KNOXVILLE, Tenn. --
Aircrew from the 155th Airlift Squadron returned the 278th Armored Calvary Regiment to the McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Tennessee on June 10, 2020.
The Soldiers, along with Airmen from the 134th Security Forces Squadron, Tennessee Air National Guard, deployed at the request of Gov. Bill Lee, to Washington, D.C. in response to the civil unrest. The Soldiers and Airmen provided additional support to the Washington D.C. National Guard, law enforcement and first responders to protect life, preserve property and ensure public safety.
According to Maj Joe Hoggan, chief of weapons and tactics, this marked the end of an eight-day mission in which the 155th AS, with help from members of the 164th Air Terminal Operations Center and the 164th Airfield Management and Base Operations, transported 1,726 troops and over 300 short tons of cargo supporting multiple states including Tennessee, South Carolina, Idaho, and Utah.
In total, National Guard C-17s moved 3,628 troops and 442 short tons of cargo with C-17s from the 164th providing 48% of that troop lift and 69% of the cargo. This was the largest scale operation carried out by the 164th AW since the conversion from C-5As to C-17s in 2013. Meanwhile, global support of Air Mobility Command missions continued therefore an airplane was flying a Tanker Airlift Control Center mission in addition to the five aircraft involved with this operation. On June 9th, a new record was set for the wing when six aircraft were airborne at one time.
“Once we started that morning, we never shut our engines down or actually got off the airplane. So we were able to rapidly move back and forth, which typically would have taken a full 12 hours, we were able to execute from the time we left Smyrna, (Tennessee) to the time we’re back in Smyrna in eight hours and move about 400 troops per a plane,” said Maj James Taylor, aircraft commander.
To help streamline the in-processing and out-processing of troops, 164th ATOC was sent to Smyrna and Washington D.C. ahead of the planes. In addition, 164th Base Ops., in Memphis, provided flight planning support for all. Dozens of flight plans were handled each day to prevent delays in the crews by having to stop and file flight plans by phone or at host-station base ops.
“The forward deployment of ATOC members to Smyrna and Andrews proved to be invaluable. Having expert aerial port support at on and offload locations expedited operations and reduced ground times drastically,” said Hoggan.
According to Hogan, this mission was important because is showcased the versatility of the C-17. The aircrew could easily support hundreds of passengers and then quickly take the middle column of seats out to support tons of cargo.
“While nobody hopes for national disasters like this where the National Guard is needed, it is a privilege to be a part of the response and highlights the incredible quality and professionalism of the men and women of the 164th Airlift Wing,” said Hoggan.