Air Mobility Command museum accepts Pope herk

POPE AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- A Pope C-130 Hercules retired from active duty Feb. 2, flying its final flight to the Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover AFB, Del.

Lt. Colonel Jeff Brown, 2nd Airlift Squadron director of operations, flew aircraft tail number 6580 on its final mission as the aircraft commander. Col. Frank Laras, 43rd Airlift Wing vice commander, was the mission commander.

The plane arrived at Dover at about 9:30 a.m., greeted by a crowd of museum curators, base leadership and media representatives. The flight crew was honored and thanked during a ceremony shortly after landing.

Built in 1970, the Pope C-130 will become part of the museum's display honoring the air mobility contribution to the armed forces throughout American history.

According to AMC Museum Director Michael Lester, the museum has the distinction and responsibility of being the only museum dedicated to the preservation of military airlift and tanker history. "In this age of rapid global response," he said, "it is the museum's privilege to preserve the stories, memorabilia and aircraft of our predecessors and build on the future of America's airpower."

C-130s have been f1own on every continent, landed and taken off from an aircraft carrier, operated with skis, and have been used to haul every conceivable type of cargo, he said. They fly for more than a dozen foreign militaries and are still in production nearly 50 years after the first one rolled off the production line.

Nevertheless, few have the chance to end their service in a museum.

"An aircraft becomes almost like a person to those who fly it," Colonel Laras said. "Rather than shipping it off to a retirement home, it gets the chance to live with family, so to speak."

Now future generations can learn about the air mobility mission and the C-130 Hercules' contribution to that important mission, he said.