By Tech. Sgt. Carlos J. Treviño, 433rd Airlift Wing
/ Published February 28, 2019
Pete Peterson, an 89-year-old Navy vet (seated), listens as Airman 1st Class Ryan Biggs, 68th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, describes the many features of the cargo deck on the C-5M Super Galaxy Feb. 25, 2019 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. Peterson, a Navy veteran, was part of a group attending a reunion of the USS Lloyd Thomas in San Antonio. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Carlos J. Treviño)
Tech. Sgt. Kevin Meredith, 68th Airlift Squadron flight engineer, talks about his duties on the flight deck of the C-5M Super Galaxy Feb. 25, 2019, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. The group of 33 visitors learned about the glass cockpit and avionics of the largest aircraft in the Air Force inventory. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Carlos J. Treviño)
A group of 33 Navy vets and their families from the USS Lloyd Thomas Reunion Association visited the 433rd Airlift Wing to tour the C-5M Super Galaxy Feb. 25 here. The former sailors, now in their 70s and 80s, were in San Antonio for their annual reunion.
For some like Scott Sheffer, the reunion coordinator, seeing the largest aircraft in the United States’ inventory, was a reunion of a different sort.
“I saw one (a C-5) in the 1970s going into Clark Air Base in the Philippines,” said Sheffer. “It was the biggest thing I ever saw. We really enjoyed our trip here today. We enjoyed the Airmen helping us out. It was a much better tour than we expected.”
The group was hosted by aircrew from the 68th Airlift Squadron. They spent an hour learning about the aircraft’s cargo carrying capabilities, the glass cockpit, the plane’s exterior and missions the Airmen have flown around the world.
“The size of it and all this stuff,” Andy Vargo said, as he motioned to the panels in the flight engineer's area on the flight deck. “I was a throttle man in the Navy for the ship’s engines. This is fascinating,” the native of Pasadena, Maryland said.
For one Airman, a tour like this is not a one-way experience.
“I enjoy being able to talk with the people of the past who have come before us and have seen a lot of the different things, it’s different, but it’s the same today as it was when they were serving,” said Tech. Sgt. Kevin Meredith, 68th AS flight engineer. “It’s fun to see the similarities years later. It’s good to see the older generation still excited about the things we do today. It’s not lost on them, as it is lost on the general population today.”
“Being part of a military unit, you have that esprit de corps, and we enjoy supporting our military,” Sheffer said.