News>Moody’s first Combat King heads to ‘boneyard’
U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Benjamin Gibbs and Staff Sgt. Ryan James, 723d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chiefs, prepares a HC-130P Combat King for flight at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., Sept. 25, 2012. This HC-130P Combat King was once loaned to the U.S. Coast Guard in the 1980’s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ciara Wymbs/Released)
A HC-130P Combat King sits on the flightline at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., Sept. 25, 2012. The aircraft is at the end of its career and is headed to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, often called the Boneyard, at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stephanie Mancha/Released)
A HC-130P Combat King takes off for its final flight flight to the Aerospace and Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center from Moody Air Force Base, Ga., Sept. 25, 2012. This was the first HC-130P Combat King to arrive at Moody in 1997. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stephanie Mancha/Released)
10/2/2012 - Moody Air Force Base, Ga. -- After more than 20,500 flight hours, numerous deployments and multiple assignments, aircraft 65-0987 took its final flight to the "boneyard" Sept. 25.
The six-hour flight to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, often called the "boneyard," at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., marks the end of a long career for Moody's first HC-130P Combat King.
"I'm sad to see it go," said U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Benjamin Gibbs, 723d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief. "This is a big deal, and I am honored to be a part of the final mission."
Gibbs has been part of the team that maintained 65-0987 since 2006. He said it is a rare opportunity for crew chiefs to accompany a specific aircraft flight to the boneyard.
The aircraft was delivered to the Air Force in June 1966 and during its 46 year tenure in the rescue community, the aircraft flew missions with the U.S. Coast Guard and was instrumental in rescue operations that saved four people from a sunken Honduran freight ship in 1992.
"Aircraft 65-0987 was the first aircraft I was assigned to when I arrived at Moody," said Staff Sgt Ryan James, 723d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief. "I took pride in maintaining it during the last six years and I was honored to be on its final flight."
Aircraft 65-0987 has been a part of Moody's rescue community for more than 15 years with assignments and deployments to various locations around the world. The mission of the HC-130P is to rapidly deploy to austere airfields and denied territory in order to execute, all weather personnel recovery operations anytime anywhere.
"It is the first HC-130P aircraft that will be retired from Moody due to the upcoming conversion to HC-130J aircraft," said Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Leemon, 71st Aircraft Maintenance Unit superintendent. "We hated to see her go, but know she has served a long and faithful service to the nation."
Although this specific Combat King has seen its final mission from Moody, it may continue to serve by providing spare parts for aircraft still carrying out the rescue mission.
10/3/2012 4:31:03 PM ET I was assigned at Moody in 2007 and TSgt Gibbs was my supervisor. I earned my 7-level on that bird I still remember the day SSgt James got there. I worked with a great team on a great bird sad to see her go but excited for them both to get the new J-model.THESE THINGS WE DO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE