The Lonestar Express of VR-59 flies the C-9B Skytrain aircraft. The Navy's new C-40A "Clipper" transport is a version of Boeing's next-generation 737-700, the 737-700C, modified with a large cargo door and the strengthened wings and landing gear of the 737-800. The first C-40A was delivered in April 2001 to Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VR) 59, NAS JRB Fort Worth, Texas. Delivery of the first four aircraft to VR-59 was planned for completion by August 2001. The squadron ceased operating C-9s on 01 October 2000 and began transition training. Although limited operations will begin shortly after delivery of the first aircraft, VR-59 will not be fully operational until April 2002. The fifth aircraft, scheduled for completion in June 2002, will go to VR-58, NAS Jacksonville, Fla., along with one of VR-59's Clippers. VRs 59 and 58 will operate three and two aircraft, respectively, until more are procured. Eventually, each squadron will have four C-40As. At that time, a third site will be selected to receive Clippers.
In January 2000 a highly successful seventeen day detachment was performed at NAF Atsugi, Japan and the Western Pacific. Tasking was much heavier than a normal WESTPAC with 128 hours being flown, 846 passengers transported and 22,400 lbs of cargo lifted. The aircraft experienced a significant oil leak that required an O-ring replacement. Most of the maintenance required was done between 2300L and 0600L. Two legs of a mission were cancelled via NALO due to this maintenance. VR-57 Westpac Det “K” 28 June-17 July 2000 operational tasking was fairly light. Our first lift was the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights parachute team from San Diego to Yokota AB for their performance in the Wings 2000 Atsugi Air Show. The Detachment was based out of Kadena AB for the first four days in theater until NAF Atsugi re-opened following the Air Show. One crew took 65 Marines led by BGen Nash to Iwo Jima for PME (Professional Military Education). A few members of the crew participated in the Marines’ trek to the top of Mt. Surabachi and collected sand from the invasion beach.