McGUIRE AFB, NJ -- A tactical airlift C-130 Hercules landed here early this morning winning an unprecedented
cross-country race with a strategic airlift C-141.  The Starlifter is expected in late tomorrow  following delays encountered when the aircraft toilet could not be repaired within four hours of scheduled takeoff at Peterson Field, CO and the crew was forced into a crew rest period. 

The race, run between Travis AFB, CA and McGuire AFB, NJ was dubbed the "Mission-Hacker's Marathon" and was filled with planned command-post obstacles throughout the 10-base route. 

The race required each aircraft to go through the various locations and upload/download cargo and personnel under challenging conditions.  The Starlifter's crew was contacted at Peterson Field just before entering crew rest with the toilet problem.

The C-141's aircraft commander stated "We knew it was a critical time for such a malfunction, and it probably cost us the race, but what could we do?  It just wouldn't flush."

"Please congratulate the C-130 crew for us," she added.

The Hercules had been running approximately four bases ahead of the Starlifter throughout the race due to various turns of events.  At the very first station, the C-141 crew took off two hours late when fleet service failed to bring creamer for the coffee. Forced to remain overnight at their next stop due to a runway that unfortunately closed following a C-5 landing, the Starlifter crew was thrown even further behind when they refused rooms they considered substandard. 

"The decor in that hotel was atrocious. I mean, there were green curtains with blue carpet," the aircraft commander fumed, adding that "Pretty soon, they'll expect us to
sleep in tents!" 

The nearest acceptable hotel rooms were 75 miles from the base however, and forced a late takeoff the following
day.  At one point in the race it appeared the strategic airlift crew had turned the race around when a protest filed by the crew's parent wing commander, Col Norman Schaule, was accepted by 22 AF/CC, Lt Gen Jack W. Shelton, Jr. 

"I thought it unfair that the valid delays we took should penalize us when the C-130 crew was virtually invulnerable to them," explained Col Schaule regarding the protest.  "I mean, Herk crews drink yesterday's coffee and don't even care if they sleep in a bed.  They just don't understand the philosophy of modern airlift.  You can't compete with that type of mentality," he finished.

Once the protest was accepted, the C-130 was forced to fly the remainder of the race with the ramp down, the door open and pulling deployed LAPES chutes behind the aircraft.  The C-141 began to make up ground rapidly and actually tied the Hercules on the seventh stop despite another fleet service delay (no salad dressing in the box lunches). 

The telling blow, however, came in Colorado.  The C-130
aircraft commander, 1Lt I. M. Parochial, namesake of his grandfather, was interviewed after the flight. "Shucks, I'm just glad I could win this one for granddaddy," the 125 hour aircraft commander said happily adding, "You know, we were really lucky because the same things that happened to the other crew could have happened to us.  Luckily, however, none of us had any money to buy any coffee or box lunches, 'cause we lost it all in a poker game just before the race.  I can really sympathize with their toilet problem too, because our loadmaster forgot to bring the plastic liners for the "honey bucket" and we couldn't even use ours.  As for the rooms, we brought our tents with us. Guess you could just say we got lucky on this one."



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Last updated: 01/26/07.