Leader Blues

Monday, August 06, 2007

TOP STORY >>Another C-130J lands here

By HEATHER HARTSELL
Leader staff writer

The 41st Airlift Squadron, the Air Force’s first active-duty combat C-130J squadron, received its newest and fourth C-130J aircraft Friday at Little Rock Air Force Base.

Lt. Gen. Donald J. Hoffman, military deputy in the office of the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition at the Pentagon, flew the new Herk in from the Lockheed Martin plant in Marietta, Ga. “It was my pleasure to be part of these ceremonies; it was a great flight,” Hoffman said.

He admitted to those gathered for the brief welcoming ceremony that he did fly a C-130J simulator while in Marietta, calling it a “humbling experience.”

“It (the actual C-130J) flies much better than the simulator,” he said. “The C-130 has helped and served this nation well over many, many decades,” Hoffman added.

Hoffman is responsible for research and development, test, production and modernization of Air Force programs worth more than $23 billion annually.

The 41st AS and the 463rd Airlift Maintenance Squadron – Silver AMU, will be home to tail number 64633.

Together they will be responsible for deploying the C-130J in combat and contingency operations, adding to Little Rock Air Force Base’s legacy of providing worldwide support capability when and where they require it.

The plane’s addition will improve the squadron’s combat-airlift capabilities by providing its aircrews more training opportunities as they prepare for upcoming Aerospace Ex-peditionary Force deployments.

The 41st will face its first rotation (deployment) since realigning to LRAFB from Pope AFB, N.C., as early as next February, according to Col. Jeffrey Hoffer, commander of the 463rd Airlift Group.

Lt. Col. Dan Tulley, 41st squadron commander, added the rotation would more than likely be earlier rather than later in the new year, but he didn’t know exactly when.

He said it would be a normal 120-day rotation when the time came.

The 41st was reassigned to the 463rd AG at LRAFB following base realignment and closure (BRAC). The squadron called the 43rd Airlift Wing at Pope home for 36 years.

A total of 14 C-130Js are planned for the Blackcats of the 41st AS.