A C-130 cargo plane landed on the remote dirt landing strip for the first time in more than twenty years.
Pilots from the 165th Airlift Wing guided it to the Remagen landing strip/drop zone at Camp Oliver, a remote training site in the Northwest woods of Fort Stewart's training land.
Prior to landing, the C-130 dropped paratroopers who helped guide the plane to the ground. Before Remagen, the planes would have returned to Savannah and the paratroopers would have needed a bus there too.
To get this kind of training previously, local military pilots had to fly to North Carolina. A round trip would take a couple of hours compared to the 15 minute trip from Savannah.
"This will allow us to do more routine training," explained Lt. Col. D.J. Spisso of the Georgia Air National Guard. "Just like a football team or soccer team, you have to practice to get better at it."
The landing strip/drop zone cost a total of $75,000. A National Guard unit from New Mexico did much of the initial site work last winter as a training mission.
The 5,000 foot runway is just the first phase of the project. Fort Stewart plans to expand a taxiway and expand the runway enough to handle C-17 aircraft.
Lt. Col. Spisso said the dirt strip landing lets pilots practice on conditions they're likely to find in combat. The strip will also be available to other military branches for training as well.