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 Lockheed C-141B StarLifter
Crew Chief:  OPEN

President John F. Kennedy's first official act after his inauguration was  to order the development of an all-jet transport for the nation's military forces, the result of the act was the C-141A StarLifter. Designed by the  Lockheed-Georgia Company, the C-141A was the first pure jet designed for cargo, flew its maiden flight on December 17, 1963.

The first C-141A  delivered began squadron operations with the 60th Military Airlift Wing (MAW) based at Travis AFB, CA in October 1964 replacing the venerable C-124 Globemaster II. In April 1965 StarLifters began almost daily flights to Southeast Asia, carrying troops, equipment and supplies, and returning patients to U.S. hospitals.     

On August 9, 1966, a new era began for McChord AFB, when the first Lockheed C-141A StarLifter S/N 65-0277 arrived to the base and entered service with the 62d Military Airlift Wingís 4th Military Airlift Squadron.

On 1 February 1972, the first MAC aircraft to land in the Peoples' Republic of China was 62 MAW C-141A number 60141, supporting President Nixon's trip to communist China. One year later, from 12 February to 1 April 1973, the 62nd flew missions in support of Operation Homecoming, the return of our prisoners of war from Vietnam. The Wing logged about 754 hours in support of Homecoming.

In the Fall of 1973, Syria and Egypt launched an invasion of territory occupied by Israel, igniting the Yom Kippur war. From 13 October to 12 November, the 62nd supplied 23 C-141s and 48 aircrews that logged over 3,00 hours in support of Operation Nickel Grass.

On 29 April 1975, Operation Babylift carried hundreds of Vietnamese orphans to the United States, C-141 number 50243 brought the first planeload of 65 children to  McChord where adoptive parents awaited their arrival. 

In 1978 C-141s from the 62d airlifted more than 160 bodies to a morgue at Dover AFB, Delaware following the mass murder-suicide of more than 900 members of the "Peoples Temple" a  religious group led by the Reverend Jim Jones at the Jonestown  Guyana, South America. Most of the victims were U.S. Citizens

The increasing need for additional airlift capability was answered when MAC selected Lockheed to modify 271 surviving C-141A aircraft into C-141Bs. The C-141B, is "stretched"  C-141A by adding fuselage "plugs" in front (13 feet 4 inches)  and behind (10 feet) the wing, increasing the length of the aircraft by 23 feet 4 inches. The added length increased the C-141 cargo capacity by about one-third, for an extra 2,171 cubic feet (62.03 cubic meters), equivalent to adding 90 aircraft to MAC inventory. The redesignated C-141B's also received a universal air refueling receptacle above the cockpit. 

The first flight of a "stretched" StarLifter YC-141B s/n 66-0186 occurred on March 24, 1977, with the first delivery to MAC in December 1979.  At a peak production rate of 10 a month, the last "rebuild"  C-141 was completed on June 29, 1982. On  29 May 1980, the members of the  62d MAW's welcomed back  their first "stretched" C-141B (63-8082) from the Lockheed-Georgia factory. Over the next two years 62d MAW C-141's would leave McChord on their way to Georgia to become C-141B's, on 22 March 1982, the Wing would see it's last C-141A (65-00257) leave for modification. 

In October 1983, Eight 62nd MAW C-141Bs participated in Operation Urgent Fury which included the delivery of the 82nd Airborne Division into the fight against Cuban and Soviet-backed forces on the tiny island of Grenada, in the Caribbean  The first StarLifter on the ground at Grenada was a 62nd aircraft. On the way out of Grenada, the C-141s carried damaged equipment from the battlefield.   During 1989 C-141s of the 62nd airdropped troops as well as heavy Army equipment in support of Operation Just Cause There were 10 62nd StarLifters in the 51-aircraft formation over Panama, during the night of 20-21 December 1989. 

In August of 1990, totalitarian Iraq invaded Kuwait, on the shores of the Persian Gulf. Within days the 62nd poured a stream of C-141s, aircrews, and support crews into Operation Desert Shield, the effort to deter further aggression from Iraq. By January 1991, Desert Shield became Desert Storm, as allied air power was unleashed upon the invaders with irresistible force. The 62nd joined the rest of the Military Airlift Command in providing round-the-clock airlift to the Middle East, keeping the air war supplied, and aiding the build up of ground forces for the highly successful, though brief ground war in February. Before long, Kuwait was free, although the tremendous effort put forth by the 62nd had accelerated the aging process of its C-141s. The increased payloads and almost incessant flying during Desert Storm and Desert Shield  had accelerated the aging process of its C-141s, which would have lasting negative effects on the fleet.

Tragedy struck the 62nd on 30 November 1992. Four C-141s were taking part in what was supposed to be a routine local air refueling/airdrop mission. The four StarLifters were refueling with two KC-135 Stratotankers of the 141st Air Refueling Wing (Air National Guard) over north central Montana. Two of the C-141s -- tail numbers 65-255 and 66-142 -- collided in mid-air, killing all 13 crewmembers. Ten of the men were from the 36th AS, two from the 8th, and one from the 4th.

During the 90's Ongoing relief efforts and operations kept the 62d AW C-141s 62nd very busy. On the night of 15 May 1996, aircrews from the 4th, 7th, and 8th Airlift Squadrons took part in Big Drop III, the largest airdrop since World War II. The 62nd was one of 28 participating units flying a total of 144 airlifters to simultaneously deploy 6,000 U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division, U.K. 5th Airborne Brigade personnel, and their heavy equipment onto three drop zones on Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

During the late 90ís 63 ďlow-timeĒ Air Force Reserve and Air Guard C-141Bís have been selected for modifications to extend their service through 2006. The  aircraft, redesignated    C-141Cís will receive a "glass cockpit" which features an all-weather flight control system, a Global Positioning System (GPS), chaff/flare dispensers, and a new  fuel quantity indicating system.  

On April 9 2001 36 years of history came to a end when McChord's last StarLifter, S/N 65-000267 lifted off on is final flight into retirement in the sun of Arizona.


         TYPE: Strategic troop / cargo transport

         POWER: Four Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-7 turbofan 

         SPEED: Maximum cruising speed 566 mph. 

         RANGE: Unlimited with in-flight refueling, 2,170 without

         MAXIMUM T.O. WEIGHT: 323,100 lbs

         DIMENSIONS: Span 160 ft,  Length 168 ft  Height 39 ft 3 in

         CARGO COMPARTMENT DIMENSIONS : Height 9 ft 1 in, Length 93 ft 4 in, Width 10 ft 3 in;  Cargo Door Length 9 ft

         CREW: Six; Two Pilots, two Flight Engineers, one Loadmaster and  one Navigator; Medical missions : Standard  crew  plus two Nurses & three Medical Technicians  

         PRODUCTION TOTALS: 285 (C-141A),  271 (C-141B conversions),  63 (C-141C conversions)

          UNIT COST: $8.1 million dollars


Military Airlift Command / Air Mobility Command

62d MAW/AW  (1966- 2002 ) ;  4th MAS/AS (1966-2002),  7th MAS/AS (1993-1998), 8th MAS/AS (1966-2001), 36th MAS/AS (1989-1993) 

Air Force Reserve / Air Force Reserve Command 

939th MAG-(1968-1973) / 446th MAW/AW- (1973- 2002 ) ;  97th MAS/AS (1968-2002), 313d MAS/AS (1968-2000), 728th MAS/AS (1992-1999)    

C-141B S/N 65-000277

On August 9, 1966 Sandra Marth "Miss Washington 1966" is assisted by 62d Military Airlift Wing Commander Lt Col. George B. Demmon in the christening the "Tacoma StarLifter", 65-000277 the first C-141A StarLifter assigned to the 62nd Military Airlift Wingís 4th Military Airlift Squadron at McChord AFB.  -0277 joined the museum on January 5, 1996.          


05 AUGUST 1966  

Completed by Lockheed-Georgia Company, Marietta, GA  


09  AUGUST  1966  

To 4th Military Airlift Squadron, 62nd Military Airlift Wing, McChord AFB, WA  
(Military Airlift Command)

  JANUARY  1968  

To 437th Military Airlift Wing, Charleston AFB, SC  
(Military Airlift Command)

FEBRUARY  1973  

To 63rd Military Airlift Wing, Norton AFB, CA

(Military Airlift Command)  


JANUARY  1979  

To 443th Military Airlift Training Wing, Altus AFB, OK
(Military Airlift Command)  

JUNE  1980  

To Lockheed-Georgia Company, Marietta, GA for modification to C-141B  


  JANUARY  1981

 To 63rd Military Airlift Wing, Norton AFB, CA
(Military Airlift Command)  

MARCH  1992  

To 62nd Military Airlift Wing, McChord AFB, WA  

(Air Mobility Command)


JULY  1996  

Loaned to McChord Air Museum, McChord AFB, WA for display.  

  (United States Air Force Museum Program) 

Website provided and maintained by:
The McChord Air Museum Foundation
P.O. Box 4205
McChord AFB, WA. 98438-0205
e-mail - mamfound@mcchordairmuseum.org