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Charleston Air Force Base will celebrate reaching 4 million flying hours in Boeing C-17

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Joint Base Charleston train over Southwest

Capt. Dylan Juedeman, a C-17 Globemaster III pilot, and 1st Lt. Aaron Plomann, a C-17 Globemaster III co-pilot, assigned to the 14th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Charleston conduct a tactical descend maneuver over Roswell Air Center, Chaves County, N.M., on Dec. 18, 2020. Senior Airman Jill Neufeld/U.S. Air Force 

Boeing's C-17 Globemaster III has been transporting troops, supplies and equipment for the military across the world since 1991. 

And next week, the Charleston Air Force Base will celebrate the plane's 4 millionth hour in the sky — across all C-17s worldwide — with a commemorative flight and ceremony.

“We are extremely excited and honored to celebrate this historic milestone with the Airmen who made this all possible," said Col. Jaron Roux, the commander of Charleston's 437th Airlift Wing.

"Reaching 4 million hours with the C-17 is a testament to the capabilities of our Airmen providing global reach and projecting our combat capabilities."

The millstone counts flight hours from all C-17s across the world.

Other militaries also use the C-17 as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and countries such as India, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait use the plane for missions. 

On Jan. 15, a C-17 Globemaster will take off from Charleston with military officers and Boeing industry leaders. While in the air for several hours, the crew will perform aerial refueling and will demonstrate the plane's capabilities.

Once it hits the 4 millionth flight hour, the plane will land and the crew will be greeted with a fire truck spraying water over the C-17.

Charleston's 437th Airlift Wing was the home of the Air Force's first operational C-17 fleet. 

In 2003, nearly 1,000 service members were parachuted into the Kurdish-controlled area of northern Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It was the first combat insertion of paratroopers using the C-17.

Since then, the Air Force base's fleet has grown to 41 C-17s. Each one costs around $212 million, according to the Department of Defense. 

The C-17 can reach 500 miles per hour at 28,000 feet.

Its maximum load is 170,900 pounds. That means it can fit 102 paratroopers, three military helicopters, two large buses or one Army tank as cargo.

Even with all that weight, it's still able to land on runways as short as 3,000 feet with a full cargo load. 

Reach Thomas Novelly at 843-937-5713. Follow him @TomNovelly on Twitter. 

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