Marine aircraft crew gives MAF tour of ‘Super Hercules’
By Cpl. Daniel H. Woodall
| | August 10, 2009
ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia --
Marines from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 out of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan, gave a tour of their KC-130 J aircraft Tuesday for approximately 30 members of the Mongolian Armed Forces.
The tour was an unofficial event conducted to further increase U.S. and Mongolian partnerships in conjunction with Khaan Quest 2009, a multi-national training exercise with the intention of promoting peace support operation core competencies.
The KC-130 J, which is part of Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, is designed for long distance transport and combat capability. The four-engine transport aircraft is primarily used for aerial refueling, medical evacuation, search and rescue and airborne assault.
Many MAF members expressed their excitement of the aircraft’s presence in their country due to the rarity of such an occasion. Mongolian Col. H. Nyamjav, battalion commander, 303rd Peacekeeping Battalion, said he was happy because he saw the “Super Hercules” before in Turkey but wasn’t able to tour it, but now, years later, he can give thanks to the U.S. crew.
Marine Capt. Andre M. Jonckheere, KC-130 J pilot and director of safety and standardization with MAG-36, said the purpose of the tour is to help promote friendship and interoperability between the two nations.
“This is a great opportunity,” Jonckheere said. “It’s our first time in Mongolia and it has been great working with close allies and being able to show them our aircraft.”
After the plane commander, Marine Maj. Derek E. Gillette, and the crew chief and director of crew chief training, Marine Master Sgt. Daniel J. Farrell, explained the capabilities of the aircraft, the Mongolians were permitted to explore the aircraft’s cargo hold and cockpit.
The aircraft not only had a positive effect on those with limited flight experiences, but also with some career Mongolian pilots. A. Tsognemekh, an instructor pilot and squadron commander with the Mongolian Air Force, discussed the operability and refueling capabilities of the KC-130 J with the crew and said his first experience with the aircraft was a memorable one. Another former pilot, Lt. Col. G. Chulwnzagd, chief of staff, 303rd Peacekeeping Battalion, also said he enjoyed the time he spent inside of the KC-130 J.
“This is my first time inside of a [KC-130 J],” Chulwnzagd said. “This tour is also a first for many of the [MAF members present]. It is a very nice aircraft and I’m glad to be able to tour it.”