C-141 FLYING SQUADRONS
This website is about the "Transport and Airlift" squadrons that flew the C-141 during the aircraft's operational years from 1964 – 2006. In addition, it has a directory of Pilots, Navigators, Flight Engineers, Loadmasters and other crew members that flew the C-141 Starlifter.
FIRST OPERATIONAL C-141 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 first C-141 to arrive at Tinker AFB on 19 October 1964 was tail number 63-8078 and would be known as "Spirit of Oklahoma City".
C-141 Initial aircrew cadre at Tinker AFB, OK consisted of eight pilots and five Flight Engineers
FIRST PILOTS CHOSEN TO FLY C-141
IP's assigned to 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
The first four pilots were from McGuire. Two of the last four were from Dover and two from Charleston. It is believed that Woodbury and Luethke were from Dover but can't confirm. The first four from McGuire were also Initial Cadre for the C-135B that was the first Cargo/Pax jet for MATS.
THE FIRST FLIGHT ENGINEERS CHOSEN TO FLY C-141
IFE's assigned to 1741 ATS
MSgt Donald V. Birdsall
MSgt Jack Remington
MSgt Vance E. Woodard
MSgt Ralph W. Anderson, Jr.
MSgt James W. Tobias
First C-141 Squadron was the 1741st Air Transport Squadron & later redesignated 57th MAS
There were a group of Officers and NCOs that followed on to finish out the Squadron after the "Initial Cadre". They came however 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 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 being 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, not only did I have to write our normal and emergency standards but also 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 a most realistic working unit and intrinsic training programs for its use. From: Lt Col Arthur L. (Art) Dickinson, Jr.
THE FIRST LINE SQUADRON TO FLY THE C-141
The 44th Air Transport Squadron (ATS), 1501st Air Transport Wing, Travis Air Force Base, California was the first line squadron to fly the C-141. On 23 April 1965, the 44th flew the C-141A (tail number 63-8088 named “Golden Bear”) from the Lockheed factory in GA to Travis Air Force Base, CA. The first crew from the 44th to fly the C-141 was as follows: Lt Col Weldon D. Newquist, AC; Lt Col Vere Short, CP; Capt James M. Davis, Nav; CMSgt Daniel M. Lawson, FE; CMSgt William J. Malone, FE; MSgt Thomas P. O’Keefe, LM; TSgt Vernon N. Smith, LM.
Also, was the first West Coast operational squadron to fly solely C-141s.
FIRST EAST COAST OPERATIONAL SQUADRON
The 41st Military Airlift Squadron at Charleston AFB, SC was the first East Coast operational squadron to consist solely of C-141s.
THE LAST ACTIVE DUTY SQUADRON TO FLY THE C-141
On September 16, 2004, the 6th Airlift Squadron (AS) and the last active duty unit to fly the C-141. The 6th AS flew the last C-141 assigned to the 305th Air Mobility Wing (AMW) at McGuire Air Force Base, serial number 64-0633 to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, AZ for permanent storage.
THE LAST SQUADRON TO FLY THE C-141
The last squadron to fly the C-141 was the 356th Airlift Squadron a unit of the 445th Airlift Wing at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. The last flight for the C-141 aircraft was on 6 May 2006. Fittingly, the last flying C-141 was tail number 66-0177, also the very first American aircraft to land at Gia Lam Airport, Hanoi, North Vietnam on February 12, 1973, to pick up prisoners-of-war. Because of that singular honor, it was dubbed the “Hanoi Taxi.”
Do visit each squadron to learn about its history and lineage, (family tree).
Click here for other Notable facts
If you served/worked (Military or Civil Service) in a C-141 flying squadron please submit your information and I will add you to the Directory.