USAF Special Tactics Airmen Pull an MC-130J Commando II Over 490 Feet Because Why Not

We all know how demanding military training can be, but at times the exercises devised by the higher-ups tend to look a bit bizarre. Like when having a bunch of airmen pulling with the power of their own hands and legs a massive transport airplane on a runway somewhere.
MC-130J Commando II pulled by humans 6 photos
Photo: USAF/Staff Sgt. Jessi Roth
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Back in May, the Kadena Air Base in Japan was home to "an operational readiness and resilience training exercise" called Monster Mash. It involved first and foremost elements from the 320th Special Tactics Squadron of the U.S. Air Force (USAF).

The 320th was first created in 1943 in the Pacific region, and was disbanded in 1945. In 1992 it came back and has been a constant American presence at the Japanese air base since.

It is airmen from this unit you can see in the attached gallery, pulling on a rope that at the other end has a full-size MC-130J Commando II cargo aircraft attached to it. There are also a couple of instances of them pulling a Humvee in the same way.

Because Monster Mash consists of "physically and mentally demanding tasks," the members of the 320th had to pull the plane across the flight line, for a distance of 150 meters (492 feet). Apparently, they did exactly that, a feat that took place at the beginning of May but was just made public by the USAF.

We are not told if the plane was loaded or not (chances are it wasn't), so it's difficult to say for sure how much weight the airmen had to pull. We also don't know how many of them were involved, but the photos made available show there were quite a lot.

The MC-130J Commando II is a variant of the Lockheed MC-130 (it too is a derivations of the world-famous C-130 Hercules) introduced back in 2011. Its main role is to act as a platform for "infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special operations forces." It also acts as a refueling platform for helicopters and tiltrotors.

The plane can weigh, when fully loaded, 164,000 lbs (74,400 kg), and it can climb to altitudes as high as 28,000 feet (8,500 meters) when carrying 42,000 lbs of cargo (19,000 kg).

Generally, the plane moves down the runway not under the power of humans, but thanks to four Rolls-Royce turboprop engines, each capable of developing 4,591 shaft horsepower. They can keep spinning while in the air for as much as 3,000 miles (4,800 km) on a single load of the tanks.

The plane is still relatively new, so the Air Force is not yet done receiving them all. Plans are that in 2025 the Commando II fleet to be complete, counting a total of 57 airplanes. Not all of them will receive the royal treatment of being pulled down the runway by humans.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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