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Tactical airlift initiatives further Air Force's total force integration

WASHINGTON -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley announced four proposed initiatives Oct. 31 concerning C-130 Hercules 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 and 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 simultaneously will 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's 107 Air Refueling Wing 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 component 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 ARW 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 AW at 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.

Finally, the Tactical Airlift Center of Excellence at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., not only will absorb the domestic training formerly done by the 94th AW, but also will expand its C-130J training responsibilities, including training international partners on the C-130J. The center will continue to grow in aircraft numbers and manpower over the next four years.

"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 General Moseley. "These initiatives will strengthen an already powerful partnership, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of our collective efforts."
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