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314th AW hosts Turkey Shoot competition

C-130s taxi down the flight line.

C-130J Super Hercules’ assigned to the 314th Airlift Wing taxi on the flight line during a Turkey Shoot competition at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Sept. 25, 2020. The purpose of the competition was to challenge Airmen in the newly restructured active-duty maintenance squadron, exercise the instructor corps by completing specialized objectives with students, and ultimately build esprit de corps. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jayden Ford)

A loadmaster prepares for an airdrop over a lake.

Tech. Sgt. Brandon Rader, 314th Operations Group loadmaster, prepares to release an airdrop during a Turkey Shoot competition at Lake Ouachita, Arkansas, Sept. 25, 2020. The airdrop simulated precise delivery of food, water, and medical supplies for a downed aircrew member. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Aaron Irvin)

C-130s taxi down the flight line.

Aircrew from the 314th Airlift Wing conduct a combat offload during a Turkey Shoot competition at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Sept. 25, 2020. The aircrew were collectively graded on precise delivery of cargo via airland and airdrop. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jayden Ford)

A C-130 lands at All American drop-zone.

A C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 314th Airlift Wing lands at the All American drop-zone as part of a Little Rock Air Force Base Turkey Shoot competition at Camp Robinson, Arkansas, Sept. 25, 2020. The aircrew were collectively graded on precise delivery of cargo via airland and airdrop. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mariam K. Springs)

Aircrew from the 314th Airlift Wing conduct a combat offload on the flight line

Aircrew from the 314th Airlift Wing conduct a combat offload during a Turkey Shoot competition at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Sept. 25, 2020. The purpose of the competition was to challenge Airmen in the newly restructured active-duty maintenance squadron, exercise the instructor corps by completing specialized objectives with students, and ultimately build esprit de corps. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Aaron Irvin)

The 314th commander looks out of the cockpit of a C-130J.

Col. Thomas Lankford, 314th Operations Group commander, prepares to take off during a Turkey Shoot competition at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Sept. 25, 2020. The aircrew were collectively graded on precise delivery of cargo via airland and airdrop. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Aaron Irvin)

C-130J's taxi down the flight line.

C-130J Super Hercules’ assigned to the 314th Airlift Wing taxi on the flight line during a Turkey Shoot competition at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Sept. 25, 2020. Representatives from the 314th Airlift Wing, 314th Operations Group, 714th Training Squadron, and 62nd AS took part in the competition designed to challenge and score Flying Training Unit instructors on a myriad of events. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jayden Ford)

A loadmaster looks out the back of a C-130J.

Aircrew from the 314th Airlift Wing conduct a combat offload during a Turkey Shoot competition at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Sept. 25, 2020. The purpose of the competition was to challenge Airmen in the newly restructured active-duty maintenance squadron, exercise the instructor corps by completing specialized objectives with students, and ultimately build esprit de corps. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Aaron Irvin)

The 62nd Airlift Squadron commander looks out of the cockpit on a C-130.

Lt. Col. Matthew Wunderlich, 62nd Airlift Squadron commander, looks out of a C-130J Super Hercules during a Turkey Shoot competition over Arkansas, Sept. 25, 2020. Representatives from the 314th Airlift Wing, 314th Operations Group, 714th Training Squadron, and 62nd AS took part in the competition designed to challenge and score Flying Training Unit instructors on a myriad of events. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Aaron Irvin)

Pilots prepare to take off on the flight line
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Aircrew from the 314th Airlift Wing prepare to take off during a Turkey Shoot competition at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Sept. 25, 2020. The aircrew were collectively graded on precise delivery of cargo via airland and airdrop. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jayden Ford)

A C-130 drives down the flightline and prepares to drop off a pallet.
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Aircrew from the 314th Airlift Wing conduct a combat offload during a Turkey Shoot competition at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Sept. 25, 2020. The purpose of the Turkey Shoot was to challenge Airmen in the newly restructured active-duty maintenance squadron, exercise the instructor corps by completing objectives they don’t normally have the opportunity to complete with students, and ultimately build esprit de corps. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jayden Ford)

Two pilots fly over Arkansas during a training exercise.
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Col. Thomas Lankford, 314th Operations Group commander, and Capt. Robert Stephenson, 314th OG executive officer, fly over Arkansas during a Turkey Shoot competition, Sept. 25, 2020. The aircrew were collectively graded on precise delivery of cargo via airland and airdrop. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Aaron Irvin)

A C-130 takes off from All American drop-zone.
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A C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 314th Airlift Wing lands at the All American drop-zone in part of a Little Rock Air Force Base Turkey Shoot competition at Camp Robinson, Arkansas, Sept. 25, 2020. The purpose of the competition was to challenge Airmen in the newly restructured active-duty maintenance squadron, exercise the instructor corps by completing specialized objectives with students, and ultimately build esprit de corps. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mariam K. Springs)

A C-130 takes off from All American drop-zone.
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A C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 314th Airlift Wing takes off from the All American drop-zone in part of a Little Rock Air Force Base Turkey Shoot competition at Camp Robinson, Arkansas, Sept. 25, 2020. The purpose of the competition was to challenge Airmen in the newly restructured active-duty maintenance squadron, exercise the instructor corps by completing specialized objectives with students, and ultimately build esprit de corps. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mariam K. Springs)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- The 314th Airlift Wing recently hosted a Turkey Shoot competition Sept. 25, 2020 at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, challenging and scoring Flying Training Unit instructors on a myriad of events.

The purpose of the Turkey Shoot was to challenge Airmen in the newly restructured active-duty maintenance squadron, exercise the instructor corps by completing objectives they don’t normally have the opportunity to complete with students, and ultimately build esprit de corps.

“Herk Nation starts with us -- keeping our instructor force at the top of their game is paramount to training and graduating the world’s best combat airlifters,” said Col. Joseph Miller, 314th AW commander. “Our Turkey Shoot is a graduate-level competition that challenges even our most experienced crews.” 

The Turkey Shoot is all-encompassing, requiring the entire team to be successful. From the maintainers fixing and prepping the aircraft; the launch crews marshalling and safely launching six Herks on time;  loadmaster-focused ground operations; flying low-levels without GPS; and conducting dynamic water drop zones and assault landing competitions—these events not only make the instructors better at their craft, but they make an already strong team even stronger. 

“A motivated and sharpened instructor cadre produces better graduates and inspires our students to be the world’s best,” Miller said. 

Among the eager participants were members from the 314th AW, 314th Operations Group, 714th Training Squadron and 62nd Airlift Squadron.

“On the operations side, we conducted training in a simulated contested environment, which is not something we typically train students on,” said Capt. Jonathan Avera, 314th OG tactics officer. “So it was great for the instructors to knock off the rust and hone in on contested operations.”

Maintenance personnel graded instructors on areas such as aircraft cleanliness, accuracy of aircraft forms and marshalling procedures. The aircrew were collectively graded on precise delivery of cargo via airland and airdrop.

“Competition is the best way to build pride within ourselves and our squadrons,” Avera said. “This challenged our instructor corps to dust off the books and get back to studying what the operational units are currently doing. Ultimately we need to be reminded of the types of missions students will be flying when they graduate the C-130 FTU, and executing those missions is a great way to make sure we are staying up to date on the tactics employed around the world.”

With a primary focus on training C-130 aircrews, the 314th AW aims to bolster the C-130 enterprise while sustaining agile combat airlift around the globe.  

“We say it often because it’s the truth—‘Herk Nation Starts Here,’” Miller said. “We build the foundation and we feed the fight. There isn’t a single active duty C-130J pilot or loadmaster who didn’t learn to fly the Herk at Little Rock AFB, right here at the 314th AW. It is humbling to have the privilege of not only teaching, but also hopefully inspiring those who will replace us.”

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