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NEWS | June 7, 2024

317 AW 'Explodes into Theater' with maximum endurance operation for Valiant Shield 24

By Airman 1st Class Emma Anderson, 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

The 317th Airlift Wing successfully completed an expanded Maximum Endurance Operation to Guam with two C-130J Super Hercules aircraft equipped with external fuel tanks, June 4, 2024.

Expanding on their first historic MEO back in April, where the 317th AW flew one C-130J equipped with external fuel tanks, this time the wing flew four aircraft, two of which were armed with external tanks completing the journey in 22.6 hours.

The expanded MEO saw two aircraft flying the same route from Dyess, refueling in California and Hawaii before heading to Guam. Two other Dyess C-130Js not equipped with external fuel tanks made their way to Guam with an additional fuel stop in Wake Island, an isolated coral atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. In total, four C-130J Super Hercules aircraft arrived safely in Guam to participate in the biennial joint and multilateral Field Training Exercise, Valiant Shield 2024.

Upon arriving in Guam, one of the aircraft that completed the MEO took off to conduct a follow-on airland mission one hour after landing. The crew picked up personnel and equipment from Andersen Air Force Base and delivered them to Tinian, an island in the Northern Mariana Islands.

This was a successful demonstration of the Mobility Air Forces’ ability to “Explode into Theater” to maneuver the Joint Force at speed, scale, and mass in support of national security objectives.

“The 317th AW completing MEO missions give our personnel the opportunity to train on different scenarios outside of the normal mission to allow for growth,” said Capt. Ryan Murphy, 40th Airlift Squadron C-130J instructor pilot. “This growth ensures our wing can provide airlift support around the world, at any time, enhancing our combat effectiveness in contested environments.”

MEOs showcase the capabilities C-130Js have in regions with geographic challenges due to the distances between airfields. Expanding upon these extended range capabilities during exercises such as Valiant Shield, allows the wing to improve interoperability among U.S. forces, allies, and partners in the Indo-Pacific region.

​“The MEO flights are important to not only the 317th AW but also for Air Force and Joint operations around the world,” said Maj. Victor Conde, 40th AS C-130J evaluator pilot and mission commander. “We train just like we operate during any real-world scenario, so if we push ourselves to new heights during MEOs and exercises like Valiant Shield, then we can better serve our alliances and partnerships around the world.”

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