The first C-27J Spartan 179th Airlift Wing at Mansfield Lahm Airport in Ohio was delivered last week.
“Today marks the end of an era,” said Army Maj. Gen. Greg Wayt, the adjutant general of the Ohio National Guard. “But it marks a beginning for the 179th Airlift Wing. It’s a sad day to see the last C-130 on the ramp here.”
The event celebrated the unit’s official change in missions from the C-130 Hercules to the C-27J.
In 2005, the Mansfield base was ordered to close by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission.
“It was a devastating day for all of us,” Wayt said. “But we all maintained a positive attitude, we all stuck together, we testified before the BRAC commission.
Because of local support from community members and government leaders, the commission awarded a new mission to the base.
“Although we lost eight C-130s, this base is in incredible shape for the future.”
Wayt said the unit maintained its personnel strength, flew over 5,000 combat hours in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom and logged over 100,000 flight hours in the C-130.
The C-27J has been developed by Lockheed Martin Alenia Tactical Transport Systems (LMATTS). It is equipped with a digital avionics suite integrated by Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems. The primary roles of the C-27J are cargo transport, troop transport, and material and paratroop air drop. Other missions include maritime patrol, tactical operations, medical evacuation, ground refueling, fire-fighting and aerial spraying.
“While letting go of our C-130 fleet is difficult, the assignment of the C-27 … is a change in the right direction,” Wayt said. “This aircraft will fly over the skies of Mansfield for many years to come.”