MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. (NOV.2,2011) --
Marines from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 traveled to the Lockheed-Martin production complex in Marietta, Ga. Nov. 2 to retrieve a fresh-off-the-assembly-line KC-130J Hercules to fill out the squadron’s arsenal.
The new Hercules is the last that to be assigned here and is one of the final the Corps needs to complete its overall aviation mission, said Lt. Col. Charles J. Moses, VMGR-252’s commanding officer.
“It is important that people understand how valuable this aircraft is to the corps,” said Maj. Gen. Jon M. Davis, the commanding general of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.
“This is one of the last aircraft the Marine Corps has decided to buy to complete the requirements set forth by the Deputy Commandant of Aviation and the Commandant’s planning guide,” said Moses.
KC-130J’s are primarily used to support Marine Corps expeditionary operations. The tanker is capable of refueling both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft as well as conducting rapid ground refueling during the day, night, and in adverse weather conditions.
Moses said, “The aircraft will be used for operations as designated, to support Marines wherever they may be. If we are still in Afghanistan, it will go to Afghanistan. If we are supporting a Marine Expeditionary Unit as we usually do 24/7, 365, we will use it to support the MEU’s.”
“It helps increase our capacity,” said Moses. “With this aircraft we are able to support more missions.” Now that the squadron’s inventory is complete, they are shifting gears and moving to the next step, said Moses.
“We now have all our aircraft, so our next phase is sustaining these aircraft so they can meet the service life designed and required by Headquarters Marine Corps,” he said.
Implementing the new aircraft will allow the squadron more time to focus on training, thus allowing them to be successful at accomplishing their goals, said Lance Cpl. Baise R. Conway, a VMGR-252 loadmaster.
“It is a great aircraft,” said Staff Sgt. Richard T. Hakenson a VMGR-252 crew chief. “I previously worked on a legacy aircraft. The additional capabilities and the decreased maintenance man hours can’t compare.”
“Having this extra asset increases our capabilities,” he said. “At one point, we were down to only two aircraft on our line. Because of all the places we are deployed to, this aircraft gives us something extra to rely on. If something were to ever happen, we would be able to continue on the mission.”