146th AW Year in Review
By Capt. Kimberly Holman, 146th Airlift Wing
/ Published October 15, 2008
YEAR IN REVIEW 2007 -- The 146th Airlift Wing concluded another year filled with historical milestones and sensational achievements: continuing to fight the war on terrorism overseas, combating wildfires at home, and setting new flying safety records
January 2007 marked the end of another long chapter in the wing's history as the last of the Channel Islands C-130s deployed to Southwest Asia in support of the Global War on Terror arrived home safely. The overseas deployment that began in 2004 contributed to the wing's outstanding flying safety record and once again demonstrated the capabilities of the Hercules aircraft and Channel Islands crew members.
The 2007 Outstanding Airman and First Sergeant of the Year Banquet was proudly hosted by the 146th Airlift Wing at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, Calif. Attendees from around the nation came together in record attendance to celebrate the Air Force's finest men and women at what proved to be a most magnificent occasion.
In June, the 115th Airlift Squadron joined Travis Air Force Base and several other wings and military units in OPERATION HYDRA. The exercise, held at four airfields and various DZs throughout California, presented numerous training opportunities such as CDS airdrops, personnel drops, NVG offloads and onloads, and assault takeoffs and landings. The wing's Airlift Control Flight (ALCF) acted as a Contingency Response Element (CRE) at Paso Robles airport, sharing large view windows with their active duty and reserve counterparts while conducting their training. The diversity in terrain and new surroundings provided the ideal exercise scenario.
The 146th Airlift Wing also deployed several members to Ramstein AFB, Germany in support of OPERATION JOINT ENTERPRISE. Three separate 45-day rotations allowed valuable training experiences overseas, flying into Kosovo, Tunisia, Lithuania, Romania, and the Canary Islands performing cargo/passenger missions.
During the 2007 Rough and Ready Exercise held at Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base, emergency responders from across the state pulled together to demonstrate California's ability to bring order to the most chaotic of situations, all while fine-tuning their crucial patient treatment skills. The 146th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron was there to participate following weeks of intensive training and preparation. The squadron demonstrated patient movement from the Disaster Medical Assistance Team to the Aeromedical Evacuation System via ambulance strike teams. Aeromedical crewmembers displayed the capabilities of the Aeromedical Evacuation Liaison Teams while transporting casualties from the hospital site to the new J-model C-130 Hercules, showcased during the exercise as one of the National Guard's newest assets. The event, hosted by the California Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Authority, along with the highly effective lifesaving equipment utilized impressed several members of local and national media that also attended..
When the dry Santa Ana winds swept out of the deserts and across Southern California, bringing with them raging wildfires in mid-October, personnel from the 146th Airlift Wing responded immediately. Channel Islands Air National Guard Station played host to C-130 modular airborne fire fighting system (MAFFS) aircraft from Colorado Springs, Colo., Cheyenne, Wyo., and Charlotte, N.C. Many distinguished visitors to the base expressed their continued support for the aerial fire fighting mission; and the wing looks forward to the C-130 J-model's MAFFS certification in the near future.
The 146th Airlift Wing continued to support OPERATION JUMP START, the southwest border mission. . Wing members already deployed at the border were thus able to respond to the San Diego-area wildfires immediately due to their proximity assisting civilian authorities at local evacuation centers with collection and distribution of emergency relief supplies and providing additional security. Several key members of the wing served in the mission's early days helping California Army National Guard establish operational procedures and practices. At year's end, 20 wing members were still deployed on the mission to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection to secure our nation's southwest border.
The October 2007 UTA was full of exciting landmark events, including the largest J- model C-130 formation in history. Aircraft and crews from Delaware, Rhode Island and Baltimore Air National Guard units joined ranks with Little Rock's 41st and 48th ALS to create a nine-ship tactical formation. Deputy Wing Commander Col. Marilyn Rios successfully parachuted from one of the C-130s over Channel Islands ANGS during the historic mission, and safely landed below amidst the cheers of on-looking wing members.
The 146th Airlift Wing proudly honored thirty eight of its graduates of the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) in October. Fellow guardsmen and family members attended the ceremony to witness the distribution of degrees to the largest graduating class in California Air National Guard history.