By Airman 1st Class Rochelle Clace
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
A new C-130J Hercules was delivered to Little Rock Air Force Base at a C-130 Arrival Ceremony Wednesday at base operations.
The aircraft was piloted by Gen. Arthur J. Lichte, Air Mobility Command commander, headquartered at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., during its delivery from the Lockheed Martin plant in Marietta, Ga., to the base.
The C-130J is the most recent edition to AMC’s active duty inventory. The 41st Airlift Squadron and the Silver Aircraft Maintenance Unit will be home to the aircraft. They are responsible for employing the C-130J in combat and contingency operations, adding to Little Rock’s proud legacy of providing combatant commanders world-wide tactical airlift capability anywhere, anytime.
During the ceremony, General Lichte and Col. Gregory Otey, 19th Airlift Wing commander, addressed the audience, discussing the importance of the community, servicemembers and the mission of the Air Force.
“As we gather at the home of C-130 Combat Airlift, it’s only fitting this combat aircraft be delivered to the Rock,” said Colonel Otey. “Home to a team of professionals that provide our nation’s Air Force with unrivaled C-130 Combat Airlift.”
“It’s also fitting this J model be delivered to a community that is the finest military community in America; one that truly understands and appreciates our Airmen and Team Little Rock’s contributions and service to our nation. A community that never stops supporting the future of our great Air Force and what’s only the very best for our Airmen,” said Colonel Otey.
“It’s appropriate that you have so many of the civilian community leaders here today because it is a team. Everyone works together to accomplish the mission, none harder than the men and women at Little Rock that spend the time away from home doing the mission that you ask us to do, you the American people. So, today it’s with great pride and respect that I bring this aircraft home,” said General Lichte.
“At the Rock, we have built the foundation to train and deploy the world’s finest C-130 Combat Airlifters and the infrastructure and training programs to provide America unmatched airlift capability well into the future,” Colonel Otey said.
The ceremony celebrated more than the delivery of the aircraft, it also celebrated the Air Force’s number one resource: people.
“They represent generations of hard work, dedication and commitment by a total team; Airmen, retirees, civilians, contractors, central Arkansans and our nation and their sustained effort to bring technology to our war fighting capability. This C-130J will soon be in the hands of our Airmen. Airmen who will provide our Air Force with a capability to remove convoys from the roads of Iraq and Afghanistan, save lives through medical evacuations and support our nation in times of natural disaster,” said Colonel Otey.
During the ceremony, General Lichte presented Mr. Phil Davis, honorary commander of the 19th Airlift Wing and Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s Civic Leader Group with the Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Award.
He also presented a key to Staff Sgt. Justin Bordelon, 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, to symbolize the transfer of ownership of the C-130J to the squadron.
The C-130J is the newest generation of the C-130 Hercules, which primarily performs the tactical portion of the airlift mission. The aircraft is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for air dropping troops and equipment into hostile areas.
“Since the standup of C-130Js at Little Rock, they’ve carried 56,000 people, 3,500 tons of cargo, flown 4,000 hours and some 2,600 combat sorties. Since you have deployed to the desert, under the Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, you’ve flown 900 hours, 521 combat sorties, over 1,300 tons of cargo and 6,000 passengers, with 100 percent mission effectiveness. The C-130J gives us new flexibility and new capability,” said General Lichte.