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Herk History

The Fort Worth Meacham Airport was Herk Heaven for a short time this week! The first photo is of RANGR49, a @usmarinecorps KC-130J departing for its home base at the neighboring NAS JRB Fort Worth. About an hour later, the much smokier N120TG, a C-130A operated by International Air Response fired up its four Allison T56 turboprops before departing for Coolidge, AZ.

I believe that N120TG is the second oldest operating Hercules in the world considering it first flew only 10 years after the end of World War II! It also boasts an incredible history. It was originally delivered to the US Air Force in 1955 as 55-0008. In 1972, 55-0008 was one of 32 ex-US Air Force C-130As that were given to the South Vietnam Air Force (RNVAF) as part of Project Enhance Plus. They flew sorties out of Tan Son Nhut Air Base near Saigon but in 1975, the base came under intense aerial bombardment by North Vietnamese forces including some defecting RNVAF pilots. 55-0008 was one of 15 C-130As that managed to escape Tan Son Nhut Air Base and fly to U-Tapao Military Airfield in Thailand.

The fact that it's still earning its keep in 2022 is a true testament to the sheer brilliance and longevity of the Hercules. There are approximately 49 years between these two airframes and it wouldn't remotely surprise me if they were still operating for another 50!

📷 @zfwaviation


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