Hercules finds new home at Will Rogers

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jeff Wilkinson
  • 137 Maintenance Group
     A C-130E Hercules aircraft, nicknamed "Tractor," has found a home at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base. The C-130, tail number 62-1834, has a distinguished service record and has had several homes in her career before retiring at WRANGB.
     "Tractor" entered the US Air Force in May 1963. Aircraft records are not available for her until 1973, but firsthand accounts place her at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon, Vietnam, in 1971 as part of Det. 1, 776 Tactical Airlift Squadron, 314 Tactical Airlift Wing.
     The 314th was based at Ching Chuan Kang AB, Taiwan. In 1973 she was assigned to the 374 TAW at Clark AFB, Philippines, and in October 1975, she was reassigned to the 909 CAMS, Air Force Reserves, at Andrews Air Force Base. This move closely coincided with the arrival of the first C-130As at Will Rogers.
      In May 1986, "Tractor" was transferred to the 934 TAW, AFRC, at Minneapolis-St. Paul. During her time at the 934th, she participated in Operation Provide Promise, Coronet Oak, Operations Southern Watch and various others. While on the ground unloading supplies in Bosnia, her left aileron was hit by flying debris during a mortar attack.
      In April, 1997, "Tractor" appeared to be at the end of her flying career when she was transferred to the 374 AW at Yakota Air Base, Japan, and redesignated as a GC-130E for use as a ground trainer. In Sept. 1997, she was once again designated a C-130E and returned to flying status with the 374th at Yakota.
     In 2009, she was transferred to Little Rock Air Force Base. She was now showing her age with flight restrictions due to wing fatigue, but she was still able to make at least one deployment to the Middle East. She ended her flying career with 28,417 hours and 9,437 landings.
     So, why the nickname "Tractor?" While at Minneapolis, her crewchief was a farmer who likened her toughness and reliability to his tractor at home. The name stuck in Peru where she landed in a field to deliver humanitarian supplies. The field was 8-in deep mud, but she was able to "plow" through the mess. Now, once again she is slated to be used as a ground trainer.