Last E-Model; 429's final flight

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Greg Burnetta
  • 190th ARW Public Affairs

The last E-model KC-135 tanker belonging to the 190th Air Refueling Wing flew its last Mission as a Coyote aircraft on Monday, 8 May, 2007, performing its air refueling mission as part of a three aircraft formation. 

The crew for the flight was hand picked from amongst the few Coyotes who are dual qualified for the E-model. Most of our pilots lost their E-model qualification when they transitioned into being "R" model qualified. 

The tanker bearing tail marker 571429, known affectionately to its crew as "429," flew its last air refueling mission amongst the mixed feelings of many unit members. 

Master Sgt. Paul Owens is only the third senior crew chief "429" has had since it joined the 190th in 1978. It's two other senior crew chiefs were Master Sgt. John Harris (retired)
and Master Sgt. Earl Flowers, 190th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. 

Owens has been assigned to this aircraft for 21 years. He joined the Air Guard in 1983 and he has been assigned to "429" as a crew member ever since he was assigned as assistant crew chief in 1986. He became the senior crew chief in 2003. 

The "429" is rich in history and rich in her current and former crew members minds. She participated in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm during the first Gulf War in 1991, and is the Coyote aircraft which carried the name of Lt. Chris Taliaferro on her side in memory of him. 

She has carried international Command and General Staff College students from Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., and has participated in overseas flights to Argentina, Brazil and Chile, said Owens. 

She participated in a multinational training exercise dubbed "Bright Star" in Egypt
in 1987, he said. Some of "429's" former enlisted crew members have gone on to be pilots such as Lt. Col. Tony Smith and Capt. Steve Thomas. 

The day before the flight, Owens said the last flight of the "429" will be a bittersweet moment for him. "Basically it's the only jet I've ever been assigned to full time - it will be hard to say good-bye to the old girl." 

On 8 May, "429" flew into the sunlight and onto the pages of history.