920th Rescue Wing Air Force Reserve Pilot 1st Lt. Nash Blackwelder Follows Parents Legacy

By  //  November 24, 2019

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Blackwelder: Growing up hearing those stories, I knew I wanted to do the same

Air Force Reserve pilot 1st Lt. Nash Blackwelder grew up hearing his father talk about how great it was to fly onboard Air Force C-130 aircraft. (920th Rescue Wing image)

BREVARD COUNTY • PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, FLORIDA – Air Force Reserve pilot 1st Lt. Nash Blackwelder grew up hearing his father talk about how great it was to fly onboard Air Force C-130 aircraft.

“Growing up hearing those stories, I knew I wanted to do the same,” said Blackwelder.

His ties to the airframe go back a generation when both of his parents were aircrew on earlier models.

In 2013 Blackwelder had an opportunity to follow in their footsteps by joining the Air Force Reserve’s 39th Rescue Squadron as a radio operator.

He previously served as an active duty Airborne Radar Technician flying aboard E-3 Sentry aircraft.

After his third deployment, he wanted to try something new and transitioned to the Air Force Reserve.

Blackwelder is now bidding farewell to the 920th Rescue Wing’s fixed-wing aircraft, the HC-130P/N Combat King, a plane designed for combat-search-and-rescue missions.

He and other 920th RQW aviators will have nine months of training in Albuquerque, New Mexico where they’ll learn how to operate the newer HC-130J.

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“People say a C-130 is a C-130,” said Blackwelder.

“You can’t go into it with that mindset. You have to treat it like a brand new aircraft because you have brand new avionics.”

The 920th RQW is expected to be operating a new fleet of J Model aircraft in the spring of 2020.

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