And then there were none, the final C-5A departs Westover ARB for retirement

  • Published
  • By Airman Hanna Smith
  • 439th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

A dreary, overcast morning gave way to patches of blue sky as the loud, lumbering, giant C-5A Galaxy 70-0461 taxied onto the runway.

September 7, 2017, is a day to go down in Air Force history. It marks the departure of Westover Air Reserve Base’s and the Air Force’s final C-5A Galaxy to the boneyard in Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, where it is set to retire.

Since the late 1980s, the shrill whine of the C-5 engines have been commonplace over Western Massachusetts. But since the modification of the fleet’s C-5 B-models to M-models, making the engines more efficient and noticeably quieter, the whine will no longer be heard after C-5A 0461’s departure.

0461’s original destination was supposed to be the Air Force museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. But the museum was unable to support the aircraft, so it was re-routed to the boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB. The boneyard is a portion of Davis-Monthan AFB that is dedicated to the storage of former operational Air Force aircraft.

This aircraft’s last few weeks were quite eventful.

Some of the events included the stand-down on of the fleet due to mechanical issues in the nose-gear; dwarfed hundreds of visitors at the 2017 Westfield International Air Show held at Barnes Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts, supported a ‘Babylift crash’ survivor visit and, now a swan song into the wild blue yonder into the ‘boneyard ’at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, where it retires after many long years of serving our country transporting cargo all over the globe.

One of the 439th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron’s crew chiefs had special ties to 0461.

“0461 was the first C-5 I was assigned to when I entered the Air Force in 1999,” said Tech. Sgt. Chris Boutin, a C-5 crew chief assigned to the 439th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “I was glad to see it off and that it took off safely.”

With a height of over 65 feet, a wingspan of over 222 feet and a length of over 247 feet, this manmade marvel of an aircraft transported seemingly countless tons of cargo all over the world for the Air Force with pride and honor.

This is truly the end of an era for not only Westover, but the Air Force’s strategic airlift fleet as a whole.