MEM Welcomes the C-5 Aircraft Arrival

November 5, 2004

(November, 2004) The first C-5 Galaxy aircraft arrived at Memphis’ 164th Airlift Wing of the Tennessee Air National Guard, Memphis International Airport last month and the arrival was marked with an official mission-change ceremony for the wing, and a base-wide celebration.

The conversion from the C-141 Starlifter to the C-5 Galaxy marks the seventh airplane that has served here since 1946. The 164th Airlift Wing operated the C-141 Starlifter, a smaller version of the C-5, from 1992 until its retirement in May 2004.

The Lockheed heavy logistics military transport aircraft is the new workhorse of the unit’s airlift mission that begins with training the aircraft maintenance crew. Along with the anticipated training will come an increase in manpower of about 100 in the Maintenance Group and approximately 120 in the Technician Force over the next few years.

“The C-5 Galaxy is one of the largest and heaviest aircraft in the world. It will enhance our mission effectiveness significantly,” said Col. David Burton, Wing Commander. “Its payload capacity enables it to carry fully equipped, combat-ready troops to any area of the world on short notice and provide the field support necessary to maintain a fighting force.”

Since 1970, the C-5 has opened unprecedented dimensions of strategic airlift in support of national defense and is invaluable to the Air Force mission and worldwide humanitarian relief efforts.

Two additional C-5’s are due to be delivered in January 2005. Over the next three years , a total of nine C-5’s will be transferred to the 164th Airlift Wing.

The 164th Airlift Wing began as the 155th Fighter Squadron with the P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft. The unit began its current military airlift mission in 1961.