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New combat squadron stands up at Little Rock AFB

41st Airlift Squadron patch

41st Airlift Squadron

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- The 41st Airlift Squadron became the newest member of Air Mobility Command's 463rd Airlift Group here in a ceremony April 6 as they added a new accomplishment to their resume--being named the first active-duty combat C-130J squadron in the Air Force.

The Black Cats bring a distinguished history to the base as the third oldest and one of the most highly decorated airlift squadrons in U.S. military history. Most recently Pope Air Force Base, N.C. was home to the 41st Airlift Squadron but moved here due to the Base Realignment and Closure process.

The squadron's realignment here is the first major change the base has experienced as a result of the latest round of BRAC recommendations.

Amongst a sea of Airmen, distinguished visitors, past 41st Airlift Squadron commanders and extended family, Lt. Col. Daniel Tulley assumed command of the first combat C-130J squadron.

New Black Cats commander, Lt. Col. Daniel Tulley comes to Arkansas for the second time in his career, and "is the natural choice for this position," said Col. John Gomez, 463rd Airlift Group commander.

Two years from now Colonel Tulley envisions the new squadron, "coming back from the desert experienced," he said.

During the next six months, the 41st Airlift Squadron will focus on moving in, qualifying aircrews, and increasing readiness, according to Colonel Tulley.

The 41st Airlift Squadron will bring 155 Airmen here employing 16 C-130J combat aircraft. Little Rock AFB has seven Air Education and Training Command C-130Js assigned to the 48th Airlift Squadron and one AMC C-130J, assigned to the 41st Airlift Squadron. The 41st Airlift Squadron will gain 15 more in the future.

The C-130 primarily performs the tactical portion of the U.S. Air Force's airlift mission. The 463rd Airlift Group has recently been credited with replacing more than 5,500 convoys in Iraq and Afghanistan with the older C-130E and C-130H3 aircraft. The C-130 is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for air dropping troops and equipment into hostile areas.