The rescue oriented C-130 – one of many Hercules variants managed and overhauled at Robins Air Force Base – was first delivered to the Air Force in 1966 and served its final 15 years at the South Georgia base.
According to a Moody AFB press release, the HC-130P’s job is to rapidly deploy to isolated, austere, sometimes hostile airfields around the world for all-weather rescue. The aircraft is being replaced by modern HC-130J aircraft.
“It is the first HC-130P aircraft that will be retired from Moody due to the upcoming conversion to HC-130Js,” Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Leemon is quoted in the news release. Leemon is the 71st Aircraft Maintenance Unit superintendent.
“We hated to see her go, but know she has served a long and faithful service to the nation,” Leemon said.
The aging aircraft, tail number 65-0987, flew missions with the U.S. Coast Guard and was particularly remembered for helping to save four people from a sunken Honduran freight ship in 1992. The aircraft was flown last week to its final resting place – the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. The Arizona site is known as the Air Force “bone yard.”
The old turboprop had special meaning for Staff Sgt. Ryan James, 723rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief.
“Aircraft 65-0987 was the first aircraft I was assigned to when I arrived at Moody,” James noted in the press statement. “I took pride in maintaining it during the last six years and I was honored to be on its final flight.”