NEWS | Sept. 24, 2021

Last C-130H rolls down the stretch at Kentucky Air Guard

By Lt. Col. Allison Stephens 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The last C-130H aircraft assigned to the 123rd Airlift Wing departed the Kentucky Air National Guard Base here today for its new home at the Delaware Air Guard.

On site to see it off were dozens of maintainers, aircrew and a former crew chief for the aircraft, which is named after Kentucky Derby winner Exterminator.

Chief Master Sgt. Patrick Crosier was the plane’s dedicated crew chief for seven years, starting in 2001. He said its departure is bittersweet.

“I’m glad it’s going to continue flying at another unit,” he said. “It’s a fine and beautiful aircraft.”

Exterminator and seven of its stablemates are being replaced here with eight of the most modern C-130 variants, the J-model Super Hercules. The wing is expected to receive its first J-model in November.

Crosier fondly recalls training many maintenance troops on Exterminator — known informally as tail number 1233 — and eventually promoting Master Sgt. Chris Knight to be its next dedicated crew chief. For more than 13 years, Knight worked every maintenance issue associated with the plane.

“It’s a dream to get your own aircraft,” Knight said, “and this particular aircraft makes you earn it. You have to put the work in, but when it flies, it flies well.”

Throughout 29 years of service with the Kentucky Air Guard, tail number 1233 logged 9,967 hours of flight time all over the world, supporting every kind of mission from humanitarian airlift to combat resupply operations.

The plane’s current crew chief, Tech. Sgt. Ben Zeilman, has enjoyed his time working on the H-model, but he’s also looking forward to the future.

“It’s exciting to welcome a new airframe and learn how to maintain the J-model,” he said.

The Kentucky Air Guard began flying H-model aircraft in 1992. All eight of them are being transferred to the 166th Airlift Wing in New Castle, Delaware.