First KC-130Js arrive for VMGR-153
On 13 January 2023, Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 153 was formally activated at Kaneohe Bay MCAF, Marion E. Carl Field (HI) with two Lockheed Martin KC-130J Super Hercules tanker transport aircraft. The unit is assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 24 (MAG-24).
Both aircraft already arrived on 6 January 2023, in time for the the activation ceremony. Upon arrival, the KC-130Js, BuNo 170272 and BuNo 170273 were still coded QB (VMGR-352). On the photo of aircraft 272, the code seems to be KB, but this has to be confirmed.
The total number of VMGR-153’s KC-130Js will increase over the next few years, with a final strength of fifteen aircraft arriving by fiscal year 2026.
In December 2022, the US Marine Corps (USMC) completed an Environmental Assessment (EA) in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to determine the impacts of home basing two new types of aircraft at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, the KC-130J and the MQ-9 Reaper. The latter aircraft will also arrive in 2023 and they will be assigned to Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron (VMU) 3 Phantoms ('FZ-xx'), also part of MAG-24, where they will replace the RQ-21 Blackjack UAS.
Photo via USMC