CHARLESTON, W.Va. — All eyes were on the skies Sunday at the 130th Airlift Wing, McLaughlin Air National Guard Base in Charleston.
Wing Commander Col. Bryan Preece flew in one of the first two C-130J-30 aircraft arriving on base as a few hundred spectators including West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) leadership, current members of the 130th Airlift Wing, military families, and retirees looked on.
The 130th Airlift Wing was selected by the Air Force to convert to the C-130J30 Super Hercules in May.
General Bill Crane
“This is an incredible team. They have incredible leaders, incredible NCOs and incredible airmen. That alone is what has allowed us to get the C-130 J,” Brig. Gen. Bill Crane, Adjutant General for West Virginia National Guard told MetroNews on Sunday.
The 130th Airlift Wing previously operated eight C-130H3 Hercules model aircraft, which are more than 25 years old. The wing has had a C-130 mission since 1975 and has converted to numerous variations of the C-130 over the years, a release said.
Preece said the move brings stability to the wing. According to him, the Air Force has 290 aircraft, C-130s in inventory, and was looking to cut it to 255 and do it with H models.
Wing Commander Col. Bryan Preece
“We were in great peril of losing aircraft,” he said.
Preece said the C-130J-30 has notable differences from past aircraft used including better on fuel and quieter. A news release stated the C-130J-30 first entered the inventory in February 1999 and boasts a noticeable difference of a six-bladed composite propeller coupled to a Rolls-Royce AE2100D3 turboprop engine.
The C-130J-30, a stretch version with a 15-foot fuselage extension, increases capabilities to include speed, numbers of pallets and personnel that can be airlifted, and maximum payload capacity, the WVNG said.
“So on the outside, they look familiar, both C-130 aircraft that do airlift. On the inside, a lot different. It’s a lot more modern, a lot more digital. They are 15 feet longer which allows them to carry more cargo and more passengers,” Preece said.
The 130th Airlift Wing will use these aircraft all over the world. Crane said the WVNG is used for both federal and state missions meaning these aircraft type can be used from COVID-19 response to sending guardsmen to the U.S. Capitol during the January 6 insurrection, to sending people overseas.
“These same aircraft will go overseas. They are helping get stuff out of Afghanistan and Iraq as we leave that theater of war,” Crane said.
The two C-130J-30 aircraft that landed at the base near Yeager Airport came straight from Rhode Island on Sunday. Crane said the wing will continue to get more and some may come from manufacturing line.
View original article: C-130 News: 130th Airlift Wing in Charleston welcomes C-130J aircraft to base