The life of military logistics specialists can be full of surprises. They're often charged with moving commodities that require special handling, such as munitions, helicopters, and armored vehicles, in very large quantities on very short notice to some very out-ofthe- way places. But in July, a crew from the U.S. Air Force's 326th Airlift Squadron delivered a shipment that was unusual even by their standards: two giant squids destined for display in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
The preserved animals arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware after a flight from Europe in a jumbo C-17 Globemaster cargo aircraft. (According to a report by the American Forces Press Service, one specimen is nine feet long and the other is 24 feet long.) The critters' journey turned out to be an intermodal move: After unloading the squids' special containers from the aircraft, ramp services specialists transferred them to a truck for the trip to D.C.
This wasn't the first time the Air Force has taken advantage of the C-17's jumbo payload capacity to ship members of the animal kingdom. Previous passengers have included dolphins; Maggie, an African elephant headed for retirement in California; and Keiko, a captive killer whale returned from a zoo in Mexico to the Pacific Northwest.