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Little Rock AFB celebrates AETC’s 75th anniversary

A U.S. Air Force Airman marshals the first C-130J to land March 19, 2004, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Little Rock AFB is home to the Center of Excellence, the world’s premiere C-130 training school, and is known as the Home of Combat Airlift. (U.S. Air Force photo)

A U.S. Air Force Airman marshals the first C-130J to land March 19, 2004, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Little Rock AFB is home to the Center of Excellence, the world’s premiere C-130 training school, and is known as the Home of Combat Airlift. (U.S. Air Force photo)

From left, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Allison Padgett , 714th Training Squadron C-130 loadmaster liaison, instructs U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class James Cole, 714th TRS C-130J loadmaster student, prior to a training flight Oct. 14, 2015, on Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Padgett taught her student how to use an operational tow plate, which is a vital tool in performing airdrops. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Harry Brexel)

From left, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Allison Padgett , 714th Training Squadron C-130 loadmaster liaison, instructs U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class James Cole, 714th TRS C-130J loadmaster student, prior to a training flight Oct. 14, 2015, on Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Padgett taught her student how to use an operational tow plate, which is a vital tool in performing airdrops. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Harry Brexel)

Khe Sanh, South Vietnam, an isolated United States Marine Corps out post during the Vietnam War became too dangerous to land due to hostile ground fire and shelling. To accommodate, C-130s used the Low Altitude Extraction System and kept the Marines resupplied with rations, fuel, ammunition and medical supplies. (Courtesy photo)

Khe Sanh, South Vietnam, an isolated United States Marine Corps out post during the Vietnam War became too dangerous to land due to hostile ground fire and shelling. To accommodate, C-130s used the Low Altitude Extraction System and kept the Marines resupplied with rations, fuel, ammunition and medical supplies. (Courtesy photo)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. – --

For 75 years, the Air Education and Training Command has trained the world’s greatest Airmen. The major command trained countless U.S. Air Force Airmen in multiple wings and installations around the world, including the 314th Airlift Wing based at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas.

“Our mission is to train the best C-130 aircrews in the world,” said Mark Wilderman, 314th AW historian.

Before the 314th AW became the Center of Excellence C-130 schoolhouse, it was known as the 314th Transport Carrier Group. Since its activation in March 1942, the 314th TCG has undergone many name changes and played a vital role in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War.

In 1971, the 314th Tactical Airlift Wing, assigned to the Military Airlift Command, served as the primary C-130 training organization after the Vietnam War at Little Rock AFB. The organization trained approximately 81,000 students, including students from 47 allied countries.

The 314th Airlift Wing began training students under the Air Education and Training Command in 1997.Eleven years later, the 19th AW became Little Rock AFB’s host unit and the 314th AW realigned to oversee premiere C-130 aircrew training. The transition created a close partnership between the 19th AW and 314th AW, allowing one-of-a-kind training for Combat Airlifters.

“The 19th Airlift Wing has been very helpful,” Wilderman said. “The 19th AW frequently provides aircraft for students to train on. The 314th AW has approximately 12 aircraft.”

As the 314th AW continues to train C-130 aircrews, they ensure the 19 AW has capable and competent Airmen to conduct rapid global mobility.

“The 19th AW supports our mission in many ways,” Wilderman said. “Not only do they occasionally provide aircraft, they provide facilities and resources so we can keep training Airmen for wings like the 19th AW.”