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Retirees pay final respect to aircraft 1391

The original  aircrew  members who delivered the factory fresh airplane to the 139th AW in 1987 were passengers on the flight  to transfer it  to the 189th AW, Little Rock, AR.  Pictured are (Ret.), Chief Master Sgt. Gary McIntosh, Senior Master Sgt. Denny Howe, Col. Ken Gabriel, Senior Master Sgt. Lloyd Nauman, and Col. Carl Frikins. Although Senior Master Sgt Denny Howe was not the crew chief of 1391 when it arrived at Rosecrans he was instrumental in refurbishing it after the flood of 1993.  Ret. Col. Bob Agee and original crew chief Master Sgt. Joe Martinowsky were unable to take the flight but where part of the original crew. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Barb Denny/Released)

The original aircrew members who delivered the factory fresh airplane to the 139th AW in 1987 were passengers on the flight to transfer it to the 189th AW, Little Rock, AR. Pictured are (Ret.), Chief Master Sgt. Gary McIntosh, Senior Master Sgt. Denny Howe, Col. Ken Gabriel, Senior Master Sgt. Lloyd Nauman, and Col. Carl Frikins. Although Senior Master Sgt Denny Howe was not the crew chief of 1391 when it arrived at Rosecrans he was instrumental in refurbishing it after the flood of 1993. Ret. Col. Bob Agee and original crew chief Master Sgt. Joe Martinowsky were unable to take the flight but where part of the original crew. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Barb Denny/Released)

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- An original C-130 aircraft took flight off the runway for the last time on Monday after 23 years with the 139th Airlift Wing.

"We brought it in, we'll take it back out," said retired Senior Master Sgt. Lloyd Nauman.
Nauman was one of five original crew members, and two maintenance crew chiefs, who helped fly the plane into Rosecrans Memorial Airport in March 1987. He, along with Col. Kenneth Gabriel, Chief Master Sgt. Gary McIntosh, Col. Carl Firkins and Senior Master Sgt. Dennis Howe, took off with the aircraft for its final flight out of St. Joseph.

"I crewed that plane for so many years," said Howe. "You take pride in it. You want to keep it nice. It's a plane you've flown all over the world with."

The C-130 made trips to Desert Storm, Bosnia, South America, Southwest Asia and Korea. It was also the only plane that survived the big flood of 1993. While the other planes were flown to safety, it was left in the hanger. Howe said the plane was fully emerged with water, turning it into more of a submarine.

"It took me and several others only four months to bring it back to life," said Howe. "The government said it would take years and cost millions of dollars to fix. We fixed it for under a million and got it to fly again."

Over the years, the plane carried many important passengers including former Governor John Ashcroft and former state representative Mike Humphreys. After flying all of those years, all of the men agree that every time they took off, they knew the plane would always bring them back home.

"In the Guard, we always knew where we are coming home to," said Nauman. "We always came home."

The C-130 is being handed over to the 189th Airlift Wing, a unit of the Arkansas Air National Guard. It, along with the other C-130's at Rosecrans, are being replaced with newer models.