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NEWS | June 27, 2023

Navy Reserve Squadron Completes First-Ever Deployed C-40A Clipper Reconfiguration with Support from Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Chelsea Milburn, Commander, Naval Air Force Reserve Public Affairs

Sailors assigned to the “Conquistadors” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VR) 57 achieved a major logistics milestone, completing the first-ever deployed C-40A Clipper reconfiguration while on a forward-deployed detachment at Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi, Japan with assistance from the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), May 17.

A C-40A Clipper is capable of three configurations: all cargo, all passenger, or combination. The VR-57 team worked late into the night May 16 after the aircraft arrived at 6:30 p.m. to ensure the reconfiguration or “re-rig” from combination to all passenger would be complete the following day for lifts supporting Carrier Air Wing (CVW-5).

“VR-57's INDOPACOM detachment was tasked with re-rigging aircraft 836 from a combination configuration to a passenger configuration in order to support CVW-5 for their upcoming underway period,” said Detachment Officer in Charge Cmdr. David Perez. “The passenger configuration gives us the ability to move 121 passengers, compared to the 69 passenger capacity in the combination configuration.”

In order to accomplish the reconfiguration, the VR-57 required the use of a K-loader. Though all of the U.S. K-loaders were in use during the required time frame, the squadron was able to coordinate with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) to use a JMSDF K-loader and forklift, as well as assistance from several JMSDF personnel.

 “The whole process involved our aircrew and maintenance guiding the JMSDF forklift into our hangar, retrieving the pallets containing the seats and closets required to finish the reconfiguration,” said Perez. “The pallets were then loaded onto the K loader, which was guided to the aircraft by our loadmasters. Following the unloading of all pallets, we gave a big thanks to our JMSDF partners and handed out some challenge coins. The JMSDF personnel were amazing to work with, and we were very grateful for their support.”

In addition to being a shining example of success born from teamwork with a partner nation, the accomplishment highlighted the caliber of the detachment’s personnel.

“The re-rig was a success solely due to the resourcefulness, professionalism and hard work of our detachment maintenance personnel,” said Perez. “Without their hard work, the whole thing would have not happened. I'm incredibly lucky to have such an amazing maintenance team out here in Atsugi with me. Having aircraft 836 in the passenger configuration made the entire detachment's lives a lot easier when we eventually did fly the lifts for CVW-5.”

VR-57 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Ryan King echoed Perez’s sentiments regarding the hard work of the detachment personnel, with an added nod to Perez’s and Chief Aviation Machinist Mate Norris “Chuck” Herron’s leadership.

“Lt. Cmdr. Perez and Chief Herron were both absolutely instrumental in this success,” said King. “Their leadership, along with the hard work of our Sailors, were the only reason we were able to pull this off.”

VR-57 is one of eleven squadrons assigned to the Navy Reserve’s Fleet Logistics Support Wing (FLSW). FLSW, with coordination by the Navy Air Logistics Office (NALO), remains the Navy’s only source of dedicated air logistics, providing critical support around the globe with the K/C-130T Hercules and C-40A Clipper.

Commander, Naval Air Force Reserve (CNAFR) mans, trains and equips the Naval Air Force Reserve in order to provide enduring operational support and strategic depth to Navy forces that win in combat.