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NEWS | April 17, 2024

Introduction of HERC trainer at JB MDL

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

The U.S. Army Support Activity unveiled a new HERC C-130 trainer during a ribbon cutting ceremony here, April 13, 2024.

The 352nd Civil Affairs Command coordinated a significant milestone with the inauguration of the C-130 HERC trainer. The introduction of this state-of-the-art training platform marks a pivotal moment for JB MDL’s enhancement of operational readiness and underscores the commitment to excellence within the ranks.

The HERC trainer, tailored for airborne operations training, stands as a testament to meticulous preparation and adherence to established protocols for static line parachuting techniques and training. Its historical significance and operational proficiency provide a cornerstone for JB MDL’s joint base training capabilities to be enhanced.

"The safe execution of a parachute jump while preparing to meet the enemy force is vital," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Aaron Dombroski, 404th CAB commander. "The introduction of this training apparatus will provide assistance in reducing risks associated with jumps."

This specific aircraft has historical ties to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and on Sept. 29, 2023, it flew its final flight to Naval Support Activity Lakehurst. This C-130 was then retired and prepped for its final move to Fort Dix where it will remain to train troops for years to come, better preparing our military for airborne operations around the world.

“Though this HERC will no longer take to the skies. The memories and history this aircraft has made will remain in the wild blue yonder,” said James Warrick, 87th Air Base Wing historian. “The stories will hopefully be told for generations to come. This HERC is apart of JB MDL legacy.”

The ribbon cutting ceremony not only highlights the dedication to superiority in training, but also highlights JB MDL's commitment to safeguarding the security of the nation. As the nation's sole tri-service installation, JB MDL's integration of the HERC trainer amplifies its interoperability and Total Force Integration, bolstering collective combat readiness.

"The introduction of the HERC trainer at JB MDL represents a critical advancement in our training capabilities. It ensures that our airborne units are not only ready but are also equipped with the highest level of proficiency for operational demands,” said Lt. Col. Brett Baker, 352nd CACOM operations officer. “This trainer allows us to simulate real-world scenarios in a controlled environment, significantly reducing the risks associated with airborne operations. The investment in such advanced training tools underscores our commitment to maintaining the safety and effectiveness of our troops as they prepare for any challenge they might face."

The HERC trainer is not merely an enhancement to JB MDL’s training facilities; it embodies a profound commitment to preparedness. This realistic training platform provides service members with unparalleled access to superior training resources.

"This milestone is a testament to the unwavering commitment of our servicemen and women to uphold the highest standards of readiness," said Col. Mitchell Wisniewski, U.S. Army Support Activity Fort Dix commander and JB MDL deputy commander. "The HERC Trainer will serve as a vital asset in ensuring that our forces remain at the forefront of readiness and capability."