Delaware Air National Guard aircraft is last training flight into Willow Grove Naval Air Station, Pennsylvania

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Yesterday afternoon a C-130 transport aircraft of the 166th Airlift Wing, Delaware Air National Guard, based in New Castle, Del. completed the last aircraft training flight into the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove in Horsham Township, Pa.

The Willow Grove airfield is now closed, and no further air traffic will occur as the local community decides how to redevelop the property after a 2005 Department of Defense Base Realignment and Closure decision that resulted in the closure of that military facility, originally built in 1943. One or more ceremonial last flights will occur today, March 30, as military personnel mark the end of the airfield's operation. The Navy is scheduled to officially leave this September. Today, March 30, the Willow Grove NAS JRB holds a Base Disestablishment Ceremony.

Aircrew on the Delaware Air Guard C-130 proficiency training flight completed several touch and go approaches onto the airfield mid-afternoon yesterday. The seven-person aircrew included two former members of the Willow Grove Air Force Reserve 913th Airlift Wing C-130 unit who are now members of the 166th Airlift Wing in New Castle, Del. They are navigators Lt. Col. Lawrence C. Weisman, a resident of Beslys Point, N.J., and Lt. Col. William T. Thorpe, a resident of Springfield, Pa.

Colonel Jonathan H. Groff, commander of the 166th Airlift Wing and a resident of Downingtown, Pa., was aboard as a pilot. "It was a very memorable flight because two of our aircrew have called the Willow Grove airport home, and each of us are familiar with the airport having gone there many times as kids to the Willow Grove air shows. So this was a sentimental flight to a well-known location that meant a lot to each of us."

Over 100 members of the former Air Force Reserve 913th Airlift Wing based at Willow Grove joined the Delaware Air National Guard when their Air Force Reserve unit was shut down several years ago.

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Delaware Air National Guard: Celebrating 65 years of Citizen-Airman service to our state and nation, 1946-2011.

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