The giant C-5M Galaxy airplanes that can be seen floating over west San Antonio most days have been involved in a massive airlift of aid to the devastated island of Puerto Rico.
To accomplish their mission, the 433rd Airlift Wing has many seasoned veterans in addition to fresh faces who are making San Antonio proud.
They're people like Staff Sgt. Joshua Green, a Loadmaster. His job is to help make sure cargo is loaded safely and secured properly.
The aircraft weighs 400,000 pounds when it is empty. It can haul up to 285,000 pounds of payload.
Saturday, these Citizen Airmen flew to Colorado Springs to squeeze 161-thousand pounds of cargo onboard. It is a job where success is measured in inches, but Green said he is confident in the abilities of his team.
It is a matter of weight and balance. The heaviest items must end up in the center of the plane, and oftentimes, almost every square inch of space is spoken for.
“Sometimes it's extremely tight," Green agreed.
Green said serving is in his DNA.
"I have an uncle that did it for 22 years in the Air Force. He told me about it all the time growing up and I decided I would give it a try."
Green has been on the job four years, but he said serving alongside team members who have many more years of experience is a great comfort.
"That's why I have these guys with me here. They're the ones that help me out when things get tough," Green said.
Twenty-year-old Senior Airman Antonio Farias has more than two years of service.
The graduate of Health Careers High School in San Antonio is a Crew Chief. He said his job is to keep the plane going.
“We do aircraft maintenance. We service hydraulic fluid, engine oil. We re-fuel and do inspections along the flight and we also fix any problems that come along on the road,” Farias said.
Farias said the job is much like keeping a personal car going, except this machine is almost 300-feet long.
It has 28 wheels. Farias said changing tires is a big job.
Farias said a maintenance job was a natural fit for him.
“I liked working with stuff with my Dad already, working on trucks and tractors and everything so I went to the recruiter and went through the list of everything and kind of knew I wanted to do this,” Farias said.
Lt. Col. J.C. Miller said he is proud of his crew, where the seasoned veterans do an excellent job of sharing their skills.
"They're teaching the young guys to do it. And it instills confidence in the young guys. 'Hey if they are showing me how to do this, I can do this later on in life.' And so that's why I say the nation is in good hands,” Miller said.
“You hang out with these people and you see how motivating they are and they really lift you up and make you want to do something better,” Miller said of his crew.
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