Marine C-130 going tactical

Aircraft vital to military ground troops

SAN DIEGO - It may not have the public glamour of a fighter jet, but those who fly the C-130 Hercules know that what they do is critical in Afghanistan.  

"Whether it's food, water, ammo or fire support, that's our main mission -- supporting the guys on the ground," said Capt. Laura Trowbridge, a C-130 pilot.

Granted an opportunity to fly with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron VMGR-352, also known as the Raiders, 10News military reporter Bob Lawrence took off from MCAS Miramar in a three-ship formation headed for the Arizona desert.

"There's not a whole lot out there and the terrain closely resembles the terrain in Afghanistan," said Capt. John Brampton, the other pilot on this training mission.

Close formation flying and simulated air drops were part of this training mission, as well as simulating and executing a maneuver called tactical navigation.

"That's where were trying to avoid enemy radar and planes so we go low," Brampton said of the maneuver.

Low is right -- 500 feet off the desert floor at more than 200 mph.

The C-130 can accomplish a number of different missions, from a supply run, inserting troops into the battlefield and refueling aircraft in mid-air, to lighting up the battlefield at night and even providing offensive firepower with hellfire missiles.

Around 15 C-130s call Miramar home, but they are rarely all there.

"From one-hour to 10-hour missions, we're kind of the on-call bird," said Trowbridge.

 



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