There's a big difference between R&R missions and simply moving troops in and out of the theater.
That's exactly correct. The R&R missions seem to be more consistent in terms of O&D routes and scheduling (as consistent as the military gets, anyways), whereas the deployment and retrograde missions are only able to happen when funding is available (DoD transportation funding seems to come in spurts/chunks) and when mission requirements dictate they be in/out of theater.
We flew a C-5 into theater b/c our mission requirements gave us a three-day window to be in theater once we had completed our predeployment training...and during this window there was no AMC funding available to put us on a civilian charter. A day after we left, this changed and the funding was available.
As I said before, we flew a WO
DC-10-30 out of theater that took us to Shannon, IR
...Bangor, Maine (of all places) and then back to March ARB in Cali. I was at least expecting us to land at a major hub (ATL
, etc) but it didn't happen.
March ARB seemed to be the big embark point for any Marine units from the West Coast that weren't going to war by ship.
I have seen American Airlines 777's making the trips over and I have heard of US Airways and also Continental lending some planes. I think that at some point in time, all the majors, who are capable of doing so, deploy their equipment and personnel on a couple of runs.
That is also correct. To my understanding, the DoD receives a certain number of planes to AMC...whether they're from regular charter carriers like WO
and OAI, or from legacies like US, DL
and others...to ferry our boys in and out of theater. These planes and any associated crews are contracted for a set period of time to do only these missions. I believe this is what Clipper002 referred to as CRAF (Civilian Reserve....Air Force....??). I don't know the acronym.
As an ex-AMC passenger service guy I can tell you that the charter carriers i.e. World & ATA pretty much ran a one class operation. If I gave anybody a special seat it was for E-9s & O-6 and above and it was facing bulkhead or row one.
Yea, I can't remember if the WO
DC-10-30 we were on had a biz class config or not. I doubt it. All I know is that the officers got to sit up front while the troops (like me) had to fill in from the back-forward...which was fine, b/c we didn't want to sit with the officers anyway.
"The most terrifying words in the Engligh language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"-Ronald Reagan