Airmen in Japan spent 10 days training to keep the Air Force’s biggest plane flying

US Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy runway takeoff
An Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy taking off.
  • Maintainers from the 730th Air Mobility Squadron at Yokota Air Base in Japan spent 10 days at the beginning of November training on a C-5M Super Galaxy, the largest aircraft in the Air Force fleet.
  • Many bases in the Pacific have no dedicated C-5M maintenance crew, which means the maintainers based at Yokota need to be able to perform repairs if necessary.
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Yokota Air Base, Japan — Maintainers from the 730th Air Mobility Squadron spent 10 days training on a C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, November 2 to 12 on Yokota Air Base.

Yokota often serves as a refueling station for aircraft flying through the Pacific, which means a variety of transient aircraft divert through the base, often requiring maintenance.

"It's important to be knowledgeable about this aircraft because Japan, Laos, Thailand and a host of other nations in the Pacific are potential pit-stops for the C-5M." said Staff Sgt. Adrian Saetern, 515th Air Mobility Wing Regional Training Center instructor from Hickam.

Air Force airmen maintainers C-5M super galaxy
Airmen assigned to the 730th Air Mobility Squadron inspect the rear suspension on the C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft at Yokota Air Base in Japan, November 6, 2020.

Many bases in the Pacific have no dedicated C-5M maintenance crew, which leaves Yokota maintainers at the helm for repairs if necessary.

"If we're not actively working on a specific platform, we tend to lose that muscle memory," said Capt. Kris Haniff, 730th AMS maintenance officer in charge. "That makes this training extremely important and valuable. Even though we may not do these tasks on a daily basis, when the time comes, our guys will be good to go."

The 515th members also refreshed Yokota maintainers on various system diagnostics procedures throughout the aircraft.

Air Force airmen maintainers C-5M super galaxy
Airmen assigned to the 730th Air Mobility Squadron inspect the rear suspension on the C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft at Yokota Air Base in Japan, November 6, 2020.

The 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Civil Engineering Squadron firefighters, Airmen on temporary duty travel from Kadena Air Base and Japanese Self Defense Force members also joined in to train extensively on aircraft functions, with aims to familiarize any agency that might need to respond to the Super Galaxy if diverted to Yokota.

One of the goals of this training is to incorporate the multi-capable Airman concept. We want our personnel to learn operations that don't require extensive training but provide exceptional benefits, like the support and defense of our allies in the Indo-Pacific, said Haniff.

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