Starlifter era comes to end at Travis AFB

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) - The C-141 Starlifter era has ended at Travis Air Force Base, Calif.
February 1998

Travis received its first C-141 on April 23, 1965. For 32 years, it hauled people and cargo around the world from the Vietnam War to current-day humanitarian and global airlift missions.

"The primary impact on the 60th Air Mobility Wing will be the types of missions the C-141 supported, such as Operation Deep Freeze, repatriations and the Prime Nuclear Airlift Force (PNAF) missions," said Lt. Col. Floyd A. Badsky, 20th Airlift Squadron commander. These missions have been transferred to McChord Air Force Base, Wash., and will be greatly missed, he added.

Travis began supporting Operation Deep Freeze in the 1960s, first with the C-124s and later with the C-141s. The annual resupply of scientific research teams in the Antarctic are flown for the Naval Support Force Antarctica, in support of the National Science Foundation. Missions are flown from Christchurch, New Zealand, to McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.

Another significant mission Travis performed was the return of the remains of American service people who were killed and listed as missing in action. As this honorable duty is moved to McChord with the C-141, Travis will no longer be the first American soil that U.S. servicemembers touch when their remains are returned "home."

Even though these missions have moved to McChord, the entire C-141 fleet is scheduled for an incremental drawdown to be completed by 2006, according to Air Force officials. Current alignments are a part of a series of actions begun in 1993.

The squadron's C-141B Starlifter fleet will depart Travis for other bases and eventual retirement.

The decision to retire the C-141 Starlifter, once the Air Force's core airlift aircraft, was based on recommendations from the 1994 Scientific Advisory Board. The secretary of the Air Force convened the board in response to Congressional direction to examine service life extension of the C-141 fleet.

The board concluded flight beyond 45,000 equivalent flight hours may not be viable because widespread fatigue damage may jeopardize the fail-safe features of the basic design.

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