Lockheed C-130 Hercules # 57-0453
Displayed as # 56-0528

Fort Meade (MD)


This photo and the below information is from the press kit produced for the September 2, 1997 dedication of the display. Dwayne Allen Day sent us the press kit and other information.

The NSA has a web site with specific info on this C-130 display.

We have some of this information below, but you might want to check out their whole site.


The National Vigilance Park is dedicated to all Cold War reconnaissance crews who died in the line of duty. The Park was formally dedicated on 2 September 1997.

The Park is located at Ft. George G.Meade near the National Cryptologic Museum on the grounds of the National Security Agency.

The centerpiece of the park is a C-130 aircraft, refurbished to resemble the C-130A which was downed over Soviet Armenia on September 2, 1958. The aircraft was reclaimed from Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, refurbished, and flown to Ft. Meade MD, where it underwent additional refitting and was eventually moved to its permanent site in the National Vigilance Park.

As a backdrop to the C-130 aircraft, 18 trees have been planted, each symbolizing a type of reconnaissance aircraft lost during the Cold War (Army - 2, Navy - 4, Air Force - 16).

The park includes three memorial plaques: one listing the names of the lost crewman during the 2 September mission; one containing a dedication statement which outlines the purpose of the memorial; and the third giving a brief description of the aircraft.

It is anticipated that additional exhibits/memorials honoring the sacrifices of United States Armed Forces reconnaissance elements may be added to the park grounds in the future.

The C-130A initial production version was first flown on April 7,1955. Deliveries of this version to the U.S.A.F. began in December 1956. Contracts for 231 aircraft last to be delivered in February 1959.

DIMENSIONS                                     PERFORMANCE
Span 132 ft. 7 in. (40.25 m)                   Max. speed over 370 m.p.h. (595 k.p.h.)
Length 97 ft. 8 in. (29.78 m)                  Max. cruising speed 360 m.p.h. (580k.p.h.)
Height 38 ft. (I 1.58)                         Range with 3 8,800 lb. (7,600 kg.) payload
Weight  empty (normal) 59,800 lb. (27,125 kg)  at 335 m.p.h. (539 k.p.h.) 1,950 miles (3,138 km)                         


In honor of its 50th Anniversary, the U. S. Air Force explored the idea of establishing a memorial to those who were lost in aerial reconnaissance missions.

Candidate "mothballed" airframes were identified at the Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Center ("The Boneyard") located at Davis-Monthan A.FB, Arizona.

The selected aircraft, built in 1957, had last been used for cargo transport about six years ago.

The aircraft was restored to flying status and left Davis-Monthan on 15 May 1997. A four man flight crew from the 40-th Flight Test Squadron, Eglin AFB, Florida, piloted the aircraft.

Equipped with only a single VHF radio, a hand-held GPS unit, and three Rand McNally road maps, the crew flew under Visual Flight Rules to the Raytheon/E-Systems facilities at Greenville, Texas.

After the aircraft was stripped of old paint, the team in Greenville primed and repainted the aircraft in the paint scheme of the C-130 lost in 1958, including the tail number 60528.

Another crew from the 40th Flight Test Squadron flew the aircraft to Tipton Airfield from Texas on 22 July 1997.

The 175th Maintenance Squadron of the Maryland Air National Guard with the assistance of the 653rd Combat Logistics Support Squadron from Moody AFB, Georgia, refitted the aircraft at Tipton Airfield.

The tail and parts of the wings and engines were removed from the airframe so that it could be moved to its final destination at National Vigilance Park.

On Sunday, 3 August 1997, the aircraft was towed through Fort Meade and past Agency buildings with assistance from Fort Meade Military Police, the Maryland Department of Transportation, and numerous NSA volunteers.

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