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McCHORD AFB - 2000 TO 2010
"A New Beginning"

PHOTO BY Herbert Ade-Thurow / airliners.net

" Let's Roll ! " were the last words heard from Todd Beamer, a passenger on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.  In late 2001, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper directed the application of special nose art on select aircraft “to honor America’s spirit, dedication and resolve following the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.” The U.S. Air Force adopted Mr. Beamer’s slogan as a theme for a nose art design for their aircraft. In a short ceremony on March 18, 2002 62d Airlift Wing Commander Colonel Paul Selva presented the “Let’s Roll” nose art for the wing on C-17A 00-0174 (above).

2000 - 2005

                 Photo by Tech. Sgt. Lance Cheung /usaf

Two fully armed 123rd Fighter Squadron / 142nd Fighter Wing  F-15A Eagles fly a combat air patrol mission over the Pacific Northwest. For months after the terrorist attacks, the 142nd FW maintained aircraft on alert at McChord AFB and their base in Portland, Oregon.


Because of the 62d AW's conversion to the C-17, the 2000 Airlift Rodeo was held at Pope AFB, NC. Both the 62d and the 446th AW sent C-141and C-17 teams to compete in the events. After the smoke cleared the 446th was once again named the best C-141 wing.

During a  January 21, 2001 change of command ceremony inside Oregon Air National Guard's main Hangar, Col. Garry C. Dean assumed command of the 142nd Fighter Wing becoming the units first man of color to do so. Since joining the Wing at the rank of Captain in 1990, the 1978 Air Force Academy Graduate, who is  African American, has been a racial trailblazer, becoming the units first man of color to become a fighter pilot, the first to be promoted to Colonel, and the first to hold numerous commands within the wing including Command of the 123rd Fighter Squadron "Redhawks" and later 142d Fighter Wing Vice Commander at the Portland based wing.

On September 11, 2001 four commercial airliners were used by to launch history's  worst attack against the US by any foe. As the airliners stuck New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon, controllers at McChord's Western Air Defense Sector gave orders for the fighters at the Sectors four alert sites to maintain a runway alert status, parked, armed and engines running at the end of each sites runway . Shortly thereafter, all  jets on runway alert were ordered back to their alert hangars to maintain battle station status (pilots on alert duty inside their cockpits) this status was maintained until almost noon. 

Later that afternoon, WADS controllers identified a blip headed for the US West Coast, a Boeing 747. By this time, all aircraft over the United States had been ordered to the ground with all transoceanic aircraft inbound to the United States restricted from entering US airspace. WADS gave the "scramble" order two F-16C's of the 144th Fighter Wing/194th Fighter Squadron (California ANG) to identify the inbound 747. The  F-16 were cleared for a afterburner takeoff and dash to intercept the 747. The California Guardsmen with help from  WADS Ground Controllers intercepted the 747 and escorted the jumbo jet to San Francisco International Airport. The airliner was low on fuel and the pilot felt that he couldn't reach an Airport in Mexico or Canada. Earlier that day, another WADS unit on duty in the East coast to found themselves the middle of this days tragic events. 

                   PAINTING by Rick Herter-www.rickherter.com

Aviation Artist Rick Herter's painting "First Pass" depicts Major. Dean Eckman lead pilot in a three plane element from Detachment 1, 119th Fighter Wing ND ANG, flying over the Pentagon shortly after Hijackers crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the southwest side of the building. This "pass"  in F-16A S/N 82-0926 was histories first combat sortie in the defense of the Pentagon and the US Capitol. 


Shortly after the two commercial jetliners were flown into the Twin Towers in New York City, F-16 ADF's (Air Defense Fighter) from the North Dakota Air Guard's Detachment 1, 119th Fighter Wing were scrambled to New York from their location at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. The unit has maintained a detachment of two F-16's on alert at the base since late 2000 and is under the command of the  Northeast Air Defense Sector, Rome NY. 

On their way to the site of Trade Center attack , the three fighters flown by  Maj. Dean Eckman, Maj. Brad Derrig; and Capt. Craig Borgstrom were diverted back to Washington, D.C. area after a third hijacked airliner was flown into the Pentagon. As the F-16's neared the city the pilots were directed to fly a Combat Air Patrol (CAP) around the D.C. area and were also given the chilling orders to shoot down any threatening civilian airliner, this would be the beginning of a CAP around the area that would last for months.

Radar Controllers and fighters assigned to the Western Air Defense Sector and other Active, Guard, and Reserve units flew CAP's in the sky's of America, 24 hours a day in the first days following September 11. In a operation codenamed "Noble Eagle" American and Canadian fighters flew more than 20,000 air defense missions in the operation compared with only 150 in 2000. More than 13,000 people, 100 fighters, and a total of 150 tankers and AWACS surveillance planes joined the effort. Fighters on strip alert scrambled against potential targets 320-plus times.    

In a response to the terrorist attacks against America on September 11, 2001, President George Bush  initiates  war against terrorism named Operation Infinite Justice, later renamed Operation Enduring Freedom. McChord units supported these efforts by airlifting troops and supplies destined for Afghanistan. McChord C-17 also helped in a humanitarian airdrops that hundreds of thousands of the rations for starving Afghans.  


The aircrew and well-wishers of McChord's last C-141 StarLifter mission gather around before the plane's departure to Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ for storage.


On March 11, 2002 a team of 13 Air Force Reservists and one active-duty member flew the last offshore C-141 mission for the 446 AW. On March 19 C-141B 66-7955 flown by members of the Active duty 62 AW started out on what would be the last mission for StarLifters at McChord, both missions flying cargo to stations across the globe.

On April 9, 2002, the McChord community said their goodbyes to a loyal friend. C-141B 65-000267 wearing the signatures of current and past crews who flew and maintained the Starlifter at McChord, took off on her final fight into retirement. What was once home to a fleet of 48 C-141's, McChord will now perform its current Airlift mission with the very capable C-17A Globemaster III.

On June 20, 2002 McChord received it's 34th C-17A, S/N 00- 0187 from Boeing's Long Beach Factory. This would be the last factory delivered Globemaster for the Wing until May 2003. 

After more than a decade of violating UN Security Council Resolutions imposed against the country, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein would be presented with an ultimatum from US President George Bush in September of 2002.  In a speech addressing the UN General Council, President Bush challenging the organization to swiftly enforce its own resolutions against Iraq stated “The conduct of the Iraqi regime is a threat to the authority of the United Nations, and a threat to peace. Iraq has answered a decade of U.N. demands with a decade of defiance. “We cannot stand by and do nothing while dangers gather. We must stand up for our security, and for the permanent rights and hopes of mankind. By heritage and by choice, the United States of America will make that stand.”

Months later the UN Security Council would unanimously approve Resolution 1441 imposing tough new arms inspections on Iraq with in days inspectors would enter the country, unfortunately the Iraqi Government were not fully cooperative. In late December, President Bush would approve the deployment of U.S. Forces to the Persian Gulf; McChord personnel and their C-17’s would again play an important role in the Gulf region.    

On August 30, 2002 at 1100 hrs the first of 13 C-17's 62d AW took off at 30 second intervals from the McChord runway to take part in what was at that time the largest C-17 formation. The mission, drawing personnel from 62d AW & 446th AW included 635 paratroopers from the Army's 1st Special Forces Group, the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment based at nearby Ft. Lewis, and McChord's 22nd Special Tactics Squadron.


Loaded paratroopers five 62d AW C-17 prepare for take off before participating in the largest C-17 formation over McChord. The mission ended with the delivery of more than 600 paratroopers to a landing zone at near by Ft. Lewis.    

On December 10, 2002 a McChord C-17 was rocked after an explosion the aircrafts number 2 engine shortly after takeoff from Baghdad International Airport. This was not an accident, the Pratt and Whitney engine was hit what was believed to be an infrared guided shoulder-launched Surface-To-Air missile. The crew from the 62d AW safely retuned the plane to Baghdad with only one minor injury to the 16 crewmembers and passengers. This incident was the first combat related damage to any C-17.  

"The impact just shuddered the plane," said Capt. Paul Sonstein, the mission's aircraft commander. The crew immediately started going through emergency checklists, and planning their return to the airport. With Captain Sonstein flying the plane, co-pilot 1st Lt. Andrew Oiland ran the checklist and worked the radio. Behind him sat another C-17 pilot, Capt. Anne Lueck, who watched over the cockpit to ensure nothing was missed.

Tech. Sgt. Jim Alexander, a Reserve loadmaster at McChord, had the best view of the engine from his jump seat behind Capt. Sonstein. "We had a very large flame coming out of the top of the engine, it looked like a flamethrower sticking out of the top." With Sergeant Alexander scanning the engine and monitoring the fire, the C-17s other on-board loadmaster and fellow 446th Reservist, Staff Sgt. Eric Olson, was downstairs taking care of the passengers and coordinated everyone's escape once they landed.

Perfect partnership between personnel from “Team McChord’s” active duty and reserve C-17 Wings, the 62d and 446th Airlift Wings saved the lives of Sixteen persons, (including the five crew members) and the $200 million dollar airlifter.  

Elaine Thompson/Associated Press 

Vice President Dick Cheney pins the bronze star on Air Force Maj. Brian S. Robinson during a ceremonies at McChord in which he and other Airmen and Soldiers received metals for their heroic deeds during major Combat Operations in Iraq.

In January of 2003 additional personnel and aircraft from both the 62d and 446th Airlift Wings would deploy to locations all around the world in support airlift operations. By the end of January all McChord Aircraft supporting this effort would fly their missions from Charleston AFB, SC, the only East coast C-17 Base. Similar C-17 stage operations had been operating into Afghanistan from a base in Germany. After repeated noncompliance to UN demands Operation Iraqi Freedom begins. “On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein’s ability to wage war,” Bush says in an address to the nation.  During the time of war McChord personnel would be in the thick of the fight.

On Under the cover of darkness at a forward operation location at Aviano, Italy on March 26, 2003, active duty and reserve crews from McChord and Charleston AFB, S.C. and 15 C-17’s led by then 62d AW Commander Col. Bob Allardice would fly into combat in to the hostile sky’s of Northern Iraq. The nine-hour mission, covering distance roughly the equivalent of Seattle to St. Louis, delivered 1,000 members of the Army's 173rd Airborne Brigades "Sky Soldiers" into to an area north of Baghdad. This mission, the largest combat airdrop since the invasion of Panama in December 1989 in Operation Just Cause, was the first combat insertion of paratroopers using C-17's .

photo by Tech. Sgt. Stephen Faulisi                                                                              USAF

Troops from the Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade prepare to board the 62d Airlift Wing's "Spirit of 9-11, Let’s Roll” the transport was one of 15 Globemasters from the 62d and 437th AW used in the first combat insertion for the C-17. 

To avoid possible small arms fire the night of the airdrop, C-17s used "tactical descents," dropping at a rate of about 4,000 feet per minute, before leveling off to drop the 1,000 Army paratroopers from the 173rd, who later secured the airfield. Including the five nights that followed, the Bashur mission totals were impressive: 17 C-17s; 62 missions; 2,175 passengers; 3,060 short tons of cargo, including M-A1 Abrams tanks; 408 vehicles. "There's a huge amount of pride when you're involved in an operation like this," said Col. Allardice, "We (trained) for years with the Army to be able to project power anywhere in the world. To finally get the opportunity to execute that kind of mission is a big thrill."

 In April 2003,  McChord's green tail flash would be a common sight to viewers watching the rescue and return of the POW's (Prisoners of War) from the Army’s  507th maintenance Company held after weeks in captivity in Iraq. C-17’s (00-0181 & 00-0183) would be called upon to fly these noble missions. 


 photo by smSgt. David H. Lipp / usaf

 Lt. Col. Dana S. Mullenhour of the North Dakota ANG’s 119th Fighter Wing steers her F-16 through a shower celebrating the completion of 60,000 accident-free flying hours in the F-16 Fighting Falcon for the 119th Fighter Wing.

During a two-versus-two tactical intercept training mission on May 14, 2003, F-16’s from the North Dakota ANG’s 119 FW established a new flight safety record for Air National Guard Fighting Falcons. Hours compiled during the training flight pushed the wings accident-free hour total passed 60,000 hours with out a loss of an aircraft or pilot. Since converting into the F-16 in 1989, The "Happy Hooligans" have flown more than 38,729 sorties in the Air Defense Fighter version of the Falcon, achieving 50,000 accident-free flying hours on May 17, 2001 and 40,000 hours on Nov. 3, 1998. “The Happy Hooligans have an unparalleled safety record, when you examine the facts,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Haugen, North Dakota Adjutant General and a former 119th FW Commander.  “We’ve now flown beyond 60,000 hours in F-16s, we flew more than 51,000 hours in F-4 Phantom fighters, and before that, another 21,000 hours in F-101 Voodoo fighters.” The Hooligans' last aircraft accident occurred 25 years ago when the unit was flying the F-101B Voodoo interceptor.   


A C-17 Aircraft Commander reviews navigation charts with his Co-Pilot  from the cockpit before a flight.  


On September 2, 2004 McChord's 62d AW & 446th AW welcomed their last factory "fresh" C-17 scheduled to enter the bases fleet which is scheduled to contain 52 brand new and "2nd hand" aircraft.  The C-17 flown to McChord by Brig Gen Kip Self Deputy Director of Operations for the Air Mobility Command and airmen of the 446th AW was the 124th C-17 delivered to the USAF. 

The next day, McChord welcome back crews and aircraft dispersed to bases across the country during a runway rehabilitation project that lasted nearly one month. Along with a major resurfacing, a new Assault Landing Zone lighting system was added to the McChord runway that will allow crews to practice Night Vision Goggle and Assault landing approaches at McChord. 

                          photo by Staff Sgt. Dennis J. Henry Jr. / usaf

F-15A Eagles from the Oregon Air National Guard’s 123d Fighter Squadron / 142d Fighter Wing  prepare for take off during William Tell 2004 at Tyndall Air Force Base, FL on Nov. 12, 2004.  Since converting to the F-15 in 1989, the "Red Hawks"  have participated in the last competitions. 

After an eight-year hiatus, the Air Combat Command announced Tyndall AFB would be the host for the 50th Anniversary William Tell Weapons Meet during November 8 through 19 in 2004. Western Air Defense Sectors 123d Fighter Squadron “Redhawks” from the 142d Fighter Wing, Oregon ANG, won the right to fight other F-15 units from other Air Force commands for the prestigious General Daniel "Chappie" James, Jr. Fighter Interceptor Team award, the award given to the top team in the event. With the oldest F-15’s the meet (and the oldest F-15 in the USAF inventory) the “Red Hawks” proved to be a competitive foe for it’s active counterparts during the entire competition. After taking the lead on the last day of the competition the 123d lost it’s bid for the championship on the last flight flown at William Tell 04 from the eventual meet winner the 19th FS, Elmendorf AFB, AK.  

On Dec 26 2004, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake occurred off the west coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. generated tsunamis which swept across Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and India triggering one of the most intensive and challenging humanitarian air operations for the since the Berlin Airlift. Within 36 hours of reports of the massive disaster, Air Force aircraft were taking off from Yokota AB, Japan, carrying relief supplies to U Tapao. Less than a day-and-a-half later, C-130 from the 36th Airlift Squadron (once assigned to McChord from 1975-1989) and helicopters were delivering those supplies to survivors. On Dec. 29 McChord units joined the effort supporting the C-130’s providing critical airlift within the tsunami area.

 In the Tsunami relief operation named “Unified Assistance”, More than 2,000 airmen from 100 Air Force units and 14 bases, supporting or flying some 30 Air Force aircraft that conducted more than 1,400 sorties in the region. McChord aircrews and maintainers and their four C-17s provided support to the effort from U Tapao Thailand. 

Despite the vast distances and the often crude or damaged facilities they had to use, the Air Force aircraft and personnel overcame those obstacles with unmatched speed, joined in the theater by personnel and equipment from the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, and Coast Guard and 14 other nations. The US airlift effort eclipsed previous humanitarian relief missions in the amount of materiel it moved daily, averaging 522,000 pounds of food, water, and other critical supplies per day over the 47 days of intense operations.

                 photo by Kevin J. Tosh Jr / USAF

McChord Airmen load pallets of fuel onto a C-17 Globemaster III to support the first polar airdrop for C-17's. About 10,000 gallons of fuel were dropped to help National Science Foundation scientists near the North Pole.


Active-duty and Reserve Airmen from the 62nd and 446th Airlift Wings participated in the first polar airdrop in the C-17 Globemaster III on April 12, 2005.  In the  mission named Operation Deep Freeze, crews flew a 12 hour non-stop flight from McChord to airdrop almost 10,000 gallons of fuel to National Science Foundation scientists on the North Pole. The mission required two C-17s to descend over the frozen waterway to an altitude of about 1,000 feet, after the aircrafts large cargo doors opened, gravity would pull the bundles out of the plane, a parachute on each fuel pallet would open to slow the pallet down for a soft landing on small island used for the drop zone. The last polar airdrop was conducted in 2001 by the C-141B StarLifter.

In the May 2005, the DoD's Base Realignment and Closure commissions report contained recommendations for sweeping changes in the U.S. Military structure, McChord and its associated units were not left out with merger between McChord and nearby Fort Lewis heading the list of Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) recommendations. Another unexpected announcement from the BRAC report was the proposed transfer of  Oregon ANG's 142nd Fighter Wing's F-15's, a unit assigned to McChord's Western Air Defense Sector. 

Throughout 2005 many major construction projects around the base came to an end, and many older buildings were refurbished or torn down. A complete renovation to McChord's historic Building 100 also know as the  "Castle" concluded with the Wing Command and other organization returning to the one of the first structures build at McChord Field. Another landmark at McChord, the Main Gate, was reopened after nearly one year of construction and detours. The new main gate, featuring many security upgrades was the first of 3 new or refurbished entry points to open on the 9th of June.

After a three year hiatus caused by worldwide operations stemming from the September 11 attacks, AMC resumed the commands Worldwide Air Mobility Rodeo on June 19, 2005 in June of 2005. Teams from around he world came to McChord to compete in the week long event flying various cargo aircraft. The "home team" from the 446th AW proved they are the best of the best by being named the Best C-17 Wing during the Rodeo.

         photo by Kevin J. Tosh Jr / USAF

446th Airlift Wing Rodeo team members celebrate their winning of the Best C-17 Wing trophy during the 2005 Air Mobility Rodeo closing ceremony on June 24.


As they have done in the past, units from McChord participated in one of the largest humanitarian airlift missions in history, effected by the largest natural disaster in US history, Hurricane Katrina. Not knowing what to In the late hours of September 1st, crews readied one of  the wings C-17 (89-0060) later flying to Charleston AFB, SC to pick up relief supplies and seat pallets and then on to  Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans to offload supplies and take on survivors. Over the next 3 days other personnel and aircraft from McChord combined to evacuate well over 1,000 survivors to Georgia, Arkansas, and Texas, a number of Rescuers, and their equipment (including helicopters, trucks and bulldozers), and 133 tons of Meals Ready to Eat (MRE's) and water. 

Not more than a month later McChord aircraft and personnel were once again called to action to assist survivors of yet another unprecedented natural disaster, a major earthquake in Pakistan. In the early days of this relief mission McChord crews deliver more than 60 tons of food, water, medicine, shelter and blankets. 

On October 10, 2005 a 60 year airlift legacy ended with the closure of Rhein-Main Air Base in Germany, the former  hub of the Berlin Airlift in the late 40's. To honor the importance of this base, a McChord C-17 (98-0049) was christened as the "Spirit of Rhein Main". 

After White House review and approval of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) recommendations, the joining of McChord AFB and Ft Lewis took a step closer to reality The November 8 approval contained 12 such mergers across the country, but , before recommendations became law, the Office of the Secretary of Defense directed a study on how these mergers will work best for all parties involved,  Joint-Base Lewis McChord was one of 3 under review. Two earlier recommendations, the closure of the McChord Clinic  and the transfer of F-15 Eagles from the Oregon Air National Guard were removed from the final draft. 


After  fighting erupted between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in early July 2006, Pentagon and U.S. State Department officials devised plans to evacuate some 25,000 people out of Lebanon using an “air bridge”. C-17’s from McChord and other bases jumped into action transporting more than 1,200 of those displaced American citizens  from bases in Europe to McGuire AFB, NJ. Evacuees, many of them dual citizens were women and children who started their journey aboard Navy ships from Lebanon to Cypress, where they boarded C-17s ultimately bound for McGuire AFB.

On August 31 2006, AMC Commander and former 62d AW commander Gen. Duncan McNabb was on hand to unveil McChord’s latest honor for  local resident Col. Joe Jackson, a McChord C-17 painted in honor of the Metal of Honor recipient. The C-17 The Spirit of Joe M. Jackson” (s/n 00-0184) unveiled in a base wide  ceremony  was the second Globemaster III named for a medal of honor recipient, the other being The Spirit of John L. Levitow” (s/n 96-0005)flying with the 437th AW at Charleston AFB, SC.

         Photo by Forest Banks / Raytheon Inc.
A McChord C-17 performs history's first air drop over the South Pole

On December 20, Airmen from the 62nd and 446th Airlift Wings again participated in their annual resupply mission for members of the National Science Foundation team in a mission named Operation Deep Freeze. This mission differed from those in the past, this year crews used the C-17’s great ability to off load cargo by air, a first for C-17’s.  

Retirements are always very special, aircraft retirements can be bitter sweet, and this one was no different. On December 26, 2006 North Dakota ANG, pilot and Operations Group commander Lt. Col. Brad Derrig flew F-16A ADF 82-0929 from his Fargo base to McChord for static display. Five years earlier, the then Major Derrig in -929 and 2 other pilots from the "Happy Hooligans" of the 119th Fighter Wing's detachment at Langley AFB VA scrambled into the air after terrorists hijackers over Washington DC on Sept 11, 2001. 

Weeks after Col. Derrig taxied his F-16 into the McChord "Alert Barns" he and other ”Hooligan" pilots would fly their last five F-16's to Davis-Monthan for storage closing out the units 40+ year history in fighters. The unit will convert to the MQ-1 Predator  unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).


 Lt. Col. Brad Derrig, North Dakota ANG,  taxis F-16A 82-0929 into retirement .

McChord once again played host more than 55 U.S., including aircrews from nine foreign countries, for Air Mobility Rodeo 2007, Air Mobility Command's biennial readiness competition held from July 22 through 28.

Forty Five U.S. teams, including three from the U.S. Marine Corps and one from the Coast Guard, as well as international competitors from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Egypt, Germany, Netherlands, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates attended Rodeo 07. Nineteen other countries that sent observer teams did not compete. Although not as successful as they have been in the past both McChord C-17 Wings did well in the competition taking home two trophies.  


In March of 2008 the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics recently gave Air Mobility Command and McChord the go-ahead to negotiate with the Army and its local housing privatization developer, Equity Residential, for a new McChord family housing community. The housing privatization plan is on schedule to start in September. Details of the plan include building 250 new homes and renovating another 268 homes over the next eight years, adding to the 90 new homes in the Olympic Grove tract. 


McChord Airmen from the 62nd and 446th Airlift Wings took off on April 17 for their final mission of the 2007-2008 season with a goal of flying the first-ever night vision goggle mission (to include a landing and takeoff) to Antarctica.

With only eight days remaining before Antarctica becomes shrouded in 24-hour darkness during winter,  McChord C-17's brought 100 scientific researchers, support personnel and their equipment back to civilization. The mid-April flight is the closest to winter a Deep Freeze crew has ever landed in Antarctica.

On May 21 A static display featuring F-16A S/N 82-0929, one of the three F-16s scrambled against hijacked airliners on Sept. 11, 2001 was officially dedicated on the grounds of  Western Air Defense Sector. Colonel Derrig, who participated in the dedication ceremony, piloted the historic jet on its final flight here Dec. 26, 2006. After its arrival at McChord, the aircraft once destined for the McChord Air Museum, was prepared for permanent display by volunteers from several agencies and organizations including the  McChord Air Museum.


Since 1948, the 62nd Medical Group has been inactivated and reactivated twice and redesignated seven times, in June of 2008  62nd Medical Group was redesignated into the 62nd Medical Squadron, and the 62nd Mission Support Squadron merged with the 62nd Services Squadron to form the 62nd Force Support Squadron. Unit changes are a part of an alignment with Madigan Army Medical System as a part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act


Airmen from 10th Airlift Squadron provided rapid deployment of a four-man team and their 15,500 lbs of cargo from the 615th Contingency Response Wing at Travis AFB CA, into New Orleans International Airport in preparation for Hurricane Gustav. The Airmen from were ready for a quick departure after being put on 24-hour alert in the last weeks of August  to aid people in the southern United States should Hurricane reach land.

62d Airlift Wing is pictured after being Awarded the "Best Air Mobility Team at Rodeo 2009

In July competitors and observers from all over the world called McChord home for a week during Rodeo 2009. The home field advantage paid off for the 62d AW, fighting for a title of the competitions top Mobility unit. After all the dust was settled, the Best Air Mobility Team award was captured by the 62d AW.   


During the September of 62d year of the 62d AW McChord assignent McChord AFB hosted its last Air Force Ball as a Air Force Base. Headlined by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz (former Commander of McChord's 36th TAS), Lt. Gen. Robert Allardice, Commander of the 18th Air Force (and former 62nd Airlift Wing commander); Medal of Honor recipient, Col. (Ret.) Joe Jackson; World War II Women's Air Service Pilot and Presidential Gold Medal Recipient, Mary Sturdevant; eight active and retired general officers, and former McChord leaders.

"It is the 62nd birthday of our United States Air Force ... it is also the 62nd birthday of the 62nd Airlift Wing at McChord," said Colonel Kevin Kilb, 62d Airlift Wing Commander . "As we move forward proudly into Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and move full-circle back to McChord Field as part of the largest, power-projection platform on the west coast, we celebrate those who have come before us. Most importantly, we celebrate our Airmen making history tonight."


Less than 70 days from the start of the transition to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a key milestone was reached November 19 with the signing of the JBLM Operations Plan. The extensive plan details how critical support areas will function on the Joint Base and is the result of more than 18 months of work by more than 250 Army and Air Force subject matter experts. The historic document was signed by the soon-to-be Joint Base command team, Army Col. Thomas Brittain, Joint Base commander, and Air Force Col. Kenny Weldon, deputy Joint Base commander. Colonel Brittain currently serves as the Fort Lewis Garrison commander and Colonel Weldon currently serves as McChord's 62nd Mission Support Group commander.

"The Joint Base will support C-17s, Strykers, special forces, the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard missions here, security of our nations' air space - and much more," said Colonel Newhouse. "There is a tremendous amount of pride in being a part of such elite missions."

McChord History Pages
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