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Fairchild C-119 & Douglas C-47 Rescue And Recovery

Background information on Fairchild C-119 'Packet'

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Type Military transport aircraft Manufacturer Fairchild
Maiden flight November 1947 Introduced December 1949
Retired 1974 Produced 1949-1955
Number built 1,183 Developed from C-82 Packet
Variants XC-120 Packplane
Operational History Of The Fairchild C-119
The aircraft saw extensive action during the Korean War as a troop and equipment transport. In July 1950, four C-119s were sent to FEAF for service tests. Two months later, the C-119 deployed with the 314th Troop Carrier Group and served in Korea throughout the war.

The USAF Strategic Air Command had C-119 Flying Boxcars in service from 1955 - 1973.

The C-119s saw service with the 456th Troop Carrier Wing which was attached to the Strategic Air Command from 25 April 1955 to 26 May 1956. The C-119s performed aerial recovery of high altitude balloon-borne instrument packages. C-119s also performed several aerial recoveries of film-return capsules during the early years of the Corona spy satellite program.

C-119 Nose Art

Example of C119 Nose Art


The C-119 would go on to see extensive service in Vietnam, beginning in 1954 with aircraft secretly loaned by the CIA to French forces for troop support. These aircraft were generally flown in French markings by American CIA pilots often accompanied by French officers and support staff. The C-119 was to play a major role during the siege at Dien Bien Phu, where they flew into increasingly heavy fire while dropping supplies to the besieged French forces.

After its retirement from active duty, many C-119s and R4Q's soldiered on in the US Navy, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard until the mid-1970s, and until recently they were still in use by the Taiwanese Air Force. The last military use of the C-119 by the United States ended in 1974 when a single squadron of Navy R4Qs based at Selfridge ANG Base near Detroit, Michigan, and two squadrons based at Naval Air Station Long Beach, California replaced their R4Qs with newer aircraft.

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C-119 In All Its Glory

C-119 in all its glory!

C-119 in Vietnam

C-119 in Vietnam

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Many were provided to other nations as part of the Military Assistance Program, including Belgium, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Italy, Nationalist China, and as previously mentioned, South Vietnam. The type was also used by the Royal Canadian Air Force, and by the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps under the designation R4Q.
C-119 in Military Service

A C-119 in Military Service

C-119 View From The Pilot's Side Window

A view from the Pilot's side window

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