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April Commander's View

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Here at Channel Islands we have been busy, as usual. I personally have been TDY numerous times the last couple of months. In February I attended the C-130 Weapons System Council, which is a council of all guard C-130 wing commanders. We meet every six months in Washington DC to discuss the numerous issues with the C-130 community. Unfortunately, the meeting was during one of the many snowstorms to hit the DC area and it caused the trip to be extended for a couple of days. One of the issues from the meeting was that budgets for the Air Guard will be problematic for at least the next two years. This has caused our wing to adjust the commute distance recently and we are looking at other cost cutting measures for the future. Another issue was that the active duty Air Force recently decided to transfer 17 C-130 Guard aircraft to the active duty. This was done through a process that the Air Guard feels was unnecessary and one that they had no input. The transfer is being disputed and the outcome may eventually be changed.

I attended the course called Director of Mobility Forces in March. This course allows me to be deployable to the middle east sometime next year. I anticipate being gone for about four months, but not sure the exact dates yet. I feel that we all should be contributing to the war effort and this deployment will be my way of making that contribution. I encourage all of us in the wing to try and do the same. I will try and support any deployments that will not negatively affect our mission back home. Some deployments are can be too lengthy or there may be an issue of back support that will not work.

The last couple of weeks I attended Phoenix Rally, which is AMC's conference, and the pre-season fire conference in Boise, Idaho. AMC's new commander, Gen. Johns, visited Channel Islands in January. Throughout the conference he said he is looking for our guard unit to assist Little Rock in training C-130 J aircrews. Little Rock is undermanned at this time and we are researching ways to help them out. The conference in Boise is to prepare for the upcoming fire season. The US Forest Service and the military discuss and coordinate the upcoming certification training in Greensville, South Carolina and the follow on fire season. This conference was a combination of MAFFS guard/reserve units, guard units with ground fire crews, active duty from TACC and AFNORTH, Navy and marine helicopter units, and US Forest Service personnel. I will be the commander of the AEG (air expeditionary group) again this year and will be deploying to Boise with a staff when MAFFS is called.

We had over 300 personnel on active duty status recently and over 200 deployed around the world. Please keep these wing members in your thoughts and prayers until they return safely. There is more to update you on, but I will wait until the next article. I appreciate all you do for our country, state, and wing.

Take Care, Col. Hargrove