By Senior Airman Scott Poe
19 Airlift Wing Public Affairs
A field manager for the Air Force’s C-130 maintainer pipeline finally experienced the end product of his maintainers’ hard work and excellence – a flight aboard a C-130J.
Stephen Reeves, an Air Education and Training Command advanced skills training manager, has served more than 37 years of combined federal service. For the past 17 years, he has managed field training for C-130 aircraft maintainers.
“I work with new acquisition programs, new course development, specialized international training and manage more than 80 existing courses taught at 11 detachments ranging from Japan across the U.S. to England and Germany,” said Reeves.
Reeves has flown on many C-130 simulator flights and been around the mighty Hercules for years, but had never flown aboard during a real-life sortie.
With his retirement less than a month away, Reeves finally got his wish thanks to Senior Master Sgt. Nathan Lakin, 373rd Training Squadron, Detachment 4, flight chief and the cooperation of the 48th Airlift Squadron. Reeves was ecstatic with the thought of finally getting to soar in a C-130.
“After all the lesson plans I’ve reviewed, all of the interactive computer displays I’ve seen, and all the simulators I’ve flown; now, at last, the real thing,” said Reeves.
Reeves sat in the flight deck as the aircraft soared over Arkansas. He watched as the pilots navigated the skies and cut through the clouds. The authentic smile on his face never vanished as he sat in the navigation seat.
“Every minute in the J-model was fun,” said Reeves. “I was enthralled by the professional work of the pilots and the view of the sky over central Arkansas. I could feel the more than 18,000 horsepower from those four Rolls Royce engines as we took off.”
Flying in the C-130 marks his final chapter in his career. Looking forward to his retirement, Reeves is thankful for the memories he experienced, at Little Rock Air Force Base.