Alan Stinar worked for 10 years as a Marine mechanic on C-130 transport planes, developing a passion for the aircraft that may not get the glory of a fighter jet but is crucial to the Marine Corps mission.
Now, with a thirst for history, he has produced a video documentary on the history of the KC-130 Hercules called “Marine Battleherks: A Legacy.”
“There isn’t one minute of this film that I haven’t touched in some way,” Stinar said of the hour-long documentary.
Stinar began his 10-year Marine Corps career in 2003. While serving with Marine Aerial Refueler Squadron 234, a unit officer asked him to produce a short history of the workhorse plane for a Marine Corps ball. Stinar had just three days to pull together the project from a wide range of sources.
“At the time, I had heard of Photoshop, but had no skills whatsoever in video editing,” Stinar said.
He got the job done, but the project only fueled his desire to do a complete history of the aircraft he so loved.
Later, while serving in Marine Aerial Refueler Squadron 252 at Cherry Point, Stinar was contacted by Marine airman Chris Helton about completing the C-130 history with the support of Silverline Productions. Helton was a C-130 loadmaster who served from 1996 to 2002.
Over the last several years, Stinar has amassed 10 terabytes of information, culling through the more than 50 years of history of the C-130 in video clips, still photographs, aircraft logbooks and other official papers.
In the documentary, Stinar doesn’t just report on the cold metal and rivets that hold the plane together. He focuses on the stories told by the men that served in the plane, telling the high points and the low points, including the tragic occasions when planes were lost in crashes.
“I want the young guys to know and to hear it from the older guys that lived the history,” Stinar said.
To tell the story, Stinar used original interviews with historic figures discussing the history of the aircraft. He managed to locate some rare footage of the odd-looking R4Q Flying Boxcar at Cherry Point, the transport aircraft that preceded the C-130.
“The Korean War showed us that our aging military aircraft would eventually become outdated for future modern warfare,” Stinar wrote. “On March 1 1961, this tight and grizzled community was finally introduced to the perfect platform, the Lockheed C-130 Hercules.”
Filling out the story meant traveling to the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, Va., and the National Archives in Washington.
Though the video has been produced, Stinar continues to live his dream of flying on the C-130. He recently was hired as a consultant for the Saudi Arabia Royal Air Force and will be working on the country’s fleet of Hercules aircraft.
The video documentary costs $15 and can be purchased by going to www.marinebattleherk.com or www.silverlinetv.com.