Herc. Herkybird. Hercules. There are many names for the HC-130 aircraft, but regardless of what you call it this mainstay of the Coast Guard’s air fleet continues to excel at mission execution.
Since 1958, when the service first ordered the now-retired HC-130B model, aircrews aboard the Hercules have saved lives, safeguarded living marine resources, supported Coast Guard mobility and interdicted smugglers. But there’s one Coast Guardsman who is taking his expertise from protecting our nation’s coasts inland – to Little Rock Air Force Base to be exact.
Lt. Andrew Paszkiewicz is serving in a joint capacity with the 314th Airlift Wing. The mission of the 314th Airlift Wing is to, “train the best C-130 combat airlifters to fly, fight and win!” and Paszkiewicz has embodied this mission while at the home of the C-130H Formal Training Unit.
At the unit, he trains airlifters for seven major commands, sister services and 44 partner nations. The schoolhouse conducts training for all five C-130H crew positions – pilot, co-pilot, navigator, engineer and loadmaster – while utilizing two drop zones and two assault landing zones.
Paszkiewicz moved from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point to begin life as a tactical airlifter at the 62nd Airlift Squadron, 314th Airlift Wing. He quickly trained and became qualified in the tactics, techniques and procedures governing low-level, night-vision goggle formation and assault zone operations, as well as heavy equipment and container delivery system airdrops.
After completing his multi-ship lead upgrade, Paszkiewicz demonstrated mastery of his craft by graduating from the rigorous tactical airlift instructor school hosted by the Arkansas Air National Guard’s 154 Training Squadron.
Paszkiewicz was successfully designated as an instructor in the C-130H but continued to hone his expertise by completing the course and becoming a fighter training unit instructor pilot. His normal duties include teaching students to fly the C-130H both day and night during low-level, multi-ship formations through central Arkansas and to safely airdrop thousands of pounds of simulated equipment within seconds of a planned time over target.
Paszkiewicz equips students with tactics for avoiding hostile enemy fire and accomplish successful resupply for ground forces by employing airdrop as well as training pilots to take-off and land on assault landing strips as short as 3,000 feet. This detailed and rigorous training is crucial to the 1,000 students who are trained in the 62nd Airlift Squadron each year, as they frequently deploy to combat zones within three months of graduation.
While training war fighters for the Air Force, Paszkiewicz has used his newly acquired knowledge to provide input and training for the Coast Guard’s C-130H standardization team. Utilizing his training, Paszkiewicz was able to qualify the standardization team on night-vision goggle operations and assisted in writing procedures for the Hercules fleet. Paszkiewicz continues to work closely with the standardization team to provide input to constantly improve the fleet.
Paszkiewicz’s mastery of his craft is apparent. He took on the immense challenge of learning combat airlift and quickly became a fighter training unit instructor teaching Air Force tactics to America’s war fighters. His unparalleled feat of earning a unique qualification and giving back the Coast Guard fleet makes him an asset to both services; an asset to our Armed Forces.