1958: C-130 Shot Down
The C-130 aircraft pictured here was the centerpiece of Vigilance Park outside of the National Cryptologic Museum. (PLEASE NOTE as of early 2017, National Vigilance Park was dismantled due to NSA construction. There are plans to rebuild the Park once the new museum is built. We apologize for the inconvenience for anyone wishing to visit the Park.)
The pictured C-130, configured for reconnaissance, was refurbished to resemble the C-130A that was downed over Soviet Armenia on September 2, 1958. The Vigilance Park C-130 was reclaimed from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, refurbished by Raytheon/E-Systems in Greenville, Texas, and flown to Fort Meade. The C-130 was dedicated as a memorial to the fallen in a ceremony on September 2, 1997, in the presence of family members of those lost in the September 1958 incident.
Excerpt from NSA.gov: On the 2nd of September 1958, Soviet MiG-17 pilots shot down a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance-configured C-130 aircraft over Soviet Armenia; 17 crewman were aboard. The MiGs attacked the unarmed aircraft after it inadvertently penetrated denied airspace. It crashed near the village of Sasnashen, 34 miles northwest of Yerevan, the Armenian capital.
Learn more via transcripts, reports, and audio files about this event on the NSA website - see link below.