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C-130s flex muscle at Thunder Over the Rock
C-130 Hercules aircraft fly over Little Rock Air Force Base during a formation flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Chris Willis)
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C-130s flex muscle at Thunder Over the Rock

Posted 9/15/2010   Updated 9/15/2010 Email story   Print story


by Arlo Taylor
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

9/15/2010 - LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- "Thunder Over the Rock" spectators will have an up-close view of the unique capabilities of C-130 aerial delivery Oct. 9 and 10.

Gates open at 8:30 a.m. both days and parking and admission are free.

The capabilities exercise, or CAPEX, will show how C-130 Combat Airlift is used in operations around the world. The Herculean formation will feature five planes each from the 19th and 314th Airlift Wings and two planes from the Arkansas Air National Guard's 189th Airlift Wing.

The CAPEX will show Team Little Rock's trademark teamwork and precision aerial delivery skills. A mass C-130 formation aerial resupply to "Jax DZ" - also known as the base airfield -- with two heavy equipment simulation loads from the 189th AW aircraft. One minute later, 400 Army 82nd Airborne paratroopers will jump out of the other 10 aircraft and secure the airfield in a small-scale seizure exercise demonstration.

Most Arkansans only see C-130s from afar while flying on training missions, but the CAPEX will show the action of combat aerial delivery, said Maj. Sam Kraemer, CAPEX coordinator. He's proud to show off what C-130 Combat Airlift can do to base neighbors who don't usually get to see the delivery part of their mission.
"[Our] C-130s go the last tactical mile to put boots on the ground at the right place and at the right time, projecting power on behalf of the nation's interests," he said. "['The Rock'] trains and executes this mission every day with the support of our local community and the state of Arkansas. We hope our civilian guests share our pride through this demonstration."

Major Kraemer said the training missions Little Rock crews fly over Central Arkansas are critical to the successful sorties crews fly all over the world. He is thankful for the support of the base's neighbors, especially those who live near low level training areas. Low level training is a key component in making certain C-130 Combat Airlifters are ready for whatever mission comes their way.
"There's no level like low level ... at least in Arkansas," Major Kraemer said. "Thank you for letting us fly over your beautiful country, daily reminding us why we love to serve our nation in a 'Herk'."

Little Rock Air Force Base is known world-wide as 'Home of the Herk' and is the home of the largest fleet of C-130s in the world.

"Nearly every C-130 mission around the world, no matter which country is flying it, has a connection to Little Rock," said Thunder Over the Rock Director Lt. Col. Bill Otter. "If it is not a Little Rock-based C-130 flying the mission, the crew and or maintainer likely learned how to fly or fix the C-130 at Little Rock, learned how to instruct others to fly the C-130 here at Little Rock or learned how to improve their combat tactics here at Little Rock."

Colonel Otter said he's thrilled to showcase the Little Rock Air Force Base mission at the air show and open house.

"Little Rock Air Force Base enjoys spectacular support from the greater Little Rock community, but it is important for everyone to see first-hand what happens here at the base and to see some of the capabilities of their Armed Forces," he said. "Thunder over the Rock is an opportunity for all of us that serve in the Air Force to share some of those experiences with our neighbors in the community."

View continuous updates to the 2010 open house, including air show line up, and find more information at, For more information about the Thunderbirds, visit

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