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LRAFB celebrates 65 years of community partnerships

Planes fly over capitol bldg

C-130s from Little Rock Air Force Base fly over Arkansas, Oct. 8, 2020. The 65th anniversary aerial review was a collaborative salute to recognize the local community for their support and partnership with the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Ashley Walker)

5 Planes fly over Littler Rock City

C-130s from Little Rock Air Force Base fly over Arkansas, Oct. 8, 2020. The 65th anniversary aerial review was a collaborative salute to recognize the local community for their support and partnership with the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by A1C Isaiah Miller)

Airman stands with marshaling flags behind back ready to direct plane

C-130J painted in heritage colors from Little Rock Air Force Base preps for takeoff, Oct. 8, 2020. The 65th anniversary aerial review was a collaborative salute to recognize the local community for their support and partnership with the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by A1C Isaiah Miller)

Plane stating engines

A C-130J from Little Rock Air Force Base preps for takeoff before the 65th Anniversary of LRAFB, Oct. 8, 2020. The 65th anniversary aerial review was a collaborative salute to recognize the local community for their support and partnership with the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by A1C Isaiah Miller)

Planes flying over Littler Rock

C-130s from Little Rock Air Force Base along with a C-47 Skytrain fly over Arkansas, Oct. 8, 2020, in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the base’s first open house. The display of heritage aircraft honored local Arkansans for their unwavering support since 1955. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Jeremy McGuffin)

A WWII plane flying over a field

A C-47 Skytrain performs an Aireal review along with C-130s from Little Rock Air Force Base over Arkansas, Oct. 8, 2020, in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the base’s first open house. The display of heritage aircraft honored local Arkansans for their unwavering support since 1955. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Jeremy McGuffin)

Plane flying over building

C-130s from Little Rock Air Force Base fly over the Arkansas state capitol, Oct. 8, 2020. The 65th anniversary aerial review was a collaborative salute to recognize the local community for their support and partnership with the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Jeremy McGuffin)

3 planes flying in formation

C-130J's from Little Rock Air Force Base fly over Arkansas, Oct. 8, 2020. The 65th anniversary aerial review was a collaborative salute to recognize the local community for their support and partnership with the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Jeremy McGuffin)

Plane flying over a field

C-130s from Little Rock Air Force Base fly over Arkansas, Oct. 8, 2020. The 65th anniversary aerial review was a collaborative salute to recognize the local community for their support and partnership with the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Jeremy McGuffin)

5 planes fly in formation
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C-130s from Little Rock Air Force Base fly over Arkansas, Oct. 8, 2020. The 65th anniversary aerial review was a collaborative salute to recognize the local community for their support and partnership with the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Jeremy McGuffin)

Plane flying over field
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A C-130J painted in heritage colors from Little Rock Air Force Base flys over Arkansas, Oct. 8, 2020, in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the base’s first open house. The display of heritage aircraft honored local Arkansans for their unwavering support since 1955. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Jeremy McGuffin)

5 Planes sit on runway with engines running
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C-130s from Little Rock Air Force Base prep for take off on the runway, Oct. 8, 2020. The 65th anniversary aerial review was a collaborative salute to recognize the local community for their support and partnership with the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Jeremy McGuffin)

planes in runway with engines running
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C-130s from Little Rock Air Force Base line up for their elephant walk prior to takeoff, Oct. 8, 2020. The 65th anniversary aerial review was a collaborative salute to recognize the local community for their support and partnership with the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by A1C Mariam Springs)

65th Anniversary Patch
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C-130s from Little Rock Air Force Base fly over Arkansas, Oct. 8, 2020, in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the base’s first open house. The display of heritage aircraft honored local Arkansans for their unwavering support since 1955. (U.S. Air Force photo by SrA Aaron Irvin)

Planes flying over city
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C-130s from Little Rock Air Force Base fly over Little Rock Arkansas, Oct. 8, 2020, in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the base’s first open house. The display of heritage aircraft honored local Arkansans for their unwavering support since 1955. (U.S. Air Force photo by SrA Aaron Irvin)

planes flying over city
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C-130s from Little Rock Air Force Base fly over Little Rock state capitol Arkansas, Oct. 8, 2020, in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the base’s first open house. The display of heritage aircraft honored local Arkansans for their unwavering support since 1955. (U.S. Air Force photo by SrA Aaron Irvin)

planes flying over fields
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C-130s from Little Rock Air Force Base fly over Arkansas, Oct. 8, 2020, in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the base’s first open house. The display of heritage aircraft honored local Arkansans for their unwavering support since 1955. (U.S. Air Force photo by SrA Aaron Irvin)

Planes flying in formation over fields
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C-130s from Little Rock Air Force Base fly over Arkansas, Oct. 8, 2020, in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the base’s first open house. The display of heritage aircraft honored local Arkansans for their unwavering support since 1955. (U.S. Air Force photo by SrA Aaron Irvin)

planes flying in formation over fields
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C-130s from Little Rock Air Force Base fly over Arkansas, Oct. 8, 2020, in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the base’s first open house. The display of heritage aircraft honored local Arkansans for their unwavering support since 1955. (U.S. Air Force photo by SrA Aaron Irvin)

Planes flying over fields
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C-130s from Little Rock Air Force Base fly over Arkansas, Oct. 8, 2020, in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the base’s first open house. The display of heritage aircraft honored local Arkansans for their unwavering support since 1955. (U.S. Air Force photo by SrA Aaron Irvin)

A family throws a football to wach other on the flightline
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A family tosses a football around on the flight line of Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, on Oct. 8, 2020. Members of Little Rock Air Force base were welcomed to the flight line to view aircraft put on static display to celebrate the base’s 65th anniversary and 65 years of community support and partnerships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaiah Miller)

Planes sit on flight line at sunset
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The sun sets on the flight line of Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas on Oct. 8, 2020. Members of Little Rock Air Force base were welcomed to the flight line to view aircraft put on static display to celebrate the base’s 65th anniversary and 65 years of community support and partnerships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaiah Miller)

A couple walks behind a heritage Aircraft at sunset
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A couple walks into the sunset, on the flight line of Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas during a celebration of the base’s 65th anniversary on Oct. 8, 2020. Members of Little Rock Air Force base were welcomed to the flight line to view aircraft put on static display to celebrate 65 years of community support and partnerships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaiah Miller)

And elderly woman and child look out the window of a C-130
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A grandmother smiles with her grandson in the cockpit of a C-130J put on static display on the flight line of Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, for the base’s 65th anniversary on Oct. 8, 2020. Members of Little Rock Air Force base were welcomed to the flight line to view the aircraft on display to celebrate 65 years of community support and partnerships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaiah Miller)

A Family walks in front of an aircraft at sunset
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A family walks along the flight line of Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, viewing static displays of historically painted aircraft for the base’s 65th anniversary on Oct. 8, 2020. The aircraft were put on display after being flown over Arkansas to thank the community for 65 years of support and partnerships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaiah Miller)

Planes on runway at sunset
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The sun sets on the flight line of Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas on Oct. 8, 2020. Members of Little Rock Air Force base were welcomed to the flight line to view aircraft put on static display to celebrate the base’s 65th anniversary and 65 years of community support and partnerships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mariam K. Springs)

A Family of 4 walks holding hands towards a C-130 plane
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A family walks along the flight line of Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, viewing static displays of historically painted aircraft for the base’s 65th anniversary on Oct. 8, 2020. The aircraft were put on display after being flown over Arkansas to thank the community for 65 years of support and partnerships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mariam K. Springs)

A woman and her child enter historical Aircraft
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A family views a static display of a C-47 Skytrain aircraft for the base’s 65th anniversary at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas Oct. 8, 2020. Static displays of historically painted aircraft were put on display after being flown over Arkansas to thank the community for 65 years of support and partnerships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mariam K. Springs)

Man sitting in pilots chair adjusting dials in plane
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Master Sgt. Jason Bobo, a 154th Training Squadron flight engineer instructor, prepares the C-130H heritage aircraft for an aerial review Oct. 8, 2020, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The 65th anniversary aerial review was a collaborative salute to recognize the local community for their support and partnership with the base. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jessica Roles)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Little Rock Air Force Base celebrated the 65th anniversary of the installation’s first open house, Oct. 8, by hosting civic leaders and conducting an aerial review of the greater Little Rock area to thank Arkansans for their unwavering support since the base’s inception.

The aerial review included four C-130J Super Hercules aircraft and one C-130H Hercules flying in formation led by a vintage C-47 Skytrain. Each of the installation’s wings and mission partners, including the 19th Airlift Wing, 314th AW, 189th AW, and the 913th Airlift Group were represented with these aircraft, showcasing a unified front of the nation’s epicenter of tactical airlift, known as “The Home of Herk Nation.”

“While we had to make the difficult decision to cancel the Thunder Over the Rock air show this year due to COVID-19, it was very important that we still found a way to pause and recognize this significant milestone and to show our appreciation for all the community has done for us,” said Col. John Schutte, 19th AW and installation commander.

The strong ties between the base and the community began in 1955, when 6,100 acres were donated to the Air Force to build the installation.

Since Oct. 9, 1955, when the base first opened its gates to the local populous, the synergistic partnership with the community has continued to fuel the base’s ability to execute and accomplish missions at the leading edge of operational excellence.

“The military personnel at Little Rock Air Force Base can execute a mission with a moment’s notice and do it flawlessly, but without our community support that task carries a much larger burden,” said Maj. Michael Stinson, 19th Operations Support Squadron chief of current operations. “The communities that our Airmen live in, and the businesses that their families work in are more connected to the mission than anywhere I’ve ever been stationed. That enables the base population to thrive during mission execution, and trust that their families have a community to support their every need.”

Throughout its history, LRAFB has accomplished a variety of mission-sets and remained a national security asset, in large part, because of unparalleled community support.

“The relationship we have with the Central Arkansas community — that understands our critical importance to national security — is key to our mission success,” Stinson said.

He added that the installation’s legacy carries on today as LRAFB serves as the epicenter of the nation’s tactical airlift capability, training and deploying Herk warriors who enable rapid global mobility.

“Herk Nation is more than just C-130s and the aircrew,” Stinson said. “From maintenance giving us our airborne second home, to the Force Support Squadron making sure our families have events planned that make our children smile, Herk Nation puts the most capable C-130 fleet in the world at the enemy’s doorstep.”

Moreover, 'The Home of Herk Nation' is laid on a foundation of community support, as no other community in Air Mobility Command has been recognized with the Abilene Trophy three times in the last decade, the Altus Trophy and selected as a Great American Defense Community.

“These first 65 years have paved the way for military operations around the world,” Schutte said. “Though our mission has taken many forms, we are committed to meeting our nation’s mobility needs as a team of Ready Warriors.”

Looking toward the future, the goal for LRAFB is to continue to uphold its standards and ties with the community and serve proudly as ‘The Home of Herk Nation,’ Schutte remarked.

“Now more than ever, in the midst of this ongoing pandemic, we recognize how inextricably connected we remain with the local community,” he added. “We are thankful for all that the community has done, and all that they will undoubtedly do, in the coming years to support the men and women of Little Rock AFB.”

[Editor’s Note: Aerial reviews are fully functional training missions, designed to maintain the lethality and readiness of Air Force aircrew and maintainers; they are conducted at no additional cost to taxpayers and are incorporated into existing flying schedules.]

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