BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, East Granby — Last month, Airmen from the 103rd Airlift Wing here flew solo so to speak. That is, they successfully conducted their first all Connecticut- crewed, locally generated, C-130H flying sortie, under the supervision of trainers from Air Force and Air Guard bases across the United States. For the Flying Yankees of the 103rd Airlift Wing, this is the next mile marker in the marathon to complete C-130H conversion.
The training to get to this point has been significant and has meant change for a lot of Airmen here.
“Training was a new world for me, having been a prior flight engineer aboard C-5’s,” said Master Sgt. Elcian Torres; flight engineer with the 118 Airlift Squadron.
According to Torres, he had to learn how to fly in a different manner. The C-5 flying world is more strategic than the tactical flying of the C-130 world.
This change has also come by way of time spent away from home. Some of the new air crew assigned to the C-130H’s must go through their initial qualification at Little Rock Air Force Base for as long as seven months, then head off to Naval Air Station Pensacola for water survival training, before returning to Bradley to finish their training here.
As with all things where hard work and determination are watchwords, gearing up and training for our first all-Connecticut flight has finally paid off. “[It’s] very cool to be part of the first training flight. It’s a culmination of a lot of hard work on the part of all the organizations on base with the tangible result of a C-130 taking off for the first training sortie,” said Maj. John Saunders, tactics officer, 118 Airlift
Moving forward is never easy, but is usually always necessary. During that process, there is the opportunity to meet new people and a new community, and take that rare chance to write your own history; much of which we could not have done alone.
“This is an incredibly important milestone,” said Col. Frank Detorie, 103rd Airlift Wing commander. “The fact that Connecticut Airmen have demonstrated the ability to generate and execute a successful C-130 mission just a few short months after taking delivery of our first airplane, is a remarkable achievement. It is clear evidence that we are making significant progress in our C-130 conversion,” Detorie said.
“Of course, having the honor of being on the first all Connecticut Air National Guard C-130 crew is a fantastic, energetic feeling; and a feeling I am sure that was deeply felt among all the other crewmembers that flew aboard the flight,” said Torres. “Even more an honor was having the knowledge that I was flying alongside the very same crewmembers that I was off at training with at Little Rock AFB."