Niagara bids farewell to its last C-130

NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. --

Members of the base gathered to observe the final departure of the last C-130 Hercules from Niagara, July 26, 2017.

The 914th Fire Emergency Services rendered a water salute, shooting arches of water from firetrucks on either side of the aircraft, a symbolic gesture of farewell to a 47 year mission.

This day marked the final stage in the process of transitioning from an Airlift Wing to an Air Refueling Wing for the 914th. Many feel hopeful but sad to see the aircraft leave for the last time.

“It’s sad to see it go,” says Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Lis, a Crew Chief of 13 years with the 914th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, “It’s the only air frame 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 Air Refueling Wing commander, reflecting on the day’s event. “But the future looks to be absolutely outstanding and getting better.”

The departure of the aircraft from Niagara will enable 914th personnel to focus on the new mission, flying and maintaining the KC-135 Stratotanker.  

The departing C-130, along with the seven others that were assigned here and have previously left, will remain assigned and operating within the Air Force Reserve Command.

Pending any changes, this last aircraft will be assigned to the 908th Airlift Wing, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Of the others, six have been assigned to the 908 AW while one has been assigned to the 910th AW, Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Vienna, Ohio.

In honor of the 47-year airlift mission here, a static Hercules aircraft display will be added to the air park on base. A 1980 model C-130 from the 103rd Airlift Wing at Bradley Air National Guard Base, Connecticut is scheduled to arrive in late September and will be put in place in spring 2018.