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Six Hercs against Zika

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Ohio congressmen committed to expanding mission of 910th

Airlift Wing

Published: 5/6/16 @ 12:10

By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

VIENNA

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, along with U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan and Bill Johnson, said they are committed to bringing new equipment and expanding the mission of the 910th Airlift Wing.

The unit at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna is the military’s only large-area fixed-wing aerial spray unit.

Portman, a Republican from the Cincinnati area, said the unit is not being utilized to its fullest potential.

Portman wrote a letter Thursday to Deborah Lee James, secretary of the Air Force, asking why the 910th isn’t being used to spray to stop the spread of the Zika virus. Zika, spread largely through the bite of infected mosquitoes, usually has only minor symptoms, but if a pregnant woman gets it, Zika can cause serious birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

In the letter, Portman wrote he was concerned about “the lack of a comprehensive federal strategy to protect the public against the Zika virus and other rapidly spreading infectious diseases,” and the 910th should be used to control the spread.

Portman added: “Emerging infectious diseases constitute a clear and persistent threat to the health and well-being of U.S. citizens. The rapid pace at which global disease outbreaks have occurred in recent years demonstrates the critical need for the federal government to have a whole of government approach to stop infectious disease.”

Portman and the two House members spoke Thursday at the Eastern Ohio Military Affairs Commission’s annual meeting at the base. The commission was created in 2015 to highlight the military value of the station and other installations in eastern Ohio, and the significant roles they play in national defense and the local economy. The station is the fourth-largest employer in the area.

“In Washington, we all have our disagreements, but this base and its impact is not one of them,” said Ryan, of Howland, D-13th.

Johnson, of Marietta, R-6th, added: “It’s a great facility and a great mission and the folks here do it so well. ...We advocate and fight for [the station] with everything we’ve got.”

The three congressmen helped get $9.4 million in an appropriations bill late last year for a new indoor firing range facility at the air station.

Portman said he and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Cleveland Democrat, are urging the Air Force to replace the eight C-130H aircraft at the center with new C-130Js.

The station had 12 C-130Hs until four were moved to other military bases in 2013.

A new C-130J costs $67 million, said Master Sgt. Bob Barko Jr., the 910th’s superintendent of public affairs.

The existing C-130Hs at the base are from 1989 and 1990, and most of the aircraft’s parts are no longer made, he said. That’s resulted in the station’s machine shop making those replacement parts, he said.

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"The existing C-130Hs at the base are from 1989 and 1990, and most of the aircraft’s parts are no longer made, he said."

That's funny.  Doesn't the J share a large number of airframe parts?  Seems like a dumb statement.

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I'm not entirely sure about that. I think when people are briefed about parts shortages, the meaning of that statement is often in reference to gauges.

However, I do remember reading a story a while back about how a USMC Herk where had to pick up an elevator (I think) from the factory and min turn to get the part to Afghanistan because one of their Js had been hit by a forklift. I just went looking for the article and found nothing. I think the article might have been a Lockheed press release. 

Anyhow, if this is true, it would suggest that more parts than we realize have been redesigned over the course of the airplane's production life. 

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There are definitely differences in parts which makes them difficult to procure since you can't use Legacy parts on Js and vice versa.  For example, I know the J model elevators and rudder weights are slightly different than that of the Legacy so using them interchangeably is not an option. Of course it doesn't help when you don't buy the spare parts package and even then, you are competing with LMCO for same parts they need for their production acft to roll off the line with.

 

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Of course there are different gauges, etc, but do the gauges constitute half the parts on the plane?  That's what I was laughing about. 

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I think there is a lot more than you would expect.  Of the parts that should be/could be interchangeable, I think they (LMCO) tweaked them enough to put themselves in a position to capitalize on the supply chain.  The other thing is that all the J model part numbers are just that, J model part numbers and do not interchange with Legacy part numbers.  I know in USAF there are several things that Legacy can use off a J model but because the part number is different than specified in the Legacy books, a TAR/-107 must be processed.  For example flight deck windows; Legacy has their windows that are different from J model windows.  If need be, a J model window can be used on a Legacy if approved by engineering, however a Legacy window cannot be used in a J model.

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Just a bit off the subject, but when I was an FE with Gemini Air Cargo on the DC-10, we were at Charleston AFB back in the early 2000's with a cracked cockpit window.  A Transient Alert guy came by and said the C-17 cockpit windows were interchangeable with the DC-10.  We couldn't use it, though because of some sort of FAA crap.  Had to ferry to JFK to change it.

Don R.

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