The 62nd Airlift Wing, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., is part of Air Mobility Command and provides the Department of Defense a fast, flexible and responsive airlift capability. The 62nd Airlift Wing, together with its Reserve associate wing, the 446th Airlift Wing, provides a large part of Air Mobility Command's Global Reach airlift capability. This adaptable and reactive air mobility promotes stability in regions by keeping America's competency and character highly visible. The wing's tasking requirements range from supplying humanitarian airlift relief to victims of disasters, to airdropping troops into the heart of contingency operations in hostile areas.
The 62nd Airlift Wing's mission is to develop and sustain expeditionary Airmen to deliver precision global airlift for America.
Global Reach Capabilities
The C-17 Globemaster III is the newest, most flexible cargo aircraft to enter the airlift force. The C-17 is capable of rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in the deployment area. The aircraft is also capable of performing tactical airlift and airdrop missions when required. The inherent flexibility and performance of the C-17 improves the ability of the total airlift system to fulfill the worldwide air mobility requirements of the United States. The C-17 has an unlimited flying range with in-flight refueling, travels at speeds up to approximately 575 miles per hour and has a cargo capacity of 85 tons.
McChord Field has more than 10,200 active-duty, Reserve, Air National Guard and civilian personnel. They include more than 2,500 active duty, 2,300 Reservists and Guardsmen, and 3,946 civilians. About 30,000 military retirees make their home in the Puget Sound area.
McChord Field's total annual expenditures in fiscal year 2010 were more than $65 million. The fiscal 2010 payroll was $320 million and more than 4,000 indirect jobs were created. The estimated annual dollar value of new jobs is more than $180 million. Total dollar impact on the local economy was more than $656.8 million.
McChord Field has 48 permanently assigned C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. A C-17 crew consists of a pilot, co-pilot and loadmaster. The aircraft costs approximately $200 million per unit. The C-17 has a cruise speed of 522 mph at 28,000 feet (Mach .74). It also has a global range with in-flight refueling. Its maximum load is 170,000 pounds, and it can fit two large buses, three helicopters, one of the Army's newest tanks or other outsized cargo. In addition, it features heads-up display, airdrop capabilities of both cargo and 102 paratroopers, and is able to land on small, austere airfields - landing in as short as 3,000 feet.
McChord Field has 290 buildings, totaling 4,321,248 square feet. There are 828 housing units on base for officer and enlisted personnel and their families. There are six dormitories, with 500 bed spaces, for unaccompanied noncommissioned officers and Airmen. Temporary lodging facilities (TLF) have 20 apartments, not including 179 rooms in visiting quarters and VIP suites. The land, buildings and real property on McChord are valued at over $439 million.
The 62nd Airlift Wing is comprised of two groups, two independent squadrons and a wing staff:
· 62nd Operations Group plans and executes air and space power and plans and trains for operational levels of war.
· 62nd Maintenance Group has a single focus - to perform all maintenance on assigned C-17 aircraft.
· 62nd Airlift Wing staff includes a variety of agencies that directly support the wing commander, group commanders and the base population.
Four tenant units also share the base: 627th Air Base Group (Air Mobility Command), 446th Airlift Wing (Air Force Reserve Command), Western Air Defense Sector (Washington Air National Guard) and 22nd Special Tactics Squadron (Air Force Special Operations Command).
The 62nd Airlift Wing was activated as the 62nd Troop Carrier Wing on August 15, 1947, at McChord Field (later Air Force Base), Wash. The 4th, 7th and 8th Airlift Squadrons (formerly Troop Carrier Squadrons) were assigned to the new wing from the older 62nd Troop Carrier Group.
McChord's ability to provide global reach has been tested daily and sometimes approaches wartime intensity. From providing relief supplies to hurricane, flood, and earthquake victims both at home and abroad to flying food and medicine to the peoples of the former Soviet Union, McChord people and assets have been engaged in almost nonstop operations since the beginning. U.S. Air Force tankers and airlifters have supported peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts in Bosnia, Iraq, Cambodia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Rwanda and Haiti.
McChord Airmen played a key role in the first ever, high-altitude combat humanitarian airdrop in the early stages of Operation Enduring Freedom. With the battle between coalition forces and the Taliban raging below, C-17s delivered more than 70,000 daily humanitarian rations to war weary citizens of Afghanistan.
By the time Operation Iraqi Freedom was launched in mid-March 2003, nearly 1,000 McChord Airmen were heavily involved in defending America. At the end of March, McChord's C-17s and aircrews made history when they made a nighttime airdrop of 1,000 "Sky Soldiers" from the 173rd Airborne Brigade behind enemy lines in Northern Iraq. It was the largest combat airdrop since the invasion of Panama in December 1989 and a first for the C-17.
In 2005, McChord Airmen assisted in bringing relief to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast area. The 62nd Airlift Wing brought more than 135,000 pounds of food and water into the region and brought more than 1,000 residents of the area out to safety.
Aircrew from the 62nd Airlift Wing also participated in the largest noncombatant evacuation operation since Vietnam. In July 2006, they moved 12,703 U.S. citizens from Cyprus and Turkey where they had previously fled to escape fighting in Lebanon. In addition to aiding in the evacuation of people, McChord's Airmen delivered food, water and equipment to Cyprus to support stranded citizens awaiting evacuation.
In December 2006, a C-17 from McChord made its debut airdrop to the South Pole, Antarctica, showcasing the aircraft's reliability and versatility.
On December 18, 2007, the Air Force marked the 104th anniversary of powered flight with the first transcontinental flight of an aircraft using a blend of regular aviation and synthetic fuel. The transcontinental flight followed other successful synthetic fuel tests in C-17s and paved the way to certify the fuel blend for all C-17s.
In 2010, the 62nd Mission Support Group was separated from the wing and used to form the 627th Air Base Group. This was also time when Joint Base Lewis-McChord became official.
(Current as of June 2012)