C-130 Hercules News

Yokota airmen team up for airlift surge

May 9, 2018 (by SSgt. David Owsianka) - An Elephant Walk exercises the maximum generation of all aircraft on Yokota while the formation flight enabled the aircraft to gain necessary training for future scenarios. The formation flight took place throughout the Kanto Plains and Mt. Fuji.

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Twelve C-130J Super Hercules perform an Elephant Walk as part of the 374th AW Generation Exercise to test the rapid mobility capabilities and teamwork of the crewmembers at Yokota AB, May 4, 2018. [USAF photo by Yasuo Osakabe]

“We used the Elephant Walk, a large-scale generation exercise, as a way to test our capabilities to ensure we are ready to provide any kind of assistance to any location throughout our area of responsibility if needed,” said Maj. Johnathan Slottje, 36th Airlift Squadron pilot. “It was an amazing event, especially since the maintainers ensured our final two Super Hercules were ready to go within a week of arriving.”

During the formation flight, the aircrews flew over the ocean, through mountainous terrain and dropped sand bags on Yokota’s airfield to test and improve their capabilities while flying together.

“Even though we had two of our aircraft performing another mission, this exercise tested our capabilities in case we have to complete a task like this at a moment’s notice,” Slottje said. “The capabilities of the new J-model [C-130s] have helped expand our abilities of how we use the aircraft to complete our mission.”

Even though aircraft personnel completed the missions, they couldn’t accomplish it by themselves. Multiple agencies including airfield operations, air traffic control, and aircraft maintenance came together to ensure the exercise was successful.

“It showcases our abilities to have multiple agencies respond to meet our commitments out here in this region,” said Senior Master Sgt. Eddie Ybarra, 374th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron lead production superintendent. “We have put in a lot of hours this week to ensure we can continue our regular training sorties along with making sure all of our aircraft are fully capable for this training exercise.”

Both training scenarios allowed base personnel to have a first-hand view of Yokota’s aircraft proficiencies when it comes to launching the base’s aircraft at a moment’s notice.

“I think all of the hard work that was completed by everyone in preparation for this event has been awesome,” Ybarra said. “Being able to have all of our aircraft ready to participate in the exercise was a great way for us to test our capabilities to ensure our pilots can launch all of the aircraft at once.”

This was the first time the base has completed an Elephant Walk and formation flight with the new C-130J models. With Yokota having a full fleet of 14 Super Hercules aircraft, the base is able to provide rapid mobility from the Pacific’s premier power projection platform.


Courtesy of 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs



Additional images:

C-130J Super Hercules from the 36th AS prepare to take off during the 374th AW Generation Exercise Elephant Walk at Yokota AB, May 4, 2018. The exercise was conducted in order to demonstrate the wing’s ability to rapidly deploy forces across Indo-Pacific region. [USAF photo by Yasuo Osakabe]

Twelve C-130J Super Hercules from the 36th AS take part in an elephant walk before taking off during the 374th AW Generation Exercise at Yokota AB, May 4, 2018. [USAF photo by Yasuo Osakabe]

C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th AS prepare to land at Yokota AB, May 4, 2018, during the 374th AW Generation Exercise. The formation flight enabled the pilots to perform training necessary for them to remain current on their skillsets. [USAF photo by A1C Juan Torres]