C-141 Flying Squadrons
This site is about the "Transport and Airlift" Squadrons and aircrew members that flew the C-141 during the aircraft's operational years from 1964 – 2006. In addition, it has C-141 history, aircrew first-hand stories, a tab "First, Last, and Significant Accomplishments: in the C-141 aircraft, a final flight order tab, and a directory of Pilots, Navigators, Flight Engineers, Loadmasters, and other crew members that flew the C-141 Starlifter, etc.
First C-141 Starlifter Assigned to Military Air Transport Service (MATS)
TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- On Oct. 19, 1964, some 3,000 people were on hand at Tinker Air Force Base to witness the turnover of the first C-141A (63-8078, production number 9) all-cargo jet plane to the U.S. Air Force. The aircraft was assigned to Tinker because it was the home station of the 1707th Air Transport Wing. The 1707th was the Military Air Transport Service unit that would train all crew positions for the C-141 fleet.
The new “Starlifter” arrived from Dobbins AFB, Georgia, at 11:15 a.m., piloted by Maj. Gen. Charles H. Terhune Jr., the Air Force Systems Command’s Aeronautical Systems Division commander. General Terhune taxied the aircraft up to the podium and waiting crowd. He presented Gen. Howell M. Estes Jr., the MATS commander, with a model of the plane to symbolize turning the C-141 over to the training wing.
Called the “Spirit of Oklahoma City,” the new cargo aircraft could cruise at 550 miles per hour and carry a load weighing 35 tons, 4,163 miles non-stop. As the speeches ended, a second “Starlifter” arrived from Edwards AFB, California, fully loaded. It, too, taxied up near the podium so that everyone could witness unloading and loading techniques utilizing the 436L cargo system.
Civic and military leaders in attendance included: Brockway McMillan, undersecretary of the Air Force; Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Gerrity, deputy Air Force Chief of Staff for Systems and Logistics; Maj. Gen. Melvin F. McNickle, Oklahoma City Air Materiel Area commander; Col. Emil G. Beaudry, 1707th ATW commander; Sen. A.S. “Mike” Monroney; Gov. Henry Bellmon; Rep. Tom Steed; Oklahoma City Mayor George Shirk William V. Montin, president of the Chamber of Commerce; and Stanley Draper.
C-141 STARLIFTER FIRST OPERATIONAL SQUADRON
The 1741st Air Transport Squadron assigned to the 1707th Air Transport Wing (ATW) at Tinker Air Force Base (AFB), Oklahoma, was the first squadron to fly the C-141 aircraft (In January 1966, the 1741st was redesignated 57th Military Airlift Squadron).
The C-141 Initial aircrew cadre with the 1741st ATS at Tinker AFB, OK, consisted of eight pilots and five Flight Engineers
THE FIRST PILOTS CHOSEN TO FLY THE C-141
C-141 Instructor Pilots (IP) assigned to the 1741st ATS
Capt. Arthur L. (Art) Dickinson, Jr.
Capt. Albert E. (Skeet) Combs
Capt. Joseph C. (Joe) Narlo
Capt. George R. (George) Mizell
Capt. Norman B. (Norm) Woodbury
Capt. Fred W. Luethke, Jr.
Capt. Jack E. King
Capt. Thomas T. King became a TALO with the 5th SFG in Vietnam, Presidential Aircrew, and retired as a Lt Colonel in 1976. He spent two tours as a Command Pilot with the 41st MAS at Charleston AFB, with almost 20,000 hours in the air. Via: JT King.
The first four pilots were from McGuire. Two of the last four were from Dover, and two were from Charleston. It is believed that Woodbury and Luethke were from Dover, but I can't confirm. The first four from McGuire were also Initial Cadre for the C-135B, the first Cargo/Pax jet for MATS.
THE FIRST FLIGHT ENGINEERS CHOSEN TO FLY THE C-141
C-141 Instructor Flight Engineers (IFE) assigned to 1741st ATS
MSgt Donald V. Birdsall
MSgt Jack Remington
MSgt Vance E. Woodard
MSgt Ralph W. Anderson, Jr.
MSgt James W. Tobias
The 1741st Air Transport Squadron (ATS) was the first to fly the C-141 aircraft. (In 1966, the 1741st would be redesignated 57th Military Airlift Squadron (MAS), and in 1992 redesignated 57th Airlift Squadron (AS)).
A group of Officers and NCOs followed on to finish out the Squadron after the "Initial Cadre." They came after the eight initial officers and five NCOs had established the working squadron. For instance, Joe Narlo was the first Operations Officer; Fred Luther was the first Standardization Officer; George Moselle was the first Supply Officer; Jack King was the first asst. Safety Office to Norm Woodbury, who was the Safety Officer; Tom King was Administrative Services Officer; Skeet Combs was OJT Administrator Officer; and I was the Plans Officer. We not only had that but also had a part in initiating more realistic training goals and programs. For instance, we changed the training goal that required knowledge of specific minimum and maximum numbers for warning lights and indicators to be knowledgeable of the proper reaction to that warning light. This was because several of us went to the United Airlines training center and opted for their more realistic systems operation manuals and trading comments. As Plans Officer, I had to write our normal and emergency standards and worked with the printing shop to produce distinctive baggage tags and bumper parking stickers for our unit. We were the ones who went to the Lockheed plant, where they were building the bird to learn systems, as well as to Edwards AFB to learn to fly that bird and to write and proofread the redline (original) DASH ONE. We did the grunt work preparing the unit as a viable cohesive, working unit. Because of this, I’ll count myself and the other seven officers and five NCOs as the real initial cadre. We also were the core toupee to work with the builder of our first simulator to establish the most realistic working unit and intrinsic training programs for its use.
This early history was provided by Lt Col. Arthur L. (Art) Dickinson, Jr., USAF, Ret.
Visit each squadron to learn about its history and lineage (family tree).
If you served/worked (Military or Civil Service) in a C-141 flying squadron, submit your information, and I will add you to the C-141 directory (See C-141 Crew Members Listing Tab).