May 27, 2021 (by MSgt. Jessica Roles) - Recently, the 189th Airlift Wing’s 154th Training Squadron was selected by Air National Guard leaders, to be the official home of the Guard’s C-130J training program.
Aircraft line the rows of the flightline in preparation for flight Oct. 8, 2020, at Little Rock AFB. The 189th AW is home to the C-130H training mission, conducting training for Guardsmen, active duty, international and inter-service students. [ANG photo by MSgt. Jessica Roles]
This preliminary decision is a milestone in solidifying the future for the 189 AW. While nothing changes for the foreseeable future for the unit’s C-130H training, the 154 TRS will stay in the business of what they do best… training TAC airlifters!
The C-130 has supported the Air National Guard mission for more than 50 years, transporting troops, cargo, vehicles, and much more. While the 189th’s formal training mission of training crews in the C-130H aircraft will continue for the lifecycle of the aircraft, the mission does not stop as the newer J models will slowly be integrated into the 189th fleet. The incorporation of the new aircraft also means the strengthening of our continued relationship with the 314th Airlift Wing, also located at Little Rock Air Force Base.
“The 189 AW looks forward to a continued strong partnership with the 314th as we provide premier C-130 training to the Total Force and our allied partners,” said Col. Dean Martin, 189 AW commander. “Our aircrew and maintainers are top-of-the-line and we are ready to take the next step in support to our nation and state.”
Although the most current information shows the wing receiving the first two J-model aircraft in the summer of 2023, the wing will continue its deliberate planning and coordination to be prepared to receive additional aircraft.
“This is not the first time the Air Force has recapitalized its fleet and will likely not be the last time,” said Col. Jay Geaney, 189th Operations Group commander. “The wing itself has hosted many different types of aircraft since its inception and has taught us to be versatile and adaptable to change. The wing will operate in a split-fleet configuration for many years to come, which will require all our aircrew and maintenance expertise to train Airmen and support our mission.”
The transition will ensure the wing is able to continue its legacy of training top C-130 aircrew. The combined efforts of the 314th and 189th Airlift Wings show great promise in the continued training of combat airlift support around the globe.