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      A Philippine air force C-130 aircraft carrying combat troops crashed in a southern province while landing Sunday, killing at least 29 army soldiers on board and two civilians on the ground, while at least 50 were rescued from the burning wreckage, officials said.
      Some soldiers were seen jumping off the aircraft before it crashed and exploded around noon in the periphery of the Jolo airport in Sulu province, military officials said. Two of six villagers who were hit on the ground have died.
      Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said rescue and recovery efforts were ongoing. The aircraft had 96 people on board, including three pilots and five crew and the rest were army personnel, the military said, adding 17 soldiers remained unaccounted for by nightfall. The pilots survived but were seriously injured, officials said.
      The Lockheed C-130 Hercules was one of two ex-U.S. Air Force aircraft handed over to the Philippines as part of military assistance this year. It crashed while landing shortly before noon Sunday in Bangkal village in the mountainous town of Patikul, military chief of staff Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said.
      Military officials said at least 50 people on board were brought to a hospital in Sulu or flown to nearby Zamboanga city and troops were trying to search for the rest. “Per eyewitnesses, a number of soldiers were seen jumping out of the aircraft before it hit the ground, sparing them from the explosion caused by the crash,” a military statement said.
      Initial pictures released by the military showed the tail section of the cargo plane relatively intact. The other parts of the plane were burned or scattered in pieces in a clearing surrounded by coconut trees. Soldiers and other rescuers with stretchers were seen dashing to and from the smoke-shrouded crash site.
      The plane was transporting troops, many of them new soldiers who had just undergone basic training, from the southern Cagayan de Oro city for deployment in Sulu, officials said.
      “They were supposed to join us in our fight against terrorism,” Sulu military commander Maj. Gen. William Gonzales said. Government forces have been battling Abu Sayyaf militants in the predominantly Muslim province of Sulu for decades.
      It was not immediately clear what caused the crash. Regional military commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan said it was unlikely that the aircraft took hostile fire, and cited witnesses as saying that it appeared to have overshot the runway then crashed in the periphery of the airport.
      “It’s very unfortunate,” Sobejana told reporters. “The plane missed the runway and it was trying to regain power but failed and crashed.”
      An air force official told The Associated Press that the Jolo runway is shorter than most others in the country, making it more difficult for pilots to adjust if an aircraft misses the landing spot. The official, who has flown military aircraft to and from Jolo several times, spoke on condition of anonymity because of a lack of authority to speak publicly.
      Initial pictures showed that the weather was apparently fine in Sulu although other parts of the Philippines were experiencing rains due to an approaching tropical depression. The airport in Sulu’s main town of Jolo is located a few kilometers (miles) from a mountainous area where troops have battled Abu Sayyaf militants. Some militants have aligned themselves with the Islamic State group.
      The U.S. and the Philippines have separately blacklisted Abu Sayyaf as a terrorist organization for bombings, ransom kidnappings and beheadings. It has been considerably weakened by years of government offensives but remains a threat.
      President Rodrigo Duterte expanded the military presence in Sulu into a full division in late 2018, deploying hundreds of additional troops, air force aircraft and other combat equipment after vowing to wipe out the Abu Sayyaf and allied foreign and local gunmen.
      Government forces at the time were running after Muslim armed groups a year after quelling the five-month siege of southern Marawi city by hundreds of militants linked to the Islamic State group. More than 1,000 people, mostly militants and long-elusive Abu Sayyaf commanders, were killed in months of intense air and ground assaults.
      Sunday’s crash comes as the limited number of military aircraft has been further strained, as the air force helped transport medical supplies, vaccines and protective equipment to far-flung island provinces amid spikes in COVID-19 infections.
      The Philippine government has struggled for years to modernize its military, one of Asia’s least equipped, as it dealt with decades-long Muslim and communist insurgencies and territorial rifts with China and other claimant countries in the South China Sea.
      Source: Philippine military plane crashes, 31 dead, 50 rescued (apnews.com)

    • For more than a year now the 908th Airlift Wing has been faced with the task of figuring out how to protect its members and their families from COVID-19 while still being able to answer the nation’s call when it comes. One of the first things the wing commander, Col. Craig Drescher, said in readjusting the wing’s priorities was that, “we have to find a way to lean forward and still accomplish and preserve as much of the mission as possible.”
      In the last year, the wing has taken the commander’s words to heart, as it knew it was facing the largest deployment in the history of the 908th AW this year.
      To help showcase the wing’s motto, “Readiness in Strength,” the 908th held a wing-wide exercise in conjunction with one of the many monthly tactical airlift training weeks it has had in the past year.
      While exercise Auburn Tide, aptly named for Alabama’s only Reserve wing, didn’t feature every member of the wing, it did focus on many of the jobs needed to accomplish the tactical airlift mission of the wing. Featuring maintainers from the 908th Maintenance and Aircraft Maintenance Squadrons to fix, prepare and generate aircraft for missions; air transportation specialists from the 25th Aerial Port Squadron to pack, rig, and provide various equipment used for air drops; medical community members from the 908th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and the 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron to prepare and provide patient care to wounded members downrange, inflight, and at local medical treatment facilities; and lastly the aircrews that fly all of these important missions, either delivering supplies or troops to the front lines, or air evacuation mission of bringing members back to a safe treatment facility.
      “The main goal of this exercise is to ramp up our operations and challenge our members,” said Capt. Justin Bell, director of inspections for the 908th inspector general’s office. “We create situations that are tailored towards combat operations that are close to what we’ll encounter in a deployed environment. As an inspector I’m looking to ensure that all our members are ready to carry out the mission and can be deployment capable within 72 hours.”
      The ability to deploy anywhere, anytime at a moment’s notice is critical to the 908th’s tactical airlift mission. Auburn Tide will serve to bolster our Reserve Citizen Airmen’s readiness and mission capability.
      “While we’ve had our share of adversity this past year, the members of the 908th have consistently adapted and overcame every challenge,” said Drescher. “I have full confidence that our members will continue to be resilient and mission ready as they deploy.”
      Source: 908th Proves Readiness for Wing’s Largest Deployment during Exercise Auburn Tide > 919th Special Operations Wing > Article Display (af.mil)

    • Recently, the 189th Airlift Wing’s 154th Training Squadron was selected by Air National Guard leaders, to be the official home of the Guard’s C-130J training program. This preliminary decision is a milestone in solidifying the future for the 189 AW. While nothing changes for the foreseeable future for the unit’s C-130H training, the 154 TRS will stay in the business of what they do best… training TAC airlifters!
      The C-130 has supported the Air National Guard mission for more than 50 years, transporting troops, cargo, vehicles and much more. While the 189th’s formal training mission of training crews in the C-130H aircraft will continue for the lifecycle of the aircraft, the mission does not stop as the newer J models will slowly be integrated in the 189th fleet. The incorporation of the new aircraft also means the strengthening of our continued relationship with the 314th Airlift Wing, also located at Little Rock Air Force Base.
      “The 189 AW looks forward to a continued strong partnership with the 314th as we provide premier C-130 training to the Total Force and our allied partners,” said Col. Dean Martin, 189 AW commander. “Our aircrew and maintainers are top-of-the-line and we are ready to take the next step in support to our nation and state.”
      Although the most current information shows the wing receiving the first two J-model aircraft in the summer of 2023, the wing will continue its deliberate planning and coordination to be prepared to receive additional aircraft.
      “This is not the first time the Air Force has recapitalized its fleet and will likely not be the last time,” said Col. Jay Geaney, 189th Operations Group commander. “The wing itself has hosted many different types of aircraft since its inception and has taught us to be versatile and adaptable to change. The wing will operate in a split-fleet configuration for many years to come, which will require all our aircrew and maintenance expertise to train Airmen and support our mission.”
      The transition will ensure the wing is able to continue its legacy of training top C-130 aircrew. The combined efforts of the 314th and 189th Airlift Wings shows great promise in the continued training of combat airlift support around the globe.
      Source: 189th Airlift Wing selected as ANG C-130J training hub > 189th Airlift Wing > Article Display (af.mil)

    • Several U.S. Air Force aircraft including F-16s, C-130s, and KC-135s have deployed to northern Africa for the continent’s largest exercise, African Lion.
      The exercise drew 7,000 participants from nine nations and wraps up June 18 with USAF aircraft flying alongside Moroccan aircraft for close air support training and C-130s airdropping personnel.
      “The arrival of fighters and tankers adds another level to this already dynamic exercise,” said Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander, in a release. “Every flight brings another opportunity to work closely with our partners and exchange best practices so we can better pursue our shared goals.”
      F-16s from the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy, and KC-135s from the 100th Air Refueling Wing at RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom, arrived in Morocco on June 14. C-130Js from the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, deployed even earlier.
      The F-16s conducted an Agile Combat Employment training event June 16, flying from Ben Guerir Air Base in Morocco, engaging in close air support missions at a nearby range, then landing at Guelmim Airfield to reload and refuel. The aircraft took off again, flew another mission, and returned to Ben Guerir. All told, the F-16s dropped seven 500-pound bombs, according to a release.
      The C-130s flew weapons, support equipment, and personnel to Guelmim as part of the ACE event.
      “The teams down at African Lion are taking ACE to the next level by executing it in Africa for the first time,” Harrigian said. “Demonstrating these capabilities in new austere locations solidifies our unmatched ability to rapidly deploy combat-credible forces to any location.”
      This year’s event is the first since 2019; the 2020 exercise was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal also hosted activities as part of African Lion.
      Source: F-16s, C-130s, KC-135s Training in Morocco for Exercise African Lion - Air Force Magazine

    • The US Navy (USN) is accelerating plans to field the Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Hercules in the Take Charge And Move Out (TACAMO) survivable nuclear communications role, with increased funding requested in the service's fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget proposal.
      The proposal released earlier in June lays out an accelerated plan to procure three C-130J-30 aircraft as test assets for the Boeing E-6B Mercury long-endurance command, control, and communications (C3) aircraft replacement programme.
      “The E-6 Recapitalization Program (E-XX) provides for air vehicle replacement and mission systems moderni ation for the aging E-6B aircraft and TACAMO mission,” the proposal said, adding, “Funds increase from FY21 to FY22 due to acceleration of the E-XX, following [an] National Airborne Operations Center (NAOC) Executive Airlift TACAMO (NEAT) analysis of alternatives”.
      With this accelerated funding for the three test aircraft, developmental test and funding is now slated for FY25. The budget proposal did not disclose intended aircraft numbers to be fielded operationally planned in-service date.
      The TACAMO mission is flown out of Located at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma by Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ-3 and VQ-4). The 16 E-6B Mercury aircraft provides airborne capability for survivable, endurable and reliable airborne between the US National Command Authority (NCA) and the US strategic forces. “This mission is critical in the deterrence and management of a large-scale nuclear conflict,” the navy said.
      Source: US Navy accelerates TACAMO nuclear communications recap plan (janes.com)

    • Three US Air Force C-130J Super Hercules aircraft from the 86th Airlift Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, have arrived in Kenitra, Morocco, for exercise African Lion.
      The C-130 crews will train alongside their Moroccan counterparts to hone critical airdrop, airlift and aeromedical evacuation capabilities while enhancing interoperability with the Moroccans, the US Air Force said after the aircraft arrived on 9 June.
      “African Lion is an incredible opportunity for our Airmen to work shoulder-to-shoulder with our Moroccan partners as we develop essential capabilities for our forces,” said General Jeff Harrigian, US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander. “Together, we’re building a winning team that can ensure Africa’s future safety, security and prosperity.”
      Ahead of their arrival in Kenitra, the C-130s initiated a joint forcible entry via airborne assault where they led an airdrop team that successfully delivered over 150 US and British paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, Vincenza, Italy, and the 16th Air Assault Brigade, Colchester, United Kingdom, to the drop zone in Grier Labouie, Morocco. Airborne insertions allow aircrew to sharpen vital airdrop skills as they rapidly and safely drop the maximum number of personnel at a specific location.
      This joint forcible entry also demonstrated the ability of the C-130s to operate effectively alongside US C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. The multi-platform event provided realistic training as Airmen quickly moved hundreds of service members from the European theatre to the African theatre.
      Additionally, the C-130s will fly a variety of day and night missions across throughout the two-week exercise.
      This week, US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons and KC-135 Stratotankers will join the C-130s in African Lion’s Air Training Exercise. Joint Terminal Attack Control Airmen are also participating in the combined and joint exercise by training Moroccan JTACs and supporting airdrop operations in Grier Labouie and Tan Tan, Morocco.
      Training with partners throughout African Lion enables the multinational forces to build the enduring relationships necessary to confront the broad range of global challenges the African theatre currently faces, the US Air Force said.
      African Lion 2021 is US Africa Command’s largest, premier, joint, annual exercise hosted by Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal between 7 and 18 June. More than 7 000 participants from nine nations and NATO are taking part.
      Source: US Air Force C-130Js arrive in Morocco for Exercise African Lion - defenceWeb

    • Two C-130J transport aircraft of Bangladesh Air Force landed at Bangabandhu Air Force Base Bangabandhu, Kurmitola, Dhaka from China on Sunday (June 13) with 6 lakh doses of Sinopharm vaccine and syringes to prevent coronavirus.
      Also Read: Bangladesh and Austria held Foreign Office Consultations virtually on 8 June 2021
      Two C-130J transport aircraft of Bangladesh Air Force return home from China with 6 lakh dose of coronavirus vaccineBangladesh Armed Forces are conducting various activities to prevent coronavirus following the policy published by the Government of Bangladesh under the direction of the Hon’ble Prime Minister. Following this, as a sign of China’s friendly relations with Bangladesh, the Air Force completed two C-130J transport aircraft with 8 lakh doses of Sinopharm vaccine and syringes from China to prevent coronavirus from returning to the country. It may be mentioned that on Saturday (June 12), 26 Air Crew of Bangladesh Air Force and a representative of the Armed Forces Department of China went to China to collect coronavirus vaccine from China to prevent coronavirus through two C-130J transport planes of Bangladesh Air ForceHazrat Shahjalal left Dhaka International Airport for the purpose. Wing Commander Md. Habibur Rahman, GD (P) and Wing Commander Sheikh Murtaza Ghalib, GD (P) served as the Mission Commanders of these two C-130J transport aircraft.
      Source: Two C-130J transport aircraft of Bangladesh Air Force return home from China with 6 lakh dose of coronavirus vaccine - The Policy Times

    • The C-130 air transport squadron being formed by France and Germany is to reach its initial operational capability (IOC) on 1 September as planned despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the Luftwaffe announced on its website on 10 March.
      The squadron’s four French Air Force (FAF) C-130Js are stationed at Air Base 123 at Orléans-Bricy pending their move to Évreux in Normandy where the joint Franco-German air transport squadron will be based.
      The Luftwaffe reported that a maintenance hangar for three aircraft is being built at Évreux where 10 C-130Js will be based, half of which will be tanker versions. The 16-strong German national support element is scheduled to move to Évreux in April along with seven Bundeswehr civilian personnel, followed by French members of the squadron in July and 40 Luftwaffe pilots, technicians, load masters, clerks, and administrative staff in August. The German pilots are being trained on the C-130J at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas.
      The Luftwaffe said 65 of its personnel and about the same number of FAF members would be in Évreux by the end of year. The squadron will be tasked with air transport and aerial refuelling missions for the European Air Transport Command (EATC) in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and for France and Germany.
      The squadron’s IOC will be provided by two C-130J transports and two KC-130J tankers from the FAF, with the six German aircraft to be delivered at the rate of one every six months starting in February 2022. The deliveries are scheduled to be completed in 2024 when the squadron is due to reach its full operational capability. Three of the German aircraft will be C-130Js and three KC-130Js.
      Source: Franco-German C-130 air transport squadron on track for September IOC (janes.com)

    • “The biggest US-Japan airborne operation in history” involved hundreds of Japanese soldiers parachuting from Air Force transport planes in the shadow of Mount Fuji, according to the 374th Airlift Wing.
      Photos of Tuesday’s training, dubbed Airborne 21, show paratroopers from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s 1st Airborne Brigade jumping from a C-130J Super Hercules assigned to Yokota’s 36th Airlift Squadron. They landed at Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji.
      The Air Force was fortunate to be able to support Airborne 21, an event led by the JGSDF, wing spokeswoman Capt. Caitlin Mott wrote in an email Friday to Stars and Stripes.
      “It involved the largest personnel drop during a ground scheme of maneuver,” she said, echoing a wing Facebook post saying the training included “approximately 600 JGSDF paratroopers, 12 C-130J aircraft and 130 containment delivery system bundles.”
      Japanese paratroopers have jumped from the wing’s planes in the past. In November 2018, for example, two C-130Js flew from Yokota to Tsuiki Air Base in Fukuoka prefecture to collect 80 Japanese paratroopers who jumped from the planes with the help of Army paratroopers from Alaska.
      During Airborne 21, Yokota’s aircraft dropped the Japanese supply bundles without malfunctions, Mott said.
      The supplies were dropped to multiple locations, in theory supporting individual firing positions, she said.
      “This event further strengthened our relationship with our allies and partners by demonstrating our resolve to promote security and stability throughout the region,” she said.
      Source: Super Hercs and paratroopers pull off ‘biggest US-Japan airborne operation in history’ - Pacific - Stripes

    • A C-130 pilot described his “rude awakening” when he first flew into Vietnam. What he thought were fireworks celebrating his arrival, was enemy ground fire.
      A C-130 combat pilot and veteran of 72 combat missions in Vietnam said the enemy fired on his hulking four engine cargo plane on every landing and takeoff but he never found a bullet hole in his plane.
      “My angels have been watching over me. That's all I can say. I've been very, very fortunate. I've been very blessed,” said Jim Warner, a 20-year veteran of the Air Force who earned the military’s highest award for heroics in the sky in 1972.
      “I was just doing my job. Just like the rest of the guys. I didn't do anything special,” said Warner holding his citation for The Distinguished Flying Cross.
      It reads in part:
                  Captain James B. Warner distinguished himself by extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a C 130 pilot for the 776 tactical Airlift Squadron at song B field Republic of Vietnam on five June 1972. on that date, Captain Warner flew to combat sorties of medical supplies ammunition and food to the besieged forces at song be, although underground fire with heavy weather, the night landing was successfully completed and numerous refugees were evacuated to safety, the professional competence, aerial skill and devotion to duty displayed by Captain Warner reflect great credit upon himself in the United States Air Force.
      In addition to our on-camera interview about his actions on that particular mission, Mr. Warner also took time to answer the following 10 questions about the impact his military service had on the rest of his life.
      1.  What one person influenced you most in life?
      My Dad was my hero. He was a rocket scientist, and he set the standard for service to others. He took our family places, showed us the U.S., and taught me how to make and repair things. He had high moral standards, integrity, honesty, and character, and taught me those same values.
      2.  Do you feel honored and respected for serving your country?
      I do now. Not necessarily during the Vietnam War era. I was never treated badly like many of my fellow American Legion and VFW friends were.  We had strong, well respected Veteran organizations in Naperville, IL, where I spent 17 years after retiring from the Air Force. I believe East Tennessee does a fantastic job of honoring Veterans, thanks to many Veteran organizations, school and government programs, and John Becker’s Service and Sacrifice program.
      3.  How can people thank you for your service?
      Vote! Vote responsibly! Many people vote either on a party line because “That’s the way they’ve always voted,” or vote on one “Hot Button” issue, or vote based on emotion. I suggest evaluating all the issues and the candidates’ values, integrity, honesty, track record, leadership, and the party’s stand on those issues. Then make an informed, responsible vote.
      4.  How do you honor your fellow service men and women?
      By serving leadership roles in Service Organizations. One of the things I’ve done for many years is relay military and veteran information via email to many (250 or 300 or more) veterans and veteran-friendly associates.
      5.  How do you think this generation of military men and women is different or similar to yours?
      They are smarter. And there are more women in the service. During my era, men were drafted, but going to an all-volunteer service was an outstanding move on the part of our government. Young men and women make informed decisions to enlist in the service. They aren’t drafted. And they aren’t forced into the service by a judge who gives them a choice: jail or the military. Those people do not make good soldiers.
      6.  What influence did your military service have on the rest of your life?
      The military taught me a lot about leadership, and it gave me a greater appreciation for my country. It taught me much about serving others and putting others before self.
      7.  Does your family have a history of military service?
      Some. My brother was in the National Guard for seven years. One cousin was in the Air Force and retired after a full career as a jet engine mechanic. A couple of other cousins were in the Air Force for a time. My wife’s grandfather was in WWI as an ambulance driver. My Dad’s work in rocket research at Purdue University was more valuable to our country than his serving in the Army would have been.
      8.  Would you encourage younger generations in your family to join the service?
      Yes, I would. There are so many opportunities and skills and training available, only through the military. One good thing that all military branches instill is discipline! And, there is the opportunity to have a complete career in the military and then go on to a civilian career after the Service.
      9.  How has your opinion of war changed?
      War is one means of international diplomacy. War happens as a failure of all other forms of diplomacy. Our country’s leadership failed and got us into the Vietnam War. That war was run politically, and not by military leadership. I believe that has changed in that our military leadership has more control over the battlefield. Military leadership is more trusted now. War is never a good thing. Having seen it and been in war, it is definitely a bad thing and seldom yields positive results on an international scale.
      10.  How did your military experience shape your religious faith?
      I was brought up in a Christian home, so I’ve always had a fairly strong faith. I believe my faith is stronger, now. I made some poor decisions along the way while in the military, but I managed to survive most of them fairly well. I knew that God had a purpose for me in life, and my angels sometimes worked overtime protecting me. I am incredibly fortunate to have lived this long (age 75), more or less unscathed.
      Source: New details emerge from Marine's veteran arrest in Venezuela | wbir.com

    • Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units from across the country partnered to fly a large formation exercise called “Baltic Wolf” here Thursday.
      The exercise included aircraft and personnel from the 96th Airlift Squadron, Minneapolis, St. Paul Air Reserve Station, Minnesota; 357th Airlift Wing, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama; 700th Airlift Squadron, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia; along with the 169th Airlift Wing, Peoria, Illinois, of the Illinois Air National Guard.
      Reserve Airmen piloting six C-130H3 Hercules aircraft participated in a large-formation employment that executed coordinated flight activity with tactical air drops. This type of exercise is dubbed a “six ship.” A typical flight exercise includes only two aircraft so it’s unique to have a larger number of aircraft participating in a coordinated exercise together. The crews successfully simulated a contested environment through the mountains of North Georgia, culminating in low cost, low altitude (LCLA) airdrops.
      Lt. Col. Richard Konopczynski, 700th AS director of operations and pilot of the third aircraft in the formation, used a road trip as an example to explain why this exercise is important.
      “These types of large formation exercises offer a unique level of training not possible in any other way,” said Konopczynski. “Imagine going on a cross country trip in your car.  Your decisions are based on what it takes to get you to your destination safely and on time.  Now imagine having two, three, or even five other cars following you in a trail.  Every challenge you encounter while on your route has a potential to impact not only you, but all of the other vehicles in your formation. You can begin to see how the complexity increases exponentially. “
      This was also the first large formation exercise for many of the aircrew and ground support Airmen. From the maintenance personnel trying to launch a half dozen aircraft to the first-term aviators piloting the aircraft, everyone involved was part of the training mission’s success.
      A significant part of the training exercise was the tactical airdrop. Loadmasters are instrumental in ensuring loads are dropped from the aircraft successfully and on time. The loadmaster’s job is to supervise loading and unloading of aircraft, monitor the weight and balance of loads, and ensure loads exit the aircraft safely.
      Senior Airman Whitney Foster, 700th AS loadmaster, noted the important role the loadmaster plays in not only training missions like this, but in contingency operations as well.
      “In a real-world scenario, people on the ground would need supplies,” Foster said. “My job is super important because in this exercise we are the personnel who literally push the supplies out of the back of the plane. It’s very important that we train for scenarios like this if we end up going down range on deployment and need to get folks supplies on time and on target.”
      Perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of the training was the opportunity for aircrews to not only test the skills they are trained to do, but to talk shop with other units and learn new, innovative ways to perform their jobs.
      “Another priceless aspect of this type of exercise is the opportunity to exchange techniques and ideas with other units,” said Konopczynski. “We all strive to do our mission the best we can, but we must all recognize there may be a better way.  These types of opportunities give us to chance to hear diverse perspectives from all aspects of our Air Force family and incorporate them into the way we conduct and execute our missions.  This communication is extremely valuable and directly improves the way we fly, fight and win.”
      Source: Dobbins partners with three AF units to fly in large-scale exercise > Air Reserve Personnel Center > Article Display

    • The U.S. Air Force needs industry’s help to transition software onboard C-130s to a DevSecOps approach to allow easier, more frequent updates.
      The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Air Mobility Command is assessing contractors’ abilities to provide a cloud-native, agile software development platform for the four-engine turboprop transport aircraft in service since the 1950s, according to a request for information posted Feb. 18. Under the proposal, the companies would plan the best way to transition legacy C-130 software to the DevSecOps rapid software development process, with releases in iterative cycles.
      “The end goal is to establish a lean, user-centered approach that will ultimately redefine how capability is delivered to the warfighter while meeting all regulatory testing and cybersecurity requirements,” the RFI stated.
      The Air Force is looking for two companies to partner with C-130 maker Lockheed Martin, to develop a strategy with an implementation and cost schedule, the RFI said.
      After the six-month study, the Air Force expects to award a $1 million contract to implement the results. An RFP to provide the transition services is expected in the second quarter of this year.
      “This effort seeks to avoid the pitfalls of up-front waterfall requirements processes and backend waterfall test and delivery processes, and move the Program Office and its contractors to a true agile culture using cloud-native tools,” the RFI stated, referring to older software development processes.
      Source: US Air Force wants to transition software aboard C-130s (c4isrnet.com)

    • The aircraft the Minnesota Air National Guard used to transport airmen from around the country to President Joe Biden’s inauguration celebrates 50 years of service.
      The C-130A first flew its first mission for the 133rd Airlift Wing on Feb. 21, 1971.  A half-century later, the cargo plane is still known for its ability to take off and land just about anywhere. 
      "We go in and out of the small strips and on top of mountains, down deep in the valleys to much more austere locations than the larger jets," Col. Jamie Lindman, vice wing commander of the 133rd Airlift Wing of the Minnesota Air National Guard said. 
      The C-130 has received three model updates in time with the guard but still is known as one the most legendary cargo planes flying.
      “It will be 50 years since our first mission. We are one of the very few in the country that have been flying the C-130 for that long,” Lindman said.
      It’s known for remote airdrops, cargo loading and air medical evacuations. In January, the 133rd Airlift Wing used the C-130 for the inauguration of President Joe Biden. The Wing’s crews transported 1,465 personnel, 119 tons of cargo and accumulated nearly 200 flight hours in 76 different flights to and from Washington, D.C., totaling 31 missions. 
      “The Guard was called up. Well over 20,000 troops nationwide, almost exclusively guardsmen and the Minnesota National Guard played a very significant role in that larger mission,” Lindman said. 
      "If we need to move a lot of people quickly in short distances, we can do that. It's very versatile and it's an easy aircraft to work on," Lt. Col. Gregory T. Hawkins said. He’s the maintenance squadron commander and in charge of servicing the planes. Hawkins said it takes a crew of more than 100 people and more than 8 hours to get a single C-130 ready for flight. 
      "It's a great aircraft and we're very proud to maintain it and we will continue to maintain it as long as we can," he said. 
      Source: After 50 years, Minnesota Air National Guard's C-130 still flying strong | KSTP.com

    • The U.S Navy Blue Angels teamed up with Toys for Tots Foundation to make spirits a little brighter in Southwest Louisiana.
      The brand new C-130 aircraft landed at Lake Charles Regional Airport Tuesday morning with more than 5,000 pounds of toys and books for local children. Santa was also on hand for the delivery!
      “This is the first time we’ve been able to partner with Blue Angels in 3 years...They just got this C-130 less than a year ago,” said Toys for Tots Operations VP David Cooper.
      Santa ditched the sleigh for a cargo full of Christmas spirit...
      Toys for Tots has always made sure every kid has a Christmas. This year, in the wake of Hurricanes Laura and Delta, they received a little extra help.
      “We really just wanted to support the local communities around us. Especially here in Lake Charles,” said Capt. William Huckeba, U.S Marine Corps/Blue Angels.
      Robert Henry brought his grandson to see the aircraft, which resulted in him getting his very own toy from Santa.
      “The one toy, when he saw the toilet. He loves the games where anything sprays water and when he saw that...Santa gave it to him,
      Making spirits just a tad bit brighter this holiday season.
      Captain William Huckeba with the Blue Angels Navy Team said the toy giveaway is an annual tradition and bringing it to Lake Charles this year was necessary given all the challenges over the last few months.
      “Over 5 thousand pounds of toys...that should be enough to impact a large amount of the community here in Lake Charles,” Huckeba said. ‘We feel very fortunate to provide a ride for those toys and we know those toys will go to all the kids out there that really need a special Christmas.”
      Henry said the gesture means a lot for families struggling to provide a Christma for their little ones in the wake of the storms.
      “This is my grandson. He lives with us, they lost their home in Laura. A lot of money was spent and a lot of people don’t have the money to have a Christmas. This will help out a lot.”
      This was the first time Toys for Tots and Blue Angels teamed up to help the Lake Area. The C-130 traveled from Pensacola, Florida.
      The toys were loaded onto trucks and will be distributed at events across the 5-parish area leading up to Christmas.
      View original article and video here: Blue Angels & Toys for Tots make toy drop in SWLA (kplctv.com)

    • Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has completed modernization of seven aircraft under the C-130 E/B Avionics Modernization (Erciyes) Program.
      “In the Erciyes C-130 modernization project, which includes a total of 19 aircraft, we have completed the modernization works of 7 aircraft, which have been integrated with the latest technologies,” TAI announced on December 8.
      The 56-month project signed in 2007 covers avionics modernization of all of Turkish Air Force (TuAF) C-130 planes. The first prototype aircraft was delivered to the service in 2014. Turkish content in both hardware and software has been increased to reduce long term costs.
      Upgrade of a total of 23 systems and 117 components continue to be carried out with the central control computer or the “brain” of C-130 aircraft.
      TAI re-designed GPS, indicator, anti-collision system, air radar, advanced military and civilian navigation systems, night-time invisible lighting for military missions, sound recording black box carries out the modernization of critical parts such as communication systems, advanced automatic flight systems (military and civilian), ability to operate in the military network, digital floating map and ground mission planning systems.
      It will facilitate the mission capabilities of C130 aircraft, reduces the pilot's workload, as well as ensuring safe flight with automatic route tracking from take-off to landing. With the modernization, the plane will have increased situational awareness and improved ability to land in airports precisely and safely.
      View original article: Turkey Modernizes Seven C-130 Planes (defenseworld.net)

    • Social distancing, mask wearing, contact tracing, testing and quarantines have enabled the U.S. military’s airlift hub in Tokyo to continue its mission across the Indo-Pacific region despite the global pandemic, the 374th Airlift Wing commander said Friday.
      “We’ve been executing every mission we’ve been tasked to do, not without regard for COVID, but despite COVID,” Col. Andrew Campbell told Stars and Stripes in an interview. COVID-19 is the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.
      The airlifters, stationed at Yokota in western Tokyo, fly 14 C-130J Super Hercules transport planes in support of the Indo-Pacific Command. The wing also operates UH-1N helicopters and C-12J transports.
      Their missions include tactical airdrop, aeromedical evacuation, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and transporting distinguished visitors.
      “We’ve continued to move safely and with such care that we haven’t had significant COVID transmission caused by the missions that we’ve been executing,” Campbell said.
      Yokota, with a community of just under 12,000 airmen, civilian workers and family members, has reported at least 86 coronavirus cases since May, not counting an undisclosed number of Navy personnel who sequestered on base before shipping out with the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group.
      In November, a small outbreak fueled by more than 30 instances of spreading by close contact contributed to a monthly total of 62 people infected with the virus, the most the base has reported in any month during the pandemic.

      Three C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan, fly near Mount Fuji, May 11, 2020.
      Campbell said oft-repeated health protection measures such as social distancing, contact tracing, masks for those in close contact, restriction of movement for people coming into Japan and testing have helped the Air Force contain the virus.
      “The public health protection measures we have in place have been very effective in enabling us to sustain our mission,” he said. “People have done a really good job of complying with the protective measures out of a sense of community.”
      The wing doesn’t have data on the number of Yokota personnel who have been ordered abroad this year, although Campbell said his airmen are constantly going on missions.
      “We are a mobility wing,” he said. “We constantly have people executing the mobility mission.”
      This year Yokota airmen have, for example, flown to Alaska to train, ferried soldiers to Palau and conducted refueling operations on Guam and Okinawa.
      “There is no debate that COVID has impacted every aspect of everything we do but the successes we have had despite this challenge are remarkable,” he said.
      The U.S. military’s mobility forces operate continuously and globally even during a pandemic, Campbell said.
      article continues below 
      “We have continued to execute our mission despite COVID,” he said. “It’s a positive reflection on our resilience and perseverance.”
      Campbell said there have been tactical highlights, such as a Nov. 24 mission that involved one of the wing’s C-130Js doing a hot-pit refuel of a pair of F-22 Raptor stealth fighters at Koror Palau International Airport.
      The aircraft had an aerial bulk fuel delivery system designed to transport fuel rapidly to spots close to or behind enemy lines. One of the wing’s aircraft refueled Raptors the same way at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in September, according to an Air Force news release Nov. 24.
      “We did a similar operation between a C-130J and an F-15 on Okinawa recently,” Campbell said.
      Over the summer, Yokota personnel deployed to the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Ahead of the mission, airmen rehabilitated a 1970s-era tactical air navigation system using parts bought at Joyful Honda, a local hardware store. They used the gear to guide aircraft transiting between Alaska and Japan, he said.
      It’s unclear where Yokota airmen might travel on missions next year, Campbell said.
      People will be watching how the global community moves over the next couple of months, “ … hopefully out from this dark cloud of COVID,” he said. “Everyone is hopeful the vaccine will enable us to return to full normality.”
      View original article here: Simple health precautions help keep Tokyo-based airlifters flying during the pandemic - Pacific - Stripes

    • Horry County officials and family members of the thirteen airmen that passed away in the 1972 military air crash in the Bayboro area gathered Saturday to honor the victims on the 48th anniversary of the crash.
      "Historic preservation is what I like to do," said Jamie Thompkins, with Horry County Historical Preservation Society, who helped plan the event. "I had no idea this was going to be an emotional rollercoaster for me, but it has been ... What I found was a story that was tucked away in our county's history and when I opened the door, so to speak, it came rushing out."
      On December 5, 1972, thirteen men died when an F-102 interceptor based out of McEntire Air National Guard base near Columbia collided in mid-air with a C-130 transport plane out of what is now Pope Army Airfield in North Carolina. The aircraft crashed to the ground near the Bayboro area off Joyner Swamp Road.
      “The accident occurred on a night combat profile mission, referred to as a CORONET SIERRA mission, designed to test the various options and capabilities of the … aircraft,” an Air Force incident report read, noting it was a training mission.
      An historical roadside marker, as well as a headstone with all thirteen names was placed in the field next to the Joyner Swamp Fire Station just down the road from the crash site near Tyler Road. 
      Horry County Councilman Al Allen, one of the driving forces behind the planning of the memorial more than a year in the making, said that the markers are on county property and assured the family that the memorials will always be taken care of properly. 
      "I listened to the personal story of each airman, and each one of them has a special memory, and each conversation I ended up in tears. This only cemented my resolve to see this project to a positive outcome. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to bring everyone together today for this ceremony," Thompkins said. "I am humbled to share in such precious memories."
      Many local, state, and military officials attended, including members of the Horry County Council, the Honorable Thomas Keegan (on behalf of Congressman Tom Rice), and Col. Joseph Vanoni with the U.S. Air Force out of Pope Army Airfield in North Carolina. 
      The Horry County Fire Rescue Honor Guard and the Horry County Police Honor Guard were in attendance as well as the Coastal Carolina Shields, Pipes and Drums. 
      Vanoni told the crowd he was proud to be in attendance "to honor them as we should have 48 years ago."
      Family members of the servicemen came from as far away as California and Illinois for the memorial, saying the event was some closure their families needed. 
      "It was wonderful," said Kathy Fischer, sister of then 23-year-old Doug Thierer, who was on board the C-130 that crashed. 
      Ronald Tyler and his children Greg Tyler and Phyllis Richardson, who all lived just by the site of the crash, told their story of that night, when Ronald Tyler ran out of his house with his children. After the midair collision, the remainder of the C-130 seemed to be headed straight for their home. 
      Tyler and Richardson both told the families that while they were scared that night, they understand their experience was nothing compared to the family members that lost loved ones. 
      "They want you to know they shared in your grief," Thompkins told the family during the memorial. 
      Richardson told the crowd she had been blessed to have been able to meet and befriend the Thierer family.
      “Phyllis, she was my age at the time,” Fischer said. “I never thought about that. It gave me a different empathy. I never thought about what was going on [down] on the ground because we were so totally devastated.”
      Read more about the Tyler's experience that night, as well as comments from some airmen family members here.
      "I can't think but one thought and that is that freedom is not free. Some folks have paid a hefty toll," Thompkins said. "The absolute bravery of people I don't even know who are willing to put their lives on the line every day is pretty overwhelming. They should be respected by all, because this is not a debt we can repay. We can however come together as a community to tell our story to see that these men who perished here will never be forgotten, and that this spot will be marked forever for all those to see that something significant happened here." 
      View original article here: Military plane crash victims memorialized after 48 years | News | myhorrynews.com

    • The US has approved the sale of USD 90 million worth of military hardware and services in support of its fleet of C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft.
      This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship and improve the security of a “Major Defense Partner”, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) of the Department of Defense said on Thursday.
      In a major sales notification to Congress, DSCA said that India continues to be an important force for political stability, peace and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region.
      Among the requests made by India include aircraft consumables spares and repair/return parts; Cartridge Actuated Devices/Propellant Actuated Devices (CAD/PAD) fire extinguisher cartridges; flare cartridges; Advanced Radar Warning Receiver shipset; 10 Lightweight Night Vision Binocular; 10 AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Goggle; GPS; Electronic Warfare; instruments and lab equipment support. The estimated total amount is USD 90 million.
      The Pentagon said that the proposed sale ensures the previously procured aircraft operates effectively to serve the needs of the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Army and the Navy transport requirements, local and international humanitarian assistance, and regional disaster relief.
      This sale of spares and services will enable the IAF to sustain a mission-ready status with respect to the C-130J transport. India will have no difficulty absorbing this additional sustainment support, it said.
      According to the Pentagon, the proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. The prime contractor will be Lockheed-Martin Company, Marietta, Georgia.
      In a major move in 2016, the US had designated India a "Major Defence Partner" intending to elevate defence trade and technology sharing to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners.
      View Original article here:  US approves sale of USD 90 mn worth of military equipment and services to India (outlookindia.com)

    • A C-130J Super Hercules conducted a hot-pit refuel of a pair of F-22 Raptors Nov. 24 at Koror Palau International Airport using an Aerial Bulk Fuel Delivery System.
      This mission was one of a series of operations associated with Westpac, a dynamic force employment of the 94th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s area of responsibility.
      According to the Air Expeditionary Force Fuels Management Pocket Guide, ABFDS is an aerial, fuels-delivery system that enables aircraft to transport fuel rapidly to locations close to or behind enemy lines. This system is normally installed on C-130s but can be used on C-5 Galaxies and C-17 Globemaster IIIs.
      “Hot-pit refueling operations using ABFDS are relatively new,” said Chief Master Sgt. Steve McClure, Pacific Air Forces command fuels functional manager. “The primary design of the ABFDS system is to refuel or to take bulk fuel to bladders in a contingency location. It has the capability to refuel aircraft and always has, but we’ve stepped that up with (agile combat employment).”
      According to McClure, the 374th Airlift Wing developed the checklist to use ABFDS to refuel other aircraft, and this is the second time C-130s from the 36th Airlift Squadron, 374th Airlift Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan, have hot-pit refueled F-22 Raptors using ABFDS. The first time was during exercise Valiant Shield 20, a biennial, U.S.-only, joint field training exercise at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in September.
      “They’ve been phenomenal and worked a lot on getting us to where we’re at,” he said.
      ABFDS supports PACAF’s ACE concept, which envisions the use of agile operations to generate resilient airpower in a contested environment. The system consists of two, 3,000-gallon aerial bladder tanks, two pumping modules, a meter and hoses. It is also capable of delivering 600 gallons per minute with one pump or 1,200 gallons per minute with both pumps.
      Should pilots find themselves running out of fuel and they cannot land at the airfield they departed from because it’s under attack or has battle damage, the pilots can divert to a different location knowing they can get refueled.
      “If that location doesn’t have fuel support, we can generate a mission to fly in and off load fuel to the aircraft,” McClure said.
      Being able to get fuel to places in the USINDOPACOM theater of operations is important due to its size. The command’s area of responsibility is more than 100 million square miles, or roughly 52% of the Earth’s surface, stretching from the west coast of the United States, the west coast of India, and from the Arctic to the Antarctic, making this an important capability.
      “There are more airfields than there is capability at those airfields,” McClure said. “You never know when we’re going to land, and you never know when we’re going to need support. It offers us the opportunity to put fuel at a location in a relatively short amount of time as opposed to moving it via maritime.
      “We have the capability to load fuel on an aircraft. Take that aircraft and land somewhere, refuel and get back out of there. Once all aircraft are gone, it’s like we’ve never been there.”
      ABFDS has been used in other USINDOPACOM exercises and used to rotate U-2 Dragon Ladies in and out of South Korea. The system was also loaded onto Royal Australian Air Force C-17s and used to refuel a C-130 during Arctic Ace 2018.
      The 94th EFS is deployed to Andersen AFB from the 1st Fighter Wing, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.
      View original article here: C-130J refuels F-22s using Aerial Bulk Fuel Delivery System > Edwards Air Force Base > News (af.mil)

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