Super Hercules' arrival will bring changes to Yokota Air Base
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Maj. Jesse Barnes describes himself as “the last of a special breed.”
The 39-year-old Detroit native is one of the last navigators flying C-130 Hercules cargo planes for the 36th Airlift Squadron at Yokota Air Base.
When the old H-model aircraft — the last of its type flying in the Air Force — are replaced in February by 14 state-of-the-art C-130J Super Hercules, Barnes and his teammates will be out of a job.
The airmen, who support U.S. forces across the Pacific from the western Tokyo base, have been working hard to keep the older C-130Hs in the sky while learning new skills to fly and maintain the C-130Js, said Maj. Brian Miller, who is overseeing the transition.
Some trained on the new planes at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., while others did the work before they arrived in Japan, he said.
But the Hercules’ navigators and flight engineers are getting ready to move on. There were 35 navigators and 25 flight engineers flying Yokota’s C-130Hs before officials began transitioning to the new model.
“We are not all going to the same place,” said Barnes, who has yet to receive an assignment.
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