Wolfhounds unique mission aids Tyndall
By Lt. Col. James R. Wilson, 919th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 28, 2018
HURLBURT FIELD, Florida -- An aircraft often viewed as one of Air Force Special Operations Command’s quickest and easiest options for moving small groups of people and cargo has been a frequent flier in supporting hurricane relief operations at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.
The C-146A Wolfhound is twin engine, high wing aircraft that excels delivering responsive airlift to include casualty evacuation missions in austere airfields with short or unimproved runways.
Reserve Citizen Airmen from nearby Duke Field, Florida, have made regular flights in the C-146 aircraft to the base in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael providing timely airlift for the 325th Fighter Wing and some of the Air Force’s most senior leaders.
“With this aircraft and mission, we have the opportunity to routinely operate in areas traditional aircraft don’t often get to see,” said Capt. Chris Hunter, pilot from the 859th Special Operations Squadron.
The aircraft was a logical choice to bring members from Team Tyndall who stayed behind during Hurricane Michael to perform emergency management functions to Hurlburt Field where they had access to warm food, clean water and safe lodging. Conditions are slowly improving at Tyndall yet Air Force officials are taking time to visit the base to support the Airmen while getting updated on efforts to restore the base.
A Total Force Integration crew, comprised of active duty and Reserve members, flew Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein, AFSOC commander, Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright from Hurlburt Field back to Tyndall October, 27, 2018 for an update on recovery operations.
“Our crew was happy to help out,” said Hunter. “The nature of this particular lift gave us an excellent opportunity to showcase the capabilities of our unique mission, aircraft and crews [to General Goldfein and his team].”
Aircrew assigned to the C-146 are accustomed to providing airlift for distinguished visitors but are more commonly utilized for missions that support overseas contingency operations.
“With this mission, we’re able to interact and form relationships with support personnel and agencies [while deployed] that can play a large role in the success of current and future operations,” said Hunter. “It’s challenging work. We often operate in remote foreign environments with limited traditional support while navigating cultural and language hurdles to keep our ground operations flowing smoothly.”
The Total Force Integration relationship between the two units ensures they have the right people to respond to any tasking whether it’s hurricane relief or movement of passengers and cargo to distant points around the globe.
“Mutual trust of the capabilities between unit personnel and leadership is critical to a successful TFI relationship,” Hunter said. “We’ve been fortunate to have leadership in both units focused on a common goal, which has helped find mutual solutions to conflicts when they arise.”
The synergy between the two squadrons enhances their capabilities for responsive global reach and access.
“We work in the same building, fly and deploy together regularly so it’s important to have strong teamwork and good communication between the units,” said Tech. Sgt. Tiffani Potter, loadmaster for the 524th SOS.
Potter encourages others who are looking for a challenge to consider the C-146 mission.
“I would tell anyone who is considering joining us to do it,” she said. “There are great opportunities in the squadron you simply won’t find anywhere else. The Emerald Coast is a great place to be stationed.”