The 41st Airlift Squadron Blackcats on Feb. 16 became the first unit to officially “leave” Pope AFB, N.C., marking in a special ceremony the realignment of the 41st AS from Pope to Little Rock AFB, Ark. The “new” 41st will stand up on April 5 at Little Rock, where it will become USAF’s first active duty C-130J squadron. The unit’s E model Hercules are on their way to the boneyard. The 41st AS, one of the service’s oldest squadrons, has operated from Pope for 36 years. Under direction of BRAC 2005, USAF will turn Pope over to the Army.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.