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Maxwell Air Force Base's 'War Eagle' C-130 leaves combat legacy with newer model

C-130 Hercules aircraft at Maxwell Air Force Base on Jan. 12, 2017.

BRADLEY J. CLARK/U.S. AIR FORCE

By REBECCA BURYLO | The Montgomery Advertiser (Tribune News Service) | Published: February 24, 2017

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Tribune News Service) — The "War Eagle" C-130 aircraft left its military legacy of valor to a newer model on Friday.

An official transfer of heritage and retirement ceremony took place at Maxwell Air Force Base when the 908th Airlift Wing reserve unit transferred the heritage and "War Eagle" nose art from aircraft 85-0040 along with the memorabilia to the newer aircraft 91-9142.

Cadets from the university's Air Force ROTC Detachment were on hand and take part in the ceremony.

The "War Eagle" used by the 908th Airlift Wing at Maxwell contains more than the blue and orange moniker for the Auburn University football team.

Stepping inside to climb the cockpit, one can't help but notice the painted emblem of the Purple Heart, the military decoration awarded to those wounded or killed while serving.

This particular plane saw war, was wounded and still brought its precious cargo of troops to safety.

While in Iraq in 2005, "War Eagle" took a rocket through one of its engines and managed to land safely, while still on fire with 55 soldiers on board. The maintenance personnel downrange swapped out the propeller and engine, put some temporary patches on it and sent it home for a complete repair, said Col. Jerry Lobb, chief of public affairs for the 908th.

Despite being badly damaged and repaired, the aircraft continued to fight and carry university memorabilia around the world since then.

"War Eagle" is the third of eight C-130 Hercules aircraft to retire from the 908th since January when it was announced that the Reserve unit will be replacing their eight older model planes with newer planes from the 914th Airlift Wing at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, New York.

The first new plane arrived Jan. 12 and was dubbed the new "Roll Tide."

After flying the same aircraft for 31 years, the 908th is transitioning its current 1985 model aircraft to eight aircraft of the same H-2 model built between 1989 and 1992. As the planes arrive over the next six months, the 908th will retire the older planes. The transition is scheduled to be complete in July.

The C-130 cargo aircraft is known as the "Workhorse of the Air Force" and can carry 42,000 pounds of cargo, 92 troops, 64 paratroops or 74 litter patients and can fly up to 386 mph with a range of 5,200 miles.

©2017 the Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Ala.)
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The 908th's newest aircraft taxied to a stop Jan. 12 as it arrived at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., from Niagra Falls Air Reserve Station, N.Y. The 1989 C-130 Hercules is replacing a 1985 version.
JERRY LOBB/U.S. AIR FORCE

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