My Story – Karl Rubbel

Member's Bio

Karl Rubbel has been a member of the Prairie Aviation Museum since 2008.  Karl has also been a Board member retiring in 2021.

Karl is one of our primary “hosts” and provides excellent tours of our Air Park.

Even though the C-130 is not in our Air Park, the Air National Guard from Peoria can be seen frequently doing practice “touch and go” at the Central Illinois Regional Airport.

My Story

        PAM Member’s Story


Photo Credit 

Karl’s unit’s primary function was to provide support and rescue for downed pilots in Vietnam.  Karl was a Master Crew Chief, responsible for ensuring the aircraft was flight ready.

The C130s would help locate the downed pilot and call in air support and “Jolly Green Giants” that would conduct the actual rescue and extraction of the downed pilot.  Watch associated movie.  Notice the refueling of the “Jolly Green” at the end of the movie by a C130.

Karl recalls that one of his friends, an F4 Phantom pilot had to eject over the jungles of Vietnam.  Karl was in the C-130 on call that day for rescue.  He remembers that the Viet Cong was within 300 yards of the pilot and the RIO(rear seat – Radar/Intercept Officer).  Karl was able to call in another F4 Phantom to provide fire power while a “Jolly Green” safely extracted his friend and RIO.

The C130 could provide refueling for all of the rescue aircraft.  The C130 could refuel four aircraft at the same time.

Karl’s unit received a Presidential Award for extracting fourteen pilots.

C130 Rescue Squadron
Spotlight on the Crew Chief

This video shows the rescue of a downed pilot.  The C-130 is in the area providing support for the helicopter crew and the downed pilot.