Team Dyess completes Linear Air Park restoration
By Airman 1st Class Kedesha Pennant, 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 19, 2015
DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- More than 120 Team Dyess volunteers completed a major restoration project of 36 aircraft June 12, finishing the refurbishment of the C-130E Hercules near the front gate at the Linear Air Park.
Originally established through the Texas Museum of Military History in 1981, the park is a two-mile-long outdoor exhibit showcasing the historic success of U.S. Air Force and Army Air Corps' use of airpower since the 1940s.
Thirty-five aircraft were refurbished, including the addition to the park of an RB-66B Destroyer and F-15A Eagle, before the 2015 Dyess Big Country Airfest in May. The C-130E was the final piece of the puzzle, making it the 36th aircraft restored and finishing the project.
"The airframes received paint scores to determine deterioration levels and corrosion analysis," said Staff Sgt. John Pater, Dyess restoration project lead. "These numbers were calculated, and it was determined by senior leadership that the park required significant refurbishment."
Contributing more than 114,000 man hours, the volunteers worked on the aircraft for seven weeks using more than 280 gallons of paint in order to complete the project. Other tasks included bird-proofing, sanding, washing and repair.
"Initial efforts from the aircraft structural maintenance section focused on repairing severely corroded fuselage skins and substructures," Pater said. "The static displays received color code matching and paint preparation work. After the airframes were fully painted, the Dyess fabrication flight created the tail number decals and nose arts required to finalize the renovations."
Throughout the long hours and varying weather conditions, Airmen were able to work cohesively to accomplish the project.
Senior Airman Brandon Bartling, Dyess restoration project assistant lead, was part of the team effort which helped refurbish the C-130E in six days and said he was excited to be a part of the base-wide restoration effort.
"We had Airmen from the 317th Airlift Group, children from the Youth Center and other volunteers contribute to restoring the C-130," Bartling said. "It's important for the aircraft to look presentable to the public because it's a significant part of history."
Each aircraft, Pater said, tells an account of Air Force history and the men and women who served from generation to generation. The restoration will allow military families, residents and tourists to continue to view and read about the distinctive stories of the aircraft, while in the best standards.
"It was an honor to work on the historic aircraft assigned to the Dyess Linear Air Park," Pater said. "The ability to restore the static displays brings a great deal of pride to me and the Airmen assigned to Dyess. Over the course of the restoration, many Airmen, including myself, were able to admire the vast amount of Air Force heritage these air frames brought to life and instilled an immense amount of tradition and valor."