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Wing to Bid Farewell to Legacy Combat Rescue Aircraft

HC-130 King

Fireworks explode in the background, marking the conclusion of the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 29. (courtesy photo)

Air Force Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 39th Rescue Squadron out of Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Florida fly past show center at Miami Beach aboard an HC-130- P/N “King” aircraft on May 26th, 2018 during the 2nd annual Salute to American Heroes Air and Sea Show. This two-day event showcases military fighter jets and other aircraft and equipment from all branches of the United States military in observance of Memorial Day, honoring servicemembers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi)

Air Force Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 39th Rescue Squadron out of Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Florida fly past show center at Miami Beach aboard an HC-130- P/N “King” aircraft on May 26th, 2018 during the 2nd annual Salute to American Heroes Air and Sea Show. This two-day event showcases military fighter jets and other aircraft and equipment from all branches of the United States military in observance of Memorial Day, honoring servicemembers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi)

Hurricane Harvey

Master Sgt. Mark Victor, 39th Rescue Squadron instructor loadmaster, talks to aircrew members onboard a HH-60 Pave Hawk from the 106th Rescue Wing, while they receive in-flight fuel during a sortie in support of Hurricane Harvey relief efforts over Texas, Aug. 30, 2017. Hurricane Harvey formed in the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in southeastern Texas, bringing record flooding and destruction to the region. U.S. military assets supported FEMA as well as state and local authorities in rescue and relief efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Keith James)

Air Force Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing demonstrate an aerial refuling with an HC-130- P/N “King” aircraft and two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters at Miami Beach on May 26th, 2018, during the 2nd annual Salute to American Heroes Air and Sea Show. This two-day event showcases military fighter jets and other aircraft and equipment from all branches of the United States military in observance of Memorial Day, honoring servicemembers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi)

Air Force Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing demonstrate an aerial refuling with an HC-130- P/N “King” aircraft and two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters at Miami Beach on May 26th, 2018, during the 2nd annual Salute to American Heroes Air and Sea Show. This two-day event showcases military fighter jets and other aircraft and equipment from all branches of the United States military in observance of Memorial Day, honoring servicemembers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi)

Air Force Reserve  Maj. Chris Ferrara, 39th Rescue Squadron pilot from Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Florida, performs a preflight inspection of an HC-130- P/N “King” on May 25th, 2018, at Miami, before a practice run for the 2nd annual Salute to American Heroes Air and Sea Show. This two-day event showcases military fighter jets and other aircraft and equipment from all branches of the United States military in observance of Memorial Day, honoring servicemembers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi)

Air Force Reserve Maj. Chris Ferrara, 39th Rescue Squadron pilot from Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Florida, performs a preflight inspection of an HC-130- P/N “King” on May 25th, 2018, at Miami, before a practice run for the 2nd annual Salute to American Heroes Air and Sea Show. This two-day event showcases military fighter jets and other aircraft and equipment from all branches of the United States military in observance of Memorial Day, honoring servicemembers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi)

Local media can be seen on the ramp of an HC-130 P/N King refueling aircraft from the cockpit off an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter. Rescue Reservists from the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., performed a mid-air refuel as well as a combat-search-and-rescue demonstration during the Cocoa Beach Air Show Sept. 22-23. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Peter Dean)

Local media can be seen on the ramp of an HC-130 P/N King refueling aircraft from the cockpit off an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter. Rescue Reservists from the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., performed a mid-air refuel as well as a combat-search-and-rescue demonstration during the Cocoa Beach Air Show Sept. 22-23. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Peter Dean)

Rescue Airmen assist with Hurricane Harvey relief effort

Rich Moore, 920th Rescue Wing HC-130N copilot, conducts helicopter air-t-air refueling missions as as part of the wing’s Hurricane Harvey relief efforts Sept. 1, 2017 near Beaumont, Texas. Roughly 90 Airmen with the 920th RQW deployed to Texas along with three HH-60 Pave Hawks and two HC-130N Kings in support of Air Force Northern’s search and rescue mission for FEMA disaster relief efforts. (U.S. AIr Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lindsey Maurice)

Air Force Reserve Staff Sergeant Raphael Tavernier with the 39th Rescue Squadron out of Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Florida, walks away from an HC-130- P/N “King” on May 25th, 2018, at Miami, after a practice run for the 2nd annual Salute to American Heroes Air and Sea Show over Miami Beach, Florida. This two-day event showcases military fighter jets and other aircraft and equipment from all branches of the United States military in observance of Memorial Day, honoring servicemembers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi)

Air Force Reserve Staff Sergeant Raphael Tavernier with the 39th Rescue Squadron out of Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Florida, walks away from an HC-130- P/N “King” on May 25th, 2018, at Miami, after a practice run for the 2nd annual Salute to American Heroes Air and Sea Show over Miami Beach, Florida. This two-day event showcases military fighter jets and other aircraft and equipment from all branches of the United States military in observance of Memorial Day, honoring servicemembers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi)

Air Force Reserve Senior Airman Austin Schwier, with the 39th Rescue Squadron out of Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Florida, waits for the rain to clear aboard an HC-130- P/N “King” on May 25th, 2018, at Miami, before a practice run for the 2nd annual Salute to American Heroes Air and Sea Show. This two-day event showcases military fighter jets and other aircraft and equipment from all branches of the United States military in observance of Memorial Day, honoring servicemembers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi)

Air Force Reserve Senior Airman Austin Schwier, with the 39th Rescue Squadron out of Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Florida, waits for the rain to clear aboard an HC-130- P/N “King” on May 25th, 2018, at Miami, before a practice run for the 2nd annual Salute to American Heroes Air and Sea Show. This two-day event showcases military fighter jets and other aircraft and equipment from all branches of the United States military in observance of Memorial Day, honoring servicemembers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi)

Air Force Reserve Senior Airman  Spencer Kalapp, crew chief, 720th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron from Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Florida, cleans the windshields of an HC-130- P/N “King” on May 25th, 2018, at Miami, before a practice run for the 2nd annual Salute to American Heroes Air and Sea Show. This two-day event showcases military fighter jets and other aircraft and equipment from all branches of the United States military in observance of Memorial Day, honoring servicemembers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi)
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Air Force Reserve Senior Airman  Spencer Kalapp, crew chief, 720th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron from Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Florida, cleans the windshields of an HC-130- P/N “King” on May 25th, 2018, at Miami, before a practice run for the 2nd annual Salute to American Heroes Air and Sea Show. This two-day event showcases military fighter jets and other aircraft and equipment from all branches of the United States military in observance of Memorial Day, honoring servicemembers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi)

920th Rescue Wing long-range, open-water rescue
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Master Sgt. Bob Kurzen, 39th Rescue Squadron HC-130P/N King loadmaster, prepares to drop the Guardian Angel team's zodiac inflatable boat and equipment out of the back of the HC-130 during the long-range, open-water rescue of two German sailors stranded at sea approximately 500 miles off the coast of Florida July 7, 2017. The mission, which involved more than 30 hours of collective flying between the unit’s HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters and HC-130N Kings, eight air refuelings transferring 16,600 pounds of fuel, a precisely executed open-ocean rescue insertion, and a highly technical nighttime shipboard patient exfil resulting in two lives saved, led to it being deemed the 2017 Jolly Green Association Rescue Mission of the Year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark Borosch)

Hurricane Harvey
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Master Sgt. Mark Victor, 39th Rescue Squadron instructor loadmaster, talks to aircrew members onboard a HH-60 Pave Hawk from the 106th Rescue Wing, while they receive in-flight fuel during a sortie in support of Hurricane Harvey relief efforts over Texas, Aug. 30, 2017. Hurricane Harvey formed in the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in southeastern Texas, bringing record flooding and destruction to the region. U.S. military assets supported FEMA as well as state and local authorities in rescue and relief efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Keith James)

Senior Airman Liam Miner, 720th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief, stands by ready to marshall King 52, the first HC-130 configured for Air Force rescue, down the Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, taxiway for the last time March 6, 2017. King 52 will retire at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, with more than 50 years of service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lindsey Maurice)
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Senior Airman Liam Miner, 720th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief, stands by ready to marshall King 52, the first HC-130 configured for Air Force rescue, down the Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, taxiway for the last time March 6, 2017. King 52 will retire at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, with more than 50 years of service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Lindsey Maurice)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.- Members of the local media sit on the HC-130P/N King aircraft ramp and enjoy the breeze and above Cocoa Beach. Local media covered the 920th Rescue Wing's Cocoa Beach Air Show demo Nov. 4. Pararescuemen performed free-fall jumps from the back of a HC-130. Pararescuemen and other 920th RQW assists, including the HC-130 and HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter, will be participating in the air show. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Cathleen Snow)
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PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.- Members of the local media sit on the HC-130P/N King aircraft ramp and enjoy the breeze and above Cocoa Beach. Local media covered the 920th Rescue Wing's Cocoa Beach Air Show demo Nov. 4. Pararescuemen performed free-fall jumps from the back of a HC-130. Pararescuemen and other 920th RQW assists, including the HC-130 and HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter, will be participating in the air show. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Cathleen Snow)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Florida --

The 920th Rescue Wing is celebrating the legacy of its HC-130P/N combat-rescue fleet  as the wing expects to receive a replacement fleet of HC-130J in the Spring of 2020.

This new airframe, HC-130J, will not only replace the legacy HC-130 fleet but with its arrival also comes the elimination of two aviation career fields: Flight Engineer and Airborne Mission Systems Specialist.

“This is the first time in my Air Force career that I’m switching jobs,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jesus Ulloa, 39th Rescue Squadron Airborne Mission Systems Specialist. “We’re losing quite a few crew members with the new J model, so the job will be a little more demanding on the rest of us.”

To pay homage to the retiring fleet, the wing will be hosting an HC-130 Combat-Rescue Aircraft Retirement Event with several generations of aviators from around the world attending Nov. 1 through Nov. 3, 2019. This event will provide an opportunity for past and present Air Force members associated with the HC-130 fixed-wing rescue mission to take part in a meet and greet social, aircraft static display, aerial demonstrations and other family-oriented activities.

“Just like with any old car, it’s sad to see the old classic go away,” said Senior Master Sgt. Michael Decker, 39th RQS Flight Engineer.

First flown in 1964, HC-130P/N fleet have been deployed to Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey in support of operations Southern and Northern Watch, Allied Force, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. HC-130s also supported continuous alert commitments in Alaska and the Horn of Africa.

Master Sgt. Mark Victor, 39th RQS loadmaster, further elaborated that this 55-year old fleet has also been involved in Vietnam, Granada and Desert Storm.

According to Stephanie Stinn, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics communications, the new HC-130J outperforms older C-130s in combat operations by at least a 2:1 margin and demonstrate reliability that far exceeds most other military aircraft with average mission capable rates routinely in the 80 to 90 percent range.

The HC-130J is a result of the HC/MC-130 recapitalization program and replaces Air Combat Command's aging HC-130P/N fleet as the dedicated fixed-wing personnel recovery platform in the Air Force inventory. It’s a four-engine turboprop tactical transport aircraft with hose and drogue aerial refueling, airdrop, and command and control capabilities. Modifications include the ability to receive fuel in-flight, a nose-mounted electro-optical/infrared sensor and a combat systems operator flight deck station. The HC/MC-130J brings additional countermeasure dispensers, high-altitude ramp and door hydraulics, an additional (fourth) flight deck crew member station, crash-worthy loadmaster scanner-position seats, provisions for Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures and more.

Because the J model brings so many changes, nearly every member in the 39th RQS will undergo either a transition education course or initial qualification course before they’ll be fully qualified to fly the new J model. These courses take five to 10 months to complete, depending on which one the member requires.

“Seven initial cadre aircrew are attending initial training at Little Rock AFB to augment training at Kirtland AFB,” said Lt. Col. Ellis Garner, 39th RQS commander. “The first aircrew will complete mission qualification in Feb. 2020.”

Currently, there are over 15 aviators in training and the 39th is expecting to send another 10 between November and February.

The first Air Force HC-130J Combat King II was delivered in Sept. 2011 to the 79th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona.

The aircraft will serve the many roles and missions of the HC-130P/Ns. The aircraft is designed to conduct personnel recovery missions, provide a command and control platform, in-flight-refuel helicopters and carry supplemental fuel for extending range or air refueling.