Loadmaster Vs. Boom-operator

WannaGonnaC130

Well-Known Member
I was just wondering the pros and cons of the Loadmaster job (C-17,C-130) vs. a boom-operator on the KC-135. Just trying to get an idea on each. Thanks for your input.

-Daniel
 
Easy one. Boom operators do both jobs. There, you can become a boom operator and see for yourself!

Seriously, though- if you become a load on a C-17 you can guarantee to breath sand, as that's where the C-17's go. If you become a boom operator, you may go to the desert once in a while, but you'll more often see much better destinations. That also depends on what unit you are with. In 2004, as a KC-135 crew chief, I went to Guam for 2 weeks, southern France for 2 weeks, and Germany for 2 weeks. My counterpart crew chief on C-130's across the airport got to go to Iraq.
 
Easy one. Boom operators do both jobs. There, you can become a boom operator and see for yourself!

Seriously, though- if you become a load on a C-17 you can guarantee to breath sand, as that's where the C-17's go. If you become a boom operator, you may go to the desert once in a while, but you'll more often see much better destinations. That also depends on what unit you are with. In 2004, as a KC-135 crew chief, I went to Guam for 2 weeks, southern France for 2 weeks, and Germany for 2 weeks. My counterpart crew chief on C-130's across the airport got to go to Iraq.

pretty sure most -135s are on a 40 on 40 off type of tour
 
KC-10 Boom Operators in particular consider themselves full-time loadmasters, occasional boom operators.
 
Unfortunately, I cannot speak of life as Loadmaster these days. My experience is from 10+ years ago. However, I had a choice of Boom or Load and am glad I picked the right one. Yes Boomers, particularly KC-10, are Loads too.

As a 141 Load, I did indeed breath sand, but for brief periods. C141s were never assigned anywhere but their home base. Therefore, we went on assigned missions. The average mission was less than a week long and you got back home. My longest mission ever was 27 days, and that was only because we broke in a very innoportune place. In general, we were in a different country every night usually getting a full day or more off every third day or so. We stayed in really nice hotels overseas and made oodles of money in per diem. I visited more than half the worlds' countries in 4 and half years; probably got a chance to get off the airfield on a quarter. After I got some experience under my belt, regular "line missions" were replaced by classified cargo runs that took me to some very remote areas far away from the U.S. Military normal travel lines.

Though I think the actual job of a boomer is pretty damn cool, I just never wanted to turn circles in the sky for hours and hours on end. I have a few buddies that were engys on the Starlifter and then went over to the 10. They said the missions were longer and the per diem much less. Also, we pulled alot of 135 guard and reserve units out and back to their 90-120 day stage locations. One time I picked up a miserable unit that had been staying in a makeshift tent city in Pisa Italy. Besides that, I really cannot speak too much about the pros of the boomer side.

I am going to guess that C17s have a very similar mission to what the 141 had. However, 130s are not intercontinental freighters. You get sent overseas ALOT and you stay there. 130s haul the junk into the very forward areas day in and day out. Also, unlike C17s and C5s, C130s are based at overseas bases. When I was in, it was mainly Yokota Japan and Ramstein Germany.
 
pretty sure most -135s are on a 40 on 40 off type of tour

You sound just like an AD peep :D

It's all about the job you do and what component you're in. I think AD aircrew has a different lifestyle than a Guard/Reserve aircrew. The same goes for ground pounders. I'm doing 60 here in K-stan and my AD counterparts are doing 120-180+. I've talked to some of the -135 aircrew and you're right, a lot of them do 40dayers.
 
You sound just like an AD peep :D

It's all about the job you do and what component you're in. I think AD aircrew has a different lifestyle than a Guard/Reserve aircrew. The same goes for ground pounders. I'm doing 60 here in K-stan and my AD counterparts are doing 120-180+. I've talked to some of the -135 aircrew and you're right, a lot of them do 40dayers.

sorry, the AD side is the only side i know
 
I was just wondering the pros and cons of the Loadmaster job (C-17,C-130) vs. a boom-operator on the KC-135. Just trying to get an idea on each. Thanks for your input.

-Daniel
As a boomer on a KC-135 you have the best of both worlds. You are the loadmaster but also the boom operator on most flights. I loved the refueling stuff the most but the figuring out the C/G for each flight was extremely important also.
 
Boom operators occasionally have to be awake during cruise to do their job. Loadmasters... gear up, flaps up, feet up lights out.
 
have done both jobs KC-135 boomer and C-130 load. no comparison LOADS SUCK. half the time they(pilot,FE) don't even know you're on the damn plane. lol
 
Boom operators occasionally have to be awake during cruise to do their job. Loadmasters... gear up, flaps up, feet up lights out.
Well this isn't necessarily always a bad thing. The Airdrop world is totally different though. But a loadmasters job never stops after take off either way. Everything from troops to bullets to Christmas presents I've dropped in combat. I don't think one is necessarily better than the other. We each have a mission and a role to play. I have been a load for 13 years and wouldn't have it any other way. But many booms feel the same way. 350 knots at 300 feet above the ground is pretty intense. Especially when the Loadmaster is making radio calls to the drop zone, and reading low level charts for the pilots who are trying to safely fly in a formation of multiple C-17s doing 60 degree check-turns at 2.5 Gs. All this followed by the Loadmaster dropping 110,000lbs of cargo by being extracted by parachutes out the back.

I'm partial to one side of course but there are probably many exciting things that booms get to experience as well. 135s probably won't be around too much longer so look into the 46 or 10 if you go the boom route. 130s are good if you want to be deployed more often as a load but the 17 is an all-around workhorse that I'd recommend to anyone.
 

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