LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE Ark. --
The 19th Airlift Wing hosted the C-130 Mobility Air Force Council, March 13-15, bringing together C-130 experts from across the Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve – including representatives from Air Mobility Command, 18th and 22nd Air Forces and nearly 30 airlift units from across the globe.
The C-130 MAF Council’s mission is to identify issues, recognize trends and share solutions among U.S. Air Force Total Force C-130 Wings, and to identify and close the gaps that could prevent mission success in a peer competitor fight.
The 19th Airlift Wing commander, Col. Angela Ochoa, chaired the council and welcomed everybody back ‘home’ to the Home of Herk Nation.
“This is an opportunity for us to integrate and learn from each other and allows senior leaders from across the C-130 enterprise to synchronize efforts as we drive towards readiness, integration, and agility for ourselves and the Joint Force,” said Ochoa.
Along with synchronizing efforts across the MAF, the purpose of the council is to highlight any concerns from the C-130 community to AMC staff for action.
During the semiannual event, more than 50 senior leaders spent each day in council discussions which covered a variety of topics, to include operational experimentation focuses on advancing warfighting capabilities, future Block 8.1 conversion plans, the future of loadmaster and aircrew training, and AMC’s largest exercise, Mobility Guardian 2023, happening this summer in the Pacific theater.
Participating airlift wings included: 19th AW (Little Rock), 317th AW (Dyess), 374th AW (Yokota), 94th AW (Dobbins), 136th AW (Ft. Worth), 166th AW (Delaware), 123rd AW (Kentucky), 143rd AW (Rhode Island), 130th AW (West Virginia), 403rd AW (Keesler), 189th AW (Arkansas), 910th AW (Youngstown), 182nd AW (Peoria), 146th AW (Channel Islands), 86th AW (Ramstein), 133rd AW (Minnesota ANG), 934th AW (Minnesota), 153rd AW (Wyoming), 109th AW (New York ANG), 152nd AW (Nevada ANG).
The council also provided an opportunity to further long-standing peer relationships and foster better understanding across the C-130 enterprise as it prepares to compete with the high-end adversaries of tomorrow.
In addition to the MAF Council briefings and discussions, 15 C-130s participated in an ‘Elephant Walk’ and Large Formation Exercise where they conducted heavy equipment and container delivery system drops.
“The Spring MAF Council event is special because it is a fly-in event where all attendees convene in person and aircrew have a chance to fly together in a large formation,” said Maj. Joshua Gilly, 19th Operations Group director of staff. “It stands as a rare opportunity for the C-130 community to connect and share tactics, techniques, and procedures.”
An ‘Elephant Walk’ is a fundamental training element. This exercise refers to the close formation of military aircraft before takeoff. The term originated in World War II when allied bomber operations consisted of 1,000 aircraft and their attacks were carried out in a single file, nose-to-tail fashion that resembled elephants traveling to the watering hole.
The formation demonstrated the ability of the 19th AW to launch a formation of fifteen C-130 J and H models representing twelve different airlift squadrons.
“As the Mission Commander, it was my responsibility to lead my team to develop a plan to accomplish resupply airdrops against a simulated near-peer adversary,” said Capt. Joseph Burmeister, 41st AS evaluator pilot and assistant chief of training. “After takeoff, we successfully airdropped 15 pallets to HERK drop zone near Fort Smith, Arkansas. On the way, we executed a low-level flight in a simulated GPS-out environment, which allowed the pilots to practice the TTPs required for the next potential conflict.”
Formation flights like these demonstrate the ability of the C-130 community to launch a significant number of aircraft, integrate across multiple units and successfully accomplish the combat airlift mission in a contested environment.
“It was a beautiful sight to see all of the different Total Force tail flashes on the ramp here at the Home of Herk Nation,” said Ochoa. “Having these discussions, getting up in the air and breaking bread together is how we learn and grow and make our community better as we lean forward to refine TTPs and readiness capabilities needed for today’s steady state operations and tomorrow’s high-end fight.”