CHARLESTON, S.C. - On an early Thursday morning, all it took was one look to the sky to see the amazing airlift capability of the U.S. Air Force.
One-by-one, nine C-17 Globemaster III's took off from Joint Base Charleston, S.C., March 27, 2014, in support of a large formation exercise dubbed "Raging Moose."
The exercise was a product of teamwork and coordination between many agencies on the joint base.
The 437th and 315th Maintenance Squadron crews were responsible for preparing aircraft for the exercise, having nine C-17s ready to launch in a specified time period. The maintenance crews and the 437th Aerial Port Squadron personnel also spent numerous hours preparing for the exercise.
While nine C-17's were being generated for the large formation exercise, there were also four aircraft preparing for real-world missions.
"It's what we do every day," said Master Sgt. William Young, 437th Maintenance Squadron Superintendent. "It can be chaotic, but we excel when the pressure is on."
"The 437th Operations Group took the generated aircraft and conducted a large formation exercise and applied our capability to launch a number of aircraft and execute a mass airdrop over a specified drop zone," said Maj. James Dolson, 437th Operations Support Squadron assistant director of operations.
Along with executing a mass airdrop, three C-17's were involved in working with soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C., performing personnel drops over a specified drop zone.
"Exercises like this give us valuable training," said Dolson. "We very rarely get to launch more than two or three aircraft at a time in formation."
"The exercise provided more than 500 operational and maintenance training objectives," said Capt. Rob Cross, 437th Maintenance Squadron assistant officer. "The exercise let us practice total force integration on a whole new level."
Exercises such as Raging Moose are considered cost effective exercises, saving the Air Force time and money. By combining the talents of the 437th Airlift Wing and the 628th Air Base Wing, the exercise allowed the integration of base personnel, and exercised each unit's ability to conduct a large scale exercise.
"The exercise was very successful," said Cross. "It showed us where we can improve and where we excelled."