Army Vehicles Go Airborne As C-5 Shows Off Airlift Muscle Before Airshow

  • Published
  • By Julian Hernandez
  • 433rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

433rd Airlift Wing Reserve Citizen Airmen had a unique opportunity to support the Great Texas Airshow happening Apr. 6-7 at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, all while getting some critical training to improve the unit’s readiness. 

Alamo Wing air crew members teamed up with Soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division to load an M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank onto a C-5M Super Galaxy. 

The C-5M and its crew traveled from Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas to Robert Gray Army Airfield at Fort Cavazos, Texas for the pickup on April 4th.  

It took the joint Air Force-Army team only a few hours to load up the tank along with a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, successor to the beloved Humvee, before making the flight to Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph to set up for the Great Texas Airshow.  

Both the C-5M and the M1A2 will be on display at the airshow, giving their crews an opportunity to engage with the public and talk about their capabilities. 

Maj. Thomas Fedesna, 356th Airlift Squadron chief pilot and aircraft commander for this mission, pointed out after the mission, “Taking the Abrams, it’s not a normal thing for us... there was a lot of training going on.” 

Fedesna added, “We managed to accomplish 100% of what we needed training wise... it was a great opportunity for everyone on board.” 

For the 68th AS loadmasters supporting this mission, bringing the Abrams aboard allowed them to hone a highly specialized skillset they don’t often get to train. 

“We always want to practice how we play,” said Senior Master Sgt. John Krueger, a 68th AS loadmaster. “Whatever that next conflict may be, we know it’s going to be total force.” 

Krueger added, “Outside of us just moving these items, knowing we can work with our sister service components, understanding their force structure and how they operate, all of this is integral to us being ready on a moment's notice.”    

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Connor Beckman, a 4th Squadron 9th Cavalry platoon leader and the officer in charge of the tank, said “It was the first time for a lot of these guys loading it onto C-5. That I know of, no one has done that from our unit, I certainly haven't.”  

Beckman acknowledged his excitement, “This is a unique experience, and it is my first time working with another branch... nothing else compares to this.” 

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Dustin VanFleet, 2nd Brigade 1st Cavalry Division mobility officer, noted the experience allowed his unit to learn more about an expeditionary capability they don’t normally have access to. 

“The Air Force is always accommodating and will take us anywhere, anytime,” VanFleet said. “There were a couple learning moments, especially when it comes to their cargo procedures.” 

VanFleet emphasized, “Inches matter, pounds matter... and what right looks like for us might be different from them, so being able to mesh and be cohesive across the joint logistics enterprise definitely has helped 2nd Brigade become more lethal and effective.” 

Prior to takeoff, 433rd AW Commander Col. William Gutermuth summed up the importance of this mission for his Airmen and outlined the value of the Alamo Wing’s participation in the Great Texas Airshow. 

“Remember you are representing the wing and the Air Force on this mission,” Gutermuth said. "You’ll be working with our partners from the joint force, especially the Army, and they take great pride in their mission and equipment, as we do in our mission and our jet, so take that pride with you everywhere you step, and I want you to know I am proud of you.” 

Gutermuth concluded by saying, “This is a great opportunity to engage with the public and show them what we’re about and pass that pride along, because ultimately... this is their military.”