167th Airlift Wing bids farewell to its final C-5
By Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle, 167AW/PA
/ Published May 22, 2015
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The last C-5A Galaxy aircraft assigned to the 167th Airlift Wing and the Air National Guard launched from the airfield here Wednesday, into its retirement at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, otherwise known as the boneyard.
Piloted by a crew from the 337th Airlift Squadron, Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., the C-5's departure, marked the end of an era for the West Virginia Air National Guard unit.
In a small ceremony the day before, the Wing acknowledged the end of a 52 year partnership with Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of all aircraft the unit has flown since 1962 including C-121 Super Constellations, C-130 Hercules A, B, E and H models and finally the C-5 Galaxy.
The unit is in conversion to the C-17 Globemaster III, a Boeing aircraft.
"Today we pause to celebrate a sustained and successful era of iron and partnership, but it is the people who move the iron that are the most important," said Col. Shaun Perkowski, commander of the 167th Airlift Wing.
"It is vital we remember and honor where we came from as we move the wing forward," Perkowski said.
Kim Mazur, program director for Lockheed Martin, and Chuck LaFavre, Lockheed Martin Martinsburg C-5 systems engineer, presented Perkowski with a plaque thanking the men and women of the 167th Airlift Wing for their sustained support of the Lockheed Martin aircraft.
An inscription on the round metal disc read in part, "your support of the United States Air Force and the West Virginia Air National Guard while utilizing Lockheed Martin aircraft has been and will continue to be unmatched."
Unit members both current and retired attended the ceremony.
"By a show of hands, who here has worked on, flew or supported all three, the Connies, the Hercs and the Galaxies," asked Perkowski.
Several men sitting in the audience raised their hands and a round of applause ensued.
The 167th Airlift Wing operated a fleet of 11 C-5A aircraft for about nine years with the first one arriving in late 2006. Two other Air National Guard wings operated C-5 Galaxies, the 164th Airlift Wing in Memphis, Tenn., and the 105th Airlift Wing, Stewart Air National Guard Base, N.Y. Both of those wings have converted to C-17's.
In February 2012, the Air Force Structure Overview released by the Secretary of the Air Force outlined numerous aircraft changes planned for the Active, Guard and Reserve components to include the retirement of the 167th Airlift Wing's C-5A's. The unit was reassigned with eight C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.
All eleven C-5 aircraft that were assigned to the 167th Airlift Wing were retired to AMARG.
Seven of the eight aircraft have been delivered to the wing. The final C-17 is slated to arrive to the 167th Airlift Wing in July.