ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – In the early 1990s, the C-130 Hercules aircraft was used in the Gulf War to land on Iraq highways every seven minutes, providing supplies for the military. Back home in 2020s Abilene, Dyess Air Force Base is working on dusting off those skills to land C-130s on roads once again.
Photos below provided by DOD via Getty Images: (Left to right) C-130 Hercules transport aircraft during Operation Desert Shield, and Hercules transport aircraft does an assault landing on a desert runway during Operation Desert Shield
Colonel Tom Lankford with Dyess said airmen are currently in training to land C-130s practically anywhere. Sharing this skill, according to the colonel, will help bring necessary aide like medical supplies to bases in need within just minutes.
“We can get you supplies anywhere where you are operating, and it’s a message to other people, as well, that, you know, it’s a targeting problem for you. We don’t need a runway, we don’t need a base to go operate out of – we can put this plane anywhere and get supplies to the joint coalition forces,” Col. Lankford explained.
With great pride for Dyess, Col. Lankford told KTAB/KRBC this is the first base in the country to lead the change.
“We do things here in Abilene that no one else does, and no one else has done this sort of thing in a long time,” Col. Langford boasted. “It’s going to be a joint environment, because we’re going to have army vehicles down that we are going to resupply and put fuel in, simulating a maneuver force prosecuting targets… And were keeping them moving and keeping them moving faster than they have ever been able to move before.”
What makes the C-130 more unique than any other aircraft is its landing gear and durability. These factors make it easier for its pilot to land anywhere. The aircraft’s light weight makes it possible to for it to land on roads and leave no damage. As soon as it takes off, a car can safely drive on that same road.
Photos below provided by USAF via Getty Images: (Left to right) 2 C-130E Hercules Aircrafts, and C-130 Hercules aircraft prepares to land during a 10-ship air drop exercise being conducted by the 21st Tactical Airlift Squadron, 374th Tactical Airlift Wing
Dyess said the base is currently working with the Texas Department of Transportation to get the C-130s road certified. Once approved, Col. Lankford said other bases will look at Dyess as a leader in this effort.
Greg Blair, Chairman for the Military Affairs Committee (MAC) said this change is another reason why Abilenians are proud to have the Dyess Air Force Base in the Key City.
“We’re a very proud community. We are proud to have Dyess as part of our home,” said Chairman Blair. “There’s a love affair that has been going on for 70 years now, so it’s great to have them here.”
Dyess added that the C-130 will bring more people to Abilene from other bases – military personnel eager to see its benefits in the community.