Colonel James Sparrow is the Vice Commander of the Heavy Airlift Wing. Photo: HAW
In September 2017, Hurricane Irma tore through the Carribean. The Island St. Maarten, which partly belongs to the Netherlands, was severely damaged. On short notice, and upon request from the Netherlands, one of the 12 nations of the Strategic Airlift Capability, the Heavy Airlift Wing, the operational unit of the Strategic Airlift Capability, launched an Emergency Response Mission.
In total three mission were conducted. Due to uncertain Airport conditions at St. Maarten, the first mission went to Curacao, the designated staging point for the relief efforts. After the Airport at St. Maarten had been declared operational, the second and third missions went directly to that Island.
Over the three Emergency Response Missions, the Strategic Airlift Capability C-17, delivered supplies to ease the pressure on the people on St. Maarten, and evacuated people from the Island. The evacuation included a first ever floor loading procedure in the history of the Strategic Airlift Capability program.
More information on the 14th Military Airlift Conference follow this link: Military Airlift 2018
About the Strategic Airlift Capability
Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC), established in 2008, is a multinational program that provides its 12 member nations with assured access to military airlift capability by owning and operating three Boeing C-17A Globemaster III long-range cargo aircraft.
SAC is based at the Hungarian Defense Forces (HDF) Pápa Air Base, Hungary.
The SAC Nations are the NATO members Hungary (program host nation), Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the United States and NATO Partnership for Peace nations Finland and Sweden. Each participating nation owns a share of the available flight hours of the SAC C-17As to serve the needs of their national defense, NATO, EU or UN commitments and humanitarian relief efforts.
SAC consists of the 12-nation Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) and the NATO Airlift Management Programme Office (NAM PO). The HAW is the operational unit and the NAM PO, an integral part of the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), is the acquisition and sustainment authority of the SAC C-17A weapon system.
NAM PO contracts with the U.S. Government, via Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Agreements with the USAF, for SAC C-17 Technical and integrated Product Support, Flight Crew Training and operational data services. The USAF in turn sub-contracts many of these services to Industry; notably Boeing and Pratt & Whitney.