by Staff Sgt. Amber R. Kelly-Herard
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs
8/22/2014 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- In
1954, the song "Rock Around the Clock" was playing on the radio, Oprah
Winfrey was born and the first issue of Sports Illustrated appeared on
That same year, on August 23, the YC-130 Hercules made its maiden flight
at the Lockheed Martin plant in Burbank, California, and the C-130 is
still in production today, making it the longest running military
aircraft production line in history.
The need for the C-130 came from Air Force's Tactical Air Command in
1951, after the Korean War, to fill a void for medium-cargo tactical
"In its first six decades, the C-130 shaped aviation history, redefined
industry standards and exhibited flexibility that other aircraft have
yet to match," said George Shultz, Lockheed Martin vice president and
general manager, C-130 Programs, in a Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
Company press release. "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 is the most modified aircraft in the Air Force with multiple
variants and hundreds of configurations, according to the AMC Historian
Office. The C-130 is used for airlift, aeromedical missions, personnel
and cargo airdrop, natural disaster relief missions, Antarctic resupply
to the National Science Foundation, weather reconnaissance, aerial spray
missions and firefighting duties for the U.S. Forest Service. The C-130
can airlift 92 ground troops, 64 fully-equipped paratroopers, 74 litter
patients or 45,000 pounds of cargo.
The C-130J, which is the latest version of the venerable platform, was introduced February of 1999.
To date, the Air Force has 145 C-130s in the active force, 181 in the Air National Guard and 102 in the Air Force Reserve.
Currently, two Department of Defense C-130 Hercules equipped with U.S.
Forest Service Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems from the 153rd
Airlift Wing, Cheyenne, Wyoming, are assisting with wildfire suppression
in the Northwest, Great Basin, under the command and control of U.S.