March 20, 2019 (by A1C Kristine Gruwell) - Representatives from eight C-130J units came together to train and enhance mobility partnerships across the C-130J enterprise during the second-annual fly-in at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, March 9-16, 2019.
A1C Brandon Villao, 41st AS loadmaster, tests the airflow of his mask at Little Rock AFB on March 15, 2019. Eight bases across the C-130J community came together to train during the second-annual C-130J fly-in hosted by the 19th AW. [USAF photo by A1C Kristine M. Gruwell]
The fly-in allows for side-by-side training aimed at increasing readiness and effectiveness of the C-130J force by improving cohesiveness and bolstering the ability of units to project agile combat airlift together downrange.
"We're doing what we can to improve ourselves, one another and the C-130 community at large," said U.S. Air Force Col. Gerald Donohue, 19th Airlift Wing commander. "When we train side-by-side and tackle the issues we face as a community, not only are we better for it, but we are taking the charge our senior leadership has given us to push responsibility to the lowest level and move out on solutions where appropriate. The end result is a more effective, more lethal tactical airlift capability for our nation."
Team Little Rock was joined by units from Ramstein Air Base, Germany; Yokota AB, Japan; Channel Islands Air National Guard Station, California; Keesler AFB, Mississippi; and Dyess AFB, Texas. By including representatives from the U.S. Army, the training improved on interoperability between services. Throughout the week, units worked together to enhance numerous C-130 tactics such as large formation operations; heavy equipment, container delivery system and personnel airdrop; large-cargo loading; heavyweight assault landings; and sea rescue kit airdrops.
"The fly-in gives us the opportunity for our weapon system to get together with all our sister units and exchange tactics and procedures and to be interoperable," said U.S. Air Force Maj. Christopher Dolby, 36th Airlift Squadron director of plans and operations from Yokota AB, Japan.
During the fly-in, a weapon system council brought together relevant stakeholders from across the C-130J enterprise to discuss tactics and address common concerns from within the community. They covered how units are addressing full-spectrum readiness, as well as how they are improving the C-130 deployment structure with wing-to-wing partnership. Attendees also heard from higher-headquarters representatives about the health and future of the fleet.
"While this week saw some really high-end training, it was not just about flying together," said U.S. Air Force Col. Shane Haughian, 19th Operations Group commander. "It was about having a necessary conversation that brought together the best from each unit to really dig down into how we, as a C-130 enterprise, are getting after full-spectrum readiness. In the end, that cross-talk is invaluable."
This team-driven training promoted problem solving at the unit level, focusing on driving the enterprise forward.
"The fly-in is important for Team Little Rock because it stresses the importance of relationship building," said U.S. Air Force Maj. Brendan Wier, 19th Operations Support Squadron chief of tactics. "This dynamic environment creates a platform for relationships to be built so Airmen have good communication when there are changes in procedures or events they're unfamiliar with during real-world operations."
The fly-in was a testament to the tactical airlift capabilities of the C-130, highlighting how Combat Airlifters of all specialties enable and ensure global reach.
"With every cargo load, airdrop, takeoff and landing this week, our interoperability grew," Donohue said. "Let this week stand as a showcase of what the Herk community brings to the fight, and also of the truly global scale on which the C-130 operates. We couldn't be happier to foster this conversation right here at the Home of Combat Airlift."