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146th AW Guardsmen take on Texas Wildfires

  • Published
  • By Maj. Kim Holman
  • 146AW
The California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing deployed two C-130J Hercules aircraft Sunday in response to the wildfires that are devastating areas of Southern Texas. The 146th has been assisting with firefighting efforts throughout the week alongside other National Guard and Reserve units.

These state-of the-art aircraft are equipped with a self-contained aerial firefighting system known as the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems, or MAFFS. These systems can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 60 feet wide. Once discharged, the aircraft can refill in less than 12 minutes.

"Our wing received notification Saturday afternoon that we would be deploying to Texas, and less than 29 hours later we were actually performing our first drop of retardant," said Lt. Col. Kurt Holden, 115th Airlift Squadron Commander. "The members of this wing are truly dedicated to this mission, and worked throughout the night loading the equipment onto the aircraft to ensure an on-time departure."

Shortly after departing Channel Islands Air National Guard Station, 146th aircraft were diverted to Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, where they loaded retardant and headed directly for the Wildcat Fire, located about 10 miles north of San Angelo. Since their arrival on April 17, Cal Guard aircraft have accomplished 16 drops and dropped 48,000 gallons of retardant on both the Wildcat and P.K. West fires.

"We are very happy to have the C130 MAFFS helping us to stop the spread of these wildfires," said Nicole Hawk, public information officer with the Texas Forest Service. "We are now battling with all the resources we can get our hands on, and these MAFFS units have been a crucial addition to our fight."

For more information, please contact Maj. Kimberly Holman, 146th Airlift Wing public affairs officer at (805) 340-7301. Visit www.146aw.ang.af.mil to learn more about the 146th Airlift Wing.