MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, GA --
Nearly three years after the first Lockheed Martin manufactured HC-130J Combat King II arrived in July 2013, tail number 13-5790 completed Moody’s fleet.
The 23d Wing’s ninth and final HC-130J was delivered and joined the 347th Rescue Group here, June 9.
“The HC-130J is a technological leap forward for the community,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Gary Symon, 71st Rescue Squadron commander. “Not only is its reliability impressive, but it is more fuel efficient, faster and has a greater range with more cargo [space]. Additionally, it has enhanced sensors, improved airdrop capability, and can be refueled inflight. In improving the 71st RQS’s search and rescue capability, the entire rescue triad benefits.”
Moody’s newest edition finalizes the order from Lockheed Martin two years quicker than the initial established time line of five years.
“Receiving the final HC-130J closes the final chapter in the 71st RQS’s transition,” said Symon. “The additional aircraft enables greater training and deployment capability for a low density, high demand unit. That additional training and deployment capability enhances the rescue community's ability to provide global personnel recovery response for our nation and our coalition partners.”
Since arriving at Moody, the Combat King has been an integral part of the rescue mission and community. The upgraded fleet now allows enhanced capabilities that were not available by its predecessor, the P-model.
“We now have a complete and full aircraft maintenance unit of HC-130Js to answer any rescue mission that Moody is tasked with,” said Master Sgt. Gregory Mitchell, 723d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron superintendent. “Vast amounts of electronic and engine upgrades allows the HC-130J to respond to any rescue call more rapidly than before allowing longer mission sustainability.”
Rescue leaders and Airmen understand the HC-130Js’ importance both at home and downrange and don’t take being a part of this monumental accomplishment lightly.
“We are all very proud to be part of the rescue mission,” said Mitchell. “Having our full inventory of HC-130Js at our disposal makes us all excited to be part of this event and support the rescue mission much more efficiently.”