• Published
  • By Senior Airman Michael Jones
  • 723d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
It's a time honored tradition to name our aircrafts, and some legends state bestowing a name will bring a long and prosperous life. I wasn't there when Christine, HC-130P Combat King 65-0983, was given her name, but I was the last Crew Chief to watch over her.

Since arrival at Moody AFB in 2001, Christine has been an unwavering beacon of freedom and justice. In the past 13 years, this aircraft has successfully completed countless numbers of Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) missions ranging from Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, Korea, Australia, Europe and even our American homeland.

There have been many firsts in my professional career to where Christine was at the center of it.

My first TDY, I took Christine to Osan Air Base, Korea, where we traveled the entire Pacific theater. It was also the plane that guided me on my first Deployment in Afghanistan. Not to mention it was the first plane I earned my Dedicated Crew Chief (DCC) title with.

There were moments where she challenged my resolve as a DCC.

While deployed, I chased Christine's aliments, or discrepancies, for three weeks, preventing her from flying. We were losing hope on a repair after completing fault isolation checklist, changing every part remotely associated, and still coming up empty. During this time, among other proud DCCs, there was a lot of negative banter about Christine. I did my best to ignore the verbal jabs but something had to be done. I can remember my last chance to troubleshoot, before supervision was going to send a Maintenance Recovery Team (MRT) to help me fix my plane.

I walked out onto the desert pavement kissing her on the nose hoping to find that needle in the haystack. The troubleshooting began as it had in past times, elusive. But then I just so happened to be sitting in the flight deck when one phase of power kicked off but the system remained operational. The needle in the haystack was a corroded wire in a circuit breaker. The MRT was called off, DCCs patted me on the back, and she was scheduled to pick up the next day's mission.

Christine taught me the fruits of perseverance.

From that day forward I learned that aircraft need love and attention, too. A motivated and resilient crew keeps good planes great, and negative attitude leads to poor results.

On June 6, 2014, I gave Christine one last kiss on the nose and thanked her for the 49 years of dedicated service, lessons she taught me and the tremendous support to the CSAR community. She now rests at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., also known as "the bone yard", along with other retired military and civilian aircraft.