The Department of Defense (DoD) tasks the 910th Airlift Wing at Youngstown Air Reserve Station (YARS), Ohio to maintain the DoD’s only large area fixed-wing aerial spray capability to control disease-carrying insects, pest insects, undesirable vegetation and to disperse oil spills in large bodies of water. Missions may be executed in combat areas, on DoD installations or in response to disasters/emergencies as declared by the President of the United States.
UNIT, AIRCRAFT, AND PERSONNEL
The 757th Airlift Squadron pilots, navigators, flight engineers, spray operators/loadmasters, and entomologists conduct aerial spray missions using six C-130H aircraft equipped with the Modular Aerial Spray System (MASS). These systems are maintained by 910th MX support personnel assigned to the spray mission. YARS houses one of four EPA-approved Training Centers for DoD Pesticide Applicator Certification serving both the continental U.S. and overseas DoD pest management facilities.
Col. James D. Dignan is 910th Airlift Wing commander, U.S. Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC). When activated, the unit is gained by Air Mobility Command (AMC), at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.
AERIAL SPRAY PROGRAM DIRECTIVES
Aerial Spray Program Directive - DODI 4150.07, May 2008; Aerial Application of Pesticides - AFI 32-1074; Contingency Funding - AFI 65-503
- 1947, Air Force creates Special Aerial Spray Flight to reduce troop loss due to vector borne diseases
- April 1, 1973, UC-123K spray aircraft and AF entomologists transferred from active duty’s 4500th Aerial Spray Flight, Langley AFB, VA to AFRES’ 355th Tactical Airlift Squadron, Rickenbacker ANGB, Ohio
- May 22, 1973, first AFRES aerial spray mission conducted at Langley AFB, VA
- July 1973, assisted Panama combating Eastern Equine Encephalitis outbreak by controlling Canal Zone migratory salt-marsh and adult freshwater mosquitoes; conducted research with U.S. Army at Fort Drum, NY, testing efficacy aerial spray on black fly control
- 1975, over 160,000 acres of Guam refugee camp treated to preempt Dengue fever outbreak
- 1977 and 1978, conducted five missions controlling an internationally quarantined Japanese beetle infestation at Lajes Air Force Base, Azores
- 1981, aerial spray missions for gypsy moth control at West Point, NY, Fort Dix, NJ; McGuire AFB, NJ
- 1983, pioneered aerial spray control of biting midges at Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot, SC; also established vegetation control program at the Utah Test and Training Range saving U.S. Government $1.5 million annually; also treated 217 communities and 525,024 acres responding to a public health emergency for Western Equine Encephalitis in Minnesota
- 1985, assisted Department of Agriculture in emergency control efforts over more than 700,000 acres of Idaho for a major grasshopper infestation
- 1986, C-130A’s replace UC-123K’s after joint testing with the Department of Agriculture verified C-130 aerial spray effectiveness
- 1988, C-130E’s replaced C-130A’s, the Modular Aerial Spray System (MASS) was developed for C-130 operations; MASS is capable of ultra low to ultra high volume sprays
- 1989, FEMA supported treating over 855,000 acres in South Carolina after Hurricane Hugo
- January 1992, AFRC aerial spray mission transferred from Rickenbacker ANGB to Youngstown ARS, Ohio; C-130H’s aircraft replaced C-130E’s; first ever dedicated spray maintenance flight established
- 1992, supported FEMA by providing mosquito management in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, sprayed over 288,000 acres in Florida
- 1995, Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between US Coast Guard and USAFR to apply dispersant during catastrophic oil spills established
- 1996, unit added Geographical Information System (GIS) technology and Differential Global Positioning System receivers to spray aircraft
- October 1999, supported FEMA by providing mosquito infestation in the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd, sprayed approximately 1.7 million acres over VA and NC
- 2000, partnered with fire prevention program at Saylor Creek Range, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, controlling cheatgrass with aerial applications allowing native prairie grasses to reestablish as the dominate species and reduce the potential for range fires
- 2001, new groundbreaking mission at Grand Forks Air Force Base, ND interrupting larval development and treating for flying adult mosquitoes at the same time
- 2005, new mosquito control mission at Minot Air Force Base, ND established
- 2005, supported FEMA by treating 2,880,662 acres over Louisiana and Texas to control for mosquitoes and filth flies in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The mission is the largest aerial spray mission ever conducted under AFRC.
- 2006, multi-agency full scale oil spill exercises conducted off the coast of San Francisco, CA
- 2008, multi-agency full scale oil spill exercises conducted off the coast of Brownsville, TX
- 2007, added Naval Submarine Base, Kings Bay, GA treating areas in prohibited airspace
- 2008, after several years in the works and with the aid of Congressman Tim Ryan, $3 million was provided to enhance the aerial spray mission with the newer Wingman GX aerial spray targeting GPS using the latest computer technology and pesticide drift modeling available; additionally, the MASS was upgraded with new quantity indicating systems, replacing the 22-year-old units
- Sept-Oct 2008, the Wingman system was tested during post-hurricane Gustav mosquito sprays where more than 771,000 acres were treated in Louisiana
- 2009, Homestead Air Reserve Base, FL is the first ever all Reserve air installation spray mission treating Homestead ARB and surrounding Miami-Dade County
- May 2009, the spray flight performed the industry’s largest effective larvicide aerial spray application over Army Corps of Engineers land near Williston, ND.; reductions in larval mosquito populations by over 95 percent in sampled areas were demonstrated
- May-June 2010, the 757th Airlift Squadron was tasked to conduct aerial spray for Operation Deep Water Horizon; the purpose of this mission was to use oil dispersing agents to aid in neutralizing the oil spill caused by the April 2010 sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico; this mission marked the first real world application of oil spill dispersants by the 910th Airlift Wing; fling 93 sorties, covering more than 30,000 acres over water
- May 2011, multi-agency full scale oil spill exercises conducted off the coast of San Diego, CA
- Feb 2012, 910th Airlift Wing hosts an industry day at YARS to bring in industry experts to provide inputs for development of replacement for unit’s current Modular Aerial Spray System (MASS)
- Jan 2013, a team from the 910th aerial spray mission facilitates the DoD Aerial Spray Course, a certification requirement for pest control professionals, at the new state-of-the-art Lee County Mosquito Control District Training Center in Lehigh Acres, Florida.
(Current as of July 2013)
The 910th Aerial Spray Mission team continues to coordinate development of a new MASS system; the development of nighttime aerial spray capabilities utilizing Night Vision Goggles; the development of new missions and the continued adaption of the aerial spray mission to combat developing health threats and more.