The 130th Airlift Wing out of McLaughlin Air National Guard Base in Charleston, West Virginia, has gotten the green light to convert to the C-130J-30 Super Hercules from the legacy C-130H models, acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth announced Wednesday.

“We are exceptionally pleased to have gotten word today that the Acting Secretary of the Air Force has officially signed off on the basing decision so that the 130th Airlift Wing can move forward with the conversion to the new J models,” said Brig. Gen. William “Bill” Crane, adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard, in an Air Force news release. “These men and women have been working non-stop since the announcement of being selected as a preferred alternative back in November, and now we can put our plans into action to begin training and preparing to receive the new C-130Js.”

“The 130th Airlift Wing expects to receive its first C-130J model aircraft later this summer, and we look forward to celebrating this tremendous honor,” Crane said.

The 130th Airlift Wing was designated a preferred alternative for the C-130J aircraft in November 2020. The Air Force said at the time the 130th Air Wing was tapped due to its ability to support the mission, along with economic and environmental considerations.

Specifically, the Air Force cited the 130th Airlift Wing’s strong retention numbers over the years as “consistently one of the highest in the nation,” and pointed to the fact that the wing already has the modern infrastructure to accommodate the C-130J.

The 130th Airlift Wing has eight of the C-130H Hercules model aircraft, and has operated various versions of the C-130 since 1975.

“Today’s announcement is incredibly exciting for the men and women of the 130th Airlift Wing as they move forward with this conversion,” West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said in the news release. “Our National Guard is second to none, and these great Airmen will do a wonderful job with this conversion process. I thank them for all their hard work in preparing to get to this important milestone.”

The outgoing C-130H aircraft will head to other locations, with two to three leaving monthly.

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