US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.

Nethappy

NO WAR PLS
VIP Professional
Mr. Zoellick said his talks with the Chinese have been helpful in trying to persuade China to become a responsible "stakeholder" in the current U.S.-led international system but that Beijing's doubts remain.
The Chinese are wary of the current international system and recognize U.S. leadership of it but have not accepted the sole superpower role.
"I don't get a sense that they don't feel they can work with the United States," Mr. Zoellick said. "But I think they, of course, want to assess under what terms and whose rules." China's questions "really go more to stakeholder in an international system and who defines the system," he said.
I just wanna point out a few thing.

The US have a policy of peaching liberalism reform and countious pushing for and establish democracy everywhere. That concept is anathema to the chinese, because it effectively saiding "Our Goal is to overthrow you and to change your system." How the hell do you expect China to work with you.

Nevertheless there is a reason why US take China as major threat and make seem on serious. That because China is becoming a mulitdimensional power, Russian during the Cold War was a threat but in only one way: It had potent military capablities. It economy was very weak. During 1980s Japan became a serious economic competitor to the US but was not a military power. China in contrast is growing strong in both economically and militariliy.

China is also increasingly using its "soft power" for it own geostrategic goal, without intending so, it has effective blocked he spread of free trade and political freedom, perceived U.S. goals in some of the more dangerous parts of the world. To make it worst, China made an inroads in docratic countries with traditional U.S. Ties, such as Brazil. Latin America exports to China has skyrocketed up from 600% in the past five years. This is more then a loss of face for the US.
 

bd popeye

The Last Jedi
VIP Professional
Sailors on the ground suppourting the Army and USMC in the war against terror..

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The first link has a slide show of American sailors in "grunt" mode...

FORT JACKSON, S.C. - At 9 a.m. on a normal weekday, Lt. Jon French would be checking his e-mail, refilling his coffee cup and probably offering legal advice to a Norfolk sailor.

Instead, the Navy lawyer, 28, spent Thursday morning crowded into the back of a truck with a dozen other Kevlar-clad troops, cradling an M-16, his eyes scanning the woods of this Army training base for "insurgents."
French, who works at Norfolk Naval Station's trial services office, left normal behind in December, when he agreed to go to Iraq so his married colleagues didn't have to leave their families . For the next year, French will work with Task Force 134, helping Iraqi lawyers and judges prosecute insurgents rounded up by U.S. forces.
"It never occurred to me that I would ever be in combat boots with a rifle," said French, who joined the Navy while he was at Gonzaga University School of Law. "Anybody who's in uniform has to be ready to answer the call when it comes, and it did this time."

That call is coming for more and more sailors

Adm. Mike Mullen , the chief of naval operations, has told his ranks that the Navy will step up its contribution to the war on terror by increasing the number of "individual augmentees" filling support roles in Iraq and Afghanistan.
IAs, as they're called, often deploy in small numbers to Army or multinational units overseas. The jobs they leave behind typically go unfilled. Their families, meanwhile, don't have the support structure that help them weather typical ship deployments.
In March, the Navy cut orders for more than 900 sailors to leave their posts for Middle Eastern combat zones. An additional 400 were tapped in April, said Rear Adm. Daniel Holloway , one of the Navy's top personnel officers. Overall, about 11,000 sailors are on the ground in the Middle East, said Navy spokesman Lt. Trey Brown . That includes mobilized reservists, augmentees and Navy units.
That number has steadily increased since the United States invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, he said.
The increased commitment to sending individual augmentees into harm's way led the Navy to develop a two-week training program at Fort Jackson. The base in South Carolina's capital also puts Army recruits through basic training and gives refresher training to retired soldiers called back to active duty.
Before the classes began in January, Navy augmentees trained at Fort Bliss, Texas, or Fort Benning, Ga., where some deploying Navy units go to brush up on combat skills.
It's like fast-track basic training, without the marching and in-your-face discipline. The sailors here learn to shoot machine guns, clear a building, frisk enemy prisoners of war and toss grenades.
The experience has led to jokes about being in the "Narmy."
Most sailors hope the training goes unused, but the 175 sailors here this week took the instruction seriously.
After 25 years on ship and shore duty, Chief Warrant Officer Mark Rees is headed to Afghanistan, where he'll work with an Army unit training Afghan police.
It's a big change for someone who specializes in the Aegis weapons system and had been serving aboard the destroyer James E. Williams .
Rees, who lives in Suffolk, said the physical adjustment of operating with a helmet, body armor and rifle has been his biggest challenge.
"I don't normally carry an M-16. On a ship, I carry a pen and a notebook, and I write things down," Rees, 42 , said during a break from drills.
"Every kid, I think, plays Army," he said. "Doing it this late in life, with real people shooting at you, may not be the smartest thing."
His wife is not enthused about his next tour, but Rees is being a good sport.
"In my opinion, if we can help the Afghans, it's a good thing," he said, "if they want the help."
Rees and Chief Warrant Officer Chris Logan of Virginia Beach have had about a month to prepare for their new task.
Logan, a father of three, had been working at the Navy-Marine Corps Warfighting Intelligence Center at the Fleet Combat Training Center at Dam Neck when he got a phone call five weeks ago telling him he was on a short list to go to Afghanistan.
It wasn't a surprise. With his experience in intelligence, Logan figured he'd get tapped .
He's happy he'll be working alongside Army personnel and that it's a six-month tour instead of a year.
"I'd rather take directions from an Army guy on the ground than a Navy guy," Logan said. "Not that a Navy guy isn't competent, but they're more experienced," he said, referring to the soldiers.
The combat skills he's learning might come in handy if a convoy he's traveling in comes under attack.
"You don't want to be just a passenger," Logan said. "You want to be a contributing member."
Brig. General James H. Schwitters , the commanding general of Fort Jackson, said the most important thing for sailors to learn is "operational awareness" - knowing what to look for and what not to do if a fight breaks out around them.
Schwitters, who last year finished a tour in Iraq helping to set up that country's army, said he worked with individual augmentees from other U.S. military branches and saw for himself they needed more training for emergencies.
He isn't worried about soldiers mistrusting the sailors who serve alongside them.
"I'm not naive enough to think there aren't individuals who would feel that way," Schwitters said while at the training site, "but that almost never becomes a problem."
The drill sergeants took a few good-natured jabs at their Navy charges but said they're impressed by the attitude of the sailors, who are about evenly split between active and reserves.
The classes also tend to be about half enlisted, half officers - meaning instructors such as Sgt. 1st Class Warren Brown sometimes find themselves drilling Navy superiors.
On Wednesday, Brown took pleasure in making his students "low crawl" through the dirt in a cold rain. Belly to the ground, the sailors pulled themselves and their rifles through the mud.
"I know you all want to be in those khakis right now, " Brown boomed, referring to the pressed uniforms worn by Navy chiefs and officers, "but you've got to get dirty."
Brown spoke highly of the sailors when they were out of earshot.
"We're not trying to make Rangers or special forces out of them," he said. "These are survival techniques. It may not make you get a Bronze Star or a Medal of Honor, but it will keep you alive."
Watching them has inspired him, Brown said.
"It's been a pleasant change to see an electrician who's worn dungarees all his career to come out here and don and clear about 40 pounds of gear. That motivates me, even if he's only doing it for two weeks."
For Cmdr. Bill Kern , the training and his upcoming tour in Iraq are a chance to combine academics and life experience.
Kern teaches military strategic studies at the Air Force Academy in Colorado.
Thursday , Kern learned the hard way that teaching tactics and carrying them out are two different things. Acting as leader of a group of 15 sailors on a convoy exercise, Kern ran into all sorts of trouble when the "fog of war" descended in the form of a simulated attack.
His sailors were supposed to dismount and take cover in the woods, but instead of fanning out as they'd practiced, they clumped too close together. Half the group abandoned the right side of the truck and traipsed to the left, leaving the vehicle open to attack. Kern lost track of the radio operator who was supposed to stay by his side.
Through it all, the drill instructors quietly prodded Kern and his team: "Where's your radio?" "Leapfrog back and maintain security." "Get behind a tree. Not a skinny tree. Something that's going to stop a bullet."
When the exercise ended, Kern and at least seven of his team members had their helmets off - a signal that the insurgents had "killed" them.
Kern was brutally honest when the drill instructors asked him during a debriefing what his team did well.
"It's a short list," he said, blaming himself for many of the lapses.
"All the things we were taught, we weren't employing," he said. "We just kind of ran around willy-nilly."
French, the lawyer, was one of the bareheaded sailors. He and four teammates were ambushed as they rushed around a building. It was just a drill, and he hopes he won't see anything close to combat when he's in Iraq. Still, the experience left him with a sinking feeling.
"When you come around the corner and see a guy standing there and you try to raise your weapon and you don't and your whole team dies, ..." French said, his voice drifting off. "There's so much to pay attention to
 

tphuang

Brigadier
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What can I say? F-16 just keeps on going. The amazing part is that even after so many years, many countries are still picking F-16s over newer planes like Gripen and Rafale.
Lockheed Martin Delivers 4,300th F-16
Mon, 24 Apr 2006, 00:03

FORT WORTH: Lockheed Martin announced it has achieved a significant production milestone with the delivery of its 4,300th F-16 aircraft yesterday.

"This marks another significant milestone for the F-16 Fighting Falcon -- the most sought after fighter in history," said June Shrewsbury, vice president, Lockheed Martin F-16 programs. "With 4,300 aircraft in total delivered to 24 countries, the F-16 is the only international aircraft program that can claim more than 50 follow-on buys by 14 repeat customers, each who have relied on the Fighting Falcon as a key component of their national defense and fighter force structure."

F-16 number 4,300 will be in service for Oman, which has purchased 12 Advanced Block 50 F-16s in the Peace A'sama A'safiyah (Clear Skies) Program. Clear Skies is a U.S. Government Foreign Military Sales program. The Omani F- 16s are just one of six F-16 aircraft programs currently in production at the Fort Worth facility. Lockheed Martin is currently producing F-16 aircraft for Chile, Israel, Oman, Poland and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Greece has also recently placed an order for 30 F-16 aircraft planned for delivery in 2009.

Shrewsbury added, "Our company and its employees take great pride in producing an aircraft that is critical to the national security of the United States and its allies. With the delivery of aircraft 4,300, this is an unprecedented achievement in fighter aircraft production history and a true testament to the advancements Lockheed Martin has integrated into the aircraft to keep this fighter on the forefront of technology and capability."

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 135,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2005 sales of $37.2 billion.
 

bd popeye

The Last Jedi
VIP Professional
The F-16 is an amazing aircraft. This comment...
What can I say? F-16 just keeps on going. The amazing part is that even after so many years, many countries are still picking F-16s over newer planes like Gripen and Rafale.
Is very intresting. Why do so many countries chose the American aircraft over others? I don't know...Could it be performance, engines , avionics suit..well whatever it is the Falcon has it.
 

Finn McCool

Captain
Registered Member
The falcon is not really that battle-tested, is it? I know that they did some no-fly zone enforcement in Iraq, but other than that, what has it done? I also think it is amazing that countries are making billion-dollar plus arms contracts, but the planes they are buying have never really seen any action. I guess it is better to have a newer, more advancecd plane, but it just annoys me that almost all of the planes that serve in the worlds militaries have only seen small amounts of actual fighting, if any and then only against puny opponents. So we have very little to compare them on.
 

walter

Junior Member
F-16's have seen plenty of combat in Gulf Wars I + II and Serbia, and when you say it is just vs. puny opponents, well the same can be said for all aircraft in USAF and USN inventories--have they ever had opponents on par with themselves in pilot training, latest tech, AWACS support, etc.? The F-16 is so popular because it is versatile, cheap, battle proven and it looks good. No kidding, its appearance has definitely helped its sales.
 

bd popeye

The Last Jedi
VIP Professional
USNS Mercy deploys to the Western Pacific for five months.. The first link is from navy.mil with a terrfic pic of the Mercy departing San diego. Note the new helo hangar now installed on the helo flight deck.

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Another mission of Mercy

Navy's floating hospital returns to western Pacific on goodwill tour
By Steve Liewer
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
April 25, 2006

Petty Officer 3rd Class Alfredo Garcia didn't sleep a wink Sunday night, thinking about what the dawn would bring.

Garcia, 24, knew he would have to board the Mercy, a big white hospital ship, at San Diego Naval Station at 32nd Street. He and more than 350 crew members would deploy on a five-month tour of the western Pacific.

“It's exciting, but it's depressing at the same time,” said Garcia, a hospital corpsman from the San Diego Naval Medical Center.

“Last night it was like, 'I won't close my eyes, because when I wake up, I have to go,' ” he said while cuddling Marcos as they sat on a curb near to the ship.

Garcia is part of a goodwill medical voyage that also is intended to boost America's flagging image abroad. About 400 additional sailors and medical personnel will join the Mercy at various stops.

The medical experts will treat people on the ship and on the ground at stops in Southeast Asia. They'll conduct surgeries and perform routine medical, dental and eye exams. An Army veterinary detachment will be aboard.

The trip is a follow-up to the Mercy's 2004-05 mission to aid survivors of the South Asian tsunami. That time, the ship left on just five days' notice and served for two months as the main emergency hospital for the devastated Indonesian province of Banda Aceh.

For security reasons, the Navy's Pacific Fleet command won't reveal what countries the Mercy will visit during its current journey, except for its first stop in the Philippines. But some of the ship's staff members hoped the to reach several of the countries visited on the previous trip, which included East Timor, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

The main job of Mercy and its East Coast sister ship, the Comfort, is to float near war zones to treat injured troops away from the front. They did so during the first Gulf War.

Most of the time they remain in their home ports, staffed by a skeletal crew. The Navy plans to decommission both ships in the next few years, according to the Naval Institute's “Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet,” published last year.

“They're getting long in the tooth, and (the Navy doesn't) want to pay to replace them,” said Norman Polmar, the book's author, in a telephone interview from his home in Washington, D.C.

The Pentagon, he said, now prefers to airlift mobile combat hospitals into war zones instead of dispatching slow-moving hospital ships.

“Their role in today's high-intensity, short-duration conflicts is dubious,” Cmdr. Joseph Rappold, director of the surgical intensive-care unit at San Diego Naval Medical Center, wrote in the December issue of “Proceedings,” an independent magazine focusing on Navy matters.

“They are a huge drain on already scarce resources.”

But the Mercy's post-tsunami work in Indonesia, along with the Comfort's short-notice mission to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, convinced military and civilian leaders of the goodwill value of the ships.

“The response we got from the people, and the perceptions of America, were great,” said Capt. Joseph Moore of the Mercy's military treatment command.
So Pentagon officials crafted this trip in hopes of recapturing the public-relations magic. They are promoting the mission aggressively. Moore said it's the first time the Mercy has deployed on a mission other than for training, war or natural disaster.

To bolster the Navy medical crew, the ship will board hundreds of representatives from civilian charities, an idea pioneered on the Mercy's tsunami trip.

The medical charity Project HOPE embarked more than 200 doctors and nurses that time and will send more than 50 this time. Jack Blanks, Project HOPE's senior adviser, said he wants military leaders to maintain the Mercy and Comfort and staff them with civilian personnel.

“Wouldn't it be wonderful if ships like these could be in Africa or Asia?” Blanks said. “We would love it if our government would find a way to keep these ships functioning.”

As the Mercy prepared to leave yesterday, its crew members and their families could hardly think beyond the day's bittersweet goodbyes.

Alfredo Garcia said this trip was harder to prepare for than the tsunami mission because there's been so much time to think about it. He already was missing Marcos, who promised to kiss Alfredo's photo each night before he goes to sleep so as not to forget his daddy.

“He's only 2 and he has no idea what's going on,” Garcia said. “It's hard to let him go.”
 

bd popeye

The Last Jedi
VIP Professional
USS John F Kennedy (CV-67) inches closer to retirement. The decomissioning of the "JFK" would reduce the US carrier force to 11. The lowest in years.
John Warner(R-VA) who previously backed the USN keeping 12 carriers now backs a bill allowing the USN to reduce the number to 11. Betcha' there's some backdoor dealing goin' on assuring J. Warner that his state VA. will keep the 5 CVN's homeported in Norfolk for the forseeable future. Look for a couple of LHA/LHD's to go to Mayport to offset the loss of the JFK to Mayport FL. Just a hunch on my part. Sorry there is no link for this story. I copied it from another forum. I do not have a subscription to the "Navy Times"

Navy Times Article on JFK (04/27/2006)

WARNER CHANGES MIND, BACKS DECOMMISSIONING JFK

By Mark D. Faram
Times staff writer
Navy Times
April 27, 2006


The Navy is one step closer to decommissioning the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy, and the green light to mothball the ship could come within weeks.

The news comes as Sen. John Warner, R-Va., tacked an amendment onto the current warfare supplemental spending bill that would allow the service to operate only 11 aircraft carriers instead of the 12 currently required by law.

"The purpose of this amendment is to revise the previous legislation such that the Secretary of the Navy can retire this ship," Warner said April 26 on the Senate floor.

The amendment passed by a voice vote, according to the Congressional Record.

This change of heart comes a year after Warner used a similar amendment to stall the retirement of the 38-year old Kennedy by making it law that the Navy keep 12 carriers operating until six months after the Quadrennial Defense Review was released.

Still, a quick trip to mothballs is far from a done deal. The amendment requires approval of the House of Representatives and the President before becoming law.

Warner based his reversal, he said, on advice from the Navy.

"Subsequent to the legislation by the Congress and the law enacted, the Navy has determined that the USS John F. Kennedy ... in the judgment of the Chief of Naval Operations, is not qualified to perform her primary mission of aviation operations," he said.

In short, he said, the Kennedy is not safe to operate.

"There are very real concerns regarding the ability to maintain the Kennedy in an operationally safe condition for our sailors at sea," Warner said.

Repairing it is no longer a viable option, he said, as the price tag to restore the ship to a deployable status would cost "an inordinate amount of money."

Also, it’s not just the cost of refurbishment that’s out of hand, he said. Simply maintaining the ship in its current state will cost the Navy $20 million a month in operations and manpower costs — money the Navy badly needs for operations and modernization programs.

The toll on the crew was also noted. Warner said JFK’s limbo status "levies an untold burden on the lives of the sailors and families assigned to the Kennedy," he said.

Those families, he said, need to be able to get on with their lives.

As for the ship, Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Mike Mullen told Navy Times in February he’d like to see Kennedy gone as soon as possible. His preference would be she leave her Mayport, Fla., home port before the start of hurricane season in June.

Warner said the fact the JFK can no longer serve in the fleet is "painful" to him and others, mainly because of the ship’s namesake, the late President John F. Kennedy.

But even those who were closest to Kennedy seem resigned to the fate of the ship.

"It is bittersweet to know that she will be retired," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in a statement.

"But the people of Massachusetts and the Kennedy family are very proud of her service and know she holds a special place in the hearts of the Navy and the Nation."
WARNER CHANGES MIND, BACKS DECOMMISSIONING JFK

By Mark D. Faram
Times staff writer
Navy Times
April 27, 2006


The Navy is one step closer to decommissioning the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy, and the green light to mothball the ship could come within weeks.

The news comes as Sen. John Warner, R-Va., tacked an amendment onto the current warfare supplemental spending bill that would allow the service to operate only 11 aircraft carriers instead of the 12 currently required by law.

"The purpose of this amendment is to revise the previous legislation such that the Secretary of the Navy can retire this ship," Warner said April 26 on the Senate floor.

The amendment passed by a voice vote, according to the Congressional Record.

This change of heart comes a year after Warner used a similar amendment to stall the retirement of the 38-year old Kennedy by making it law that the Navy keep 12 carriers operating until six months after the Quadrennial Defense Review was released.

Still, a quick trip to mothballs is far from a done deal. The amendment requires approval of the House of Representatives and the President before becoming law.

Warner based his reversal, he said, on advice from the Navy.

"Subsequent to the legislation by the Congress and the law enacted, the Navy has determined that the USS John F. Kennedy ... in the judgment of the Chief of Naval Operations, is not qualified to perform her primary mission of aviation operations," he said.

In short, he said, the Kennedy is not safe to operate.

"There are very real concerns regarding the ability to maintain the Kennedy in an operationally safe condition for our sailors at sea," Warner said.

Repairing it is no longer a viable option, he said, as the price tag to restore the ship to a deployable status would cost "an inordinate amount of money."

Also, it’s not just the cost of refurbishment that’s out of hand, he said. Simply maintaining the ship in its current state will cost the Navy $20 million a month in operations and manpower costs — money the Navy badly needs for operations and modernization programs.

The toll on the crew was also noted. Warner said JFK’s limbo status "levies an untold burden on the lives of the sailors and families assigned to the Kennedy," he said.

Those families, he said, need to be able to get on with their lives.

As for the ship, Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Mike Mullen told Navy Times in February he’d like to see Kennedy gone as soon as possible. His preference would be she leave her Mayport, Fla., home port before the start of hurricane season in June.

Warner said the fact the JFK can no longer serve in the fleet is "painful" to him and others, mainly because of the ship’s namesake, the late President John F. Kennedy.

But even those who were closest to Kennedy seem resigned to the fate of the ship.

"It is bittersweet to know that she will be retired," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in a statement.

"But the people of Massachusetts and the Kennedy family are very proud of her service and know she holds a special place in the hearts of the Navy and the Nation."
 

MIGleader

Banned Idiot
USAF Retires Last C-141 StarLifter; World's First Jet-Powered Airlifter Completes 43-Year Career
Lockheed Martin
Mon, 8 May 2006, 01:37

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB: The U.S. Air Force retired the last Lockheed Martin C-141 StarLifter airlifter to the National Museum of the United States Air Force in ceremonies here this morning, closing out the transport's 43-year career.

The C-141 was the world's first turbofan-powered transport and it served as a major component of the U.S. strategic airlift force since it entered operational service in 1965. The aircraft recorded more than 10.6 million operational hours in over four decades of service.

"The C-141 has a noble record of achievement in its support of the U.S. military. Participating in every military operation from Vietnam to Iraqi Freedom, StarLifter crews have also performed humanitarian relief flights to nearly 70 countries on six continents," said Ross Reynolds, Lockheed Martin's vice president of Air Mobility. "Most recently, the StarLifter served those affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The aircraft has served NASA, conducted Antarctic resupply flights for nearly three decades and has been a key asset for flight research serving science for two decades."

The last C-141 aircraft in Air Force inventory (Air Force serial number 66-0177), a C-141C known as the Hanoi Taxi, was flown by a 445th Airlift Wing crew from the unit's base on the Patterson side of this 8,300 acre installation to the Wright Field side of the base where the National Museum of the United States Air Force (formerly known as the Air Force Museum) is located. The final flight lasted about an hour and included several passes over the museum.

On February 12, 1973, this particular aircraft, then a C-141A, was flown to Gia Lam Airport, near Hanoi, North Vietnam in the first mission of Operation Homecoming, the repatriation of former American prisoners of war. There were 40 former POWs on that first flight, many of whom were in Dayton for a reunion in conjunction with the C-141's retirement. On May 5, the POWs flew once again on the Hanoi Taxi in a re-creation of that historic flight.

"This last aircraft to be retired has a particularly poignant past since this is the aircraft that carried out the first Operation Homecoming," said Reynolds. "With the retirement of this aircraft, we remember and commemorate that important flight with great respect for all the missions of the aircraft, the crews who have flown it and the treasured passengers and cargo it has transported. Our company and employees salute all who have flown the C-141 serving our country and the Air Force, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve Command, Air Education and Training Command and Air Force Materiel Command with such distinction."

The aircraft was first flown in 1967 and went through two major modifications. It was first brought up to C-141B standards in the late 1970s. In the early 1990s, the aircraft was equipped with digital avionics and became a C-141C. The aircraft retires with approximately 39,470 flight hours and 10,900 landings over its career.

After several weeks of preparation and preservation, the Hanoi Taxi will go on public display this summer in the museum's outdoor airpark. Counting the Hanoi Taxi, a total of 13 StarLifters are preserved as static displays at bases where the aircraft were formerly stationed or in museums around the country.

"The StarLifter was the first production aircraft to be completely designed by engineers at the company's division in Marietta, Ga.," added Reynolds. "At the rollout ceremony in August 1963, President John Kennedy pushed a button at the White House that sent signals to open the hangar doors in Marietta. Today, this division of Lockheed Martin continues the company's air mobility legacy with ongoing production of the new C-130J air mobility aircraft and modernization of the C-5 Galaxy, the largest transport aircraft supporting the needs of the U.S. military."

The 445th Airlift Wing, an Air Force Reserve Command unit, is now converting from the C-141 to the C-5A Galaxy strategic transport. The 445th AW will eventually receive 11 aircraft. Eleven major military construction projects, valued at $62.8 million, are under way or planned through FY'07 to accommodate the C-5s at Wright-Patterson.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 135,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2005 sales of $37.2 billion.

ADDITIONAL C-141 STARLIFTER BACKGROUND AND HISTORY

To View Pictures of the C-141 StarLifter, Click Here

A total of 285 C-141 aircraft were built at Lockheed Martin's Marietta, Ga. facility, from 1963 to 1968. Peak year for production was 1967, when 107 C-141s came off the assembly line. The military C-141 fleet (284 aircraft) recorded a grand total of 10,645,726 flight hours, or an average of approximately 39,465 hours per airframe. The military fleet tallied 1,026,695 full-stop landings. One StarLifter was delivered as a commercial L-300 transport and was used as a company demonstrator. It was later used by NASA as an airborne observatory.

A total of 251 C-141s have been retired to the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., where they eventually will be dismantled.

The first flight of the first C-141A (there was no prototype) came at Marietta, Ga., on December 17, 1963, the 60th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first powered flight. That aircraft (Air Force serial number 61- 2775) is now on display at the Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover AFB, Del. The StarLifter entered operational Air Force service at Tinker AFB, Okla., in April 1965 and since that time more than 30 squadrons with 15 active duty Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, Air National Guard, Air Education and Training Command, and Air Force Materiel Command units flew the aircraft.

In August of 1965, the first C-141 missions were flown to Vietnam. The C- 141A aircraft were capable of carrying either 138 troops or approximately 62,000 pounds of cargo, reducing what had been a 72-hour trip with stops from Travis AFB, Calif., to Tan Son Nhut AB, South Vietnam in a C-124, the C-141's piston-powered predecessor, to 36 hours. On the return trip, the crews could carry up to 80 litters plus attendants on medevac flights. Some 6,000 medevac flights were flown on StarLifters from 1965 until 1972.

In 1969, a C-141A was used to fly the Apollo 11 astronauts and their special containment house trailer from Hawaii to Houston after the first moon landing mission was completed. In October 1973, StarLifter crews flew 421 missions and delivered more than 10,000 tons of equipment and supplies to Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Recognizing that the C-141 often filled up well before its max cargo capacity was reached, the Air Force had 270 C-141 aircraft "stretched" by adding two plugs in the fuselage, increasing usable volume by nearly 75 percent. The first modified aircraft, redesignated C-141B, was flown in 1977 from Marietta and the modification program, which also included provisions for aerial refueling, ran until 1983.

The C-141B could carry 200 troops, 155 paratroops, 14 aeromedical attendants and a maximum of 103 litters -- although the usual load was 76 ambulatory and litter patients when comfort pallets (a cargo pallet-mounted lavatory and kitchen combination) were used, or 68,725 lbs (31,239 kilograms) of cargo. Aeromedical crews considered the C-141 a nearly perfect long-range evacuation platform, as the injured could be loaded directly from ambulance busses, the aircraft had its own patient oxygen lines, and carried its own stanchions. No special pallets or floor-loading of patients was required.

StarLifter crews conducted Antarctic resupply flights for nearly three decades, landing directly on the ice without skis at McMurdo Station. C-141s were also used for flight research, including serving as the tow aircraft for an F-106 and as an advanced radar test bed aircraft. The NASA aircraft, based at Ames Research Center in California, was christened the Kuiper Airborne Observatory. It had a 36-inch infrared telescope that weighed 7.5 tons mounted in a hatch in the forward fuselage. It served science for two decades.

Most recently, StarLifter crews flew suspected terrorists to the detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

From 2003 until the StarLifter's last combat mission in September 2005, C- 141 crews flew more than 70 percent of the aeromedical evacuation flights from points in the Middle East and Iraq. From 2002 until 2005, C-141 crews flew more than 2,000 combat sorties and moved more than 70 million pounds of equipment and materials in theater.
tis sad to see such a valiant plane retire. Perhaps the air force should give these planes to humanitarian aid groups, to help transport relief supplies to disaster hit countries.
 

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The Last Jedi
VIP Professional
Miggy sez...
tis sad to see such a valiant plane retire. Perhaps the air force should give these planes to humanitarian aid groups, to help transport relief supplies to disaster hit countries.
That's a good idea Miggy. I think the USAF is storing them out in the desret at Davis-Montham AFB in Tuscon AZ. Who know?? Maybe some will be sold to other nations...The Starlifter was a very reliable,safe and a workhorse of an aircraft.

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