The Air Force's oldest C-130 has retired.
The An HC-130P Combat King, tail number 62-1863 and nicknamed "Iron Horse," made its final flight March 3 to the boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, on March 3.
The aircraft entered service 52 years ago and flew its first deployment as a C-130E assigned to the 374th Tactical Airlift Wing during Vietnam, according to an Air Force news release. It flew its last deployment in 2009 with the 71st Rescue Squadron from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.
"The history is rich with this aircraft," Tim Martin, the Air Force Engineering Technical Services adviser for C-130 maintenance personnel, said in the release. "This is because it is a one of a kind aircraft and there never will be another like it." what makes it one of a kind? the variety of its missions? mh The aircraft had flew 27,533 flying hours, the second most of any C-130 in the service, Martin said. In addition to flying in E and P configurations, it also flew as an EC-130C airborne command and control center. The aircraft was phased out at Moody as the 23rd Wing at the base transitioned to the newer HC-130J Combat King II beginning in 2011. The base will retire its next oldest HC-130P, tail number 65-00982, in June.
"I grew up on these planes from being stationed here in May 2001," Tech. Sgt. David Poe, 723rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron section chief, said in the release. "I thought I would be retiring with these [P Models], but they're still in service." so he's retiring? when?mh