By Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin, 19 AW/PA
/ Published March 17, 2017
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Nicholas Armitage, 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, checks the top of the C-130J aircraft during pre-flight inspections March 15, 2017 at Little Rock Air Force Base. This C-130J was the first one delivered to AMC here at Little Rock a decade ago and is still providing combat airlift for Little Rock, AMC and the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin)
A decade ago, the 463rd Airlift Group received its first
combat-ready C-130J Super Hercules linking Air Mobility Command to a proud
51-year legacy of flying the Air Force’s cargo workhorse.
Sweeping changes have come to the base since then as the 19th
Airlift Wing absorbed the 463rd AG and assumed command in 2008 from the 314th
Airlift Wing, changing the base from an Air Education and Training Command
asset to an AMC one.
(Ret.) U.S. Air Force Gen. Duncan McNabb, then AMC commander,
delivered AMC’s first J model to Col. John Gomez, then 463rd AG commander.
"The quantum leap of capability provided by the J model
allows us to go higher, faster and further with more cargo as we respond to
crises around the world," Gomez said.
In the initial stages of transition from legacy H-model C-130s,
technicians struggled with the differences of the J model and its capabilities.
“As an aircraft electrical and environmental systems Airman,
it was difficult to transition since I had 12 years of experience on the older
models,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. James Vehlies, 19th Maintenance Group
chief inspector. “After some on-the-job training, talking with our Lockheed Martin
service reps and applying what I knew about the older models, the aircraft and
job became easier, and I was asked to represent AMC in helping transition
Yokota Air Force Base to the C-130Js.”
The enhanced reliability of the aircraft decreased the
workload required of many maintenance specialties.
“Over the years, the platform has proven itself to be
extremely capable and reliable in both in-garrison and deployed operations,”
said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jeremy Doggett, 19th Maintenance Squadron
accessory flight chief. “The C-130J is much easier to maintain than legacy
C-130s because of its diagnostics system which decreases repair times and makes
the aircraft available to be flown more often.”
As the C-130J mission prepares mobility forces for tomorrow,
Little Rock Air Force Base personnel are poised to use the strong legacy of air
power to prepare for future missions.
"No one has a stronger track record of expanding the
envelope or increasing our theater airlift capability to support the warfighter
than the men and women of Little Rock Air Force Base," Gomez said.