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Mt. Home: Weed whacking

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Noah J. Tancer
  • 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Idaho grasslands pass quickly below, the sun rises from behind the mountains, free-range cows run beside a low-flying aircraft and the hot, dry air doesn't know it yet, but it is about to get more humid.

“ on.”

At a flying altitude of 100 feet at 200 knots ground speed, an aerial spray-modified C-130H Hercules aircraft assigned to the 757th Airlift Squadron sprayed 19,979 gallons of water reduced herbicide over 3,050 acres of Mountain Home Air Force Base's Saylor Creek Training Range, Idaho, Sept. 14­–25, 2020.

“We do it kind of like how you mow your lawn,” said Lt. Col. Frank Galati, a pilot with the 757th AS and the mission commander for the Mt. Home aerial spray mission. “We go back and forth… trying to get rid of the cheatgrass (so that they can) reintroduce beneficial species of vegetation.”

Logging a little over 13 hours of flight time across 13 sorties, the 757th AS aided Mt. Home's fire prevention program by controlling the cheatgrass on its bombing range. Cheatgrass is a highly flammable and invasive weed threatening Idaho’s ecosystem.

The 757th AS is part of the 910th Airlift Wing, based at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio, and is tasked with the Department of Defense’s only large-area, fixed-wing aerial spray capability to control disease-carrying insects, pest insects and undesirable vegetation and to disperse oil spills in large bodies of water.