March 21, 2018 (by A1C Kristine M. Gruwell) - More than 65 Airmen from six wings across the C-130J Super Hercules force trained to increase interoperability and operational effectiveness during a training exercise March 10, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas.
Nineteen C-130J aircraft take part in an elephant walk before takeoff during an exercise March 15, 2018, at Little Rock AFB. Numerous C-130J units from around the Air Force participated in a training event to enhance operational effectiveness and joint interoperability. [USAF photo by A1C Rhett Isbell]
Team Little Rock played an integral role throughout the week hosting members of the C-130 family during the team-driven training event.
Enhancing operational effectiveness, partnerships and training with C-130 crews from around the globe demonstrate the dedication to safe and effective mission execution of the C-130 teams and their role in national defense.
“Even though we are different C-130 units, we use this training to become a more cohesive force,” said Master Sgt. Shawn Conder, 61st Airlift Squadron flight chief.
To get Airmen and birds in the air, it takes a coordinated and collaborative effort across all units, ensuring readiness of not only the aircraft itself, but also Airmen.
“The C-130 community has been surging as a whole to meet the demands required to support our national defense,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Hilferty, 34th Combat Training Squadron director of operations. “This operation was an opportunity for us to get together and discuss the lessons we have learned to ensure that we are maintaining interoperability.”
Throughout the week, Team Little Rock participated in multiple exercises including formation flying, hay bale airdrops and a mass formation sortie. The exercises enhanced partnerships among different Air Force crews because the different base’s crew members were mixed together during the training.
The exercise enhanced mobility partnerships as an overall C-130 force. The main focus and overall outcome educated key participants on the value of the full force in national defense.
“This exercise gave us an opportunity to discuss tactics, train in realistic scenarios and raise the bar for tactical proficiency across the C-130 community,” Hilferty said.
Each time we exercise, we bring together Airmen from a variety of career fields into a unified team who work together to project and sustain agile combat airlift.
“Our ability to operate throughout the continuum of conflict depends upon our ability to integrate and partner with a diverse array of assets,” Hilferty said. “This exercise challenged us to work across the C-130 community with assets from Pacific Air Forces, United States Air Forces in Europe, Air Combat Command, as well as our Total Force, strengthening our lethality as team.”
Developing Airmen was a priority in this exercise. The Airmen who executed these processes at the squadron level were given a great deal of responsibility, which enabled them to maintain a healthy perspective personally and professionally while under pressure.