Patrick Air Force Base’s HC-130N King 30 To Be Decommissioned, ‘One Of Our Better Birds’

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“This was one of our better birds, so I’m sad to see it go”

Senior Airman Jonathan Jacobs, 720th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, directs HC-130N King 30 down the taxiway Aug. 7, 2017 at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. The plane is set to be decommissioned at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, New Mexico. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi)

BREVARD COUNTY • PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, FLORIDA – The 920th Rescue Wing commander, Col. Kurt Matthews, and members of a hand-selected aircrew flew HC-130N King 30 on its final flight Aug. 7 from Patrick to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, to be decommissioned.

The aircraft, tail number 5830, had been part of the 920th RQW for nearly three years and was part of the unit’s recent deployment to the Horn of Africa earlier this year.

King 30 needed some replacement parts, but was still an effective aircraft, said Master Sgt. Joseph Duren, 720th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron expeditor.

“When we finally showed up, it was like bringing a 1957 Chevy to a Ferrari convention, but the plane was reliable and was able to accomplish the mission.”

The 920th Rescue Wing commander, Col. Kurt Matthews, left, poses with fellow aircrew and maintainers in front of the HC-130N King 30 Aug. 7, 2017, at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, before heading to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi)

King 30 was in rough shape after returning from deployment, Duren said, but maintainers such as Staff Sgt. Kyle Lutsic, 720th AMXS crew chief who was assigned to King 30, dedicated their talents and service to ensure the plane stayed mission-ready.

“This was one of our better birds, so I’m sad to see it go,” Lutsic said.

“It never really had any major work done since I’ve been here, just some corrosion issues. These types of planes are easy to get attached to because I’ve spent a lot of time with them.”

King 30 arrived to the 920th RQW from Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, where it was used to train new pilots.

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Col. Peter Wojciechowski, 920th Maintenance Group commander, said getting the training C-130 combat mission ready was no easy task.

“The fact that this plane came from a training environment to being used on combat rescue missions is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our maintenance team,” he said.

“Our men and women work hard day in and day out.”

The 920th RQW is slated to receive new HC-130J Combat King II aircraft late 2019 in an effort to modernize the fleet.

“I enjoy working on old planes and the nostalgia behind them, but I do look forward to the new airframe and the capabilities it will bring to the rescue mission,” Duren said.

The unit has sent 14 HC-130s to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, where they have been decommissioned with other retired military aircraft, Duren added. King 30 is the latest retiree.

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Aircrew aboard 920th Rescue Wing’s HC-130N King 30, prepare the aircraft for its final flight Aug. 7, 2017 at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. The plane is set to be decommissioned at Davis-Monthan AFB, New Mexico. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi)

The 920th Rescue Wing commander, Col. Kurt Matthews, performs a pre-flight inspection of HC-130N King 30 Aug. 7, 2017 at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, before taking it on its final flight. The aircraft is set to be decommissioned at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi)

Aircrew aboard the 920th Rescue Wing’s HC-130N, King 30, taxi down the runway Aug. 7, 2017 at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. The plane is set to be decommissioned at Davis-Monthan AFB, New Mexico. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi)


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