27 June, 2015

PROFILE 106: IN PROGRESS— "0641" as flown on February 18, 1973

Two things.

1.  This isn't the "Hanoi Taxi."  

Oh, it's very similar to the more-famous C-141 that flew the first group of Vietnam War POW's out of Ha Noi on February 12, 1973...but it's not that airplane.

See, in 1973 there were nearly 600 American POWs were released from the North Vietnamese prison system and it took more than one sortie to bring them home.  50-some shuttle flights between Ha Noi and Clark AFB (Philippine Islands) took place over the rest of February through March 29th.

From what I've read and heard, the emotion of seeing this giant symbol of America on the ramp of Gia Lam Airport was initially stunning but culminated into an eruption of pure joy at the first sensation of flight.  Home.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to have never been tested as these men were simply can't imagine what it must have been like.  I suspect the photo below doesn't even come close to capturing it.

American POWs cheer as their C-141 heads toward home.  Source:  U.S. Air Force

2.  Though this particular post is short, it's going to be a long story.

It's going to be a while before I can post again but...please.  Stay.  Tuned.

And to the person who put together the video below, email me.  

PS - because more than a few of you are capable cyber-sleuths, I'm posting the progress-shot of the artwork.  The serial number is accurate.   ;)