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Home : News : News
NEWS | March 3, 2014

C-130 travels San Antonio highways

By Airman 1st Class Kenna Jackson Airman 1st Class Kenna Jackson

While common to see military aircraft in the sky, San Antonio drivers shared the road Sunday with a retired, partially disassembled Air Force C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft as it was towed on highways between Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and the Medical Readiness Training Center at JBSA-Camp Bullis.

The aircraft's four-hour road trip was successfully accomplished through combined efforts of members from the 502nd Trainer Development Squadron at JBSA-Randolph, JBSA-Lackland Security Forces, San Antonio Police Department, Texas Highway Patrol and World Wide Aircraft Recovery.

"The move was definitely a team effort, one that took us about five months to plan and execute," Reimo Estrada, 502nd Trainer Development Squadron project manager, said. "Everything came together though, and we delivered the aircraft with no issues."

Once equipped to immerse the medics in a combat environment, the aircraft will become a vital training tool used by the 937th Training Group's aeromedical evacuation and patient staging course students. AEPS is a week-long course where instructors teach students to load, transport and treat patients aboard a C-130 in contingency, humanitarian and disaster relief environments.

Sunday's move of this 116' asset entailed only the fuselage of the bulky aircraft. According to Kevin Haley, 502nd TDS director, other major parts of the C-130 were transported to JBSA-Camp Bullis since Feb. 12.

"For the replacement aircraft to be prepared and moved the contractor had to remove the C-130's engines, wings, and horizontal and vertical stabilizers to facilitate overland transportation to Camp Bullis," Haley said. "There, the contractors will re-assemble the aircraft and restore it to its non-flying original electrical, electronic and mechanical, functional and operational status."

According to Lt. Col. Charles Cambron, 937th Training Support Squadron, MRTC flight commander, the required plane was scheduled for decommissioning from the Puerto Rico Air National Guard and it was diverted to JBSA-Camp Bullis, by way of JBSA-Lackland. Utilizing designated funds from the Readiness Training Oversight Committee, 502nd TDS fabricators will reconfigure the plane into a state-of-the-art trainer.

"Students in the AEPS course will practice loading and unloading patients on our flightline, as well as putting their clinical skills to the test while running patient scenarios during in-flight simulations," Cambron said. "The C-130 is equipped to simulate the sounds, sights, feel and even smells of actual flight to better prepare our deployers to be more effective for our patients downrange."

About 1,300 students will be trained each year during the course, according to Cambron. He also said that several medical specialties, to include doctors, nurses, administrative staff, medical technicians, officers and enlisted will take the course.

The simulation project is expected to take another two months to complete. In the next few weeks, the team will be busy putting the C-130 back together and ensuring that everything works properly before beginning the process to simulate explosions, smoke and even temperature changes, according to Estrada.

"All the players' determination, whether active duty, civilians or contractors have made this project a success, and their efforts will directly affect the lives of our patients we're sent to bring home," Cambron said.