We enjoy keeping up with the goings-on at the Joint Base from time to time, from its recent introduction of the KC-46 tanker to its major role in the Afghanistan evacuation operation last summer.
It was during the chaotic events in Afghanistan that many Americans first became introduced with the C-17, unfortunately thanks to a tragic viral video that showed Afghans trying to escape the country grabbing onto the plane’s fuselage as it took off from Hamid Karzai International Airport. But the C-17’s performance during the Afghanistan pullout – known officially as a non-combatant evacuation operation, or NEO – put the Boeing-produced heavy transport in the spotlight for its extreme versatility, reliability and its capability of transporting hundreds of thousands of passengers in mere days given the correct configuration.
Using ADS-B tracking software, we were able to identify a particular aircraft we spotted making a stunning pass over the Jersey Shore Sunday night. The plane, serial number 08-8195, flew to the Joint Base from Germany.
Fighters and bombers might get more press – and more views on the internet – but the C-17 (about double the size of an Airbus A400M, yet smaller than its USAF stablemate, the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy) looked mighty beautiful as she made a smooth descent over the ocean, floated across the barrier island and disappeared into the setting sun on its way a few dozen miles to the west.
We hope you enjoy the video. And thanks to the crew for keeping us safe!