CLOVIS, New Mexico (KCBD) – Close to the Texas-New Mexico Border is Cannon Air Pressure Base, dwelling of the twenty seventh Particular Operations Wing. Simply west of Clovis, it’s dubbed the “mothership” of one in every of its assigned specialised plane, the MC-130J Commando II, which is flown by the ninth Particular Operations Squadron.
“We’re the biggest MC-130J squadron,” Lt. Colonel Michael Roy stated. “We help quite a lot of missions worldwide. When you concentrate on what we do within the Particular Operations neighborhood, you concentrate on supporting Particular Operation forces globally however we do numerous different missions in the case of any sort of disaster.”
Lt. Col. Roy is the Operations Officer for the ninth SOS, at the moment made up of round 150 personnel. He advised KCBD the Squadron has responded to the Haiti earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in addition to the tsunami in Thailand.
“Our squadron, together with the MC-130J neighborhood, has been constantly deployed since 2001,” Roy stated. “We’ve got of us on the market at the moment doing what our nation asks of us. We fly quite a bit. We practice quite a bit, so our of us are flying one to 2 instances per week, which is a fairly large enterprise, though it might not sound prefer it.”
That MC-130J is a cargo airplane typically flown at night time for these particular operations. Lt. Col. Roy stated the areas surrounding Cannon AFB present important coaching alternatives, whether or not that’s flying beneath the quilt of darkness or throughout the day.
“Our safety is paramount to not simply our security, however the security of the parents that we’re working with and the success of the operations,” Roy stated. “We’re not hiding issues. We wish to be sure that we have now the chance to go on the market and succeed with the least threat potential. Flying at night time is a type of ways in which we do this. We sometimes function at night time after we fly low stage, 300 ft and beneath, all through the area, each New Mexico, Texas, Colorado or anyplace that we go practice in america or elsewhere.”
KCBD was given the chance to fly with the ninth SOS on a coaching flight, witness a refueling operation and perceive the airdrop course of. These are simply a few of the features of the MC-130J and operations the squadron conducts.
“It’s the jack of all trades,” Captain Alicia Leipprandt stated. “We get to refuel through tanker, be refueled. We get to airdrop. We get to what we name FARP, which is actually like a gasoline station on the bottom. There are quite a lot of various things that we get to do. It’s simply actually enjoyable to fly this airplane.”
Capt. Leipprandt, the plane commander, advised KCBD that being a pilot wasn’t at all times her plan till becoming a member of the Air Pressure Academy and seeing what the job entails.
“It’s undoubtedly a problem,” Leipprandt stated. “I don’t suppose I’m the one who is aware of probably the most. I feel it’s extra of a supervisor place. Making an attempt to remain humble in that place is certainly key. There are totally different individuals on the airplane who, they’re their subject material skilled of their particular job. Making an attempt to handle all people’s opinions and their information and put it collectively and make the very best choice potential, I feel that’s type of what an plane commander ought to be.”
These different jobs on the plane embody the Fight Programs Officer and Loadmaster, each essential to finishing up the missions of the MC-130J.
“Fight Programs Officer, particularly within the MC-130s, is fairly labor intensive,” Captain Sean Regan stated. “For us, it’s quite a lot of mission planning. Even earlier than we step to fly, the entire day prior, we’re planning low stage routes, the place we wish to go, what we’re air dropping, after we’re gonna do this, how excessive, issues like that, in addition to gas planning.”
Capt. Regan is usually in communication with the Loadmaster, who’s in command of the cargo on the plane.
“I’m in command of that something coming onto the airplane after which coming off of the airplane, together with individuals,” Senior Airman Dulani Horton stated. “I’m answerable for working the load and stability. Image the plane like a seesaw. You wish to make sure that it’s completely balanced.”
Airman Horton conducts the airdrops, which he says may very well be something from dropping humanitarian assist, constructing supplies or weapons, any of it at instances weighing as much as 35,000 kilos. He additionally oversees refueling missions with helicopters and tiltrotor plane in addition to FARP operations.
“Going via the mission, it’s undoubtedly quite a lot of strain,” Horton stated. “Granted, every part we do is fairly massive and we practice for it.”
The Fight Programs Officer is the one to provide the Loadmaster the cue to ship the airdrop out of the again of the airplane. The CSO can be the navigator of the plane and in command of defensive methods. Capt. Regan stated it’s all about being a group member in service of others.
“Right here at Cannon Air Pressure Base, particularly the ninth SOS, we’re all actually pleased with what we do,” Regan stated. “We like to have the ability to present everybody else that we’re able to all these items. We’re right here to work. We’re right here to ensure the mission will get off accurately, which is why we’re continually coaching as onerous as we are able to.”
Capt. Regan stated he was in a position to put that coaching to make use of on a five-month deployment to Afghanistan.
“It was fairly fulfilling, not less than for me, simply to type of put all that coaching and education to work to have an effect on somebody that’s in peril or wants these provides on the bottom,” Capt. Regan stated.
Airman Horton additionally remembers a mission to help an Army platoon he stated was caught at a base. He stated in unhealthy climate they have been in a position to fly in to get them to security.
“Seeing these guys’ faces as they boarded the plane, it was actually made me really feel actually proud that I used to be in a position to be part of that,” Horton stated.
Lt. Colonel Roy advised KCBD that being part of the ninth SOS is a problem however one which results in progress.
“Relaxation assured that the skilled ladies and men of the ninth Particular Operations Squadron, the twenty seventh Particular Operations Wing, are doing they should do to go get the mission performed on behalf of our nation,” Lt. Colonel Roy stated.
To study extra about Cannon Air Pressure Base, the twenty seventh Particular Operations Wing, click on right here.
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