I had the great opportunity to visit the 434th Air Refueling Wing yesterday. I will be putting together a complete blog post after I move into my new apartment. In the meantime, I took the opportunity to request a change in my posting date over at the3six5.com so that I could write about my trip. Check out the post and let me know what you think!
The Air Force is providing key airlift capabilities in response to the disaster in Haiti, this is all being handled by Air Mobility Command and the Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott Air Force Base. One of the main hubs, operating these airlift mission is Charleston Air Force Base. While the majority of the cargo is being picked up at other locations, they are tasking many of the flights in and out of Haiti right now. This includes just about every type of airlift “tail” the Air Force has at it’s disposal. I spent the day touring Charleston Air Force Base yesterday – they had C-130‘s, C-17‘s and C-5‘s parked on their flight line, along with civilian heavy airlift 747‘s. (more…)
I had the opportunity to speak to Colonel Bradley G. Butz who is the Vice Commander of the 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Wing, based at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Col Butz briefed us on the use of the RQ-4 Global Hawk in support of the relief efforts in Haiti. Yesterday, the Global Hawk launched from Beale Air Force Base in California and made its way to it operating area over Haiti. Once there, it spent approximately 14 hours on station capturing around 700 images in total. All images will be made unclassified and distributed to anyone who needs the, he has indicated that they will be made available on the “unclassified internet”. At the end of its duty day yesterday, the Global Hawk returned to Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, where it will remain until it has completed this mission. Once it has been released, it will continue on to the middle east to support the ongoing conflicts there. (more…)
My trip to the 129th Rescue Wing was filled with a lot of exciting and awe inspiring moments. Not the least of which was my flight with the 130th Rescue Squadron. The purpose of the flight was general training and to practice infil./exfil. of a Pararescue Jumper on a 4-wheeler. I was pretty excited that I was going to be able to witness all of this first hand. This was going to be a night flight with night vision goggles. It included a number of low level (500ft AGL), lights out 10 mile approaches and I can say with complete certainty, that without the NVG, you would not have been able to make the field, let alone land on it. (more…)
Back in November, I had the opportunity to visit the great people of the 129th Rescue Wing at Moffett Field in California. The wing includes a number of units, the ones I’m going to tell you about are the 129th Rescue Squadron, the 130th Rescue Squadron and the 131st Rescue Squadron. The intention of my visit was to showcase the great work that some of Air Force‘s elite units are doing, both at home and abroad. While I was on the trip, I met members of each of these units and had a chance to take a flight on an MC-130P Combat Shadow, where we practiced some exciting night flying maneuvers including (a first for me) 500ft AGL night approaches from 10 miles.
Because I learned so much about each of these units, I’m going to break each one into a separate post, beginning with the 130th Rescue Squadron and my flight on the MC-130P. I’ll be adding a new post each week beginning today.
Have you had an experience with any of these units? Have you had a chance to fly in a C-130 of any kind? Leave your story in the comments.
Over at the WIRED blog Danger Room, Noah Shachtman had the opportunity to spend some time with the PJ’s of the 55th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron in Afghanistan. His article gives you a small glimpse into the life of one of the Air Force‘s elite tactical ground units.
As a part of my effort to showcase the efforts of units like this one, I will be visiting the 129th Rescue Squadron this November.
Check out the article over at Danger Room.
Major General Gregory Feest, the commander of the 19th , was in Chicago representing the Air Force and acting as the senior military officer in attendance at the event. The 19th Air Force is tasked with providing flight and aircrew training to more than 25,000 US and Allied students annually and is comprised of more than 38,000 Total Force personnel across 17 wings and 3 training groups. They operate 1,720 aircraft including the T-1 Jayhawk, T-6A Texan II, and T-38 Talon.
A little background on the General, he has over 5,400 total flight hours and more than 800 combat hours. He’s flown a countless number of airframes including the F-111, the F-15C and E, and the F-117. General Feest holds a number of claims to aviation fame, he is the first person to ever reach 1,000 hours in the F-117 and the first person to fly that aircraft into combat. He is also purported to hold the most combat hours in the F-117 (more than 130 hours) having been the first person in Desert Storm to drop a bomb in Iraq from an F-117. (more…)
This year the Chicago Air and Water show will play host to the United States Air Force Demonstration Squadron known as the Thunderbirds. They arrived at Gary Airport this morning – Gary is where the Air show is staged every year. They’ll be taking some much needed time off while in Chicago, and will begin practicing again on Friday. The team has made some interesting changes this year – to bolster the Air Force’s “Total Force Initiative”, they have taken on a member of the Air National Guard, and the Reserves. (more…)