Wyoming Air National Guard transfers four C-130H aircraft

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. - By the end of October 2015, Wyoming Air National Guard's 153rd Airlift Wing, will return to its original fleet of eight C-130 aircraft, losing four that it gained nine years ago.

In 2006, the 153rd Airlift Wing welcomed the 30th Airlift Squadron to its ranks, making it the first guard-based unit in the U.S. Air Force's Air Mobility Command to gain an active duty associate unit. With the active-associate, came personnel, missions, and four aircraft, upping the size of the Cheyenne-based unit's C-130 fleet to 12.

Lt. Col. Todd Davis, 153rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander, is overseeing the C-130 transfers from Cheyenne to the Nevada Air National Guard's 152nd Airlift Squadron.

"The aircraft transfers to Reno are essential for our maintenance personnel to return to a pre active-associate organization," said Davis. "While the additional aircraft certainly offered more scheduling flexibility to support our high operations tempo, the four aircraft also drove additional maintenance actions which we are not adequately manned for anymore. Transferring these aircraft internal to the Air National Guard is also a plus since Reno will end up with aircraft about 15 years newer than what they previously possessed."

Late in 2014, the 30th Airlift Squadron began drawing down personnel; the last of the squadron's active duty airmen left Cheyenne last month. Davis said the loss of the active duty squadron, combined with other National Defense Authorization Act requirements for streamlining the nation's C-130 fleet, resulted in Wyoming's C-130 reduction.

"We are not losing any capabilities," said Col. Brad Swanson, 153rd Airlift Wing commander. Airlift, aeromedical evacuation, troop transportation and aerial firefighting will still be conducted by the wing.

"Even with eight C-130s, we'll still maintain the highest operational tempo we've seen in decades," Swanson said. "We will still be able to carry out our state and federal missions."