JACKSONVILLE, Ark. – If you live in central Arkansas, seeing a C-130 in the sky may be a normal sight. That’s because the Little Rock Air Force Base is home to the largest fleet of C-130 airplanes in the world.
The flight crews go all across the globe for combat missions or humanitarian missions. That’s why it’s so important they train in the sky above Arkansas.
You could call Little Rock the home of the C-130. But that’s not all, the Little Rock Air Force Base is home to 6,300 military members from all across the county, like Captain Zack Ratkovich. He’s a newly appointed aircraft commander.
He’s behind the throttle during Tuesday’s training.
In the first part of the flight, they are flying 300 feet from the ground doing a low level route to Fayetteville.
That’s where we dropped off our cargo, which was a humvee, from the back of the plane.
Then we took off again to a location near Greenwood for a specialized maneuver.
“We went over to a landing zone, a dirt strip, and did what’s called an assault landing there,” Ratkovich said.
The training missions across Arkansas help crew members for the real thing. When they are either in combat or doing humanitarian work.
“What we get to do in terms of helping out, it’s pretty awesome. Last year we were helping out with Puerto Rico when the hurricanes hit. We get to do a lot of missions that help people all over,” he said.
Ratkovich, from Wisconsin, says either from central Arkansas or around the world, they are ready when duty calls.
“We’re just trying to complete our mission and make sure we’re getting everything done that we can across the globe. Us being ready for whatever happens next, that’s what we’re here for,” Ratkovich said.