Saturday, June 8, 2013

The C-130 Was “My Airplane”

Thanks Lockheed Martin, for this wonderful aircraft
by Bill I.

I retired from the United States Air Force in 1989. During my military career, I was an enlisted crewman aboard the EC-130 ABCCC aircraft when it was at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. When I found out that I was going to be on flying status, I was very excited. I was really hoping to fly on one of the EC-135 aircraft. After getting to Keesler and getting qualified to fly my position by myself, I couldn't have been happier. The C-130, to me, was the best aircraft for the mission we had. I accumulated almost 700 hours of flying time while at Keesler, going to 10 different countries and 10 or 15 different states.

From there I went to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, where I was assigned to a unit that flew JC-130Bs, which were older than the EC-130s. Again, it was a great aircraft for a great mission, which was satellite recovery. I do not allow anyone to bad mouth "my airplane" in my presence. If they do, I quickly correct them and point out that, yes, they might be slow and noisy, but I always felt safe. I was in Vietnam in the early 1970s and had friends who flew gunship and airborne command post-missions on that venerable aircraft. No one time did I ever hear a derogatory word. I hope Lockheed Martin keeps building and updating the C-130 for years to come. I can't imagine my Air Force without it!