MC-130 Navigator Reaches 5,000 Flight Hours

Lt. Col. Robert Starnes, a navigator with the 15th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla., has eclipsed 5,000 total flight hours in the MC-130H Combat Talon II, establishing a new record for the aircraft type. “I set this goal 10 years ago and it finally came to fruition with the help of men and women of the 15th SOS,” said Starnes after his record-setting flight on Sept. 27. He added, “I feel a sense of accomplishment.” Starnes’ most poignant memory is flying aid to victims in Thailand and Indonesia, following the devastating tsunami in 2004. “Helping people in disasters will always be a memory I cherish,” he reflected. After 23 years of flying, Starnes is due to retire in December. (Hurlburt report by SSgt. Sarah Martinez.)