May 19, 2021 (by Maj. Holli Nelson) - The Acting Secretary of the Air Force, the Honorable John P. Roth, announced today that the 130th Airlift Wing located at McLaughlin Air National Guard Base in Charleston, West Virginia, has officially been approved to convert to the C-130J-30 Super Hercules.
C-130H 94-6704 from the West Virginia ANG arrives at Boeing Support Systems' San Antonio, Texas facility on November 26, 2007. The aircraft is the third Air Force C-130 to be modified as part of Boeing's Avionics Modernization Program. [Boeing photo by Lan C-130H 94-6704 from the West Virginia ANG arrives at Boeing Support Systems' San Antonio, Texas facility on November 26, 2007. The aircraft is the third Air Force C-130 to be modified as part of Boeing's Avionics Modernization Program. [Boeing photo by Lance Cheung]
This announcement means that the 130th Airlift Wing will begin its conversion process from the legacy C-130H models to the newer C-130J model aircraft.
"Today's announcement is incredibly exciting for the men and women of the 130th Airlift Wing as they move forward with this conversion," West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said. "Our National Guard is second to none and these great Airmen will do a wonderful job with this conversion process. I thank them for all their hard work in preparing to get to this important milestone."
"We are exceptionally pleased to have gotten word today that the Acting Secretary of the Air Force has officially signed off on the basing decision so that the 130th Airlift Wing can move forward with the conversion to the new J models," Brig. Gen. William "Bill" Crane, Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard said. "These men and women have been working non-stop since the announcement of being selected as a preferred alternative back in November, and now we can put our plans into action to begin training and preparing to receive the new C-130Js."
Crane continued, "I am thankful for the patience and support of our One Guard members and also of Governor Justice, our West Virginia communities, and our Congressional Delegation throughout this process. We look forward to celebrating the next chapter in the West Virginia Air National Guard's history in the coming months."
"The 130th Airlift Wing was pleased to be informed of the Acting SecAF's final decision to base C-130Js at McLaughlin Air National Guard Base," stated Col. Patrick Chard, vice wing commander of the 130th Airlift Wing. "Our Airmen stand ready to enter conversion to the new J-model and look forward to this exciting new chapter in our unit's long and distinguished history."
Currently, the 130th Airlift Wing operates eight C-130H3 Hercules model aircraft, which are more than 25 years old. The current aircraft will be divested to other states with a C-130 mission in the coming months at a rate of approximately two to three aircraft departing per month.
"The 130th Airlift Wing expects to receive its first C-130J model aircraft later this summer and we look forward to celebrating this tremendous honor," stated Crane.