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Reserve airlift squadron declared fully operational

327th Airlift Squadron Patch

327th Airlift Squadron Patch

A C-130J taxis to base operations for the loading portion of the “Turkey Shoot” competition, Nov. 17, 2016, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Airmen from the 913th Airlift Group participated in a “Turkey Shoot” competition to evaluate their skills along with four other units at Little Rock AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jeff Walston/Released)

A C-130J taxis to base operations for the loading portion of the “Turkey Shoot” competition, Nov. 17, 2016, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Airmen from the 913th Airlift Group participated in a “Turkey Shoot” competition to evaluate their skills along with four other units at Little Rock AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jeff Walston/Released)

Pacific Air Force, Sri Lanka host Pacific Airlift Rally

A U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules flown by the 327th Airlift Squadron, Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, flies over Sri Lanka Air Force Station Ampara, Sri Lanka Sept. 15, 2017 as part of Pacific Airlift Rally 2017. Crews from the 327th AS and 815th Airlift Squadron, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, conducted an airdrop as part of a demonstration for military members from the U.S. and 12 nations in the Indo-Asia-Pacific area who participated in the biennial Pacific Air Forces-sponsored exercise in Sri Lanka Sept. 11-15, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Maj. Marnee A.C. Losurdo)

U.S. Air Force Reserve Aircrew members scan the Arkansas countryside during a training flight in a C-130J Super Hercules June 15, 2017, near Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. They were part of the 913th Airlift Group’s first 3-ship mission manned entirely by Reserve Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jeff Walston/Released)

U.S. Air Force Reserve Aircrew members scan the Arkansas countryside during a training flight in a C-130J Super Hercules June 15, 2017, near Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. They were part of the 913th Airlift Group’s first 3-ship mission manned entirely by Reserve Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jeff Walston/Released)

Pacific Airlift Rally 2017

Lt. Col. Keith Jasmin, 327th Airlift Squadron (AS) pilot, Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, takes part in U.S. Pacific Airlift Rally 2017. U.S. and Sri Lanka Air Forces are co-hosting the biennial Pacific Air Forces-sponsored exercise in Sri Lanka Sept. 11-15, 2017. The 327th AS, 815th Airlift Squadron, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, along with 75 U.S. Air Force personnel are participating in the command post and flying training exercise with a focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Marnee A.C. Losurdo)

Pacific Airlift Rally 2017

Maj. Claud Smith, 327th Airlift Squadron (AS) pilot at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, takes part in U.S. Pacific Airlift Rally 2017. U.S. and Sri Lanka Air Forces are co-hosting the biennial Pacific Air Forces-sponsored exercise in Sri Lanka Sept. 11-15, 2017. The 327th AS, and 815th Airlift Squadron, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, along with 75 U.S. Air Force personnel are participating in the command post and flying training exercise with a focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Marnee A.C. Losurdo)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Col. Christopher Lay, 913th Airlift Group commander declared the 327th Airlift Squadron fully operational capable on Dec. 2.

Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 327th AS and 913th AG have worked towards FOC status since forming a classic association with the 19th Airlift Wing in December 2015 and transitioning from the C-130H model aircraft to the C-130J.

“The time, energy and effort that has been put towards this goal has been phenomenal," said Lay. "This achievement solidifies the building up of the classic association we entered into two years ago and is the result of your hard work and dedication, but this success isn’t ours alone. The 19th Airlift Wing has been with us every step of the way, and I would like to thank our active duty host unit for their continued support. We got here together, and we will now go forward together.”

As an FOC unit, the 327th AS is now capable of fulfilling both Air Force Reserve Command and Air Mobility Command missions. The 913th AG is the only C-130J classic associate unit in the Air Force Reserve Command.

“All of the training over the past two years has led to this point and the FOC classification has cemented our relationship with the 19th Airlift Wing," said Lt. Col. Scott Lawson, 327th AS operations officer. "We will continue training aircrews for future Total Force Integration deployments, opportunities and all the requirements that go with them. Ultimately, we will be ready to employ aircrews down rage for combatant commanders.”

Before reaching FOC, the 327th AS capabilities had to be built up and leadership had to ensure all training requirements were completed.

“We needed 85 percent of our billets filled with mission-ready Airmen who had demonstrated proficiency in 49 flying competencies and over 20 ground mission deployment readiness requirements,” Lawson said.

The biggest challenge, according to Lawson, was hiring the right balance of knowledge across the spectrum.

“The ongoing pilot shortage is a challenge for us. As a Reserve unit, we have a lot of highly experienced members, but need to ensure we are growing our younger aircrew members in C130J community to carry on the mission as we go forward and plan for the future.”

As the 327th AS moves forward with missions, other squadrons within the group continue working towards attaining FOC status.