C-130 Operators: A Pin Worth Thousands of Hours
In a file on Kelly Shiple’s desktop, in Marietta, Georgia, sits a document listing more than 21,000 names. These are the names of pilots and crew members who have logged a minimum of 1,000+ flight hours on a C-130.
Shiple works at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Marietta, Georgia, in the C-130 Field Service Department, where she coordinates domestic and international field assignments for employees. In between her daily tasks, she also serves as the official coordinator of the C-130 Flight Hour Service Awards, which are presented to Hercules pilots and crew members with 1,000; 2,000; 5,000; and 10,000 flight hours. These service awards include commemorative pins and personalized certificates.
“It really is incredible when you start to think about all the people the Hercules has impacted,” Shiple said. “These are just the names we have; I’m sure there are thousands out there [with 1,000 or more hours] who are undocumented.”
While Shiple works with many Hercules pilots and crew members, she rarely gets to meet them. But, she said she knows they are appreciative of the service awards because of the many “thank you” phone calls, emails and letters she receives from them.
Shiple has worked for Lockheed Martin for 23 years (fun fact: she started her career with Lockheed Martin through a college co-op program), a majority of which have been dedicated to supporting the C-130 Flight Service Awards program. Throughout this time, Shiple has not only presented awards, but also helped to preserve and salute Hercules history.
“So many of the people I talk to say they think the C-130 is the greatest thing that ever flew,” she said. “It’s great to hear from them and see the joy they experience from receiving such a simple, but significant, memento.”
If you’re a current or former C-130 operator and would like to receive an award for your flight hours, you can fill out this form and send it to Kelly Shiple, who can also be reached at +1 770-494-9189.
Oct. 23, 2014