
“I think overall it went well,” added Johnson. “This air field was built to standard by the Corps of Engineers, and again, I think it will be a great capability not only for the brigade, but all of RC-East.”