The USAF is investigating a C-130 Hercules belonging to the 403rd Wing's 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, based in Mississippi, that was spotted picking up a motorcycle in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusettes.
Less than 1% of annual traffic to MVY is military, so it would seem they stopped just for the bike.
Unlike white-threaded sparrows, American goldfinches, or cedar waxwings, the C-130 is not a bird often seen in Martha's Vineyard. In fact, this particular Hercules had come all the way from Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, where it is assigned to the 403rd Wing's 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron. A spokesperson with the 403rd Wing confirmed the incident.
"The crew picked up a motorcycle that belonged to one of the crew members," said Lt. Col. Marnee Losurdo, the wing's Chief of Public Affairs. "Leadership is aware of the incident, which is under investigation. Once the investigation is complete we will provide additional information."
Now the 2022 hurricane season is on the horizon, but it was unclear exactly what the crew of the 53rd was doing in the Martha's Vineyard area last week. Losurdo said they were performing "an off-station training mission" before making "an unplanned stop," but did not share additional details.
Of course, with inflation and gas prices being what they are, it's hard to blame a crew member for making a quick pitstop to pick up their bike on the way back home. Still, there's a reason why Air Force Manual 11-202 compels aircrews to "ensure off-station training achieves valid training requirements … and avoids the appearance of government waste or abuse." That is because aircrews have made far more wasteful pitstops for personal reasons in the past.
It seems they missed on the "avoid the appearance of government waste."