DoD

January 17, 2014

Air Force: C-130H, end of an era in Afghanistan

Staff Sgt. David Billings does an inspection of the wings of a C-130H Hercules Jan. 9, before his flight out of Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Billings was on the first of the C-130H model aircraft to permanently relocate out of Bagram to make room for the newer C-130J model aircraft. Billings is a C-130 flight engineer.

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (AFNS) — All good things don’t necessarily need to come to an end; sometimes they are just replaced by something even better.

Such is the case with the venerable C-130H Hercules model aircraft here.

The C-130 has been around since the Vietnam War, forming the backbone of the Air Force’s tactical airlift fleet. It is especially well-suited to austere conditions like those found throughout Afghanistan.

The older C-130H models were recently replaced by the newer, more modern C-130J models. The newer model has the advantage of a longer fuselage offering two additional pallet positions for additional airlift capacity, an updated cockpit, more efficient engines and propellers, and other improvements.

“Inside, it’s a whole new aircraft,” said Lt. Col. Greg Lowe, commander, 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “In the cockpit, there are digital panels up front, so it takes a new breed of maintainers to fix all those new items.”

Despite the fact that some of the aircraft are 40 years old, the older C-130H model has enjoyed an enviable run, with a 94-percent reliability rate flying out of Bagram. The C-130J model is expected to increase that number.

“The H models have performed fantastic here in the [area of responsibility], virtually every day flying six or seven legs around Afghanistan, with hardly a maintenance issue,” Lowe said.

“The C-130H model here at Bagram has been truly outstanding,” added Col. Ben Spencer, commander, the 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Group. “They are the oldest C-130 fleet here in the AOR, flying the highest utilization rate, yet they continually boast the highest mission capability rate in the AOR.”

As the first aircraft prepared for its final departure from Bagram, maintainers and flight crew alike reminisced about their time here with the C-130H models.

“When my maintainers arrived here, I briefed them that they were writing history, one sortie at a time; that they were also closing a chapter of history in this war, closing a chapter on the C-130H model here in Afghanistan,” Spencer said.

“This has kind of been a full circle for me,” said Capt. Matt Ward, a navigator on the first of the C-130H flights to depart Bagram for good. “I came here for the first time on the day that we got Bin Laden. Now I’m shutting down an aircraft model in Afghanistan, and going back to a squadron that is closing. The two are fittingly happening together.”

Ward’s crew was one of the last to perform a combat airdrop in Afghanistan. Some of the crew members had nearly 300 combat sorties to their credit on this deployment.

Several of the aircraft from Bagram will be refurbished at depot level maintenance and sold back to the Afghan air force. Others will be transferred to the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve.

In a fitting handoff of duties, one of the first of the replacement C-130J models landed at Bagram moments before the first C-130H model took off. The in-flight C-130H passed its replacement as it taxied in to assume its position in the recently vacated parking space on the Bagram Airfield ramp.

“We hope that the J models will pick up the mantle and do as well as our H model brethren did,” Spencer said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Maranda Flynn

EPG celebrates 60 years, new small arc structure dedicated

Maranda Flynn From left, Rob Reiner, former Electronic Proving Ground technical director, Eddie Flores, EPG’s youngest employee, and Maj. Gen. Peter Utley, commanding general, U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, cut the ca...
 
 
USAF Photo by Joel Martinez

IMCOM welcomes new commander

USAF Photo by Joel Martinez Army Lt. Gen. David Halverson, left, accepts the colors from Army Gen. John Campbell, center, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, and assumes duties as commanding general of the U.S. Army Installation M...
 
 

National Child Abuse Prevention Month, 2014

In the United States of America, every child should have every chance in life, every chance at happiness, and every chance at success. Yet tragically, hundreds of thousands of young Americans shoulder the burden of abuse or neglect. As a Nation, we must do better. During National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we strengthen our resolve...
 

 
DoD
Tanja Linton

DoD salutes children during Military Child Month

Tanja Linton Two and 1/2 year old Avie views the Sierra Vista Farmer’s Market from the arms of her dad, Capt. Jeremy Larson of Company A, 304th Military Intelligence Battalion, at Veterans’ Memorial Park April 3. This month...
 
 

Fort operations will not jeopardize endangered species

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army have completed formal consultation regarding the potential effects that Fort Huachuca’s operations will have on threatened and endangered species. In a biological opinion, or BO, signed March 31, the Service concluded that the Army’s ongoing and planned operations are not likely to jeopardize the continued survival...
 
 

ACS addresses autism, volunteers, resiliency

April is Autism Awareness Month One in 68 U.S. children has an autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, a 30 percent increase from one in 88 two years ago, according to a new report released March 27 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. April is Autism Awareness Month and is necessary to inform the...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin