News: 152nd Airlift Wing hosts interfly operations
Story by Capt. Jason Yuhasz
RENO, Nev. – The highest point in Nevada is 13,147 feet. The highest in Arkansas is 2,753.
Airmen from the Natural State recently visited here for an interfly to help accustom them and their C-130J aircraft to the steep mountains, high altitude and high desert that’s so similar to Afghanistan.
Throughout January, the152nd Airlift Wing hosted active duty aircrew members of the 41st Airlift Squadron from Little Rock Air Force Base. An interfly is when aircraft of different mission design series and/or different units fly in formation.
According to the 152nd Airlift Wing’s Lt. Col. Eric Wade, experience shows that most initial C-130 flight training graduates don’t have enough hours flying in varying, especially mountainous, environments.
The challenges that theaters in Afghanistan, Korea or China present to aviators require more varied training.
Lt. Col. Jim Burgess, commander of the 41st Airlift Squadron, stated, “We’re at Little Rock, and it’s fairly flat and low. The mission and terrain here in Nevada is similar to what we’ll see overseas, and we can’t get this kind of training at home.”
Lt. Col. Caesar Garduno, the commander of the 192nd said, “Nevada closely mimics areas of Afghanistan. We have experience flying in a mountainous environment in our H-model C-130s.”
The High Rollers were able to share their experience and tactics, techniques and procedures for flying both around the Nevada mountains, and the similar mountains of Afghanistan, with their counterparts from Arkansas.
The 41st’s training here gave its aircrew opportunities to fly routes and run training scenarios already established by Nevada Air National Guard members.
Having to adjust their J-model aircraft to the Nevada scenarios added to the training realism. A number of Little Rock airmen noted that the difference in altitude and the terrain were the biggest factors which required adjustments and flexibility on the part of their crews.
In addition to the northern Nevada geography and the experience of the 192nd’s aviators, Reno also affords other units the opportunity to accomplish interagency training.
Garduno noted, “We can work with the folks from other bases, and we have access to high-altitude landing zones, which is unique to this area.”
According to Lt. Col. Scott Lew, the director of operations for the 570th Global Mobility Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., the 570th Contingency Response Group folks were here to provide command and control functions in austere locations. They also set up forward operating bases for the aviators to use during their exercises.
It wasn’t only personnel from other states and bases who benefited from the interfly training. Members of the 152nd Mission Support Group and 152nd Maintenance Group had a chance to work with different aircraft and a different mission than is the norm.
The 41st was able to complete more than 1,500 individual training requirements during its stay in Reno. Lt. Col. Sean Barden, the director of operations for the 41st, said, “We received absolutely phenomenal support from the Nevada Air Guard.”
Barden also said that the 41st created an important partnership with the 152nd Airlift Wing, and the 192nd Airlift Squadron.
He hopes to continue operational training with the 152nd in the future.