Airpark becoming Joint Total Force effort
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Members from the 126th Air Refueling Wing, 932nd Airlift Wing and 375th Airlift Wing, wash a C-141 Starlifter in Hangar One. The C-141 will be one of five aircraft on display at the future Scott Field Heritage Airpark. The airpark will be located just outside the Shiloh Gate, the main entrance to the base. The airpark is being built to portray the history of Scott AFB, Air Mobility Command and the airlift, air refueling and aeromedical missions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tony R. Tolley)
Airpark becoming Joint Total Force effort

by Monte Miller
375th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

7/30/2008 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.  -- The future of the Scott Field Heritage Airpark is looking brighter each day.

Excavation work has begun on the site near the Shiloh gate and the park's residents are getting a helping hand in the preparation from the 375th Airlift Wing and its flying partners that call Scott Air Force Base home.

On Monday, a crew of about 30 airmen from the 375th Airlift Wing, 126th Air Refueling Wing and the 932nd Airlift Wing donned their rain gear to help scrub down a C-141 B model that has been in residence at Mid-America Airport for some time.

The aircraft is being thoroughly washed and prepared for painting that is scheduled to take place during this month. After about six weeks, the plane should be ready for its feature spot in the airpark.

Staff Sgt. Michael Herbert, 375th Operation Support Squadron quality assurance technician/historical property custodian, said the project has taken on new life with the support of the 126th ARW and the 932nd AW.

In addition to the joint effort on the C-141, the 932nd has "adopted" the C-9 Nightingale that is to be a major feature of the airpark because of its long history of aeromedical evacuations in and out of Scott.

"Everybody's getting involved," Sergeant Herbert said. "The 932nd took on the project whole heartedly. The C-9 isn't getting scrubbed like the C-141, but they will be doing a lot of cleaning and touch-up painting."

The 126th ARW has also "adopted" a plane that will be placed in the airpark.

They are in the process of prepping a KC-135 Stratotanker at their facilities on base and will then transport it over to the airpark site when it is ready to receive aircraft.

The C-141 B-model has a very rich history.

Built in 1965, the plane played a vital role during the Vietnam War as part of the Hanoi Taxi airlifts, when it was responsible for transporting more than 300 prisoners of war.

"That plane was scheduled to be scrapped," Sergeant Herbert said. "The Air Force history office stopped it. This plane is a true piece of American history."

In early May, a six-man crew from the 653rd Combat Logistics Support Squadron from Robbins Air Force Base, Ga., was at Scott for two weeks preparing the B-model and a second C-model C-141 for their final resting-places.

The team, a specialty crew, usually works on battle damaged aircraft, travelling around the country doing the same jobs preparing planes for permanent displays in museums and airparks.

Some of the work included replacing flight controls such as ailerons and elevators. The crew also drained about 500 gallons of hydraulic fluids, engine oils and fuels.

That project was also a Joint Total Force effort with manpower and equipment being loaned from the 375th Logistics and Readiness Squadron, 375th Civil Engineer Squadron, Aerospace Ground Equipment and Mid-America Airport.

Ground was officially broken for the airpark June 13. Current plans for residents include the display of five aircraft including a C-140, KC-135, C-141 B model and a C-9 A model. A request has also been made to the Air Force for the use of a C130-E.

All of the aircraft in the airpark will remain the property of the National Museum of the Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

They will be on loan from the Air Force and the airpark committee will be responsible for their maintenance upkeep. If at any time the Air Force feels the aircraft maintenance does not meet their standards, the aircraft can be removed from their possession.

The airpark committee will also be responsible for the initial restoration of the planes. Estimates to restore the aircraft to display quality, which includes painting, bird proofing and ultra-violet protection, could range from $30,000 to $200,000 per plane.

It is still unclear whether all of the restorations will be done before the planes are put into place in the airpark or done after they are positioned. Once the planes are restored, some of the major maintenance processes will need to be repeated every three to five to seven years in addition to routine upkeep.

The goal is to have some of the planes in place in time for the Scott airshow Sept. 20 and 21.

In addition to the airpark, another C-141 C model is in the restoration process to be placed on a static display behind the Air Mobility Command commander's house near the Shiloh Gate in a static 'wheels up" display.

The aircraft, built in 1967, landed at Scott in April of 2006 from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. It boasts 22,187 flying hours 26,816 landings and 8, 125 full stops.

During the course of its service it was used a distinguished visitor and guest transport, including Bob Hope on many of his trips to entertain the troops overseas.

The Scott Field Heritage Airpark was first formulated about 25 years ago.