More than 100 Reserve Citizen Airmen from Youngstown Air Reserve Station and four C-130H Hercules aircraft assigned to the 757th Airlift Squadron traveled to Jacksonville JetPort at Cecil Airport in Jacksonville, Florida, Jan. 21-26, to carry out Operation Dumbo.
Operation Dumbo was a tactical flyaway training mission designed to provide aircrews from the 757th AS the opportunity to complete necessary training in order to remain combat-ready. During the months of January and February, many sorties get canceled due to weather conditions at YARS. To compensate for the high attrition rate during those months, aircrews from the 757th AS travel to warmer climates to fulfill their training requirements.
“The weather here (YARS) in the winter months is terrible and not conducive to flying,” said Capt. Michael Sammartino, an assistant flight commander assigned to the 757th AS. “So we take four aircraft to Florida where the weather is good and we do the flying there in order to get all our semi-annual and monthly requirements fulfilled.”
For Chief Master Sgt. Chris Marino, chief loadmaster assigned to the 757th AS, this trip allowed him to observe his loadmasters to ensure they are current and qualified to fly.
“Each loadmaster has to conduct check rides every so often in order to stay current,” said Marino. “For me, that means I take a step back and assess my loads (loadmasters) completing their checklists prior, during and after flight. It’s a learning tool for all of us to make sure we are following the necessary rules while aboard the aircraft.”
Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 76th Aerial Port Squadron and 910th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron also accompanied aircrews down to Jacksonville, Florida.
During the six-day mission, members from the 76th APS prepared and transported heavy-duty airdrop platforms and container delivery systems to each aircraft, retrieved extracted cargo from the drop zone, palletized luggage and more. Members from the 910th AMXS were responsible for all flightline and on-board equipment maintenance for all four C-130H Hercules aircraft during the mission.
Much like other missions, Operation Dumbo provides much more than just training. It provides Airmen the opportunity to interact with individuals from the installation that they might not have the chance to on a day-to-day basis.
Operation Dumbo is just one example of how YARS is doing its part to ensure their Reserve Citizen Airmen are “combat ready now…for tomorrow’s fight.”