India's first Boeing C-17 celebrated in Long Beach


"The state of U.S.-India relations today are not only comprehensive, but are better than any day that has been before," N. Parthasarathi, Consul General of India, said Tuesday during a "major join" ceremony in Long Beach to mark a milestone in the assembly of India's first C-17.

India is now Boeing's largest international contractor, with a deal to purchase 10 C-17s. The first four are set to be rolled out next year.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R- 46th District) celebrated the major milestone in U.S.-Indian relations with fighting words.

"The government of Pakistan should know, we are not going to put up any longer with them supplying the resources and the weapons to kill Americans anywhere in the world," said Rohrabacher.

The C-17 has been used all over the world to carry military and humanitarian equipment and troops, including on missions like "Operation Iraqi Freedom" and "Operation Enduring Freedom" in Afghanistan, as well as peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Kosovo. Others focused on the humanitarian aid the C-17 is capable of delivering, weathering extreme temperatures and even serving as a flying hospital.

"You could put a critical injured warrior on this airplane. Within that critical 24-hour time period, the survivability rate is over 98 percent by this airplane alone," said Bob Ciesla, Boeing vice president and C-17 program manager.

And it provides jobs in a weak economy.

"There are 3,000 employees that work here, over 650 suppliers in 43 different states. So that alone, you can see the economic impact that this program alone brings, is huge," said Ciesla.

For those who worked on it, there's the pride of seeing American aviation in action.

"It's just a warm feeling to see another country have interest in a product that we build here in Long Beach, which we feel like is just a little small part somewhere in the world," said Jeff McQueen, a production supervisor.

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