Six Missions that Prove the C-130 Hercules Has the Biggest Heart

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The C-130 Hercules is an aircraft with a heart the size of its cargo compartment. The rugged and dependable Hercules is known for its willingness to help, whether it’s putting out a forest fire or delivering Christmas gifts to children in remote areas around the world.

Here’s the proof:

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1. Relief Missions: Often seen as the first aircraft “in,” the Hercules is able to touch down in austere landing zones before any other transport to provide humanitarian relief after natural disasters. Recently, the C-130 played a major role in the Philippines humanitarian and disaster relief efforts after Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, as C-130 crews from more than ten nations airdropped supplies to remote locations and transported survivors to safety. (Photo Credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Capt. Caleb Eames)

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2. Aeromedical Operations: In support of aeromedical evacuation operations, the C-130 is able to function as an airborne emergency room, providing medical teams with supplies and equipment such as oxygen lines to treat the critically wounded. The Hercules can provide medevac support during an evacuation, transporting up to 97 injured on specially designed multi-level-litters. (Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Raymond A. Estes/Released)

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3. Firefighter: The C-130 also lends a hand when it comes to extinguishing forest fires. As an aerial firefighter, the Modular Airborne Firefighting System (MAFFS) installed in the Hercules can drop up to 3,000 gallons of fire retardant or water in just five seconds. C-130 crews are able to fly over rugged mountainous terrain at low speeds to zoom in on targeted hot spots and drop fire retardant to assist firefighters below. (Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin)

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4. Hurricane Hunter:  Hercules crews also hunt hurricanes. By making repeated trips straight through the eye of a storm, the WC-130 crew is able to measure wind speed and barometric pressure, offering critical predictive data about the severity and direction of tropical storms. The data collected by the Hurricane Hunter crews increase the accuracy of the National Hurricane Center’s forecasts by 30 percent. (Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin)

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5. Delivering Supplies: The C-130 also plays nice on snow and ice. Equipped with Teflon-coated skis, the durable aircraft is able to safely deliver supplies deep into Antarctica or far north to the Greenland ice cap. (Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin/John Rossino)

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6. Santa Claus: C-130 crews often double as toy deliverers during the holiday. Crews around the world fly C-130s to remote areas in Alaska and the South Pacific Islands to deliver or even airdrop Christmas gifts for needy children. Every year, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army also partner with international allies at Fort Bragg, N.C., to participate in Operation Toy Drop. Operation Toy Drop is the world's largest combined airborne operation featuring paratroopers earning their international jump wings by parachuting from the back of a Hercules. The mission focuses on collecting and delivering Christmas gifts for local children. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo/Timothy Hale)

Special Santa Bonus:

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Santa's Reindeer: Did you know Santa has more than eight reindeer? And, there is one imparticular that looks less like Rudolph and more like the iconic C-130 Hercules affectionately known as “Fat Albert.” Fat Albert is the C-130 support aircraft operated by the U.S. Navy Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels. Manned by the U.S. Marine Corps crew, Fat Albert often acts as one of Santa's reindeer during the holiday seasons, delivering gifts to needy children in support of Toys for Tots. Learn more. (Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin)

February 14, 2014

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highlights
  • The C-130 Hercules is an aircraft with a heart the size of its cargo compartment.
  • The rugged and dependable Hercules is known for its willingness to help, whether it’s putting out a forest fire or delivering Christmas gifts to children in remote areas around the world.