In 1959, my commander asked me to visit our printing departments in the Far East to see what they needed. The plane I flew on was the C-130 that had made its maiden flight on Aug. 23, 1954.
My headquarters, Western Transport Air Force (WESTAF) under Maj. General Russell Waldron, had taken over command of Travis Air Force Base, Calf., on July 1, 1958.
The C-130 celebrated 60 years of flying and is still in production today, making it the longest running military production line in history.
The need for the C-130 came after the Korean War to fill the void for medium cargo tactical transports. In its first six decades, the C-130 shaped aviation history, redefined industry standards and exhibited flexibility that other aircraft have yet to match. The C-130 remains the world’s most proven airlifter because of its ability to adapt, remain relevant and deliver results no matter the mission.
The C- 130 can airlift 92 ground troops, 64 fully equipped paratroopers, 74 litter patients or 45,000 pounds of cargo.
It was the largest aircraft I had flown on at that time until a couple of years later when I flew on a SAC B-52 bomber piloted by Jimmy Stewart after he was promoted to General.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.