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434th C119 Flying Boxcars

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434th C-119G #991 Aircraft over Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base and another C-119G at Bakalar Air Force Base Columbus, Indiana near the control tower. Note the troop tents in back of the tower. Colonel John Hoff in the cockpit of C-119 #100,000 renumbered to reflect one hundred thousand hours of accident free flying.


Span: 109 ft. 3 1/4 in.
Length: 86 ft. 5 3/4 in.
Height: 26 ft. 7 3/4 in.
Weight: 66,900 lbs. max.
Armament: None
Engines: Two Wright R-3350s of 3,500 hp. ea.
Cost: $590,000

Maximum speed: 290 mph.
Cruising speed: 200 mph.
Range: 2,000 miles
Service Ceiling: 30,000 ft.

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434th C-119G #680 over Indiana. A great photo taken out of the back of another Balakar Air Force Base C-119G of a trailing C-119G. A photo taken out the other side of a flight of 434th "Dollar Nineteen's".


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C-119G #680 and a photo out the back of another C-119G under the boom.


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Major General John Hoff flew C-119J #037 to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to turn over the aircraft for display at the WPAFB Museum. According to General Hoff, this flight took place most likely on November 2, 1963 according to his Form 5 records. Around that time General Hoff had a number of flights in C-119's. He had two flights in the J model with one of just 20 minutes and the other on November 2, 1963 of sufficient time to fly to WPAFB. The other flights were in G models. The 434th had one squadron of C-119J's for a short period of time before they were withdrawn from the Air Force inventory. The first photo of a C-119J is with former 2466th airman, James Landrum  standing at the cargo door and who served at the former Bakalar Air Force Base and a photo of the same C-119J from WPAFB Museum.

The C-119J #037 on display at WPAFB was specially modified for the mid-air retrieval of space capsules re-entering the atmosphere from orbit. On August 19, 1960, this aircraft made the world's first midair recovery of a capsule returning from orbit when it "snagged" the parachute lowering the Discoverer XIV satellite at 8,000 feet altitude 360 miles southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii.

Flying Boxcar C-119G S/N 51-8024L on display at the Strategic Air & Space Museum a former Bakalar Air Force Base aircraft.

Photographs used with permission of the Strategic Air & Space Museum. Click on photos for full size viewing. 

There were a total of 1,151 C-119's built with 484 of the C-119G model. C-119G serial number 51-8024L was assigned in July 1957 to the 2466th Air Reserve Flying Center US Air Force Reserve Bakalar Air Force Base Columbus. After assigned to Tinker AFB, Oklahoma it was assigned in January 1961 to the 434th Troop Carrier Wing Bakalar AFB and in May 1963 to the 930th Troop Carrier Group Bakalar Air Force Base. It was then assigned in June 1968 to the 71st Air Command Squadron (TAC) Lockbourne AFB, Ohio. In March 1970 it was dropped from inventory by transfer to the Strategic Air & Space Museum.

The pilot of this C-119J was Captain Harold E. Mitchell of Bloomington, Illinois. In 1969 then Lt. Colonel Harold E. Mitchell flew with the 71st Special Operations Squadron on the first AC-119G Gunship mission in Vietnam. That mission was a demonstration flight just off the coast of Nha Trang. According to Colonel Retired Herman A. Heuss, USAFR, the crew consisted of: Instructor Pilot, LTC Harold E. Mitchell, Pilot LTC Don Beyl, Co-pilot Major Herman "Al" Heuss, along with the normal crew of two Navigator/NOS operators, Flight Engineer, IO and two Gunners. There were another six on board as observers. The firepower demonstration consisted of dropping a one man life raft into the water and using it as the target. LTC Beyl shredded the raft with the first burst with two guns online. This same crew flew the first in-country (Vietnam) combat mission on 5 January 1969 this according to the entry in Colonel Heuss' Form 5. Colonel Mitchell's daughter, Michelle, provided the museum with the information that her father was from Bloomington, Illinois, although many sources list him incorrectly as being from Bloomington, Indiana.

Major General John Hoff then Colonel Hoff, Bakalar Air Force Base commander being briefed by Colonel John Jones about the 434th's capsule-catching mission. Colonel Jones was the pilot of the C-119J that recovered the Discoverer XVII capsule.

The C-119J's stationed at Bakalar Air Force Base were serial numbers 518037, 518038, 518041, 518042, 518043 and 518045. All the other C-119's at Bakalar Air Force Base were G models. One of the main model differences were the rear doors. The J's opened top and bottom and the G's opened side to side. 

A 434th C-119 being loaded for an improved serial delivery system named "Alamo Slingshot," that was tested by the Air Force to enable Air Force cargo aircraft to re-supply ground units with almost pinpoint accuracy. With the slingshot system, the C-119 aircraft could catapult its complete cargo load from the plane in just four and a half seconds. This official U.S. Air Force photo was released  August 1966.


This jeep is being "Alamo Slingshot" dropped by a C-119 aircraft. This system allowed the paradrops from lower altitudes of from 400 to 1000 feet.


Here is the jeep just after the drop from the C-119G and equipment drop from a C-119G 


A 434th C-119G on a take off roll from Bakalar Air Force Base Columbus, Indiana. This was a grass section of the air base used for special unimproved field take off training. Note the dust and how high the nose of this C-119G is.


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More great photos of C119G's at Bakalar Air Force Base in fire training exercises. Many of the photos on this museum web site are stamped with Air Force Photo on the reverse side.

Have you seen any C-119G's or C119J's on display anywhere? Let us know where and their aircraft numbers? Send us your photo and information. Or e-mail to the address below.

The Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum has authorization to use the aircraft photographs from the Wright Patterson Air Force Base Museum web site.

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Send your questions or comments about this web site or the museum to: lakegc@aol.com  Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum 4742 Ray Boll Boulevard Columbus, Indiana 47203
Copyright 2000-2012 Last modified:
January 16, 2012