Asymmetric Dialogue

Inside the Air Force Special Operation Command’s MC-130

The cockpit view from one of the four MC-130Hs operated by the 353rd Special Operations Group at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The MC-130Hs are in the process of being replaced by the MC-130J Commando II.Photo by: Jeff Martin/Staff

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan — Time is moving fast for the two loadmasters in the cargo hold of the MC-130H.

They’ve got 10 minutes before a group of about 40 special operators parachute from the aircraft, and there’s a lot to coordinate before then with the jumpmaster and the plane’s navigator — from wind speed and heading to drop location.

After what seems like mere moments, the green light comes on, and the paratroopers are given the OK to jump from the cargo bay.

For the MC-130H and MC-130J crews at Kadena Air Base in Japan, that’s just another training mission — one that Tech Sgt. Adrian Garcia, an MC-130H loadmaster with the 353rd Special Operations Group, helped complete days before speaking to Defense News in February.
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