C-17 demo team rocks the ROK at Osan air show
By Senior Airman Lauren Main, 15th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 23, 2012
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- More than 100 thousand visitors looked to the skies this weekend as the C-17 Globemaster III demonstration team flew over Osan Air Base Oct. 20 and 21.
The annual "Air Power Day" air show attracted aviation enthusiasts from around the country. The C-17 Globemaster III demonstration team, assigned to the 535th Airlift Squadron, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, traveled more than 5,000 miles to showcase one of the Air Force's most capable cargo aircraft.
"The [purpose of the] C-17 demonstration is to project a positive image of the U.S. Air Force throughout the Pacific area of responsibility," said Capt. Chris Ross, a C-17 demonstration team pilot assigned to the 535 AS. "It's to show our capabilities to our allies and strengthen international ties by demonstrating the C-17's capabilities."
Following the aerial demonstration, the jet was converted into a static display to allow U.S. military families, Republic of Korea citizens and ROK Air Force Airmen to venture into the belly of the "beast" and tour the jet's cargo bay and flight deck. Airmen from the 535 AS were standing by to greet them, answer their questions, and even take photos with the crowd as they filtered through the jet.
"I especially enjoyed meeting all of the Korean nationals who were veterans of the Korean War," said Capt. Bart Murphy, a C-17 pilot assigned to the 535 AS. "They are very grateful to the U.S. military for our support during the war, and you can still feel a sense of camaraderie."
The partnership between the Airmen of the ROK Air Force and U.S. Air Force was evident as squadron patches and handshakes were exchanged between forces. Many Korean citizens who witnessed the C-17 in flight waited for more than an hour in line to view the cockpit of the aircraft and have an opportunity to speak to the pilots.
"Our goal is to build a relationship with the community and project a good public perception of the Air Force," said Ross. "The people [we've met here] have a really positive attitude toward the U.S. Air Force."
The C-17 demonstration team currently has three more air show performances scheduled around the world with more to come next summer, with each opportunity providing a chance for the team to display combat airpower worldwide.