Specially equipped C-130s of Air Force Reserve Command’s 910th Airlift Wing in Youngstown, Ohio, are doing battle with invading weeds at the Utah Test and Training Range near Hill AFB, Utah. Flying at a challenging low level, C-130s fitted with a Modular Aerial Spray System treated approximately 1,200 acres. A blue-colored herbicide allows the specially trained aircrews to monitor the spray pattern and easily identify treated areas. Unchecked, the invasive vegetation known as halogeton grows thickly enough to conceal unexploded ordnance and also obscures visual evaluation of weapons testing. The Reserve wing is the only Defense Department fixed-wing unit trained and equipped for aerial spraying. DOD calls on the unit to control insects and vegetation and to disperse oil spills. Reservists completed the Utah operation on April 7. (Utah Test Range report by MSgt. Bob Barko)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.