Tag Archives: C-130

Wyoming National Guard makes history

On a cold and windy January day, members of the 2nd Battalion, 300th Field Artillery of the Wyoming Army National Guard made history by conducting the first live fire HIMARS Rapid Infiltration (HIRAIN) at Dugway Proving Grounds in Dugway, Utah, Jan. 21-22, 2021.

“For the 2-300th, it’s kind of historic for us,” said Lt. Col. Robert Lemay Lejeune, commander of the 2-300th, emphasizing the importance of this event.

HIRAIN missions have been around for a long time in the military and are a staple of combat in the Middle East that the 2-300th consistently trains for.

“This is one of our mission essential tasks,” explained Training Officer Maj. Shawn Stensaas. “It will help us improve and maintain our proficiencies and relevancy to support missions around the world, wherever they may be.”

The 2-300th first began practice for the exercise in 2015. For this attempt, they utilized a C-130 Hercules aircraft provided by the 153rd Airlift Wing out of Cheyenne, Wyo. Using the aircraft in this method allows the artillery greater mobility and a substantial increase in the overall range of their mission. This tactic makes HIRAIN missions very flexible.

“It can be used in any theatre where you can land a C-17 or a C-130,” explained Lejeune.

While it might appear that the use of aircraft in a field artillery mission like the HIRAIN would be normal, this is not the case. The normal method the soldiers of the 2-300th use to fire their artillery is to drive their M-142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) to a set point on the battlefield and then to fire from that location. While this method can be highly effective, it is limited by the range of the artillery used, usually 18-42 miles. This range can be extended by conducting a HIRAIN mission.

“I can conduct a raid but it’s as far as I can drive and secure myself forward on the battlefield,” explains Lejeune. “Which is relatively short when you compare the distance to an aircraft. So by working with the Air Force, we add this great new capability in terms of range.”

This exercise that took place Jan. 21-22 saw the 2-300th load two HIMARS and one Humvee onto the C-17 Globemaster III. The airplane then took off from Cheyenne and flew to Hill Air Force Base in northern Utah. The following day the C-17 crew flew the members of the 2-300th to Dugway Proving Grounds where the HIMAIRS exited the aircraft, obtained a good firing position, and fired their payload. They then rapidly reentered the aircraft and returned to Wyoming.

This week’s mission included collaboration from an unlikely source, the 315th OSS Airlift Wing out of Joint Base Charleston in Charleston, S.C. The 315th provided the aircraft that would was used for the event, the C-17, a much larger aircraft that allowed the 2-300th to use two of their HIMARS and one Humvee.

This collaboration with the 315th came about by happenstance according to Col. Kent M. Porter, commander of the 115th Field Artillery Brigade, which is the headquarters unit for the 2-300th.

“They reached out to me,” Porter said, explaining how the mission came to life. “They had a mission on the west coast and part of their validation is to take mobile equipment up in their aircraft. I made a few phone calls and we have just built a good relationship that we hope to have continue.”

“We cannot do this without their assistance, it truly is a team effort,” Lejeune concurred.

Given the essential status of the HIRAIN mission in combat operations, training was required to conduct these exercises safely and effectively. The teamwork between the 2-300th and the 315th should continue for a long time.

Strengthening Our Partnership: Wyoming and Tunisia

The Wyoming National Guard hosted an Aviation Familiarization Event in Cheyenne, Wyo., Sept. 13-25, 2020, in which members of the Tunisian Air Force participated.

153rd Airlift Wing welcomes new wing commander

Col. Barry Deibert assumed command of the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing during a July 11, change of command ceremony at the wing headquarters, in Cheyenne.

Col. Justin Walrath relinquished command, and will now serve as the air liaison officer for the Wyoming Air National Guard.

In Deibert’s address to the wing, he challenged the experienced members of the 153rd to inspire our young airmen to dream and to always make sure they know they are important.

“I promise you that I will work the entire time I’m in this job to ensure that you know, you are important,” said Deibert.

“This wing has done and will continue to do great things.”

“Be proud of who you are and what you’re capable of, you truly are the best of the best,” added Deibert.

Col. Deibert has been with the 153rd since 1986 when he enlisted as a young avionics systems specialist.  He went on to receive his commission and earned his pilot wings in 1993. Deibert has served as the wing’s aircraft maintenance squadron and group commander.

The 153rd Airlift Wing is Wyoming’s sole Air National Guard wing and has a primary mission of providing combat airlift. The wing is also responsible for organizing, training, and equipping a force capable of conducting effective and sustained operations in support of the nation, state, and community.

 

U.S. Air National Guard photos by Staff Sgt. Jon Alderman.

Photos can be downloaded at https://www.flickr.com/photos/wyoguard/albums/72157715088442842

Watch the full change of the command here, brought to you by the WY National Guard’s state and wing Public Affairs Team:

 

Wyoming Air National Guard members deploy in support of COVID Task Force West

Nine members of the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 187th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron deployed on April 23 to Travis Air Force Base, California, as part of COVID Task Force West.

The airmen have been tasked to set up a new Aeromedical Evacuation Operations Team for the Air Force’s COVID patient transport operations. Working in a makeshift office space at Travis Air Base, the Wyoming airmen are acting as the operations directors for advanced trained aeromedical evacuation crews.

“Specifically, the Wyoming team is tracking Department of Defense COVID patient movements, incoming and outgoing medical crews and aircraft missions. They are also responsible for tracking flight training and currency as well as maintaining 800 pounds of medical equipment for each aircrew, and the safe on and offload of the Transportation Isolation System (TIS)” said Major Melissa Stevens, executive officer of the 187th AES.

The TIS was initially designed and built for patient transport during the West African Ebola outbreak but was first used operationally on April 10, 2020, to transport U.S. government contractors who tested positive for coronavirus from Afghanistan to Ramstein Air Base. The tracking of these critical medical crews is one of the key functions of the Wyoming guardsmen.

“Having crews that are ready to fly per Air Force regulations is a full-time job”, said Master Sgt. Michael Hensala, health systems specialist of the 187th AES.

“The aeromedical crews flying these COVID patients are also facing a new challenge due to the number of medical personnel on each crew. A typical crew is two flight nurses and three EMTs. These crews consist of a seven-person medical crew with three flight nurses and four EMTs, a three-person critical care air transport team consisting of one doctor, one critical care nurse, one respiratory therapist, and additional infectious disease specialists and Transportation Isolation System (TIS) repair technicians”, added Hensala.

The initial tasking requested that the Wyoming airmen deploy for 120 days with a provision to swap members out at 60 days. COVID Task Force West is one part of the Air Force’s overall COVID responses with multiple hubs across the continental United States, Pacific Air Force and European theaters of operation.

(Photos courtesy of U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Nothstine | Thank you.)