October 18, 2017 (by SrA Donald Hudson) - After 43 years Team Yokota observed a historical milestone as the base sent off the last two active-duty C-130H Hercules in the Air Force.
Members with the 374th AMXS salute the last C-130H Hercules #74-2065 departing from Yokota AB, Japan, October 16, 2017. Yokota was the last active-duty location to operate the C-130H. The 374th AMXS maintained 14 C-130H Hercules aircraft, which were responsible for the tactical airlift of an area of responsibility covering 50 percent of the globe. [USAF photo by Yasuo Osakabe]
The second to last H-model to leave Yokota Air Base was tail number 74-1661, which took off during an official ceremony open to Team Yokota and invited Japanese guests. The last H-model to leave Yokota was tail number 74-2065, which took off during a C-130H maintainer only traditional ceremony.
"I think it's fitting for a small unit of 14 aged C-130H Hercules responsible for the tactical airlift of the Indo-Asia Pacific region covering 50% of the globe to be the last active-duty unit," said Chief Master Sgt. Eric L. Evers, 374th AMXS superintendent. "A relatively small airlift asset covering arguably the most significant area of the globe is amazing!"
As a maintainer, Evers has an in-depth knowledge and respect for the H-model after years of working on the aircraft.
"The C-130H is a symbol of what America's Airmen can produce," said Evers. "It's well used, but the maintenance that has been performed on it for 43 years has enabled it to continue its mission in the hands of our brother's and sister's in the Air National Guard."
Saying goodbye to the H-model, Yokota has now moved to the C-130J Super Hercules, receiving it's first new airframe in March 2017.
"The J model is simply the next variant of the Hercules." said Capt. Thomas Bernard, 36th Airlift Squadron C-130H pilot. "The mission is the same and the aircraft is more technologically advanced and powerful."
After years of operations with the C-130H to including; Tomodachi, Damayan, Operation Christmas Drop and many more, the ground work for the relationship between Yokota and the Pacific-theater has been paved by the help of the C-130H Hercules, and will continue on the wings of the new J-model.
According to Evans, the outstanding working relationship between the Airmen in the 374th Maintenance Group and the 374th Operations Group is a relationship that will carry the 374th Airlift Wing into the future with the J-model.