MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- With the Marine Corps’ sudden deployments and need of support, the Lockheed KC-130J Hercules aircraft is an essential part of accomplishing missions.
Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadrons, like VMGR-152, are in charge of operating the Marine Corps’ C-130 aircraft.
“A lot of the missions that we do using the C-130 could be done by other aircraft, but not other Marine Corps aircraft,” said 1st Lt. Eric Kroeger, a pilot with VMGR-152. “Within the Marine Corps, the KC-130J is the only aerial refueling platform and it’s the only aircraft capable of completing large scale transport and aerial delivery missions. It is also uniquely capable, for a fixed-wing aircraft, of accessing expeditionary fields.”
The primary missions of VMGRs are aerial and speedy ground refueling, transportation and emergency resupply.
“Assault support, aerial refueling and close air support incorporate every phase of an operation and directly supports sustainment of the mission,” said Maj. Brent A. Johnson, director of safety and standardization with Marine Aircraft Group 12.
The C-130 is unique for its capability to provide medical evacuation, parachute insertions, and being able to use unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings.
“The C-130 is a very important force multiplier for the Marine Corps,” said Kroeger. “It allows us to extend our capabilities across a wide range of missions.”
With air delivery, multisensory imagery reconnaissance capabilities, and the capacity to carry more than 12,000 gallons of fuel and simultaneously refuel two aircraft at about 300 gallons a minute, VMGR-152 now has multiple ways to support Marines on the ground and in the air.
Marines are known for being America’s first line of defense because of their swift response in times of crisis and bringing together their land, air and sea forces to accomplish missions.
“Without organic C-130 support, assault support and aerial refueling would fall on external agencies,” said Johnson. “Flexibility, speed and tactical reach, traits foundational to Marines’ reputation, would suffer.”