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Wyoming Air National Guard and the U.S. Forest Service fight fires together

The 153rd Airlift Wing had a busy morning, loading C-130s to ensure we are ready for this year’s fire season. Once again, the Wyoming Air National Guard is...
Published: Apr. 23, 2022 at 8:07 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The 153rd Airlift Wing had a busy morning, loading C-130s to ensure we are ready for this year’s fire season.

Once again, the Wyoming Air National Guard is gearing up to fight another busy forest fire season.

On Wednesday, the Wyoming Air National Guard and the U.S. Forest Services work together to move MAFs or the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System units.

The Wyoming 153rd Airlift Wing was getting planes loaded to fly the units to Idaho.

Their annual training week is set to help qualify crews for a year of fire fighting.

”It’s a very complex and dynamic environment, and your crew resource management has to be on point. We don’t just select anyone. Only the best get to come and do that and they are a lot more fine-tuned to deal with some of the rigors of the MAFs mission,” said SSgt. Anders Howard, C-130 Loadmaster-153rd Airlift Wing.

Guardsmen will be simulating fire runs as they maneuver planes and tanks that hold 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant.

“Along with the rigging, I really enjoy that, and it’s fun to go out to the drop zone and watch everything work out perfectly,“ said SrA. Kara Jakubsen, Rigman-153rd Airlift Wing.

Only four C-130 units in the entire Airforce do this firefighting mission.

The mission required planes to fly 150 feet off the ground in smokey and mountainous environments.

" As the sword and shield for Wyoming, we are prepared for anything. Right now we are preparing specifically for forest fire season, so our MAFs mission is an important mission it’s critical to us every member out her is a part of it,” said SMSgt. Rob Trubia, Superintendent of Public Affairs, 153rd Airlift Wing.

A basic crew consists of 6 people to work the equipment and plane.

This squadron must log in a minimum of 750 flight hours before they are considered for this mission.

”This is one of the coolest missions that we do. It’s one of the most gratifying missions that we do. Last year me and my crew supported the second-largest wildfire in California state history. It’s an incredible feeling to be able to do that and represent the state of Wyoming while were doing it,” said Howard.

It’s an important and dangerous mission, and we’re wishing them all the best.

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