Oklahoma's Army National Guard retired its C-23 Sherpa aircraft Tuesday after 17 years in service in the state.
The two twin-engine turboprop supply planes were retired at a “turn-in” ceremony at the Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, military officials said.
The Sherpa is smaller than a C-130 or other supply planes in the military but can fly higher, farther and faster than most helicopters. The planes can hold up to 30 passengers in airline-style seating, or supplies on pallets.
The plane is unpressurized, meaning it usually flies below 10,000 feet but can fly higher if pilots and passengers use oxygen masks.
The Guard began flying Sherpas in April 1996. Since then, 52 guardsmen have been assigned to the detachment. The unit deployed three times to Iraq since 2005.
All Sherpas currently in service are being flown by National Guard units, but the aircraft is being replaced with newer C-27 Spartan cargo planes.