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C-5B/M vs KC-135 Lifestyle and Deployment Reserves/ANG


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I've done a bunch of searching, and haven't found to much out there. I realize it is hard to tell because not many people have flown both air frames, but is there any opinion as to what the lifestyle is like? Do both tend to be very relaxed?

Also with tankers vs. cargo/transport what is the difference in where they fly? Which one will travel to more countries?

Lastly, what do the deployment cycles look like for each. I've heard 6 months on 6 off for the C-5B/M but that seems like a lot for a reserve unit. Are these typical cycles in addition to monthly flights?

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I used to fly KC-135s and I have some friends who've flown C-5s.  I'll caveat that this is all AD gouge and may be stale.  The cargo mission involves a lot of flying from point A to point B, with a wide selection of As and Bs to pick from.  The tanker mission involves a lot of taking off at point A then refueling someone and then landing back at point A with a less wide selection of As to pick from.

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It's going to vary from unit to unit, but from a tanker perspective, the majority of our deployment taskings go to CENTCOM and PACOM. 30-60 day rotations every 12-18 months on average. We get a smattering of guard lifts, aeromedivac missions, coronets, business efforts, etc. Some of them go to good locations. Others not so much. The main difference between tankers and airlift is that tankers generally deploy to one place for a longer period of time than airlift (days if not, months). Airlift layovers are more along the lines of 18-20 hrs, unless of course you break, but the C-5's MC rates tend to surpass those of the KC-135 as of late.

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2 hours ago, scoobs said:

Safe to say you'll see more places on the tanker than the C5?

Just your mom's house.

I say we pass BQZips mom's torch to Scoobs.

Edited by matmacwc
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Thanks, I don't know who approved my screen name but glad I got it.

 

On 7/10/2016 at 5:17 PM, scoobs said:

Safe to say you'll see more places on the tanker than the C5?

Is that true? Would a tanker be more likely to see more places than airlift?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Any other input? With a Airlift/Cargo will you always be flying from your home base and back on missions? Someone described as Point A to Point B and back. Is it sometimes, Point A to Point B to Point C to Point D then back to Point A. 

 

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39 minutes ago, highflyer said:

 Is it sometimes, Point A to Point B to Point C to Point D then back to Point A. 

 

Of course. I'd say an average strat cargo mission probably involves 8-12 stops before returning to home station.

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I'm not a pilot yet but this info is based on what I learned from almost exclusively rushing KC-135 and C-5 reserve units for the past few years. So the below information is from information that folks in both communities have relayed to me but not firsthand experience. 

A lot of the C-5 reservists seem to go on at least one 6-8 day trip a month where each leg is about 8 hours. So you're looking at quite a few stops along the way. Seems like they almost circle the globe on a trip. In 4 years I've only seen my C-5 friends go on one (volunteer) 30 day deployment. Mix this in with some local training sorties. 

KC-135 is sort of multi mission since it does tanker, aeromedical, and cargo. I've heard of some guys just do a lot of stateside point A to point B and back aeromedical sorties and hardly fly overseas. Some of them do just a lot of Point A to Point A local refueling sorties. I've heard of a lot of guys continuously doing 2 week long TDY's to England or somewhere and others seem to like going on their 2 or 3 month deployments back to back. Of course you can just do some combination of the above as well. 

 

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A tanker works with almost every other airframe/mission...fighters, bombers, paxlift/airlift, AE, AFSOC, C2/ISR, Navy, Marines, nuclear, foreign military, etc. Because of that, the missions are going to be very diverse. In one month, a crew could go from supporting a fighter exercise one week, sitting nuclear alert the next week, flying an aeromedical evac mission the week after, and then supporting up gunships to finish off the month. The tanker is actually very cheap per flight hour and has very long legs, so you get some interesting taskings that you would never expect.

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