Scott Air Force Base News

C-17 loadmasters receive honors at A/TA’s Hall of Fame Walkway

Three of six “Pathfinder Loadmasters” unveil a bronze medallion commemorating their accomplishments in revolutionizing C-17A operations for the Air Force. Presiding during the ceremony was Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, commander Air Mobility Command. Pictured with him are retired Chief Master Sgts. James Lis, Michael Welch, Mark Smith, and Mike Kerver, President of the Airlift/Tanker Association.
Three of six “Pathfinder Loadmasters” unveil a bronze medallion commemorating their accomplishments in revolutionizing C-17A operations for the Air Force. Presiding during the ceremony was Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, commander Air Mobility Command. Pictured with him are retired Chief Master Sgts. James Lis, Michael Welch, Mark Smith, and Mike Kerver, President of the Airlift/Tanker Association.

The Airlift/Tanker Association hosted a ceremony to honor a team of six C-17A Pathfinder loadmasters by unveiling their medallion on its Hall of Fame Walkway here Sept. 8.

The six loadmasters and their unique backgrounds were critical to ensuring that the one-loadmaster aircrew concept became a reality on the C-17A. This “Band of Loadmasters” group effort resulted in revolutionary design improvements and advancement to America’s airlift capability and set a benchmark for air mobility aircraft for years to come.

Those honored were retired Chief Master Sgts. William Cannon, Marion Fincher, Michael Welch, James Lis, Mark Smith and retired Master Sgt. Theodore Venturini.

“Through their extraordinary effort and dedicated service, the C-17A Pathfinder loadmasters have earned the bronze (medallion) we unveil today and will be forever placed in the Hall of Fame Walkway,” said retired Chief Master Sgt. Michael Kerver, A/TA president.

Through their extraordinary effort and dedicated service, the C-17A Pathfinder loadmasters have earned the bronze (medallion) we unveil today and will be forever placed in the Hall of Fame Walkway.

Retired Chief Master Sgt. Michael Kerver, A/TA president

The Pathfinder loadmasters’ recommendations prior to and during the C-17A preliminary design review in 1985 and critical design review in 1988 were vital in the evolution of new airlift aircraft requirements, according to the award.

These included numerous hands-on cargo compartment mockup evaluations, workload demonstrations, aerial delivery and aeromedical evacuation demonstrations as well as human factor assessments that directly influenced the final C-17A cargo compartment design.

C-17s have played a vital role of delivering military personnel and equipment during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. They are often key in delivering humanitarian aid, especially in dire situations like the 2012 Haiti earthquake.

The bronze medallion recognizing the loadmasters’ efforts is one of 27 displays on the Hall of Fame Walkway.

The walkway consists of three major sections.

The bronze medallion recognizing the loadmasters’ efforts is one of 27 displays on the Hall of Fame Walkway.

On the east end of the walkway is a section of the Berlin Wall furnished by the Luftbruecke Chapter of the association, along with a replica of the Berlin Airlift Memorial featuring The Luftbruecke (The Air Bridge). This unit conducted airlift operations to Berlin from June 1978-September 1979. This year marks the 67th anniversary of that effort.

At the center of the walkway are the airlift and tanker memorials commemorating those who have given their lives conducting airlift and tanker missions for the nation.

Since 1989, a new bust has been added each year.

For the loadmasters honored this year, their accomplishments are now officially solidified into history.

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