CRW pilot partners with 6th Airlift Squadron to deliver hope
By Staff Sgt. Destinie Berry, 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 02, 2014
HURLBERT FIELD, Fla. --
Maj. Brant Dixon, 817th Global Mobility Readiness Squadron operations officer and C-17 Globemaster III instructor pilot, commanded a special two-part flying mission with the 6th Airlift Squadron, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, Nov. 17-28, 2014.
The first part of the mission was to transport the 101st Airborne Division to the Republic of Liberia, where they will provide air transportation, command and control, maintenance, security, and the support capability in support of the U.S. Agency for International Development-led efforts to contain the Ebola Virus outbreak in western Africa as a part of Operation UNITED ASSISTANCE.
The second part of the mission had a similar theme. The aircraft and crew were tasked to head down range and pick up a special operations unit and redeploy them. Although Dixon missed Thanksgiving this year, the members he helped transport returned just in time to be home for the holiday.
"Thanksgiving's an idea not a day," Dixon said. "Whenever we get home we will have Thanksgiving. I am just thankful we could help get a deployed team back in time to spend their holiday like they deserve."
"The 6 AS provided a highly skilled and motivated aircrew for this mission," Dixon added. "I am thankful for their hard work and sacrifices they made to get this mission done, but there are also countless of other service members across the world working just as hard so we are happy to play our piece in helping them this holiday."
Since Sept. 15, 2014, approximately 79 Airmen of the 621 CRW were deployed to Roberts International Airport, Republic of Liberia to establish an initial mobility footprint required to augment the airfield. Most of the deployed Airmen belong to Dixon's unit, the 817 CRG.
"I wish we were the crew that got to personally take our guys out of Liberia, but it felt great to support the same mission my unit was dedicated to by delivering their sustainment forces as a C-17 pilot," Dixon said. "They did their part to stand up the operations, now the 101 AD will continue operations and our guys get to return home to their families."
For 14 years Dixon has flown countless missions, the first of which were in support of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM. According to Dixon, he is still just as passionate about donning the flight suit today. Since being assigned to the CRW, which is geared to respond during global emergencies, he has not been able to log the same amount of flying hours as his past assignments.
"The CRW capability is more specific to immediate ground response, which is a whole new rewarding experience," he said, "but pilots within the CRW don't get to fly as much as they would in a flying squadron. We only get to fly operational missions occasionally, so when we do get the opportunity, we look for the most meaningful missions like this one."
According to Dixon, his combined experience in flying missions as well as serving as a contingency response leader have opened several doors to allow him to serve in the capacity he has always dreamed of.
"I love being a part of Air Mobility Command," Dixon said. "Whether I am operating a Joint Task Force-Port Opening on the ground in a disaster response area or flying aircraft to take cargo and personnel where they need to be I find AMC's mission dynamic, challenging, and above all rewarding, because the AMC is a purely service oriented organization."