Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Lockheed C-141 Starlifter

We share a special bond
by James W.

I was fortunate to be employed by Lockheed-Georgia from 1986 to 1995 as a field service representative for the best aircraft ever made, the C-141. I can attest to that workhorse of an aircraft because most of my 20 years of Air Force life was maintaining it all through the Vietnam Era (from 1962 to 1982).

During my tenure at Lockheed, I was assigned to the Mississippi Air National Guard, Jackson, Mississippi. Maintenance at this ANG Base was superb and because of that, the U.S Air Force elected to transit C-141s there for intermediate maintenance prior to the lengthy trip to the Middle East. At that time, my youngest son, Cliff, was in that guard unit and was assigned to the aero repair section. One night my son was busy working on a wing spoiler malfunction on a C-141. As I approached the aircraft, I noticed the tail number was 65-9399. I asked him “Son, did you know that you have flown on this aircraft across the Pacific Ocean.” Of course, he didn’t and he questioned.

Here’s the rest of the story. During my active duty time with the Air Force as a maintainer on the aircraft, I was stationed at Yokota Air Base, Japan, from 1967 to 1970. My son’s mother was eight months pregnant with him and we elected to fly space available to the States so he would be born there. The aircraft we flew on was, yes you guessed it, 65-9399.