Last C-130 Hercules Leaves Niagara Falls

Citizen Airman/Oct. 2017 -- The 914th Air Refueling Wing at Niagara Falls International Airport Air Reserve Station, New York, said goodbye to its last C-130 Hercules July 26. Fire trucks shot arches of water on both sides of the aircraft as it was departing, a symbolic gesture of farewell to a 47-year mission.

The event marked the final stage in the process of transitioning from an airlift wing to an ARW for the 914th.

“It’s sad to see it go,” said Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Lis, a crew chief for 13 years with the 914th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, “It’s the only airframe I’ve ever worked, but we’re opening a new chapter with the tanker.”

“Now that the C-130 is actually leaving, it’s really hitting home,” said Col. Brian Bowman, 914th ARW commander. “But the future looks to be absolutely outstanding and getting better.”

The departure of the aircraft enables members of the 914th to focus on the new mission: flying and maintaining the KC-135 Stratotanker.

A total of eight C-130s left Niagara Falls. All of the aircraft will remain within Air Force Reserve Command. Seven are assigned to the 908th AW at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The eighth aircraft is now part of the 910th AW at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio.

In honor of the 47-year airlift mission, a static Hercules aircraft display will be added to the base’s airpark. A 1980 model C-130 from the 103rd Airlift Wing at Bradley Air National Guard Base, Connecticut, was scheduled to arrive in late September and will be put in place next spring.