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Maintaining the Multi-Mission: MC-130J Commando II

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams
  • 27th Special Operations Wing

The 27th Special Operation Aircraft Maintenance Squadron 9th Aircraft Maintenance Unit is solely responsible for the maintenance of all MC-130J Commando II aircraft at Cannon Air Force Base.

September marked five years this multifaceted aircraft has been at Cannon. Its primary missions are low-level air refueling during low-visibility for special operation aircraft, re-supply of special operations forces as well as infiltration and exfiltration.

"The entire aircraft was designed for 'get in, get out' and do what you need to do," said Tech Sgt. Bryan Daugherty, 27th SOAMXS maintenance supervisor. "Plus it can fill so many other roles."

Lockheed Martin built the Commando II equipped with four Rolls-Royce Turboprops and 4,591 shaft horsepower, replacing the SOF fleet of MC-130E and P tankers in 2011.

"They took the theory behind the Combat Talon II capabilities and upgraded everything from nose to tail except the frame of the aircraft." Daugherty said.

The large, low pressure tires allow the aircraft to land on gravel, dirt and improvised runways.

"This aircraft can do everything you want it to, it just doesn't have a gun," said Senior Airman Samuel Lee, 27th SOAMXS Avionics journeyman. "I would say it's the Jeep of airplanes. It can land pretty much anywhere."

The 9th AMU takes pride in maintaining these aircraft and works around the clock to ensure when the MC130J is called on, it's ready.

"The biggest routine maintenance is inspections. Every time the plane flies, you have to inspect to make sure it's safe for flight," Lee said." When you're deployed and they tell you we can’t fly this plane for whatever reason, and you fix it and watch it take off. . . that to me is the most rewarding part."

Five years into its arrival on the SOF scene the MC-130J is fully employed by not just Airmen, but service members across the DoD.

"Inter-service capabilities are a phenomenally large commitment of ours, in both training and in theater," Daugherty said. "We're not so streamlined that we only do one thing; we have something to offer to everyone."

The 27th SOAMXS and the 9th AMU maintainers are the Airmen behind the scenes keeping this multi-use aircraft gainfully employed at Cannon.

"The 9th AMU and these airplanes are such a hot ticket right now, especially in the theater," Daugherty said. "We're in high demand and as every day goes by, we can do more. We're only limited by the amount of airplanes we have. We're tasked, we're ready and we overcome any challenges that we need to."