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Scott AFB Throws Retirement Party for C9's

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The C-9 Nightingale (KWMU photo)

By Tom Weber, KWMU

Scott Air Force Base, Ill. – Even though Congress has approved funding to keep the C9 military airplane at Scott Air Force base, officials there held a retirement party for the plane Tuesday.

The ceremony highlighted a changing of the guard. The base's active duty military wing, the 375th Airlift, has long been in charge of the C-9.

But the money that passed Congress is only for the Reserve unit, the 932nd. That means active duty military won't deal with the plane, which is why active duty units like the 375th Maintenance Crew are now inactive.

But Col. Scotty Lewis says the 375th will still make medical evacuations, even without the C-9. "We're still going to transport all those men and women that you've seen on the news recently, but we'll use other air mobility aircraft to do it," Lewis said.

Even with its new life as a Reserves' plane, the C-9 is too old and loud to have much of a future. Officials are now working to replace it, perhaps with the newer C-40.

The money for the planes is for the federal fiscal year that starts today (Oct. 1). It only funds three planes to be used by the 932nd. Nine of the planes that were housed at Scott will be flown to Davis Monthan Airforce Base in Arizona. A field there known as the "boneyard" houses inactive aircraft.

Col. Lewis also notes that even though the money is only for the reserves, the base won't lose that many active duty personnel.

"We've recognized that this was eventually coming down the pipe. Most of our young men and women already have assignments," He said. "We're talking maybe in the neighborhood of two dozen. The rest of the folks will still continue to stay right here."

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