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Delaware Air Guard to operate five ship formation airdrop mission today across four states

Release Number: 010813

A five-ship formation of Delaware Air National Guard C-130 transport aircraft crossing four states (Del., Md., Va., and N.J.) just offshore from Bethany Beach, Del. on Saturday June 7, 2008, around 1:00 p.m.  The nearly 700-mile mission took the aircraft from the New Castle Air National Guard Base, Del. and across the Chesapeake Bay to Richmond, Va., then northeast over Maryland to Sussex County, Del., then southeast to Ocean City Airport, Md. The formation then turned north and flew up the coast past Ocean City, Md. and Delaware beaches to Cape Henlopen, Del., then crossed the Delaware Bay to conduct a heavy equipment airdrop over Coyle Field in the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey. The final leg was across the Delaware River to return home to the New Castle ANG Base. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Lt. Col. Leonard Gratteri)

A five-ship formation of Delaware Air National Guard C-130 transport aircraft crossing four states (Del., Md., Va., and N.J.) just offshore from Bethany Beach, Del. on Saturday June 7, 2008, around 1:00 p.m. The nearly 700-mile mission took the aircraft from the New Castle Air National Guard Base, Del. and across the Chesapeake Bay to Richmond, Va., then northeast over Maryland to Sussex County, Del., then southeast to Ocean City Airport, Md. The formation then turned north and flew up the coast past Ocean City, Md. and Delaware beaches to Cape Henlopen, Del., then crossed the Delaware Bay to conduct a heavy equipment airdrop over Coyle Field in the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey. The final leg was across the Delaware River to return home to the New Castle ANG Base. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Lt. Col. Leonard Gratteri)


A unique tactical mission with a five-ship C-130 aircraft formation airdrop involving 30 aircrew and dozens of ground personnel of the Delaware Air National Guard will occur today, Saturday, August 3, covering the four states of Del., Pa., Md. and N.J.

The Delaware Air Guard is frequently pressed into service requiring coordinating numerous aircraft to support wartime or humanitarian contingencies. Large tactical formations of this size are rare. The last five ship formation flown with an airdrop was June 7, 2008, following a similar flying pattern.

166th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Mike Feeley said, "Every once in a while we have to surge our capability. This mission will involve a lot of coordination of our maintenance, operations, aircrew, and supply units. Using five C-130 aircraft in our fleet of eight aircraft is a big operation, and a good challenge to test our capabilities." He added, "Many people on Delaware's beaches will be able to observe the formation flying north up the coast through our beach towns."

Preparations for the formation airdrop began Friday with aircraft loaded on the flightline at the New Castle ANG base.

The route of the three hour mission: 11:00 a.m. takeoff from the New Castle Air National Guard Base, Del, following a route towards Lancaster, Pa., then down through central Delaware, across the Chesapeake Bay to Ocean City, Md. and up the coast of Delaware to Bethany Beach, Dewey Beach, Rehoboth Beach, Lewes, and across the mouth of the Delaware Bay to the Coyle Field Drop Zone in the Pine Barrens of N.J. for a heavy equipment airdrop. Next, all five aircraft will land at an air base near Atlantic City, N.J., load small bundles and takeoff for a second airdrop at the Coyle Field Drop Zone, then fly across the Delaware River and return home to New Castle at approximately 2:00 p.m.

Airmen from the Delaware Air Guard small air terminal will launch the aircraft, then recover the heavy equipment and the small bundles from the drop zone, driving from the New Castle ANG Base to the Coyle Field Drop Zone and back.

The Delaware ANG has 1,100 members, and continually deploys personnel and subordinate units around the globe. This release is in the public domain, and any part may be used as written.

Delaware Air National Guard: Celebrating 67 years of Citizen-Airman service to our state and nation, 1946-2013

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Media are invited to the takeoff and landing, but must arrive on base no later than 10:45 a.m. for the takeoff, and no later than 1:45 p.m. for the landing. Media must call ahead to confirm attendance to Public Affairs, (302) 593-2126. Address: 2600 Spruance Drive, New Castle, DE 19720. Enter the base from Commons Boulevard and follow the signs for "Delaware Air National Guard."

Note: This release updated 8:40 a.m., August 3, 2013.