DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga. – Rays of sunshine pierce through the cargo bay windows of a C-130H3 Hercules. The monotonous rumble of the engines make the plane’s flight almost peaceful. Suddenly the aircraft goes into a hard left bank. The gravity inside the aircraft seems to triple as the g-force takes effect, pinning everyone to their seats.
After a few seconds, the aircraft levels out and the sense of calm returns once again. Suddenly the g-forces return as the aircrew is notified by their defensive systems that they are being targeted. Again, the C-130 is guided through various evasive maneuvers, in an effort to shake off the tracking.
This is the situation that the 700th Airlift Squadron, the 908th AS, and the 757th AS encountered on the first day of Tac Week, a weeklong tactical training exercise facilitated by the 910th Airlift Wing at Youngstown Air Reserve Station in early August. The event tested the squadrons’ ability to fly in large formations together, as well as to fly in new terrains, with various different scenarios taking place.
“The purpose of this week is camaraderie,” said Lt. Col. Lance Avery, 94th Operations Group standards and evaluation pilot. “It is also to fly in a different environment. We come up here, and we see their tactical routes, and how the other units do things.”
Throughout the week, the airlift squadrons participated in training designed to increase cooperation between squadrons, as well as to practice and become more comfortable using evasive aerial maneuvers, ground maneuvers, and working with aircraft defensive systems that they do not usually get to train on.
“This was an opportunity to practice with some of the electronic countermeasures that we are not normally exposed to at Dobbins,” said Avery.
The squadrons also participated in several different competitions throughout the week, designed to test and apply their knowledge against each other, as well as practicing concepts that would be used in theater. This included a runway backing competition, as well as airdrop and assault runway competitions.
All of these competitions simulated situations catered to tactical airlift operations, such as being able to land on small, unimproved airfields, and being able to maneuver on them without much space. The drop competition tested the crew’s ability to execute a container delivery system airdrop accurately.
Avery explained the real value in this kind of training is through an exchange of information. By training together with other units, in different locations, the 700th expanded their own knowledge base, and therefore expanded their mission capability and efficiency.
“It has been great to come up here and fly with other units,” Avery said. “This training has given us more experience with threat detection and reactions, seeing different routes and flying in formation. We have been able to see some of the other squadrons’ techniques, and how they execute the mission.”