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C-130 Hercules News

C-130 Hercules News from around the web


On April 28, two Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft of Philippine Air Force 220th Airlift Wing have transported essential military supplies to Armed Forces of the Philippines units fighting ISIS-inspired Maute Group in Butig, Lanao del Sur.
The two aircraft, with tail number 3633 and 4704, transported loads of ammunition from Clark Air Base to Laguindingan Airport.
“The combat effectiveness and sustainability of our ground forces will greatly rely on the amount of ammunition’s available for them to fight. Without these airlift operations, the capacity for our ground forces to undertake military operations will be surely compromised and consequently the failure of the mission,” 220th Airlift Wing said.
220th Airlift Wing said these re-supply mission increased the confidence of our troops, assured that they will be reinforced, supplied, and evacuated when needed. In effect, confident soldiers are more effective militarily.
Army Support Command Convoy Commander and Escort Officer of Logistics Support Group Captain Freginald Martinez expressed his gratitude to the pilots and crew who provided them the most effective and more rapid means of air transportation.
They were elated to know that there are now five C-130s in the Air Force, 220AW said.
“It is no doubt that the airlift that we provide remains an important enabler for aggressive combat operations such as this. So to all our brothers in the Armed Forces, as a promise, your airlifters will always be ready to respond 24/7,” 220AW said.

By Casey, in 2017,

SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Air National Guardsmen assigned to the 386th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron here are undergoing a transition during their deployment here.

These Airmen deployed from the 103rd and 145th Airlift Wings, from Connecticut and North Carolina respectively, have come together to maintain the C-130H Hercules cargo aircraft.

The desert assignment is Connecticut’s first time being deployed with the airframe while for North Carolina, it is last time it will deploy to maintain the Hercules.

“We are new. We did A-10’s before this,” said Tech. Sgt. Chad Wink, a 386 EAMXS engine mechanic. “It’s our first deployment with the C-130’s and their last deployment with the C-130’s.”

“A lot of us are just learning the C-130 because it’s our first deployment with the bird,” said Wink. “It’s nice to partner up with another unit that’s had them for a long time.”

The job of maintaining the C-130H Hercules is one piece of the puzzle in the Air Force’s fight against ISIS. This aircraft supports critical missions by deliveries cargo and personnel downrange supporting critical missions.

“We just keep the planes flying,” said Staff Sgt. James Srackangast, 386 EAMXS crew chief. “You actually feel the pride of helping defeat ISIS, dropping the equipment off and getting to the guys who are out there on the ground.”

Even in the excitement of supporting the fight against ISIS, Wink said that maintainers often face lots of different operational challenges that come in the way of maintaining the aircraft.

“It’s a remote location, so it’s hard to get all the parts we need,” said Wink. “The environment, it’s a very rough environment for the engines and you really have to keep on top of them to make sure they are not ingesting to much dirt. We have to keep everything clean.”

Wink said that he is proud to have volunteered for the deployment and looks forward to helping future deployers from Connecticut.

“We are going to go home with all that knowledge. People who haven’t been here are going to be looking at us,” said Wink. “Hopefully we are setting standard for the next deployment.”

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Gregory Ferguson, the Air National Guard Assistant to the Commander, United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), along with an MC-130H Talon II aircraft and its crew, recently visited the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) to recognize and pay tribute to the group’s contribution to the AFSOC mission.

The command’s MC-130H and AC-130 Gunship platforms are currently undergoing programmed depot maintenance (PDM) at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., and a specialized team here is playing a key role in the MC-130H and AC-130 sustainment program by refurbishing outer wing sets.

With a backdrop of C-130 wings undergoing maintenance, Ferguson began his remarks by thanking a group of sheet metal, fuels, non-destruction repair workers, planners, schedulers and engineers for their service both in and out of uniform.

“All of what you’re doing here is pretty remarkable,” said the general after having a chance to see some of AMARG’s production lines demonstrating the “Art of Possible” methodology.

“Much of what I’ve seen in your F-16 Regeneration, A-10 Modification, and C-130 Depot Repair lines reminded me of the way we used to chart our paths as a mechanical engineer running an engineering company when most of our days were spent looking at critical paths and major milestones for completing production of the equipment we built,” he added.

“To see the kind of results AMARG is getting to produce a product for us as your customer to meet the nations need in a warfighting capacity is even more special and means a lot to me personally, and a tremendous amount to the command,” said Ferguson.

While highlighting some of the Air Force’s extraordinary capabilities, Ferguson emphasized that the Air Force is the smallest and the fleet is the oldest it has ever been in history and to overcome this challenge “we must leverage every aspect of our enterprise’s capabilities to meet our mission demands, and it’s in fact necessary to gain on others’ strengths.”

“For the past 70 years the Air Force has basically broken barriers and we’ve been a member of the finest warfighting force the world has ever known. Truly, we ensure freedom from attack. The ability to attack at the time and place of our choosing, which we’re able to do, with an ability to operate freely either in peace time or war time,” he said.

“Today’s battlefield American Airmen have built a real-time global intelligence and command and control network that can find, fix and finish the smallest of targets, to include those that would choose to do harm to us and our nation,” he said. “So today at any given time the Air Force Special Operations Command has operators that are doing daily counter terrorism missions.”

The general explained that air and space superiority are not the American birthright and we must continue to fight for those every day and win. At times, this does not come without challenges as was the case with the Special Operations Combat Talon II aircraft.

“The C-130 system program office has accomplished yeoman’s work to deliver to us the customer at AFSOC C-130s ahead of schedule. Due to the surge and flying [schedule] over the last 15 years, the need to replace the outer-wings during that PDM cycle has surfaced. And certainly without you guys what they are doing in that PDM line could not be possible,” said Ferguson.

Since the Talon IIs are limited in number, minimizing downtime for maintenance is critical. AFSOC’s requirement drove them to challenge the Art of the Possible for the Air Force Sustainment Center to not only perform wing swaps, but to simultaneously accelerate C-130s through PDM at its Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex (WR-ALC) in 100 days.

The Special Operations Forces/Personnel Recovery and Rotary System Program Office at Robins AFB worked through the Ogden Air Logistics Complex (OO-ALC) Business Office to identify the top obstacle to reducing flow-days as the outer-wing overhaul. Fortunately, the 309th AMARG, which falls under OO-ALC, had capacity and capability for outer-wing repairs and the ability to deliver overland to meet the WR-ALC C-130 Speed-Line needs of the 560th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

“You all were challenged to rapidly stand up this C-130 Speedline and put it into effect so that we were able to accelerate that PDM cycle. You’ve done it in truly championship style. It’s been phenomenal, it’s inspiring to know you have met schedule 100 percent,” he said.

“Your refurbishment efforts have returned 103 days of aircraft availability per aircraft to the command. And in turn, it’s enabled us to provide uninterrupted combatant commander support across multiple theaters while enabling the acceleration of PDMs and aircraft upgrades to continue ahead of schedule.”

Directly answering a question from his audience, Ferguson described the utilities of AFSOC platforms. The MC-130H Combat Talon II has a mission for delivering operators where they need to be, to keep them supplied with what they require and at times, access denied areas. They also have the capability for low-terrain penetration beyond the average “Herc” and basically, “get the goods to the folks when they need it and also get them extracted when needed.”

He explained that these aircraft also refuel rotary wing platforms, must perform in all-weather conditions and that the MC-130H Combat Talon II, for many years, has been the platform of choice when extracting folks in harm’s way.

“You all talked a lot today about your customer and how you are aggressively working to deliver the product to me and other warfighters as your customer. Well at AFSOC we like to say we have this product, we call it lethality. We’ve got a customer and that customer is those who would choose to do harm to our nation, the enemy,” said the general. “And because of you we don’t have any problem with delivering our product to any customer anywhere at any time across the globe,” he said.

“As the Air Force leverages each of our capabilities, experience and skills know that what you all are doing here is so critical and what each of you represent is a real Air Force treasure.”

After taxiing into AMARG and shutting down its engines, the MC-130H and crew opened its doors to employees for a tour of the platform.

“We were hoping that the visiting Combat Talon II was sporting the new wings we had worked on, but as it turns out, the wings it flew in on will be our eighth set,” said David Lang, the C-130 Outer Wing Production Lead for the team performing the wing refurbishments.

According to Lang, they have a total of 10 wing sets scheduled and are currently working sets 5 and 6.

Appreciating the opportunity to partner with Robins AFB in support of the AFSOC’s warfighter, Lang was impressed that the work his team is performing is achieving such visibility by the customer.

“It was great hearing from General Ferguson and listening to the visiting aircrew’s mission. Very cool recognition for all of us that work here,” said Lang.        

Coulson Aviation distributed this photo today of their three C-130-type air tankers lined up at Reno for “USFS carding”. As we reported on April 10, they introduced their third tanker this month, another L-382G. They also have a C-130Q. The tanker numbers when used in the USA are 131, 132, and 133.
At the end of this month the company will be conducting their annual pilot training.
And, on another subject, can you find the two air tankers in the photo below that was taken by the RAAF at the Avalon Air Show in Australia around March 4?

BOISE, Idaho — 121 sorties. 124 flight hours. 373,900 gallons of water dropped.

Impressive statistics for firefighting aircrew members and personnel from four different C-130 military units participating in a five-day Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System annual training sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service here. The training included Air National Guard units from California, Nevada and Wyoming and one from the U.S. Air Force Reserve in Colorado. In all, 400 people from multiple agencies worked the training and certification operation.

“The U.S. Forest Service has always been a strong partner with the Department of Defense when it comes to firefighting,” said Col. Bryan Allen, commander of the Air Expeditionary Group, which oversees the four military units for the MAFFS mission. “This is probably one of the clearest examples of the benefits of using military aircraft in a civil support role and the U.S. Forest Service is the agency that does it the best. The U.S. Forest Service and the four airlift wings within the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve have really figured it out, with everything from logistics to funding, to execution, to standardization and the direct result is we save American lives and property using military crews and equipment in a civil support role. We’ve really built a strong partnership with the U.S. Forest Service over the last 44 years.”

Water drops for training were executed on lands within the Boise National Forest and Boise District Bureau of Land Management.

The U.S. Forest Service's large MAFFS equipment — rolled into the back of a C-130 aircraft — can drop up to 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in six seconds through a nozzle on the rear left side of the plane.

The certification training includes classroom sessions and flight operations for military flight crews, lead plane pilots and other support personnel from the U.S. Forest Service and other wildland firefighting agencies in advance of the upcoming fire season this summer.

“We have recognized the benefits to combine training periodically for operational consistency and standardization, not only with the air wings but for our personnel, as well,” said Kim Christensen, deputy assistant director for operations for the U.S. Forest Service. “The compelling reason to do a combined training again this year was the integration of the 152nd Airlift Wing, from Reno, into the MAFFS mission. We know we have a window of opportunity to get Reno proficient. The speed to that proficiency is important. When you have this kind of setting, with all four wings together, it provides a more complete setting to meet that objective.”

The 152nd Airlift Wing was named the newest unit in the MAFFS mission last year, replacing the 145th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard. The 145th is in the process of converting to C-17 aircraft.

Participating Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units include the 153rd Airlift Wing from Cheyenne, Wyoming; the 302nd Airlift Wing from Colorado Springs, Colorado; the 146th Airlift Wing from Port Hueneme, California; and the 152nd Airlift Wing from Reno, Nevada. MAFFS is a joint Department of Defense and U.S. Forest Service program designed to provide additional aerial firefighting resources when commercial and private airtankers are no longer able to meet the needs of the forest service.

In the past decade, military C-130s equipped with MAFFS delivered about eight million gallons of fire retardant on wildfires around the U.S.

“Obviously, we have our overseas contingencies we respond to,” said Lt. Col. Anthony Machabee, commander of the 152nd Airlift Wing Operations Group. “That is a huge part of what we do in the Air Force. We take a lot of pride in doing that. But this is a domestic operation that we also take a lot of pride in doing. For us, this is a tremendous opportunity to be a part of this mission saving property and life. I can’t speak more highly about this mission.”

By Casey, in 2017,

The flightline hustle and bustle -- the constant drone of C-130 engines and coordinated ramp movements after more than 40 Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System training sorties -- has come to an end. It would seem this day of training is over. But for the aircraft maintainers, in a way, their day has just begun.

“We are the first to get here, and the last to leave,” said Tech. Sgt. Vic Bejarano, 302nd Maintenance Group and one of the dozens of maintenance personnel supporting this year’s MAFFS certification training event in Boise, Idaho.

The U.S. Forest Service-hosted MAFFS certification/re-certification is conducted annually and emphasizes both ground and air safety. This year’s training event is a joint event for U.S. Forest Service personnel and all four military wings supporting the MAFFS mission.

“We open the aircraft and get them ready for the flight engineer’s pre-flight,” said Bejarano, the MAFFS 5 crew chief who has supported the 302nd Airlift Wing’s MAFFS mission since 2004.

“It takes a collaboration of everyone on the team,” added Bejarano as he observed the 302nd AW’s MAFFS 5 taxiing off the Gowen Field ramp for its fourth training sortie during MAFFS flight operations, April 21, 2017.

Representing three different Air National Guard wings and one Air Force Reserve wing from four different locations, the MAFFS supporting wings’ maintainers agree the operations tempo and camaraderie of the MAFFS mission creates a strong bond amongst them. The DOD MAFFS mission is supported by the 152nd Airlift Wing, Nevada Air National Guard; 153rd AW, Wyoming ANG; 146th AW, California ANG; and the 302nd Airlift Wing, Air Force Reserve Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.

“MAFFS is a completely different pace,” said Senior Airman Jay Davidson, an aircraft electrician assigned to Wyoming ANG’s 153rd Airlift Wing who is in his ninth year of supporting the MAFFS mission.

“Everyone is lending a hand, everyone pitches in and will do as much as possible to get ‘em back in the fight,” Davidson added.

For Tech. Sgt. Joseph Marion, an avionics communications/navigation journeyman with the 153rd AW, the teamwork involved in MAFFS is a highlight of this special C-130 mission. “If someone has a problem everyone collaborates. It’s a real feeling of unity,” he said.

“There is so much energy in MAFFS, with many working together to complete the mission,” said Bejarano.

“Our work begins after the flying period. We begin the post-flight inspections. We go through [the aircraft] more in-depth, opening panels, checking engines, checking tire pressure and fluid levels. We are looking – making visual inspections,” said Bejarano as he awaited the return of MAFFS 5 in the early evening hours after its last training sortie of the day.

Throughout the flying period both the crew chiefs and aircraft maintainers are in constant communication with the aircrews before and after each sortie.

“Communication is extremely important; to make sure everything is smooth. We want [the aircrews] to concentrate on the mission and not anything else,” said Bejarano.

Pride in the MAFFS mission seems to fuel the aircraft maintainers’ energy and enthusiasm throughout the long, quick-paced days associated with the MAFFS mission. “Of all the C-130 units, there are only a few of us in MAFFS,” said Marion. “It’s special.”

Editor’s note: In the 1970s, Congress established the MAFFS program to aid the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. Typically, when all other civilian air tankers are activated but further assistance is needed, the U.S. Forest Service through the National Interagency Fire Center can request the support of the U.S. Air Force’s MAFFS flying wings to support wildland fire suppression efforts. MAFFS units are portable tank systems owned by the U.S. Forest Service and are loaded onto the U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft when MAFFS is activated.

The US military has dropped an enormous bomb in Afghanistan, according to four US military officials with direct knowledge of the mission.
A GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), nicknamed the "mother of all bombs," was dropped at 7:32 pm local time Thursday, the sources said. A MOAB is a 21,600-pound, GPS-guided munition that is America's most powerful non-nuclear bomb.
“As ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using [improvised bombs], bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense,” said Army Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan, in a statement. “This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K.”
The bomb was dropped by an MC-130 aircraft, stationed in Afghanistan and operated by Air Force Special Operations Command, Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump told CNN.
(Note: The above video is from a 2003 test of a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb.)
Officials said the target was an ISIS cave and tunnel complex and personnel in the Achin district of the Nangarhar province.
President Donald Trump, before a meeting with first responders at the White House, praised the military and the bombing. Earlier, his press secretary Sean Spicer spoke about strike.
"The United States takes the fight against ISIS very seriously and in order to defeat the group we must deny them operational space, which we did," Spicer said. The strike "targeted a system of tunnels and cave that ISIS fighters use to move around freely."
The military is currently assessing the damage. Gen. John Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, signed off on the use of the bomb, according to the sources. The authority to deploy the weapon was granted to Nicholson by the commander of US Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel, Stump said.
This is the first time a MOAB has been used in the battlefield, according to the US officials. This munition was developed during the Iraq War.
"As ISIS-K's losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense," Nicholson said in a statement following the strike.
"This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K," Nicholson added.
"US forces took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties with this strike. US Forces will continue offensive operations until ISIS-K is destroyed in Afghanistan," read the statement from US Forces Afghanistan.
The extent of the damage and whether anyone was killed is not yet clear. The military is currently conducting an assessment.
The Pentagon is currently reviewing whether to deploy additional trainers to Afghanistan to help bolster US allies there.
The Achin district is the primary center of ISIS activity in Afghanistan. A US Army Special Forces soldier was killed fighting the terror group there Saturday.

Parts of South America have been underwater for weeks as heavy and torrential downpours have washed away city streets, buildings and, in some cases, entire villages in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.
At the request of the Peruvian government, the US Air Force on April 4 dispatched two C-130Js from Little Rock AFB in Arkansas. For the past week, Capt. Patrick Steppe, instructor pilot with the 61st Airlift Squadron, and his crew have been up and down in the Hercules, moving hundreds of thousands of pounds of equipment and food to stranded or displaced families.
Two aircrafts' worth of pilots, co-pilots, loadmasters, maintainers and security forces are on the ground in Lima, where daily work has been to deliver beans, rice, mobile generators, school supplies and potable water.
The roughly 30 airmen are from the 61st and 41st Airlift Squadrons; 19th Security Forces Squadron; and the 34th Combat Training Squadron, which provides tailored joint mobility training to produce combat-ready airmen and soldiers.
"We load up the cargo and then take it out to different airfields in the north of the country," Steppe said in a telephone interview with on Monday evening.
Collectively, the units have loaded and moved 280,000 pounds of cargo, said Senior Airman Alexandra White, the 61st's mission loadmaster.
The Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance -- part of the United States Agency for International Development -- is supporting the United Nations and local non-governmental partners to provide safe drinking water, chlorination tablets, cleaning supplies, and hygiene kits, among other relief supplies, AMC officials said. USAID is also providing emergency response equipment, including water, water tanks, boats, and mosquito nets to hard-hit regions in Peru.
The U.S. -- with the help of Peruvian military authorities -- is headlining the mission, Steppe said, adding he's also seen Brazilian aircraft in the area. The crews fly to a few remote airfields per day, he said.
The use of the C-130J, which Little Rock transitioned to from the C-130H, has also been a step up in airlift effectiveness, added Tech Sgt. Joshua Jorgensen, a flying crew chief with the19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. The C-130J-30 Super Hercules variant -- not its J "stubby" cousin - has a longer fuselage to transport cargo, and is faster and leaner in flight, he said.
The last C-130J-30 delivery for the 61st, which operates a fleet of 14 Super Hercules airlifters, was in June 2016, according to its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin Corp. The 19th Airlift Wing, which hosts the 61st, operates one of the Air Force's largest C-130J fleets, with 28 Super Hercules total, Lockheed said in a release.
The aircraft are a lot more user friendly," Jorgensen said of upgrading from analog to digital interface in the plane. "It's flying faster, and we can deliver more cargo to anywhere it needs to be."
In the next couple of days, Steppe says the units will start delivering larger supplies, such as shelters.
"We go to the places with the best material handling equipment," said Steppe, referring to the use of forklifts to help them transfer supplies. Crews are moving roughly 25,000 to 35,000 pounds of cargo during their four-to-seven-hour work days, he said.
On the ability to provide relief to those affected by the flood, Steppe said, "The mission itself has been fantastic -- you can feel how cool it is to be involved in something like this."
"One of the most vital aspects of what we do is what I call "Gray Tail" diplomacy, AMC commander Gen. Carlton Everhart II told in a statement.
"What does that mean? In short, it means that anytime an Air Mobility Command aircraft lands in a nation abroad, it highlights the values and resolve of the United States."
The airmen will begin departing Peru around April 18, Steppe said.

Britt Coulson told us today that their most recently converted air tanker, Tanker 133 will be complete by the end of this week (see above photo). It will be the third in the C-130 series that the company has converted and is their second L-382G, which is a civilian version of the C-130. Their first L-382G, Tanker 132, was first grid tested in 2015 and in recent months was on contract to Australia. T-133 should be complete before the company begins pilot training at the end of this month.
Coulson is also working on a fourth air tanker. The “new” Tanker 134 is the second C-130Q that they have acquired and should be ready to go about four years after their first C-130Q, Tanker 131, reported for duty. The aircraft needs heavy maintenance, and to get it done they will remove the tail and wings and truck it down the highway from Tucson to another facility in Mesa. Britt Coulson said they expect to have it complete by the end of this summer.
The C-130Q’s began as strategic communications links for the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Ballistic Missile submarine force and as a backup communications link for the U. S. Air Force manned strategic bomber and intercontinental ballistic missile forces. They are similar to the C-130H, but the 12 “Q” models that were made were outfitted with complex electronics systems, including a six-mile long trailing wire antenna, for communicating with submarines and bombers. Tanker 131 still has the remains of a vent for cooling the winch that was used to reel in the long antenna.
Privately owned C-130’s are extremely hard to find, and it is likely that very few more, if any, will be converted to air tankers in the near future.

Coulson’s L-130Q which will become Tanker 134 later this year. Coulson photo.

GREAT FALLS, Mont.—A new state-of-the-art C-130 Hercules aircraft maintenance hangar was dedicated and placed into service at the Montana Air National Guard’s 120th Airlift Wing April 6.

The addition of the new Building 80 and renovation of Building 25 was designed to accommodate the larger C-130 transport aircraft assigned to the wing following its conversion from a fighter mission to an airlift mission.

“This is a really exciting time for us right now because we’ve been waiting on this hangar for about one year,” said 120th AW Maintenance Group Commander Col. Buel Dickson. “It’s going to improve our capabilities. This will help out with timing, with manpower and will save money for the Air Force.”

Building 80 houses the corrosion control and fuel cell maintenance facility and was constructed next to the original main hangar Building 25.

Building 25 also underwent extensive renovations during the recent construction that updated maintenance shop areas, administrative offices and training and command areas of the building. A passageway was also built between the two hangars to allow maintenance personnel to share tools and equipment from a tool room located between the two facilities.

According to MTANG documented history, the main hangar was built in 1954 and was designed to shelter F-51 Mustang fighter aircraft.

“The 1950s vintage hangar has supported the 120th for many, many years,” said 120th AW Base Civil Engineer Todd Mortag. “Under the fighter mission the fighters all fit within that hangar. With the C-130 mission we did about an 8,000 square foot addition to the existing hangar in order for the facility to fully encapsulate the C-130.”

Dickson said before the new hangar construction and renovation C-130 aircraft maintenance had to be performed at other bases or outdoors on the flight line, often in inclement weather.

“Our personnel were wearing cold-weather gear and using heaters to keep their hands warm and it slowed down the maintenance process quite a bit,” Dickson said. “This (new construction) is going to improve production and is going to improve life for the Airmen as well.”

Mortag said the two-phase construction of Building 80 and renovation of Building 25 started in October 2014 and cost $21 million. This construction has resulted in the consolidation of 90 percent of all 120AW aircraft maintenance functions and activities into one location.

Wing members assembled in the new hangar to watch the first C-130 towed into the building to undergo aircraft maintenance.

“We’re very fortunate we had great support here within our wing,” Mortag said. “It will be nice to turn these buildings over to our aircraft maintenance folks so they can do their job here at home station in an enclosed area.”

Nandi Zama has been flying the C-130 Military Cargo Plane for four years and has officially made history because she is now a commander which is the equivalent of a civilian captain. She has made history as the first black woman to fly the C-130 (as a commander) and she is only 31!
Lieutenant Colonel Ntsikelelo Mantshongo believes that Nandi Zama is worthy of the major responsibility of commanding the four-engine military plane C-130.
Nandi made her maiden journey on Friday 24 March 2017, flying the C-130 from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Waterkloof Air Force base in Gauteng, South Africa.
She has worked very hard to get where she is and is due every credit that comes her way. Nandi joined the military in 2004 right out of high school. She had a year of military training, followed by aerodynamic ground school. In 2006 she received her wings after attending central flying school, and in 2007 she was transferred to 41 Squadron. She is now in the 28 Squadron.
This is a massive achievement and we salute Nandi for following her dreams! We even have an interview with Nandi from 2013 for you to enjoy, you can see how passionate she is about her job.

The 403rd Wing successfully completed the Green Flag Little Rock 17-05 exercise held at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, March 10-22. It was the largest Green Flag exercise to date, and the first time an Air Force Reserve unit has led such an event.

“The exercise simulated a deployment operated out of Little Rock AFB, and we flew combat missions to simulated combat areas,” said Lt. Col. Stuart Rubio, 815th Airlift Squadron commander.

The joint exercise involved active-duty and Air Force Reserve components, which provided aerial support to U.S. Army troops in order to gain experience with ground and air operations in a combat zone.

The 815th Airlift Squadron delivered supplies and transported troops to the deployment locations while the 803rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintained planes to ensure they were ready for each mission.

“We see this as a dress rehearsal for our deployment coming up in 2018,” said Rubio. “This puts our Airmen, those who are doing the support functions on the ground and those who are flying the missions, in as close to a combat scenario as we can get so that when we actually deploy, they will have the feeling they have been there.

“It is a time to try out techniques, learn from each other and come out much more aware of where we stand and where we need to focus our training leading up to the deployment,” said Rubio.

The exercise also prepared members to deal with the stress on mind and body of flying long missions and challenged their skills in in getting the rest needed for their next mission.

For the maintainers on the ground, Chief Master Sgt. Mark Kettner, 803rd AMXS superintendent, said the exercise allowed maintainers to apply what they learned in their individual work areas and bring it together in an unfamiliar place while working together as a team.

Rubio said this exercise has been a great success because the participants not only learned a great deal, they also showed they can bring Reserve and active-duty units together to complete a challenging mission.

This flight allowed the crew to familiarize themselves with the newest C-130 model. The pilots completed approach, landing and en route procedures training; while also familiarizing themselves with the airspace. The loadmasters received hands-on training inside of the cockpit and became proficient with their new responsibilities of working as a three man crew on the J-model.

“Being in the Super Hercules has helped us get back into the mindset of flying our new aircraft to help us continue our mission here at Yokota and throughout the Pacific Region,” said Staff Sgt. Benjamin Baughman, 36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster instructor. “The new aircraft model is great because it’s bigger and faster than the H-model. Because of this we are able to carry more cargo in less time to locations throughout Japan and other countries in the region.”

The C-130J incorporates state-of-the-art technology to reduce manpower requirements, lower operation and support costs, thus providing life-cycle cost savings over earlier C-130 models.

Yokota’s C-130s will also be 15 feet longer, increasing usable space and providing the ability to rapidly transport critical supplies, personnel and equipment around the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

The Super Hercules will continue to arrive at Yokota until the base has received all 14 aircraft to replace the H-models.

“This flight was the start to an important week because all of the J crew are able to get out and fly the aircraft,” said Capt. Chase Hessman, 36 AS pilot. “We are progressing from somewhat of a crawl, walk, run phase where we begin with proficiency training to performing tactical sorties and formation flights. Once we are successfully converted to the J-model’s, the flow of missions will become more regular and we will perform missions throughout the pacific on a more consistent basis.”

A decade ago, the 463rd Airlift Group received its first combat-ready C-130J Super Hercules linking Air Mobility Command to a proud 51-year legacy of flying the Air Force’s cargo workhorse.
Sweeping changes have come to the base since then as the 19th Airlift Wing absorbed the 463rd AG and assumed command in 2008 from the 314th Airlift Wing, changing the base from an Air Education and Training Command asset to an AMC one.
(Ret.) U.S. Air Force Gen. Duncan McNabb, then AMC commander, delivered AMC’s first J model to Col. John Gomez, then 463rd AG commander.
"The quantum leap of capability provided by the J model allows us to go higher, faster and further with more cargo as we respond to crises around the world," Gomez said.
In the initial stages of transition from legacy H-model C-130s, technicians struggled with the differences of the J model and its capabilities.
“As an aircraft electrical and environmental systems Airman, it was difficult to transition since I had 12 years of experience on the older models,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. James Vehlies, 19th Maintenance Group chief inspector. “After some on-the-job training, talking with our Lockheed Martin service reps and applying what I knew about the older models, the aircraft and job became easier, and I was asked to represent AMC in helping transition Yokota Air Force Base to the C-130Js.”
The enhanced reliability of the aircraft decreased the workload required of many maintenance specialties.
“Over the years, the platform has proven itself to be extremely capable and reliable in both in-garrison and deployed operations,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jeremy Doggett, 19th Maintenance Squadron accessory flight chief. “The C-130J is much easier to maintain than legacy C-130s because of its diagnostics system which decreases repair times and makes the aircraft available to be flown more often.”
As the C-130J mission prepares mobility forces for tomorrow, Little Rock Air Force Base personnel are poised to use the strong legacy of air power to prepare for future missions.
"No one has a stronger track record of expanding the envelope or increasing our theater airlift capability to support the warfighter than the men and women of Little Rock Air Force Base," Gomez said.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is to equip six new Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules transport aircraft equipped with the Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS), it was disclosed on 15 March.
A solicitation posted by the US Air Force (USAF) on the US Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) calls for the delivery of six C-130Js with the terrain elevation data for the TAWS. This TAWS subscription will run for 40 months starting 31 May 2017 through 31 August 2020, and will likely be renewed after.
As noted in the solicitation, the aircraft will be fielded by 87 Squadron based at Air Force Station (AFS) Arjan Singh (formerly Panagarh airbase) in the Burdwan district of West Bengal. 87 Squadron is not currently operational, and would be stood-up to receive these aircraft.
Responses to the solicitation should be submitted no later than 4:00PM EST 30 March.
The IAF currently fields four C-130Js, having ordered six in 2008. One aircraft was lost in an accident in March 2014 (a replacement was announced, but not approved), and in February of this year a second was severely damaged while taxiing at Thoise airfield in Ladakh. The current C-130J fleet is operated by 77 Squadron based at AFS Hindon, near the capital New Dehli.
These latest six aircraft that are being solicited were contracted in December 2013 for USD1.1 billion. As with the current fleet, these aircraft will be fitted with defensive aids, Indian-specific communication systems, and chin-mounted electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensor turrets.

The life extension project included the refurbishment of the aircraft center wings, refurbishment or replacement of other structural component, a major rewire, replacement of avionics systems, flight management, autopilot and navigation and communications suites.
The work will ensure that the aircraft continue to comply with evolving air traffic control regulations worldwide.
The upgrade project of the five-strong fleet began in 2010 in Canada. The project was moved to New Zealand, with the Ministry of Defense taking over management, when the Canadian contractor - L-3 Communications Spar Aerospace - ceased operations. The final aircraft were upgraded by a team led by Graeme Gilmore with the support of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, the Aviation Labor Group as the principal labor provider, and Safe Air providing support services to the project.
The upgraded aircraft have already been in use with deployments to the Middle East as part of Operation Team, and assisting with the recovery efforts following Cyclone Winston in Fiji earlier last year.
After more than 50 years of faithful service and rescue missions spanning the globe, King 52, the first HC-130P/N configured for Air Force rescue in 1964, retired March 6, 2017.

Accompanied by its 920th Rescue Wing dedicated crew chiefs and a nostalgic aircrew, the aircraft, tail number 64-14852 c/n 4036 , heads to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, from Patrick AFB, Florida, where it has been stationed since mid-2015.

“It was about to retire when we acquired it from Moody Air Force Base,(Georgia),” said Tech. Sgt. Norberto Nieves, a 720th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron expeditor and former crew chief to King 52. “It was a work horse; that’s for sure.”

“It’s sad to see it go,” the San Juan, Puerto Rico, native continued. “As crew chiefs, we dedicate a lot of time, sweat, and sometimes blood to these aircraft. They become a part of us.”

Tech. Sgt. Matthew White, a 720th AMXS King 52’s dedicated crew chief, said while the aircraft was out of commission with a major maintenance issue for a good portion of the time he had it, he’s still upset to see it retire.

“Like Nieves said, these aircraft become a part of you and it’s tough to see something you’ve worked so hard on go into retirement,” said White, a Spokane, Washington, native. “The most rewarding part of being a dedicated crew chief is seeing the aircraft you spent so many hours on takeoff and come back home safe and sound.”

During its time at Patrick AFB, King 52 flew local training missions as well as missions to Key West, Florida, and across the country to Davis-Monthan AFB.

Maj. Nick Philpitt, the 920th Rescue Wing Inspector General Inspections chief and an HC-130 navigator, said he flew King 52 a handful of times and is honored to be part of the aircraft’s final flight.

“I haven't flown a lot of missions with #52; however, it is somewhat sentimental to be flying her to retirement denoting it's the end of an era,” said Philpitt, an Orlando, Florida, native. “Like a classic car that you've owned and driven, an airplane become(s) an extension of you. Putting it to bed for the last time is moving."

King 52's career ends with the Air Force Materiel Command’s 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, where it will be stored in the “boneyard” with other retired military and government aircraft.

As for the 920th RQW’s HC-130P/N maintenance crews, they continue to work hard at home and abroad ensuring the fleet is rescue-ready.

The HC-130P/N is the only dedicated fixed-wing combat search and rescue platform in the Air Force inventory.

The mission of the HC-130P/N "King" is to rapidly deploy to austere airfields and denied territory in order to execute, all weather personnel recovery operations anytime, anywhere. King crews routinely perform high and low altitude personnel and equipment airdrops, infiltration/exfiltration of personnel, helicopter air-to-air refueling, and forward area refueling point missions. When tasked, the aircraft also conducts humanitarian assistance operations, disaster response, security cooperation/aviation advisory, emergency aeromedical evacuation, casualty evacuation, and noncombatant evacuation operations.

Dozens of airmen with the Montana Air National Guard are now back home with their loved ones after their first major deployment since the 120th Airlift Wing transitioned from fighter jets to C-130 cargo planes.
This was the airmen's first large-scale deployment since completing the two and a half year conversion process in October. 
During the deployment, the Guardsmen were assigned to the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing and participated in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Flight crews delivered supplies and personnel throughout the region to military units fighting ISIS.
MSgt Jason Caldwell of the 120th Maintenance Squadron said, "I told every one of our workers and everybody around you should not go home and feel like you didn't do what you went here to do. We accomplished everything and then some."
Caldwell says that they flew a lot with the fighters but with how they were preforming mission they were just as busy or busier with the C-130’s.
The mission often required the C-130 crews to operate in dangerous regions, but crewmembers say the airmen went above and beyond to successfully complete their mission. 
CMSgt Steven Lynch, the 120th Airlift Wing Command Chief, explained that the MT ANG is flying one of the oldest versions of the C-130’s, and he is proud of what the men and women did on their first time on deployment with this mission.
Chief Lynch said, "Delivering record amount of cargo, record amount of personnel, flew a record amount of hours, and our maintenance stats. The ability of our maintenance folks to provide the resources to our operations was outstanding." 
SMSgt Mike Donahue of the 120th Operational Support Squadron noted, "As Montanans, that's what we do. We try to go and show who we are and what we are made of. To have a chip on our shoulder, go do the job, and do the best we can. This job, you are always learning, and we learned a ton. This is just going to compound for later. We are just going to keep getting better and better."
Caldwell and Donahue have both been with the Montana Air National Guard as they have moved from F-16s, to the F-15s, and now the C-130 Hercules.
“It was different for me because of my career field. I was a maintainer then and now I am actually overseeing. For me it was different to be at a lot of the meetings, answering a lot of questions and trying to relay everything down to the worker level,” Caldwell said.

On the bright, chilly morning of March 5, a small crowd of onlookers and well-wishers listened to the sound of the Alaska Air National Guard's C-130H Hercules turboprops recede into the distance for the last time.

The wing's divesture of the last of the 144th Airlift Squadron's C-130s marks a sea change for the organization, one of the nation's largest and busiest Air Guard wings. Since 1957, its tactical airlift aircraft - first C-47 Skytrains and later C-123 Providers -- have been at the heart of the its varied missions. The first C-130s, "E" models, arrived in 1976, followed seven years later by the updated "H" models. For more than four decades, these blunt-nosed turboprops have been familiar sights in Alaska's skies, their rugged design and short-airfield capabilities serving the state well.

Now, U.S. Air Force structure changes included in the 2017 Presidential Budget have divested the Alaska Air National Guard of its eight "legacy" C-130H Hercules aircraft and the tactical airlift mission. As such, these aircraft have, one by one, been transferred to other state Guard units or retired from service.

"With over four decades of incredible service, today's C-130 departures mark a significant milestone for the 176th Wing," said Col. Steve deMilliano, commander of the 176th Wing. "Their aircrews and maintainers have served with honor and distinction. This 70th Anniversary year for the United States Air Force highlights that aircraft and missions will eventually change, and our Airmen are the constant ensuring mission success. Despite any bittersweet feelings we may have with the final two C-130H aircraft departing today, we're excited to see our dedicated airmen embracing the opportunities of the future to begin writing yet another successful chapter in our Wing's proud history. Our nation and state know they can count on us being ready whenever called upon."

A March 4 ceremony and barbecue provided current and former crews and maintainers the opportunity to share memories and inspect the wing's two remaining C-130s for the last time. They unanimously praised the airframe's famed versatility.

"I've been all the way down to Montevideo, Uruguay and Cape Town, South Africa," said Chief Master Sgt. (ret.) Robert Paulson, a former C-130 crew chief who attended the event. "It [the C-130] did so many things - anything to support the goals of our country."

The divestiture of the C-130s and their tactical airlift mission still leaves the 176th Wing as one of the most operationally engaged Air Guard organizations -- its missions include the rescue triad, comprising HH-60 Pavehawk Helicopters, HC-130 J-models, and Guardian Angel pararescuemen; inter-agency rescue coordination; U.S. airspace monitoring and defense; and a full complement of agile combat support. Since 2007 these missions have also included strategic airlift, which the wing's 249th Airlift Squadron accomplishes via a classic association with the Air Force's 517th Airlift Squadron. ("Classic association" denotes a relationship in which active-component and Air National Guard Airmen work together as total force partners in accomplishing the mission, but the active-duty Air Force owns the airframes.) This association is in the process of converting to an "active" association, with the 249th assuming ownership of the airframes.

176th Wing and squadron leaders appreciate that mission changes present new opportunities.

"We know that the future depends on continuing to change and adapt," commented 144th Commander Lt. Col. Michael Cummings.

Members of Team Yokota came out to welcome the first of 14 C-130J Super Hercules being assigned to the 374th Airlift Wing during an arrival ceremony held at Yokota Air Base, Japan, March 6, 2017. 14-5807 c/n 5807

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Mark Dillon, PACAF vice commander, along with U.S. Air Force Col. Kenneth Moss, 374th Airlift Wing commander, accompanied the aircraft on the final leg of its journey from Kadena Air Base, Japan to Yokota Air Base, its new home in the Pacific. Upon landing, it received a raucous greeting from a combined Japanese and American audience, anxious to get a firsthand look at the future of tactical airlift in the region.

“I’m very excited about us receiving the aircraft because it allows us to do a lot more around the Pacific,” said Senior Airman Alex Lauher, 374th Airlift Squadron loadmaster. “It’s a step toward the future. It enables us to better help with things like humanitarian missions by carrying more food, water and supplies to those areas.”

The new aircraft, assigned to the 374th AW, will eventually replace the unit’s existing C-130H fleet, which has been in service for nearly 30 years. The transition is part of an Air Force-wide effort to modernize the entire active duty C-130 fleet. It effectively closes a strong chapter in airlift history, as the H model has been in active duty service since 1974.
The C-130J incorporates state-of-the-art technology to reduce manpower requirements, lower operating and support costs, and provide life-cycle cost savings over earlier C-130 models.

Compared to older C-130s, the J model climbs faster and higher, flies farther at a higher cruise speed, and takes off and lands in a shorter distance.

Yokota’s C-130s will also be 15 feet longer, increasing usable space and providing the ability to rapidly transport critical supplies, personnel and equipment around the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Much like its H-model older brother, the C-130J will be used to support critical peacekeeping and contingency operations in the Indo-Asia Pacific region, including cargo delivery, troop transport, airdrop and aeromedical missions. The aircraft provides significant performance improvements and added operational capabilities that translate directly into increased effectiveness. Some of these attributes include the ability to:
• Operate out of 2,000 ft.-long dirt strips in high mountain ranges.
• Carry 164,000 pound payload
• Travel 14% faster than the H-model
• Travel 2000 miles
• Perform in-flight refueling, ground fueling, weather reconnaissance, electronic warfare, medical evacuation, search and rescue, paradrop, special operations and many other missions.
• Generate much greater operational efficiencies. The C-130J outperforms older C-130s in combat operations by at least a two-to-one margin.
• Operate with only three crew members for most missions, exposing fewer flight crew members to potential combat threats.
• Demonstrate reliability that far exceeds most other military aircraft with average mission capable rates routinely in the 80 to 90 percent range.

While this is only the first of the new J-model aircraft to arrive at Yokota, members of the 374th AW are already excited about continuing the mission with the new capabilities.

“Today marks the beginning of the transition for the 374th Airlift Wing, from operating the C-130 from models E through H, to now operating the world’s most advanced tactical airlifter, the C-130J,” Moss said. “We will continue to be the most important base in the Pacific for projecting airpower throughout the Indo-Asia Pacific Region and the C-130J is going to be key to that piece. It is part of what we do every day.”

Air National Guardsmen from the 120th and 182nd Airlift Wings departed for home this week following a four-month deployment at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia.
During their deployment, the Airmen were assigned to the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Airmen where they successfully delivered cargo downrange at a record breaking pace in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the coalition mission aimed at defeating ISIS. 
Their missions while deployed was flying and maintaining multiple C-130 Hercules aircraft. Some of the records they broke included the most hours flown hours since October 2012 and most passengers moved in recorded history from their location. This was accomplished by a team of Citizen Airmen working tirelessly to complete the mission.   
“The guys I have worked with here are outstanding,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Rudebeck, 737th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron pilot, deployed from the 182nd Airlift Wing. “Their level of professionalism and dedication is second to none.”
In order to keep the C-130 mission fully functional and off the ground, knowledgeable maintenance Airmen worked day and night to identify and fix potential issues.
Airman 1st Class John Rayyan, 386th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Aircraft Maintenance Unit aircraft environmental electrician, deployed from the 182nd Airlift Wing, did his part to make sure the aircraft were working properly.
“Without the components the aircraft wouldn’t be able to fly, so if anything goes bad with those components, I am there to fix it,” said Rayyan.
This team also achieved their unit’s best mission completion rate since 2015. This was accomplished through close integration between the aircrew and the AMU. Pilots like Rudebeck recognized the importance of working alongside these maintainers. 
“Those guys are spot on and always have a spare jet ready for us to go so we can still get the mission off on time,” said Rudebeck.
The flying missions often brought the aircraft to rough environments. This resulted in a need for constant upkeep of the C-130s.
“These planes take a beating, and there is always maintenance that goes along with it,” said Rudebeck. “The maintenance guys are challenged in ways they are not challenged at home station.”
The Guardsmen all expressed pride in the accomplishments they achieved and the records they broke through their hard work.
“One that sticks out the best is our hours flown,” said Tech. Sgt. Taylor Thoroughman, 386th EAMXS AMU crew chief, deployed from the 120th Airlift Wing. “Not only are we not breaking the aircraft, but when they do break we are getting them back fully mission capable within the allotted time they give us.”
These Airmen will go back home knowing they did their part in sending ammunition, food, personnel and other necessary cargo downrange in the fight against ISIS.
“That is the most rewarding thing,” said Thoroughman.