Reservists help Herk Nation celebrate 65 years of community partnership

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

Little Rock Air Force Base is known as Herk Nation and is the epicenter for C-130 operations. Nestled within the many military organizations is the 913th Airlift Group, which reactivated in July 13, 2014, and is classically associated with the active duty, 19th Airlift Wing.

Five C-130 Hercules aircraft flew in formation with a C-47 Skytrain vintage aircraft Thursday, Oct. 8 across central Arkansas to commemorate Little Rock Air Force Base’s first open house event in 1955.

When spectators look up at the aircraft, it is impossible to delineate which plane is flown by active duty or reserve personnel. Reserve units work tirelessly to maintain the same readiness requirements as the active duty counterparts, but with a part-time force­.

“This aerial event is a fitting tribute to Herk Nation and each organization’s lineage of combat airlift,” said Lt. Col. Elissa Granderson, 913th Airlift Group chief of safety and aircraft commander. “Each unit has a historical tie to the Air Force mission and evolved over the decades to meet emerging threats.” 

The group’s 327th Airlift Squadron originated as the 2nd Combat Cargo Squadron in 1944 flying the C-47 Skytrain during World War II. The 913th was established in 1963 as the Troop Carrier Group and oversaw the 327th. In 1970, the units geared up to fly the C-130 Hercules cargo plane.

“Each unit supports the global mission and there are ways to serve locally as well. I’ve flown the C-130H with the Guard alongside my dad and sister for many years,” Granderson said. “Moving over to the Reserve and flying the C-130J has its differences with the different avionics and engines, but what is unwavering is everyone’s dedication to the mission and support from the community.”

The base opened to air traffic Sept. 10, 1955, and was dedicated at an open house celebration Oct. 9, 1955. Currently, the base has major partner units: 19th Airlift Wing, Air Mobility Command, the 314th Airlift Wing, Air Education and Training Command, the 189th Airlift Wing of the Arkansas Air National Guard, and the 913th Airlift Group, Air Force Reserve Command, Each unit plays a vital role in the overall success of the combat airlift mission.