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Steady and ready: C-130 mainstay of medevac

.S. Air Force Airmen participating in a Critical Care Air Transport Team training course offload patient mannequins from a Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 Hercules at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, April 27, 2012. The Kentucky Air National Guard's 165th Airlift Squadron began providing C-130s to use as a CCATT training platform in 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

.S. Air Force Airmen participating in a Critical Care Air Transport Team training course offload patient mannequins from a Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 Hercules at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, April 27, 2012. The Kentucky Air National Guard's 165th Airlift Squadron began providing C-130s to use as a CCATT training platform in 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

U.S. Air Force Reserve Airmen with the 514th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakenhurst, New Jersey, board a C-130H Hercules prior to an aeromedical evacuation training mission, Dec. 15, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen)

U.S. Air Force Reserve Airmen with the 514th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakenhurst, New Jersey, board a C-130H Hercules prior to an aeromedical evacuation training mission, Dec. 15, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen)

A C-130 Hercules aircraft makes a final approach into Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 16, 2010, part of the relief effort that delivered critical medical personnel and supplies after the area was hit by a 7.0 earthquake. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Perry Aston)

A C-130 Hercules aircraft makes a final approach into Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 16, 2010, part of the relief effort that delivered critical medical personnel and supplies after the area was hit by a 7.0 earthquake. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Perry Aston)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 37th Training Wing and 59th Medical Wing unload hospital patients evacuating from Beaumont, Texas, September 12, 2008, in advance of Hurricane Ike making landfall. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Chris Willis)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 37th Training Wing and 59th Medical Wing unload hospital patients evacuating from Beaumont, Texas, September 12, 2008, in advance of Hurricane Ike making landfall. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Chris Willis)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron prepare to unload patients from a C-130J Super Hercules, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, May 29, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron prepare to unload patients from a C-130J Super Hercules, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, May 29, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron prepare to unload patients at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, May 29, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron prepare to unload patients at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, May 29, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez)

Members of the 379th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron prepare to load litters onto a C-130 Hercules assigned to the 746th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, June 15, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Xavier Navarro)

Members of the 379th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron prepare to load litters onto a C-130 Hercules assigned to the 746th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, June 15, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Xavier Navarro)

Then- U.S. Air Force Maj. Debora Lehker, a reserve critical care air transport team nurse, comforts a wounded Canadian army soldier aboard a C-130 Hercules during an emergency airlift from Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Feb. 14, 2010. (Courtesy photo)

Then- U.S. Air Force Maj. Debora Lehker, a reserve critical care air transport team nurse, comforts a wounded Canadian army soldier aboard a C-130 Hercules during an emergency airlift from Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Feb. 14, 2010. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Alexander Finn and Tech. Sgt. Johnny Busby, 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron technicians, transport a patient from a C-130 Hercules to an ambulance in Southwest Asia, April 19, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Amstutz)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Alexander Finn and Tech. Sgt. Johnny Busby, 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron technicians, transport a patient from a C-130 Hercules to an ambulance in Southwest Asia, April 19, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Amstutz)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Nathan Buck, 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron Critical Care Air Transport Team medical provider, watches a patient during a flight to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, May 29, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez)
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U.S. Air Force Capt. Nathan Buck, 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron Critical Care Air Transport Team medical provider, watches a patient during a flight to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, May 29, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez)

A hospital bus backs up to a C-130 Hercules aircraft to transport victims of the Pines Hotel fire to the regional medical center, Clark Air Base, Philippines, Oct. 23, 1984. (Courtesy photo)
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A hospital bus backs up to a C-130 Hercules aircraft to transport victims of the Pines Hotel fire to the regional medical center, Clark Air Base, Philippines, Oct. 23, 1984. (Courtesy photo)

Flight Nurse and Aeromedical Technician Course students care for a simulated patient during a simulated aeromedical evacuation mission aboard a C-130H mockup at the 711th Human Performance Wing’s U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Jan. 29, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by J.M. Eddins Jr.)
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Flight Nurse and Aeromedical Technician Course students care for a simulated patient during a simulated aeromedical evacuation mission aboard a C-130H mockup at the 711th Human Performance Wing’s U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Jan. 29, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by J.M. Eddins Jr.)

Archive photo of the YC-130 Hercules during its maiden flight from Burbank to Edwards Air Force Base, California, Aug. 23, 1954. The need for the C-130 came from the Air Force’s Tactical Air Command during 1951 to fill a void for medium-cargo tactical transport. The C-130 is still in production today, making it the longest running military aircraft production line in history. For much of its operational history, the C-130 and its variants have been a critical aeromedical evacuation platform for the U.S. Air Force, safely moving patients long distances and allowing AE crews to deliver care in the air. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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Archive photo of the YC-130 Hercules during its maiden flight from Burbank to Edwards Air Force Base, California, Aug. 23, 1954. The need for the C-130 came from the Air Force’s Tactical Air Command during 1951 to fill a void for medium-cargo tactical transport. The C-130 is still in production today, making it the longest running military aircraft production line in history. For much of its operational history, the C-130 and its variants have been a critical aeromedical evacuation platform for the U.S. Air Force, safely moving patients long distances and allowing AE crews to deliver care in the air. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Red Cross equipment, supplies and transportable hospitals are stockpiled into C-130 Hercules aircraft at Kitzingen Air Base, Germany, September 1970. The aircraft were flying to Jordan as part of Operation Fig Hill, providing disaster relief and medical support during civil strife. C-130 aircraft have always been able to navigate austere and, at times, hostile airfields to meet a wide variety of aeromedical evacuation missions. (Courtesy photo)
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Red Cross equipment, supplies and transportable hospitals are stockpiled into C-130 Hercules aircraft at Kitzingen Air Base, Germany, September 1970. The aircraft were flying to Jordan as part of Operation Fig Hill, providing disaster relief and medical support during civil strife. C-130 aircraft have always been able to navigate austere and, at times, hostile airfields to meet a wide variety of aeromedical evacuation missions. (Courtesy photo)

An ambulance bus from the 60th Inpatient Squadron backs up to a C-130 Hercules from Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station, Pennsylvania, during Patriot Delta at Travis Air Force Base, California, March 24, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel Phelps)
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An ambulance bus from the 60th Inpatient Squadron backs up to a C-130 Hercules from Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station, Pennsylvania, during Patriot Delta at Travis Air Force Base, California, March 24, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel Phelps)

FALLS CHURCH, Va. -- Since the Vietnam War, the C-130 Hercules has been a workhorse of aeromedical evacuation, and continues to serve as a reliable platform to move patients over long distances, allowing Airmen to provide critical care in the air, aid in disaster relief efforts, and bring warfighters home.

First entering service in 1956, the C-130 is a versatile aircraft, well suited to the aeromedical evacuation mission. Considered rugged and dependable enough for extensive operations in theater, it is capable of operating from rough and challenging runways. This helps push medical capabilities closer to the front lines. Because of the C-130’s design, it is able to quickly set aside its current mission and operate as an aeromedical evacuation platform. Not only can it be configured to carry up to 74 litter patients, it is outfitted with electrical and oxygen systems for aeromedical evacuation equipment, and is specifically designed to reduce the negative impact of altitude on patients and medical crews.

Currently, the C-130 platform is used as a tactical, intra-theater aeromedical evacuation platform and has been a mainstay of today’s aeromedical evacuation system.