Humble Servant’s Farewell

The C-23 Sherpa, a former Air Force pack mule, quietly retired from Army service and was put to pasture at Ft. Sill, Okla., Army officials recently announced. US Air Forces in Europe originally ordered 18 of the boxy airlifters to shuttle critical parts and supplies between airbases on the continent, starting in 1984. Assigned to the 10th Military Airlift Squadron at Zweibrucken AB, Germany, the short-lived European distribution system aircraft were dispersed to the Air Force Test Pilot School, Forest Service, and added to the Army’s fleet in 1990. The Army intended to replace its 42-strong Sherpa fleet with C-27J Spartans. Instead, the Sherpas “saw continued action from 2003 through 2011, in Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn, often moving half-a-million pounds of cargo a month,” said Army Maj. Matthew Moore, of the Army’s Operational Support Airlift Agency. A California Army National Guard Sherpa flew the final sortie on Jan. 9, stated the release. (See Air Forces Monthly’s history of the C-23)