The 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein AB, Germany, slowly is shedding its old C-130E airlifters, sending off a 44-year-old recently, but the wing must maintain most of its elderly Hercules through the 2009-11 timeframe. The wing doesn’t begin to get the new J model until 2009 and expects to receive its full complement over the following two years. A1C Kenny Holston reports that the Ramstein folks got a preview as the Rhode Island Air National Guard’s 143rd Airlift Wing flew one of its C-130Js to the German base. The Air Guard wing was to get its eighth and final J model this year.
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.