Three C-130 Hercules aircraft are scheduled to return to the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station today from a deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
Their arrival will signal an historic moment as it will represent the final C-130 return for the 914th Airlift Wing, ending a legacy of more than 40 years with the unit.
The 914 Airlift Wing commander, Col. Brian Bowman, and families of returning military members will be waiting to welcome the airmen as they return from a long tour of duty. There will be stations provided by Airmen and Family Readiness to entertain attendees and prepare for the historic return.
“I could not be more proud of our airmen,” Bowman said. “Their efforts overseas showcased the 914th Airlift Wing as a hardworking, professional organization.”
The C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed for troop, medivac and cargo transport. The aircraft have utilized airmen as pilots, navigators, loadmasters, flight engineers and medical evacuation personnel to perform many of the unique functions in the 914 AW for more than four decades. The experience not only serves as an opportunity to recognize the members who deployed to support the mission, but to reflect on the memories and importance of the mission.
The airlift wing is switching to flying KC-135 refueling tankers as part of a new mission that’s seen as crucial to the future of the air base. The Air Force is retiring some of the C-130 fleet to save money.
“The C-130s have served this unit well,” Bowman said. “As we await the many changes and innovations that will affect this installation in the future, it’s important for us to reflect on this occasion and congratulate our heroes on a job well done.”