Boeing joined the U.S. Air Force today at Joint Base Lewis-McChord to help dedicate a C-17 Globemaster III airlifter to the members of the U.S. armed forces who have received the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Gen. Raymond Johns Jr., commander of Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., officially dedicated C-17 tail number 99211 as Spirit of the Medal of Honor in a ceremony attended by several Medal of Honor recipients.
“It’s humbling to be here in the presence of America’s bravest patriots,” said Boeing C-17 Program Manager Bob Ciesla.
“The Congressional Medal of Honor serves as a symbol of courage and military heroism in defense of America’s freedoms. Likewise, whenever this C-17 flying the insignia of the Spirit of the Medal of Honor lands, the spirit of America’s bravest will land with it, bringing hope, saving lives and preserving peace.”
The ceremony is part of an Air Force tradition to dedicate aircraft to significant people, events and places. Spirit of the Medal of Honor joins C-17s dedicated to groups including U.S. prisoners of war and troops missing in action; military families; Purple Heart recipients; and those serving in Operation Enduring Freedom. C-17 aircraft have been dedicated to individuals including former President Ronald Reagan, Bob Hope and Medal of Honor recipients Sgt. John Levitow and Col. Joe Jackson. The aircraft also have been named for places such as Long Beach, California, where the C-17 is built.
The tactical and strategic C-17 has provided airlift capability to U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, landing with combat-ready troops in remote locations and on unimproved runways. C-17 aircraft also have been deployed on nearly every major humanitarian mission in the past decade, including delivery of supplies and personnel to respond to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the devastating monsoons in Pakistan, and the earthquake in Haiti.
This C-17, the newest in the U.S. Air Force fleet, was delivered in a ceremony at Boeing’s Long Beach final assembly building on 7th July.
There are currently 233 C-17 aircraft in service worldwide. The U.S. Air Force, including active duty, Guard and Reserve units, has accepted delivery of 211. There are 22 C-17 aircraft with international customers, including the UK Royal Air Force, the Canadian Forces, the Royal Australian Air Force, the United Arab Emirates Air Force and Air Defence, Qatar, and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. In June, India’s Ministry of Defence signed an agreement with the U.S. government to acquire 10 C-17 aircraft that will be delivered in 2013-2014.