RENO, NV - It is often called the workhorse aircraft of the United States military. The C-130 is celebrating a special milestone this Saturday, the 60th anniversary of its first flight.
For Col. Karl Stark, who started his Air Force career 30 years ago turning wrenches on planes, the C-130 represents more than a large haul aircraft.
"Well, basically it represents America,” Stark said. “This is an aircraft that is going on 60 years old."
And in that time the C-130 has helped fight large fires in the Reno-Tahoe area along with humanitarian missions.
"The aircraft will carry people, it will carry animals, it will carry food for animals,” Stark said. “We have dropped hay before when we have had blizzards. We have done search and rescue."
The ability to get supplies to remote areas is one of the reasons the aircraft has been in use for 60 years, but part of the reason some in the U.S. military call it a workhorse is its durability.
"You got airliners out there with 50,000 hours on them and it's all in the maintenance, " said Master Sgt. Michael Ryan.
Ryan has worked on C-130's his entire 30-year career and would not have it any other way
"My reward is when I see this aircraft do the mission no matter what that is. training flights, real world, Afghanistan stuff.” said Ryan.
The Air National Guard is looking forward to celebrate its own milestone as next year will mark the 20th anniversary of when C-130s were first flown out of the Reno base.