Heavy Airlift Wing

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Heavy Airlift Wing


SAC C-17-s are operated by a multinational unit of about 150 staff members, the Heavy Airlift Wing.

Member Nations staff the Heavy Airlift Wing proportionally to their allocated annual flight hours. All 12 Member Nations are represented in the military unit of the SAC.

Regardless of the requestor or the destination of a mission, nationalities of Heavy Airlift Wing military carrying out the mission is mixed.



The Command of the Heavy Airlift Wing rotates among the four largest Member Nations;

The United States, Sweden, The Netherlands, and Norway.

Each HAW Commander is a Vice Commander for two years before assuming command for another two years.

Every odd number of HAW Commanders is a US Air Force Colonel, and every even number rotates between a Colonel of either the Swedish Royal Air Force, the Dutch Royal Air Force, or the Royal Norwegian Air Force respectively.


Former HAW Commanders


Who are they?

Colonel John Zazworsky usa_flag_round

USAF Colonel

John Zazworsky

2008 - 2010

Colonel Fredrik Hedénusa_flag_round

SwAF Colonel

Fredrik Hedén

Colonel Keith Booneusa_flag_round

USAF Colonel

Keith Boone

2012 - 2013

Colonel Frank Romboutsusa_flag_round

RNLAF Colonel

Frank Rombouts

2013 - 2015

Colonel Trevor Nitzusa_flag_round

USAF Colonel

Trevor Nitz

2015 - 2017

Colonel Bjorn Gohn-Hellumusa_flag_round

RNoAF Colonel

Bjørn Gohn-Hellum

2017 - 2019

Colonel James Sparrowusa_flag_round

USAF Colonel

James Sparrow

2019 - 2021


Heavy Airlift Wing



Who are they?



SWAF Colonel

Peder Söderström

The Commander of the Heavy Airlift Wing has full decision authority in SAC operations, as defined in the SAC Concept of Operations. 

The Commander is the highest authority in the SAC Chain of Command, and they answer to the SAC Steering Board.

Vice Commander

USAF Colonel

Jason Mills

The Vice Commander serves in this role for two years before assuming command of the Heavy Airlift Wing.



Heavy Airlift Wing


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Command Staff Group

Command Staff Group

The HAW Command Staff consist of functions for the Wing Administrational Office (HAW Admin), Executive Assistance (HAW Exec), Protocol, Public Affairs, Legal Advisory, Safety and Quality Assurance.

The Command Staff is led by the HAW Chief of Command Staff with HAW Quality Manager overseeing the Quality Assurance and Safety sections.

Chief of Staff

The Chief of Staff manages Command Staff operations and is responsible for overall staff management.

  1. HAW Quality

    The HAW Quality Office is responsible for implementing an overall quality system within the HAW, with a focus on continuous improvement and process.

  2. HAW Safety

    HAW Safety is responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the Safety Program.

  3. HAW Admin

    Heavy Airlift Wing Administration Office is responsible for managing the administrative tasks and processes of the Wing, such as keeping staff records and managing rotation administration.

  4. HAW Executive Office

    The Heavy Airlift Wing Executive Office is responsible for managing the Commander's and Vice Commander's administrative tasks and supporting decision-making through secretarial functions.

  5. HAW Legal Adviser

    The Legal Adviser is a lawyer of the Hungarian Defense Forces, who provides support to Heavy Airlift Wing operations in legal questions.

  6. HAW Public Affairs and Protocol

    The Public Affairs and Protocol Office is responsible for engaging with the media and the public, and leading the event management of high-ranking visits and high-importance ceremonies.

Heavy Airlift 


Heavy Airlift Squadron

The Heavy Airlift Squadron (HAS) is the world's first and only multinational C-17 operations squadron.

HAS consists of the Heavy Airlift Wing flight crews and specialized functions for Intelligence, Tactics, Training, Standardization and Evaluation, HAW Combat Security and Aviation Management.

HAS' heritage is rooted in the training, policies and standards of the US mobility system that is the basis of operations of the United States Air Force, the main user of the C-17.

The HAS has also adapted the best practices of C-17 sister squadrons in the USAF, Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force and the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force.

The squadron structure, policies and procedures are designed to operate in support of the Strategic Airlift Capability nations' strategic policies to include combat and humanitarian airlift wherever and whenever they require it.

The HAS flight crews have a varied background of flying and working with cargo aircraft, fighter jets and helicopters in their national militaries. Apart from the US personnel, none of them have C-17 training before joining the HAW.

Squadron Commander

The Squadron Commander is responsible for compliance with all the operations conducted by the Squadron in accordance with the SAC Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the Concept of Operations (CONOPS), the Concept of Support (CONSUP), HAW Operating Procedures and the principles of international law.

  1. Director of Operations

    The Heavy Airlift Squadron Director of Operations is responsible for the administration, training, and employment of the Squadron as directed by the Squadron Commander.

  2. Assistant Director of Operations

    Assistant Director of Operations is responsible for supervising the execution of the missions assigned to the Squadron. Assisting the HAS/DO for all operations conducted by the Squadron in accordance with the Strategic Airlift Capability Operating Instructions.

  3. Standards and Evaluations

    Standards and evaluations plans and prepares for global missions. Reviews mission tasking, intelligence and weather information. Supervises mission planning, preparation, filing a flight plan, and crew briefing.

  4. Operations Flight, Scheduling

    Scheduling directs a 12-member section ensuring all aircrew members are properly scheduled for required training flights, operational flights.

  5. Squadron Safety

    The Squadron Safety Officer ensures that the squadron maintains a "safety first" culture. Assists HAW Safety with expertise during investigations and inspections, and advises safety staff, commanders, and supervisors on safety concerns.

  6. Aviation Management

    Aviation Management is directly responsible for managing aircrew members' flying time, currency, and flight authorizations.

  7. Combat Security

    The Heavy Airlift Wing Combat Security (HAWCS) program is designed to provide discrete, low-visibility, flyaway security that ensures protection for HAW aircraft transiting airfields where security is unknown or deemed inadequate to counter local threats.

  8. Training

    Training is responsible for building the aircrew quarterly simulator schedule, planning aircrew ground currency training, processing aircrew write-ups, managing training folders, and creating waivers.

  9. Tactics

    Tactics section assesses unit combat capability to accomplish anticipated missions. It ensures that the squadron maintains the capability to perform combat missions.

  10. Administration

    Provides full administrative support to the Squadron Commander, the Director of Operations, and to the Sections.

Command and Control Squadron

Command and Control Squadron

The HAW Command and Control Squadron's (C2S) main role is to convert SAC nations' operational
requirements into actual SAC missions. 

They are the focal point for all communication regarding airlift requirements between the HAW and SAC nations, as well as destination countries of SAC missions.

The Command and Control Squadron is divided into three main sections: 

  • Mission Planning and Execution
  • Diplomatic Clearance
  • Administrative Support

With seven of the twelve SAC nations represented in this squadron, the Command and Control Squadron perfectly shows the multinational character of the Strategic Airlift Capability.

Squadron Commander

Responsible for all Command and Control activities that are conducted in the HAW in accordance with regulations. They command the Squadron at the discretion of the HAW Commander, and lead the Squadron in the execution of its assigned duties.

  1. Director of Operations

    Responsible for Squadron activities delegated by the Squadron Commander. Main responsibilities are director of operations for all missions assigned to the HAW regarding planning and execution, coordinating with SAC participants and within the SAC program.

  2. Chief, Mission and Execution

    Responsible for the planning and execution of all C-17 missions assigned to the Heavy Airlift Wing.

  3. Admin and Analysis

    Responsible for providing full administrative support to the Squadron in the areas of Squadron operations, general administration, personnel, financial management and security. Information Analyst is responsible for collecting, analyzing and presenting statistics.

  4. Mission planning and execution

    Responsible for mission planning and execution in accordance with regulations.

  5. Diplomatic Clearance

    Responsible for the requests and the availability of the diplomatic clearances needed for all C-17 missions assigned to the HAW.

  6. Intel

    Responsible to provide timely, dense, and accurate intelligence and information to the HAW, supporting mission planning, execution and evaluation as well as threat mitigation management.

Logistics Support 


Logistics Support Squadron 

The Logistics Support Squadron (LSS) consists of sections for

  • Maintenance
  • Supply
  • Aerial Port
  • Aircrew Flight Equipment Support

LSS Flying Crew Chiefs (FCCs) are specialists of aircraft maintenance and they travel with the C-17s as part of the crew to perform maintenance at en-route locations whenever needed.

Vehicle Maintenance ensures that SAC vehicles are in top condition for licensed drivers to use.

The LSS Supply Section works together with Boeing to make sure parts and support equipment are available to the aircraft maintainers, both in Pápa and when they are en-route

The LSS Aircrew Flight Equipment Section ensures that Aircrew Flight Equipment is maintained for the safety of the aircrew and passengers.

The LSS Aerial Port makes sure that passengers can safely get on and off the aircraft, and that cargo is loaded and unloaded at Pápa Air Base. They also provide airdrop training support.

LSS also works with HDF Pápa Air Base and the civilian authorities of Hungary on many support issues such as fuels, ground transportation, and customs.

Squadron Commander

The Logistic Support Squadron Commander is responsible for the logistic support functions that rests with the Heavy Airlift Wing.

  1. Director of Operations

    Evaluates logistics and maintenance programs, establishes responsibilities, estimates trends, and projects requirements and needed capabilities for areas such as maintenance, supply, aerial port, aerial delivery, aircrew flight equipment and infrastructure.

  2. Aircraft Maintenance

    The Aircraft Maintenance Section is the information conduit between the Heavy Airlift Wing and Contractor Logistics Support. The Flying Crew Chiefs, as part of the Aircraft Maintenance Section perform off-station operational level maintenance and train with CLS at home station.

  3. Aerial Port

    The Aerial Port Section coordinates and manages efforts to aggregate cargo at the Main Operating Base. The main duties for the Section are to manage day-to-day Air Transportation Operations, such as passenger and cargo manifesting, determining passenger/cargo eligibility, loading/unloading the C-17 aircraft, among others.

  4. Aircrew Flight Equipment

    The Aircrew Flight Equipment Section executes the HAW logistics procedures meeting, or exceeding, USAF standards to assure aircrew flight equipment.

  5. Supply

    The Supply section is responsible for ordering, receiving, storage, distribution and disposal of NATO Airlift Management Programme owned material through either local purchase or Foreign Military Sales.

  6. Vehicle Maintenance

    The Vehicle Maintenance Section conducts all organization-level servicing requirements and limited intermediate-level vehicle maintenance tasks.

  7. Administration

    Responsible for providing full secretarial and administrative support to the Squadron Commander and to the Squadron.