Long Beach Boeing Delivers Final C-17 Cargo Plane to U.S. Military

Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force

Boeing saw the end to an era Thursday morning when the 233rd and final domestically-built C-17 “Globemaster III” transport plane was delivered to the U.S. Air Force.

Famed for its sturdy cargo transport ideal for military, humanitarian and peacekeeping missions, the C-17 has made global deliveries through rough terrain since the 1990s.

The C-17 is also a symbol of Long Beach ingenuity, constructed by Boeing in its Long Beach facility, the last production bastion of L.A’s once expansive aerospace industry. 

Air Force officials– Gen. Paul Selva, commander of Air Mobility Command, Lt. Gen. Stanley Clarke III, director of Air National Guard and Lt. Gen. James Jackson, commander of Air Force Reserve Command–received the aircraft at the final delivery ceremony early Thursday morning, fulfilling and ending the Air Force’s $500 million contract with Boeing.

The ceremony not only marks the end of a 20-year line of C-17s, but it is also a time of reflection for the company’s more than 4,000 employees, the Press-Telegram reported.

Before merging with Boeing, the McDonnell Douglas Corp., beginning production in 1981, faced threats by the U.S. Government to cut production at 40 transports.

“For a while there, we were going to end this thing a long time ago,” said Flight Dispatcher John Martinelli.

Since then, 250 aircrafts have been built at the Boeing Long Beach Facility.

But the end of an era is not the end of production. Aircraft construction will continue in Long Beach for now, as Boeing is under contract for ten more jet planes for the government of India. With a $4.1 billion deal, India is Boeing’s largest foreign buyer.

The Long Beach constriction plant is expected to remain open after that in hopes of gaining new international contracts and aircraft orders. Failing production contracts, Boeing has plans to establish a new engineering design center in Long Beach, and has relocates some Seattle commercial plane engineers near the Long Beach International Airport.

For more news on the C-17, visit Boeing.com.

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