March 3, 2015 (by Cpl. Tony Simmons) - The KC-130J Super Hercules is used to transport troops, resupply forward operating bases, perform medical evacuations and refuel coalition aircraft.
USMC crewman with VMGR-352, performs pre-flight checks on a KC-130J Hercules before takeoff in the Central Command area of operations on February 23, 2015. [USMC photo by Cpl. Carson Gramley]
“We send out stuff to support the forward Marines like water, food, ammo, supplies, and whatever else they need on the ground,” said Staff Sgt. Bryant Fair, a maintenance chief with Marine Aerial Refueler Squadron 352, SPMAGTF-CR-CC.
The aircraft can carry 92 passengers, 6 pallets or combinations of the two. Although they excel at this, another important mission is refueling Marine and coalition aircraft during crisis response and contingency operations.
The KC-130J leaves the ground with a load of fuel and moves to a “tanker track“ where Marine and Coalition jets can fly, receive gas and return to their mission, said Capt. Travis Horner, an air support planner with the Aviation Combat Element, SPMAGTF-CR-CC.
It can carry about 60,000 lbs. of fuel in order to support refueling missions for MV-22 Ospreys, F-16 Fighting Falcons, F-18 Hornets, or AV-8B Harriers, said Fair.
While SPMAGTF-CR-CC has several KC-130Js across its area of operation, one is set aside at all times to support Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel missions.
“[The] TRAP force situations are unpredictable,” said Fair. “We keep one aircraft in a ready status in case something happens that requires us to respond quickly.”
The TRAP force responds to missions with MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft to carry personnel, while the KC-130J is able to refuel them on the move.
“When the TRAP takes off the C-130 goes with them,” said Horner. “Once they get to a holding area, it will provide the Osprey with fuel in the event we need to stretch further into the operating area to rescue that downed pilot or aircraft.”
U.S. Marines with SPMAGTF-CR-CC use KC-130J Super Hercules aircraft every day in support of Operation Inherent Resolve by transporting and resupplying troops, refueling aircraft and conducting TRAP force missions.