December 12, 2015 (by SrA Ceaira Tinsley) - Fifty-nine years after the first C-130 was delivered to the U.S. Air Force, the 2,500th Lockheed Martin delivered C-130 joined the 71st Rescue Squadron's fleet and legacy on December 11.
Airmen from the 71st RQS, the 71st AMU and the Defense Contract Management Agency pose for a photo in front of #13-5782 HC-130J Combat King II on December 11, 2015, at the Lockheed Martin C-130 ramp in Marietta, Ga. #13-5782, is the 2,500th C-130 delivered by Lockheed Martin. [USAF photo by SrA Ryan Callaghan]
The U.S. Air Force is the world's largest Hercules operator and Moody is home to its newest HC-130J Combat King II, tail number #13-5782
"This milestone delivery is a source of pride for our team and the global C-130 community," said George Shultz, vice president and general manager, C-130 Programs at Lockheed Martin. "The Hercules is a global asset and versatile workhorse that is truly without equal. This delivery represents the C-130's strength in numbers and its ongoing relevancy to operators around the world."
Moody's Airmen and the rescue community echoed the feelings of having such an integral piece of Hercules history.
"This is such a historic flight because it's the 2,500th Hercules aircraft and Moody gets to be a part of marking Air Force history," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Andrew Kim, 71st RQS pilot who flew the aircraft from Marietta, Ga., to Moody AFB. "The C-130 is a part of a long legacy of really great aircraft that have contributed to some huge feats for the Air Force as a whole and the entire rescue community. It feels really good to be a part of it and to be able to bring the plane and some history back to its new home at Moody's 71st."
Globally, the Hercules fleet performs various missions, but while assigned under the 347th Rescue Group's umbrella, it is the aircraft used to perform the 'rescue' aspect of Moody's infamous motto to: Attack, Rescue and Prevail.
"The C-130 is such a tried and true platform," said Kim. "With them we can do anything from low levels to air drops straight out of the school house and operate in austere environments that some of the other planes might not be able to handle.
"Bringing a J model back, especially a new one, increases our reliability rates," Kim added. "We can go out and execute the mission without having to worry about maintenance problems or breaking down so we can be much more dependable when we're out at our deployed locations."
Also on board for the aircraft's arrival was Col. Thomas Kunkel, 23d Wing commander, who is quite proud to welcome the new aircraft to Team Moody.
"We're a low density high demand fleet down here so every single aircraft adds a tremendous improvement to combat capability to the Air Force and to our warfighters all across the globe," he said.