The C-130 is a four-engine, turboprop-powered, tactical airlift aircraft capable of operating from austere airfields. The U.S. Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, Marines, Air National Guard, and over 40 foreign countries operate C-130s. The 50th anniversary of the first flight of the aircraft was celebrated in 2004, and new models are still rolling off the assembly lines today. C-130s have been flown on every continent, landed and taken off from an aircraft carrier, operated with skis, and have been used to haul every conceivable type of cargo.
The C-130 on display was retired from active duty on 2 February 2004 and flew its final flight to the Air Mobility Command Museum.
The C-130 Hercules primarily performs the tactical portion of the airlift mission. The aircraft is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for air dropping troops and equipment into hostile areas. The C-130 operates throughout the U.S. Air Force, serving with Air Mobility Command (stateside based), Air Force Special Operations Command, theater commands, Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve Commands, fulfilling a wide range of operational missions in both peace and war situations. Basic and specialized versions of the aircraft airframe perform a diverse number of roles including airlift support, Antarctic ice resupply, aeromedical missions, weather reconnaissance, aerial spray missions, fire-fighting duties for the U.S. Forest Service, and natural disaster relief missions. The AC-130H/U Hercules gunships provide close air support, air interdiction, and force protection.