People and working dogs are retiring from service with a bang, but so are planes

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) – Retirement ceremonies are one of many traditions the United States Air Force has practiced over the decades.

Typically, when we think of these traditions, we think of people.

But planes are also retired with some of the same fanfare as retirement ceremonies for service members and military working dogs.

The commander of the 55th Operations Group at Offutt Air Force Base presented a brief history of the aircraft.

“She was first introduced to the Air Force as the 135 B on April 20, 1962, when she was delivered to an Airlift Wing in Travis,” Col. Derek A. Rachel said.

Since then, the aircraft has supported the nation on weather, reconnaissance and air-sampling missions.

“In 1986, the WC 135 program played a major role in tracking radioactive debris from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in the Soviet Union in 2011,” Colonel Rachel explained. “The WC was deployed to collect air samples from the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan.”

The task group commander emphasizes that the retirement ceremony is about more than the aircraft in the center of attention.

“This represents the hundreds of missions, the thousands of flight hours flown by Airmen who have flown to every corner of the globe and called home for weeks at a time and brought it home for weeks at a time. at the same time while flying alone and without fear”, exclaimed Colonel Rachel. “That’s hundreds of thousands of hours.”

The ceremony also represents memories created and missions successfully and safely completed over the years.

“We hope that in the sunny sands of Arizona, you and your tail sister WC 135 will finally find a peaceful resting place.”

The next stop for this legendary aircraft is the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Aircraft Graveyard, outside of Tucson, Arizona.

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Bette C. Alvarado