Kings of the Arctic

MILITARY HC-130J COMBAT KING II

Mark Ayton reports on the HC-130J Combat King II Hercules in service at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska

A traditional water cannon salute to welcome the first HC-130J Combat King II at Elmendorf on June 3, 2017.
TSgt Alicia Halla/US Air Force

If you’ve had the good fortune to visit the state of Alaska, you know what a huge place America’s last frontier is. Alaska is more than one-fifth the size of the entire continental United States, with more miles of coastline than the other 49 states combined. If overlaid on to a map of the United States, with the eastern tip of the Alaska Panhandle grounded to the Atlantic Ocean, its western tip (at the end of the Aleutian Islands) would stretch to the coast of California.

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