Story by LCpl Austin Mealy on 10/18/2016
MARCH AIR FORCE RESERVE BASE, Calif. Marines with Combat Logistics Regiment 15, 1st Marine Logistics Group transported an M-88A2 Hercules to March Air Force Base to perform a strategic airlift in preparation for future deployments alongside Airmen with the Air Force Reserves, Oct. 14, 2016.
"In CLR-15 we really don't get to utilize strategic airlift much, so this gives us the opportunity to do joint training with the Air Force Reserves," said Staff Sgt. Adrian Lozano, a logistics chief with CLR-15. "We are conducting this exercise to get back to our core competencies as embarkers."
Before the M-88A2 can be loaded on to the plane it has to pass a joint inspection between Marines and Airmen. The joint inspection includes checking official documents, ensuring the load is balanced, and reviewing safety requirements before the vehicle can be certified to fly on the C-17 Globemaster III. The vehicle will flown to Combat Logistics Company 13 in Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.
Air Force C-17 crews need to maintain various requirements, such as night take-offs, total flight mileage and heavy-weight flights, the M-88A2 lift helped them to meet their quarterly obligation.
"[Our crews] don't really have a whole lot of opportunities to fly more than a few thousand pounds out of here and the 127,000-pound recovery vehicle puts them over for the rest of the year," said Tech. Sgt. Geoffrey Gaeraths, a joint inspector with 452nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, March Air Force Reserve Base.
The M-88A2 typically weighs about 137,000 pounds, but to ensure the safety of the flight the Marines reduced the load to 127,000 pounds by removing the armored side skirts, reducing the fuel level from the original 413 to 113 gallons, and taking off the auxiliary winch on the front of the vehicle.