By Master Sgt. Jeff Walston
913th Airlift Group
The final C-130H model mission for the 913th Airlift Group, Air Force Reserve, was flown from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., Jan. 28, 2016, with a C-130H aircrew comprised of both active-duty and Reserve personnel, reflecting the active association the 913th AG has maintained with the 19th Air Wing’s 50th Airlift Squadron.
From its modest beginnings in October 2010, as a 22nd Air Force Detachment One, the 913th AG has grown from two Airmen, to more than 800. The group’s personnel flew, maintained and supported the Air Force mission in 14 C-130H Hercules out of Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. But no more.
“This flight means the mission for the 913th has officially changed from the “H” to the “J” model,” said Lt. Col. Keith Jasmin, chief of current operations for the 913th Operations Support Squadron. “We’ve been balancing both, but now, we transition to the J.”
The mission, which was a “standard training sortie” according to Jasmin, lasted about two hours and flew along the “White River Tour,” concentrating on low level air drop techniques and pilot proficiency training.
Many active and Reserve C-130H aircraft are being replaced by the C-130J Super Hercules, a comprehensive updated version with new engines, flight deck and other systems, all designed to improve performance and save money.
“There’s a big difference between the “H” and the “J” models,” said Master Sgt. Josh Burton, Standardization/Evaluation loadmaster, 327th Airlift Squadron. “The “J” is mostly computers, and almost all automated, where the legacy, or “H,” is all hands-on.”
The 913th AG still has two C-130H aircraft that are being prepared for transfer to other locations. Meanwhile, training for 913th AG personnel transitioning to the “J” model continues at the only formal training school for the “J” model, here at Little Rock AFB.
The transition to the “J” model requires maintainers, pilots, and loadmasters to complete conversion training. The formal schooling process should be completed by September 2016, but aircrews will continue to gain experience and proficiency for about another 18 months.
Due to all of these changes, the 913th AG will no longer be designated an “active association,” with their own Reserve aircraft, but a “classic association,” where they’ll work side by side with active duty Airmen on their aircraft.
Approximately 55 maintainers from the 50th Maintenance Squadron, who supported the active association, have already been moved back to the 19th Maintenance Group.
The 913th AG will be the first C-130J model classic association in the Air Force.