13 C-17s up in the air for training exercise

Two of thirteen C-17s take off from Charleston Air Force Base Wednesday morning, as they prepare to form up for a training mission. (Brad Nettles/postandcourier.com) 4/10/13 Buy this photo

Today’s training mission that put 13 Charleston Air Force Base C-17s up in the air in a matter of minutes went off without a hitch, but did leave some shutterbugs disappointed.

The previously announced fly-over of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge was scrubbed in favor of the crews concentrating on their missions for the day, officials said.

Around 9 a.m. the 13 planes began their quick takeoff in less-than-30-second intervals and headed off for a variety of missions and tests.

Among the tasks were air-dropping tons of cargo over a field near Orangeburg, picking up and letting go some 380 paratroopers from Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina, and conducting in-flight refueling.

“Launching 13 aircraft at one time is a very rare opportunity,” said Col. Darren E. Hartford, commander of the 437th Airlift Wing.

The training was called as a test of “real world” operations, the base said.

In addition to crews from the 437th, reservists from the 315th Airlift Wing took part as well.

All the planes are expected to be back on the ground by 4 p.m.

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