109th Airlift Wing's "Baby Herc" will march in the Holiday Parade with the wing's Airmen
SCHENECTADY, NY – (11/15/2023) (readMedia)-- The Airmen of the 109th Airlift Wing will be bringing their "Baby Herc" with them when they march in Schenectady's 54th annual Holiday Parade on Saturday, Nov. 18.
The wing's Airmen were named the Grand Marshalls of the parade to mark the wing's 75th year of operating at Stratton Air National Guard Base just outside the city in Scotia.
New York Air National Guard Col. Christian Sander, the 109th Airlift Wing Commander, will represent the wing on the reviewing stand, while Airmen will march in the parade.
A special feature will be "Baby Herc," a miniature motorized rendition of the massive LC-130 Hercules "skibirds" the wing flies to Antarctica and Greenland every year.
Baby Herc was first built by the unit in the 90s, and restored recently by the students of nearby Fulton-Montgomery Community career tech automotive class. The rebuilding was part of their auto-repair curriculum.
Baby Herc will be the centerpiece of a float that will accompany the wing's Airmen when the parade kicks off at 5 p.m.
In a letter inviting the unit to participate, chairman of the Schenectady Legislator, Anthony Jasenski Sr., said, "the legacy of the 109th Airlift Wing, built on the principles of dedication, sacrifice, and service, resonates deeply with our community's values making the 109th more than deserving of this recognition."
"Embracing the role of Grand Marshal would be a fitting tribute to this remarkable anniversary. It would provide an opportunity for our community to directly express our gratitude to the men and women who have dedicated themselves to the service of our nation," Jasenski said.
Sander said the wing's Airmen were excited about the parade.
"We are honored to be part of Schenectady's cherished holiday tradition. It provides us with a wonderful opportunity to connect with the community, educate them on the unit and its history, as well as share in the spirit of the season with our neighbors," Sander said.
The 109th Airlift Wing flies the world's largest ski-equipped aircraft, designed for polar operations. The wing's 75th birthday is the same day as the parade.
The 109th plays a crucial role in supporting scientific research in Antarctica and Greenland, as well as providing military airlift in the Arctic.
Last spring, a 109th Airlift Wing LC-130 deployed Canadian and U.S. troops onto a Canadian island north of the Arctic Circle.
A photograph of the Baby Herc float can be found here: