An old Air Force C-130D returned to Dyess AFB Thursday to serve as the centerpiece for the third annual reunion of the 17th Troop Carrier Squadron which once was assigned here. The "visitor" is a ski-equipped C-130 Hercules transport which today belongs to the 109th TAG of the New York Air National Guard. It was one of those assigned to Dyess in the early 1960s, then later served in Alaska prior to being transferred to the Air Guard unit.

The plane with its 5,000 pounds of skis will be on display at Dyess today and will be here until Sunday. With the ski landing gear extended, the aircraft can land on snow or ice. For normal runway landings, the skis are retracted above the regular gear.

While assigned to Dyess, the 17th Troop Carrier Squadron operated the ski planes from Abilene to the Arctic. The Air Guard's 109th has the mission of resupplying DEW Line sites in Greenland, said Maj. Graham Pritchard, pilot and full-time National Guard technician.

There are five remaining "skibirds" which operate from April to November out of Sondrestrom Air Force Base, Greenland. National Guard crews and maintenance personnel are rotated weekly, Pritchard said.

The 17th TCS reunion activities will include a barbecue Friday night at the Veterans of Foreign Wars building, and a dinner Saturday night at Briarstone Major. The New York crew will be guests for reunion activities. Lt. Col. Ron Harrington is aircraft commander. Other crew members are Master Sgt. Bill Pickney, flight engineer, and Senior Master Sgt. Dave Getty, loadmaster.

Abilene Reporter-News
June 15, 1984