C-5M demos capabilities during flight for visitors

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Carlos J. Treviño Jr.
  • 433rd Airlift Wing

A group of visitors composed of 14 spouses of Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 68th Airlift Squadron and 16 Air Force and Army doctors in residency from the 59th Medical Wing, flew on a C-5M Super Galaxy orientation mission Oct. 12, 2018.

The focus of the mission was to show the roles Citizen Airmen play in the nation’s defense to the spouses and doctors who are new to the military.

While in the air, the visitors got a rare glimpse few in the military or civilian world ever see when they observed the Alamo Wing aircraft being refueled over the Great Plains with a KC-135 Stratotanker operated by Citizen Airmen with the 931st Air Refueling Wing from McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas.

One spouse, Grace Sandoval, herself an Air Force veteran who deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom with her husband Tech. Sgt.  Anthony Sandoval Jr., a 68th Airlift Squadron flight engineer, this experience helped her gain an understanding of the Citizen Airmen who fly, operate and maintain the largest aircraft in the Air Force.

“I am very proud of what my husband does for his career,” Sandoval said. “I wanted to support him as a spouse and see what his job entails. He’s been through five deployments, so I appreciate my husband serving his country. I have been in his shoes, that is why I support my husband.”

The flight was a first time experience for the new Army and Air Force members who are doing their residency with the 59th Medical Wing at Wilford Hall Medical Center and San Antonio Military Medical Center.

“The flight was pretty incredible,” Capt. Samuel Hobbs, a doctor with the 59th Medical Wing said. “It was something I had never experienced before. To be up there in this huge aircraft and to see what the Air Force is all about and what we can do. I didn’t realize we had this kind of capacity to help so many people with this aircraft.”.

Another first time visitor was Chief Master Sergeant Shana C. Cullum, command chief with the 433rd Airlift Wing, who was visibly impressed with professionalism shown by the Reserve Citizen Airmen throughout the flight.

“Today was my first time in the air on the C-5,” she said. The aerial refueling portion was memorable to her.

“That’s the kind of stuff you see in Citizen Airman magazine,” Cullum said. “When you actually see two large aircraft like that being able to have such precision and control, it is absolutely amazing.”

This type of flight is a good demonstration that helps spouses and those who do not fly understand one of the main missions Reserve Citizen Airmen do when they train on a weekend according to Cullum.

“So many times our spouses know we put a uniform on and we leave for a weekend or for a deployment, they have no idea what Reservists do,” she said. “Today hopefully connected the dots of what our Airmen actually do.  I hope they get a better understanding that it is that we just don’t go away for a weekend and come home.”

Cullum believes that the incorporation of such a diverse group of people on this flight showcases how Reserve Citizen Airmen serve in the nation’s defense.

 “It was great to see the integration of the spouses and the officers,” the command chief said. “We had a little bit of everybody, it wasn’t just about air refueling, it wasn’t just about the spouses, it was about just about everything else we as Citizen Airmen do, it was about integrating everybody, and everybody getting to see what we do.”