June 2, 2005 - Lockheed C-141C 65-0248 was the final example to pass through programmed depot maintenance (PDM) at Robins AFB, GA. and as a result it
is hoped that it can be preserved in the Museum of Aviation which is located at the base. Before it's retirement to AMARC from March ARB, CA. 65-0248
was requested from the Air Force by the people at Robins but by the time the request had been processed the aircraft had arrived in Tucson.
It is hoped that very shortly 65-0248 will be airborne once again and on it's flight to it's permanent resting place at the Robins AFB museum.
The following press release provides the recent background to 65-0248 before it was retired to AMARC and explains why it has been selected
for preservation at the Museum of Aviation.
65-0248 left AMARC for Robins AFB at 0850 on June 3, 2005 and is now confirmed at Robins AFB. This is one C-141 which will be well cared for and will
survive for many years to come in the care of the Museum of Aviation.
Robins C-141 maintenance era ends
By Lanorris Askew
Warner Robins Air Logistics Center Public Affairs
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AMCNS) - Thirty years of C-141 Starlifter programmed depot maintenance ended here Oct. 16 as the final aircraft left the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center headed for retirement in 2006.
Ending the Starlifter depot maintenance era comes now because the work is scheduled on a five-year rotation, ALC experts said. Since the fleet, affectionately known as the Air Force's workhorse, is scheduled to be retired three years from now, no further depot maintenance will be required.
Air Mobility Command officials said no active-duty C-141s will be sent to the Guard or Reserve. Once retired, the aircraft will go straight to the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center, commonly known as the boneyard, at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.
The final aircraft, tail number 65-0248, flew to March Air Reserve Base, Calif., one of four Air Force installations where C-141 Starlifters still call home. Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, McGuire AFB, N.J., and Memphis Air National Guard Base, Tenn., round out the list.
The C-141 prototype made its maiden flight Dec. 17, 1963 at Dobbins AFB, Ga., and the first C-141 underwent maintenance at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center soon after that. Since then, 284 aircraft made 1,800 trips through the programmed depot maintenance line here.
During a farewell ceremony packed with bittersweet moments, Maj. Gen. Don Wetekam, center commander, said how proud he is of what the C-141 workers have done this year. "A lot of people around the Air Force had given up on the C-141 PDM program," he said. "Two years ago we produced 17 percent of our aircraft on time. That was it. Everything else was late, and people had kinda given up. But you - all on your own initiative - reorganized in a sense, picked up the pieces and really brought this program back to life in the last year."
Going from 17 percent of on-time aircraft to 64 percent on time, General Wetekam expressed his joy at seeing the turnaround. "Two thirds of the aircraft were on time or early - something that had not happened in years," he said. "What you all did here was magnificent, and I, for one - along with many other people around our Air Force - very much appreciate it."
Also saluting the work force for what he termed a job well done, Brig. Gen. Robert Lytle, Air Force Reserve Command assistant vice commander, tried to ease the minds of those who are handing over their pride and joy to another unit.
He said the aircraft is being turned over to people who care about it just as much as Robins, people who have been working on the aircraft since it rolled off the assembly line the mid '60s.
"A lot of them will receive it and take care of it just like you did," he said. "They care about it. They love it; their personality and life are wrapped up in that iron whether they are the aviator, the maintainer or the supply technician."
"We will take care of your aircraft," he said. "It is an honor. We will work it hard. We have many missions ahead of us over the next two to three years, and we will do them proudly and fly the aircraft with the pride that you would want it flown in." Amid final goodbyes, photographs and speeches, a few of the people who know the C-141 best shared their thoughts on seeing it leave.
"It has been a fantastic journey," said James Latimore, C-141 support section chief. "I feel great about all we have been able to accomplish on the C-141, but sad to see it go." Joel Culpepper, C-141 deputy support section chief with 37 years in the C-141, shared the emotion. "It has been a great career working on the aircraft," he said. "It has made a good living for my family and me."
Col. Frank Bruno, center strategic airlift director, said while the ceremony is meant to celebrate the aircraft's achievements, perhaps more importantly it's to pay tribute to the men and women who have flown, fixed and supported it through the years.
"The entire ALC can take immense pride in what has been accomplished during the past 35 years," he said. "Together we've supported the Starlifter and kept her a credible threat to aggression against America."
Helping to put what the support of ALC has done for the Starlifter into perspective, Jim Culpepper, center maintenance director, said 40 million man-hours have been put into the C-141 - the equivalent of rebuilding the entire 284-aircraft fleet four times over.
"That's what maintenance brings to the warfighter every day, he said.
Lt. Col. J. C. Clemons, who piloted the aircraft to March, said he feels a sense of pride sitting at the helm on the final flight out.
"It's a great accomplishment to fly the last Starlifter from Robins, but it's also a sad day," he said. "We can only find comfort in the fact that for the next couple of years we can on occasion, look up and see a C-141 flying overhead still supporting the war fighter in an aircraft that we produced here. That's what the depot mission is all about."
Although logistics support employees will continue to work with the C-141 until its final retirement, many have already been absorbed into different aircraft PDM lines, including the C-17.