By Senior Airman Mercedes Taylor
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Little Rock Air Force Base, the Home of Combat Airlift and the Combat Airlift Center of Excellence, is no stranger to high operations tempo. Deployment and training operations haven’t slowed down since the runway construction project kicked off in July 2015.
Since 1955, the base’s runway has been utilized for a variety of missions throughout its 60 years of operation. The current construction project will be updating the runway from its original build and is scheduled to last approximately two years.
“As of right now, we’re in the second phase of construction,” said Kerry Miller, 19th Operations Support Squadron airfield manager. “During this phase, the assault zone airstrip, which simulates a deployed location landing, will be replaced. Once we begin the third phase, we’ll open up that area and get a portion of the runway back.”
Despite only a portion of the runway being used during the phased project, the mission doesn’t stop. The runway supports a variety of missions between the 19th, 314th and 189th Airlift Wings such as airdrops, personnel transport and C-130 pilot training.
“There is an average of approximately 1,200 to 1,300 sorties each month,” Miller said.
While the base runway currently supports the C-130J Combat Airlift mission, there isn’t enough runway space available to support a full airshow perfermance. However, the base will be hosting a Military Expo on Sept. 17.
The base is partnering with Camp Joseph T. Robinson and other military units around the state to showcase various capabilities such as equipment, aircraft static displays, flyovers, personnel and cargo drops, military working dogs and explosive ordinance disposal.
“The state of Arkansas and the local communities support our military in a variety of ways,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Julie Honeycutt, Expo director. “The Expo is an amazing opportunity to show our community how their support helps us accomplish our mission and contributes to the larger national defense.”
Visit http://www.rockinattherock.com/arkansasmilitaryexpo.shtml for more information about the Expo.