Friday, October 7, 2016

TOP STORY >> Combat Airlift legacy lives on

By Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Members of Team Little Rock gathered with the 314th Airlift Wing Sept. 30 as the 48th Airlift Squadron transitioned and shifted its personnel to its sister unit, the 62nd Airlift Squadron. 

Since 2003, the 48th AS has trained C-130 pilots and loadmasters at Little Rock Air Force Base under the 62nd AS banner. 

The 48th AS has a long history with the 314th AW and has been a part of the wing during two different periods of time. The first was from 1971 to 1973 when the 314th AW was the 314th Tactical Airlift Wing. The squadron inactivated in 1973 but reactivated in 2003 when the 48th AS was tasked with being the first U.S. Air Force active-duty formal training unit for the C-130J, the newest C-130 variant.

Recently, with the 314th AW transitioning away from the H model, the 48th AS has again shifted into holding pattern while its personnel are realigned into the 62nd AS – a unit that previously maintained all C-130H training and boasts a robust history of its own.

“When determining which squadron would carry on the C-130J formal training unit, leadership determined that due to the fuller, more continuous history of the 62nd that it should remain active,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Jacob Fuchs, 48th AS instructor pilot and training officer. “[This means] the 48th AS, which has been inactivated several times and inactive for long periods of time, will transition all aircraft and aircrew over to the 62nd AS.”

“The decision of which squadron to keep was a difficult one but it ultimately came down to overall heritage,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. William Burrows, 314th AW executive officer and C-130J FTU instructor.

The transition ceremony and reunion took place on Sept. 30 and drew in more than 200 active-duty and retired leadership of the 48th and 62nd to the event. 

“We were happy that so many people felt an attachment to the 48th or 62nd Airlift Squadrons,” Fuchs said. “It makes us feel validated – that we are doing something beneficial for the tactical airlifters of today and tomorrow. After the ceremony, we socialized with a lot of the great legends of the C-130 community.”

Although the 48th has transitioned, the expertise and heritage will live on in the 62nd AS.

“The 48th Airlift Squadron has been filled with most experienced C-130J crewmembers and instructs the most recent tactics, techniques and procedures to support C-130J operational units” Fuchs said. “This mass of C-130J experience coming from the 48th AS will join with all of the previous C-130 knowledge and will continue the tradition of tactical airlift training for the USAF in the 62nd AS.”

Although the 62nd is now the sole provider of C-130J aircrew training for the 314th AW, the tempo isn’t expected to slow down. 

“Overall, the transition has been seamless to the personnel in the squadron and it’s allowed our mission to continue without any impact to training,” Fuchs said. “The 62nd AS will continue the proud tradition of training aircrews for the U.S. and its allies.”

The 314th Airlift Wing is the nation’s tactical airlift Center of Excellence which is responsible for training C-130 aircrew members from the Department of Defense, Coast Guard, and 47 partner nations. Even through this transition, the wing continues to use 80 training devices to train more than 1,500 students annually, including more than 150 international students in DOD’s largest international flying training program.

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