In the early morning hours of August 29th, 1990, a C-5 Galaxy transport took off from Ramstein Air Base in Germany in support of Desert Shield. It was flown by a volunteer Reserve crew from the 433rd Airlift Wing in Texas.

As the aircraft started to climb off the runway, one of the reverse thrusters suddenly engaged. This caused the aircrew of the C-5 to lose control. The aircraft nosed over, one of it's wings plowed through the woodline just beyond the base perimeter and crashed in a field beyond.

Of the 17 people onboard, only 4 survived the crash. All four were in the rear troop compartment. The sole surviving aircrewman, Staff Sgt. Lorenzo Galvan Jr., and Lt Col Frederick K. Arzt, a passenger on board, were awarded the Airman's Medal for their actions in evacuating the survivors from the wreckage.

Hours after it went down, I was asked to go out to the crash site check on some equipment that my unit had loaded aboard the previous day. Even though the fire had been extinguished earlier, it was still very eerie walking through the wreckage while some of it still smoldered. Some of these pictures were taken then, the others a day or so later from the perimeter.

Though walking through the wreckage was disturbing to me, I know that those who were there right after the crash were affected much more deeply. Read the words of A1C Douglas W. Bowling, a firefighter stationed at Ramstein, as he relates a night he will never forget.

To see a larger format of each picture, just click on it.

Click on the individual pictures for a better view.

C-5 flying over the crash

C-5 on the ramp at Ramstein

View of the woodline where the wing sliced through the trees

Another wider view of the woodline

View of from within the debris field.
The Ramsein-Miesenbach Feurwehr was still on scene

Another view of the debris field

This is one of the things we went looking for

Another piece of the equipment laying
on top of a pile of cans

Another view of the debris field

The largest parts of the aircraft. It's amazing how little was left.

Another view

Another angle looking between the wing root
and the troop compartment

The wing root and back/top of the aircraft

Main cargo area

Troop compartment with part of a landing gear

Tent erected over what was left of the cockpit. I had walked by this prior to the tent being put up. What I didn't realize as I looked at this part was they had not finished removing the remains that had adhered to the seats

Debris field with part of a wing and an engine

More debris with another engine

This is where the survivors were sitting

View of the troop compartment

Wheel, brake assemblies and my equipment in the background

The closest person to the camera is SSgt Galvan, the sole aircrew survivor. An interesting note, the third individual in the trio (partially hidden) was a flight chief of mine years ago when I was a security policeman at Loring AFB, ME. I believe his name is José Mendoza.

German Army Military Policeman guarding the site

Two other German MPs walking the perimeter

More debris and larger pieces

Another shot of the wing root