Since 1965, the C-141 Starlifter has been one of the "workhorses" of the Air Force. The aircraft fulfills the vast spectrum of airlift requirements through its ability to airlift combat forces over long distances, deliver those forces and their equipment either by air, land or airdrop, resupply forces and transport the sick and wounded from the hostile area to advanced medical facilities.
The Starlifter was the aircraft dubbed the "Hanoi Taxi" by repatriating more than 500 American prisoners of war held in North Vietnam. C-141s brought flood relief to Minnesota in 1979, to the Azores in 1980 and to Louisiana in 1983. During Desert Storm, C-141s flew more than 37,000 departures with an on-time record above 90 percent. The Starlifter has logged more than 10 million hours, including a record set in 1981 when a C-141 flew 67,000 pounds of cargo non-stop from New Jersey to Saudi Arabia, refueling three times in flight.
The first C-141A, delivered to Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., in October 1964, began squadron operations in April 1965. The C-141 was the first jet transport from which U.S. Army paratroopers jumped, and the first to land in the Antarctic.
The aircraft has undergone various modifications, and all active C-141s are the "B" model.