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Effort to preserve history lands a retired C-135 tanker jet at a Kansas museum

The Museum of the Kansas National Guard, located in Topeka Kansas made a request that a retired C-135E Stratotanker, which first went into service for the Air Force during the Eisenhower administration, be rerouted from its planned final resting place at an Air Force grave yard in Arizona, to the National Guards museum on the South side of Forbes Field, in Topeka Kansas. Permission was granted and the trip will be short, as the C-135 is currently based on the North side of Forbes Field. The C-135 will be on permanent display, along with the many other military displays located at the Museum of the Kansas National Guard. The C-135 was scheduled to be moved to its final home at the museum on 08/22/2012.

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The Museum of the Kansas National Guard is open to the public from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and is open for special group appointments only on Sunday. Inside the museum are many historical displays of the Kansas National Guard. The Museum is surrounded outside with many static displays including, an M60 tank (previously-used by the Kansas Army National Guard), an 8 inch self-propelled howitzer (capable of firing Nuclear rounds), a variety of helicopters, including an OH-58 Bell Kiowa, an OH-6 Loach from the Silver Eagles (the U.S. Army’s answer to the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds), an AH-1 Cobra, the powerful CH-54 Skycrane, and various other equipment, which will now include the C-135 Stratotanker.

The C-135 Stratotanker first went into service in 1957 and is primarily used for aerial refueling of many types of aircraft. The C-135 is one of only a few military aircraft which has proven itself with over 50 years of continuous service. Due to increased maintenance cost, and other factors associated with the aging tanker it is scheduled to be replaced with the new KC-46, which is basically a Boeing 767 converted for tanker use for the military. Boeing got the Air Force contract for the new KC-46 by winning the KC-X tanker competition in 2011.

Fly Safe

Craig Smith