Well Done, Weathered Warhorse

The Air Force’s oldest operational C-130, an HC-130P Combat King rescue support tanker, took off for the last time at Moody AFB, Ga., and flew into retirement at Davis Monthan AFB, Ariz., announced Moody officials. The airplane, serial number 62-1863, left Moody on March 3, ending its 52 years of service, according to the base’s release. It started life as a C-130E airlifter, flying missions during the Vietnam War before conversion to an EC-130C command and control aircraft in 1994. Then came the aircraft’s change into the HC-130P configuration in 2003, states the release. “What makes this aircraft special is that it has flown 27,533 flying hours, the second most of any C-130 aircraft in the Air Force,” said C-130 engineering and technical advisor Tim Martin. “After its conversion, Air Force Special Operations Command made the decision to … buy new HC-130J aircraft,” he added. “Iron Horse” joined Moody’s 71st Rescue Squadron in 2007, and retired as part of the unit’s conversion to the HC-130J.