June Commander's View
By Col. Paul J. Hargrove, 146AW
/ Published June 05, 2010
Channel Islands Air National Guard Station -- I hope this Commander's View finds everyone healthy and doing well. We have had numerous personnel deployed the last several months and recently had many return safely. The 115th AS, maintenance, aerial port, security forces, and mission support returned from the Middle East over the past few weeks. They all performed superbly and I commend all of them for a job well done. I know for some this has been one of numerous deployments and it is getting tiring. If I had an end date to the deployment cycle, I would surely tell you. Unfortunately, no date has been established for when our participation will end. The Obama administration is increasing troops in Afghanistan and support will be needed until they are withdrawn. This is our generation's Vietnam and we need to stay focused, as this will likely be a long conflict. Again, I appreciate the hardships everyone encounters serving your country at this time in history.
Well, summer is almost here and that means MAFFS season is here, too. We traveled to Greenville, South Carolina and accomplished certification training for the upcoming fire season during the last week of April. We were briefed on the forecast for the fire season and where potential problem areas around the country could be. Southern California had a good rainy season and is not considered to be part of the problem areas. The northwest was in a drought while we were getting the rain. Parts of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho are very dry and may be problematic this fire season. Colorado has a bark beetle problem that is killing large quantities of trees and also is a potential problem area. The new MAFFS II is being used by the 146th AW and also the 302nd AW out of Colorado Springs. The older MAFFS units are being used by Cheyenne and Charlotte. Unfortunately, there was a delay in production of the MAFFS II units and they were unavailable for training by Cheyenne and Charlotte. The legacy MAFFS units have been restored and are fully capable for this season. We will be ready when called and looking forward to supporting the U.S. Forest Service and California Department of Forestry in fire fighting this year.
The final draft of the congressional report on the U.S. Forest Service and the J acquisition was finished and is in review. It will be presented to congress soon and has some positive conclusions on the C-130J and MAFFS II. The report states that the U.S. Forest Service buying C-130J/MAFFS II, then letting the guard and reserve fly and maintain them, is a viable option. The report calls for more study to be conducted before congress makes any decisions. The Rand Corporation is doing a study and should be completed in August. The bottom line is the report is positive, but I think the process is going to be lengthy and will be years from completion. We will continue to work with NGB and help the USFS in any way we can. Again, this is potentially a huge gain for our unit and could change us significantly for the better.
Maj. Gen Lucas, Assistant Adjutant General for Air, is retiring later this year and will be visiting our unit on Sunday of July drill. He will be attending an induction ceremony, giving out awards and speaking to us in the wing auditorium. The August drill will be held during the Pt Mugu air show. We will work with NBVC and the CHP to help on any traffic or parking problems we may encounter. We won't be flying over August drill, but training will take place as normal. Have a great June drill and I will see you around the base,