Leavin' on a jet plane

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- It didn’t fly off into the sunset, and there weren’t any tears, but it was still a movie moment on Ramstein Air Base, Aug. 28.

Airmen in attendance witnessed the last of the 76th Airlift Squadron’s C-20H Gulfstream IV's depart Ramstein for the last time.

“Thanks for coming out to help us send off our last C-20H, tail 0300,” said Lt. Col. Derek Gallagher, 76th AS commander. “I look forward to joining all of you in offering one final salute as our crew taxis it out and departs from Ramstein for the last time.”

Gallagher went on to discuss the aircraft’s history saying, “On May 23rd, 1994, the C-20H, tail number 0300 entered service for the Air Force when Lt. Gen. Malcom B. Armstrong, the commander of the 21st Air Force, delivered it to the 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force Base.”

It wouldn’t stay there however. The European theater needed those assets, so in 2002, the Air Force Chief of Staff approved the transferring of two C-20H aircraft to the 86th AW.

“In Oct. 2008, U.S. Africa Command stood up and drove increased demand for (distinguished visitor) airlift services,” Gallagher said. “The C-20H was a natural fit for the mission set and executed operations on a regular basis to the continent of Africa while simultaneously providing DV airlift to Europe, and deploying to Afghanistan in support of the commanders of the International Security Assistance Force and Operation Resolute Support.”

Gallagher expressed his thanks and admiration to the Airmen who operated and maintained the airframe.

“Because of the hard work and dedication of both our line fliers and maintainers, you were able to successfully accomplish our airlift mission with incredible effectiveness,” he said. “…It’s all of you who enable impeccable airlift support to U.S. and foreign dignitaries, multiple combatant commanders, members of congress, and even the vice president of the United States, enabling strategic engagements to nearly every continent on the globe.”

Airmen flew tail 0300 for more than 13,000 hours across more than 4,000 missions in its work cycle here before giving it its long deserved rest. Unfortunately, duty calls and tail 0300 will soar again for its new mission, working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

As the plane taxied off to depart Germany one final time, the crowd of Airmen rendered a salute to bid their bird a fitting goodbye.