A historic homecoming for the final C-130 deployment


NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — Hundreds of military airmen returned home Sunday after being deployed for four months. Three C-130’s returned for the final time at the 914th airlift wing in Niagara Falls.

The military transport planes have been flying out of the Niagara Falls air base for more than 40 years.

Sunday, over one hundred men and women returned home from a mission overseas. Their mission included supplying anything the army needs by air drop or people jumping out of the back of the plane.

The C-130 aircraft will continue to fly at another base, while the Niagara Falls air base will switch to KC-135 refueling tankers.

Families and friends of the airmen waited patiently Sunday to see their loved ones.
“He hasn’t seen her since she was about a month old and I can’t wait to see her reaction to him, you know, what she’ll think of him,” said Marion Dwyer, wife of military airman.

“Nervous and excited. Ready for my second first kiss,” said Marsha Bing, wife of military airman.

As the men and women stepped off their planes for the final time, they searched the crowd for their loved one and moved quickly to embraces they’ve been missing for months.

“I’ve been thinking about this moment pretty much since I’ve been gone so it’s more than I could ever dream. It’s kind of like combining Christmas morning and all the birthdays in one,” said Capt. Steve Bichsel, airman.

“I’m just overwhelmed with joy, it’s a little surreal after being in the desert for several months so we’re just glad to be home and thankful to be home,” said Sgt. Niles Dupont, airman.

One more C-130 plane will return later this week. It got delayed due to some maintenance issues.

Officials say most of the airmen will remain at the Niagara Falls base, converting to the KC-135 tankers.

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