Monday we were up early – it was going to be a busy day. Another group was leaving for Africa; the Bombardier was leaving at 7 for Dulles to get them there for a 9AM flight and I wanted to be there to give them a motivational speech.
The C5 group was going through a loading exercise to see what they could get into the cargo bay and prepare the plane for its first flight tomorrow.
It was a good thing the Air Force had sent a tow bar to move the plane around with. We did not have anything even close to being heavy duty enough to use. Big Bertha – as big a tug as it was – struggled to move the C5 from the front of the terminal to the tarmac in front of the super hanger.
I was so thankful that we had agreed with Lorrie’s request at the first of the year to expand the fuel farm. The C5 and two C130s could hold up to 70000 gallons in just one fill up; that was 10 tractor trailer loads of fuel.
Then there was Major Culpepper coming. I left a note for Cindy with a list of the things I wanted done with him today.
First put him to the front of the line and send him to the Docs for a company physical and get any shots he needed. I wanted to make damn sure he was healthy enough to be sent to Africa and do all that flying. I had no idea how long he had been flying a desk. I did not want him to have a heart attack in some African rat hole.
Second was to run him on the treadmill and find out just how good of shape he was in.
The third thing was to send him to Jamie’s weapons class to certify him with a hand gun and M16. He may have been skilled, but for insurance needed to be certified by our instructor. Then to subdue his enthusiasm, a trip through the shoot don’t shoot course.
And fourth – when all that was done – HR was to issue him a JBG ID card and State Department contractor ID card. He was going to have a busy day and sometime in the afternoon, there would be a firm decision made on if there was to be a flight tomorrow and what time. If that happened, he needed to pack for a four day trip minimum.
Major Culpepper arrived before I left for Morton Field for the pep talk with Cindy. I explained what process he was going through today.
I was late getting to KCC. The pep talk and the question and answers after took longer than I expected. From now on I was taking Mondays off when we had departing security teams.
I called Bob Jackson and explained the humanitarian part of a chopper delivery to Kampala. I also discussed the possibility of taking Robin Parsons and Phil Jameson on the trip. I explained that if it could happen I needed them to get shots ASAP. Then I asked about their other classes they would miss.
“Their parents have already signed a host of release forms to participate in off premise functions and trips. I will check with legal to see if they will suffice. How many seats are you going to spring for?” he asked.
“Depends on how many JGB personal go; there are 80 seats available on our C5, I have been told,” I replied.
“OK; I will get the release forms checked out. For a field trip like that to Africa the professors aren’t going to say much but they will be envious as hell,” he replied. “I’m even envious.”
“You can go as their chaperon but you have to decide quickly; you will need shots and they need time to work,” I replied.
I checked what classes the two were in and went to find them. Professor Holcomb was staring at the door as I stepped to it and looked in. “Somebody is in deep manure when the Director of security comes looking for them personally,” he said rather loudly.
“Who are the guilty parties BJ?”
“Robin Parson and Phil Jameson – it will only take a couple minutes, they don’t need to bring their books,” I replied.
Out in the hall, “In 5 weeks there is going to be a resupply mission to the refugee camp at Nimule. Do you want to go as student representatives from KCC?” I asked.
It took all of 5 seconds to sink in before Robin was jumping up and down, “Yes. Yes, what do we have to do?”
“Shots and vaccinations tonight so they have time to work, and then passports,” I replied as I handed them a card with the gym address on it. “As soon as classes are over go there. One of you has a car, right?”
“Yes I do, we will be there and I have a current passport,” Phil replied.
“I have a passport. I will get mom to send it to me,” Robin added.
As I was walking away I heard the professor ask them, “Do you care to share that burst of excitement with us?”
I worked on the KCC security department budget for next year, even though I would not be here – it still needed to be done. I worked on it until noon, then I left for the gym.
Paul McBride called while I was driving. I explained the trip that Rachael could go on as a student representative from the Advanced Education School for gifted students.
“A decision needs to be made ASAP because multiple vaccinations are needed and they need time to work. Our company doctor can give them; all he needs a copy of her medical records and your permission. There are two seniors from KCC who are going and they are getting the shots tonight.”
“One of them is a female who shares a deep interest in humanitarian missions and becoming a missionary. I am sure she and Rachael will get along great.”
“Yes, I am going,” I replied to his question.
“Let me call the wife and discuss it with her, then if it is a go I will get Rachael to stop by the doctor’s office and pick up a copy of her records. I will call you as soon as we talk.” The phone clicked.
I had just pulled back onto the road when I answered another call with the On Star thing. This one was General McVee, “The governor approved; I can have the two extended versions at your airport on Monday.”
“That’s perfect! The C5 is being loaded today for its first flight tomorrow, destination yet unknown. That decision will be made in the next hour,” I replied then added.
“Your two planes will carry equipment to Africa as well,” I said.
I stopped at the airport for updates; on the drive from KCC I had a brain fart that I needed to ask Robbie about.
I drove around by the Crash Pad, past the fuel farm and down beside the super hanger to the tarmac where the C5 was sitting with the ramps down.
In the back the crew was strapping everything down; they had shoe-horned six choppers and two of the new shorter environmentally friendly Suburbans in the cargo bay. I wondered if the ramp would close and the door shut.
“We already checked that out; it’ll close,” Adam said. “And there is room to take the tow bar.”
“Are you going to fuel it today or wait until in the morning?” I asked.
“Last thing before we leave today; I would like to leave early, at least by 0600,” he replied.
“OK, let’s go plan a flight then; I will be in Lorrie’s office when you finish up and come over.”
I had barely warmed up the chair when Frank called, “Have you come up with an opening in your flights yet?”
“The C5 is leaving here in the morning – 0400 possibly – for Lusaka Zambia and should be back sometime late Wednesday night. We should be able to do your flight Thursday afternoon, Friday for sure,” I replied.
“OK, that would be good. I’ll get the freight headed your way; it will be waiting in the agency hanger. Oh, it will be going to South America.”
Adam and the other three pilots came in with coffee from the restaurant.
“You’re going to Lusaka Zambia. Plan the flight while Lorrie and Cindy are putting the final touches on the information packet for you. FYI there is another flight scheduled for South America as soon as you get back – needs to be done late Thursday or Friday,” I said.
Lorrie placed everything she and her clerks had put together in front of me to look at. There were copies of the hanger rental contract, the contact person, the utility agreement, and a set of keys to unlock the hanger. Other items were close-up Google pictures of the airport showing our hanger location and all the information on the airport.
Lorrie had already made the contact with the officers in charge of the aerial division and had all the numbers and info. As soon as Adam completed the flight plan, they could be called to set up the location, time and amount of fuel they wanted.
The fuel from the Air Force would be cheaper than buying fuel from an airport authority, but the delivery charge was a wallet buster. It was either lose two to three hours landing somewhere to refuel or do it in flight. The plane would be several thousand gallons short to complete the flight. In-flight easily won out.
We met Adam and his group in the pilot lounge.
“We plan to leave here at 0300 and do the in-flight refueling to top off the tanks off the coast of Africa; that is about half way. That would put us there at 1800 Eastern time and 1100 local there. Half the crew is going to sleep in flight. All of us will help unload. Nothing we have not done before.”
“Everything has wheels on it so we should have it unloaded in quick order. I’m thinking we should be back in the air no later that 1700 their time. I will access the fuel and if necessary buy some there. Be best to plan on the South American flight for Friday, just to be safe.” Adam finished.
“Sounds good; I would fill the tanks there and schedule an aerial refuel as soon as you clear the coast. As soon as the Major finishes his routine for today, I will tell him.”
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.