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C-130J training expanding, changing

WASHINGTON -- Little Rock Air Force Base, the C-130 Airlift Center of Excellence, will expand its C-130J training responsibilities, including training international partners, announced Air Force officials Wednesday.

In addition, the 314th Airlift Wing will absorb the domestic training formerly done by the 94th Airlift Wing, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga., and the center will continue to grow in aircraft numbers and manpower over the next four years.

"Our combat airlifters are known throughout the world for their excellence," said Brig. Gen. Rowayne Schatz, 314th AW commander. "Expanding our operations is the next logical step in allowing us to share our expertise with airlift communities in the U.S. and across the globe. This partnership makes sense for the future of our Air Force."

Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. T. Michael Moseley, also announced three other proposed initiatives concerning C-130 tactical airlift, each of which furthers the service's vision for a seamless Total Force.

The initiatives, which would impact communities in Tennessee, New York, Georgia, in addition to Arkansas, are part of the Total Force Integration effort to create innovative organizational arrangements among Regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve components. The effort strives to leverage the strengths inherent within each of the three components.

The Tennessee Air National Guard's 118th Airlift Wing has been selected for the proposed standup of a Formal Training Unit at Nashville International Airport. The unit's day-to-day peacetime mission will be training allied Airmen from strategic partner nations to safely fly and effectively employ C-130s, which will simultaneously prepare the wing for its federal wartime mission of surge training additional U.S. Airmen.

This arrangement will fill a critical need for international training that has gone unmet in recent years. To meet the need, the Tennessee Air National Guard will acquire WC-130Hs, well-suited for the unit's newfound training mission, while its current C-130H aircraft are scheduled for disbursement as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC, process.

The Chief of Staff also formally announced the strategy for Airmen in the New York Air National Guard to partner with the Air Force Reserve Command's 914th Airlift Wing at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, as directed by the 2005 BRAC. Based on four decades of experience associating Regular Air Force and Reserve airlift wings, this Reserve/Guard association will be only the second such associate model ever established and the first-ever in combat delivery.

The 914th AW will continue to have primary responsibility for the unit's C-130H airlifters, but will partner with the 107th Air National Guard Wing Airmen in employing these aircraft.

Such associations generate efficiencies by sharing resources and reducing duplication of effort, providing contingency surge capability, preserving a corporate body of knowledge and enhancing retention and recruitment for the Total Force through personnel cross-flow. They also help maintain aircrew and maintenance expertise and experience levels, and reduce peacetime training hours, thus saving money.

Also announced today, the 94th Airlift Wing, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga., will convert from a domestic C-130 Formal Training Unit to a combat-coded unit, transitioning its C-130 crews into the Air Expeditionary Force rotation. The conversion will provide additional in-theater airlift while simultaneously reducing the deployment frequency of other Total Force C-130 units.

"Because today's strategic landscape is dynamic and threatening, we have to ensure that, as a Total Air Force, we continuously search for and find innovative ways to leverage the limited resources we have available to increase our combat and homeland defense capabilities," said Gen. Moseley. "These initiatives will strengthen an already powerful partnership, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of our collective efforts."

(Courtesy of U.S. Air Force Public Affairs)
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