Air Force Reserve unit launches C-130J four-ship formation

  • Published
  • By Maj. Ashley Walker
  • 913th Airlift Group

A four-ship formation of C-130J Hercules manned by Air Force Reserve personnel from the 913th Airlift Group took off from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, March 7.

The low-level flight along the Buffalo River and Pinnacle Mountain included training cargo bundles that were airdropped to simulate delivering supplies to a deployed forward operating base. Arkansas’s terrain and available training assets allow for a large number of exercise scenarios to be supported in one location.

“This is a team effort to get any aircraft off the ground,” said Maj. Steve “STUD” Freeman, 913th Operations Support Squadron Chief of Weapons and Tactics. “From maintenance, to our Port Dawgs, to our support personnel; each squadron does their part to ensure we can test aircrew readiness and capabilities.”


Maintenance personnel are responsible for aircraft inspections, timely repair, aircraft launch and recovery.  Aerial transportation specialists specialize on quickly and accurately plan, load, and unload cargo.


 “We use drill weekends as a force development opportunity to build combat-ready Airmen,” said Maj. Christopher “Crash” Acs, 327th Airlift Squadron Chief Pilot. “We have to maintain our proficiency in various flying competencies to ensure combat readiness while balancing our civilian careers.”

Planning involves the scheduling of flights and part-time traditional reservists effectively, ensuring aircrew maintain their currency and progress. This is all dependent on aircraft availability, requiring close coordination with our active duty counterparts.

The Air Force Reserve 913th Airlift Group is in a classic association with the 19th Airlift Wing, Air Mobility Command. Early 2019 was the group’s first deployment as a combat-coded unit and the culmination of training in preparation for support to worldwide mobility taskings. This flying and maintenance package consisted of our traditional reservists, full-time reservists, and active duty components to deliver combat airlift downrange.  

The C-130 was designed to transport troops, vehicles, and machinery in and out of combat zones, landing on small, unimproved field and dirt landing strips if paved runways were not available. The first C-130 model was used in the 1950s and continues to prove itself as the workhorse of the Air Force.