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C-141 'Hanoi Taxi' to make final landing at museum

A C-141 Starlifter aircraft, better known as the Hanoi Taxi, flies over its soon-to-be new home at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force adjacent to Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, Dec. 13.  This particular aircraft gained fame when it was used to return American prisoners of war back home at the end of the Viet Nam War.  As the last operational C-141 in Air Force Reserve Command's 445 Airlift Wing, the historic aircraft is scheduled to retire and be dedicated at the museum May 5-6.  The Reserve wing started replacing its C-141s with C-5 cargo aircraft in October and plan to have a total of 11 C-5s by April 2007.  (Courtesy Photo by John Rossino)

A C-141 Starlifter, better known as the "Hanoi Taxi," flies over the National Museum of the United States Air Force on Dec. 13, 2005. (Courtesy Photo by John Rossino)

DAYTON, Ohio -- The first aircraft to return Vietnam prisoners of war to the United States will make its final landing at 9:30 a.m. on May 6 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

The C-141 "Hanoi Taxi" was the first aircraft to arrive in Hanoi in February 1973 to pick up the POWs returning to the United States. It eventually repatriated more than 500 American POWs held by the North Vietnamese.

The public can view the aircraft landing from the museum grounds. Those interested are asked to arrive early to prevent possible traffic congestion. Museum gates will open to the public at 8:30 a.m. The aircraft will make several passes over the museum prior to landing on the runway behind the museum. Traffic along Springfield Pike near the museum's entrance and along Woodman/Harshman Road may be congested due to the arrival of the "Hanoi Taxi."

The film, "Return with Honor," which recounts the story of a group of American pilots who were shot down over North Vietnam and became POWs for more than eight years, will be shown at 1:30 p.m. in the museum's Carney Auditorium. A former POW will be available to answer questions after the film.

In conjunction with the final flight of the C-141, the museum will open an expanded exhibit, titled "Return with Honor: American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia." Located in the museum's Modern Flight Gallery, this permanent exhibit features videos, photographs, dioramas and artifacts to tell the story of American POWs. Artifacts include handmade games, rings, cigarette cases and clothing that were created by the prisoners during their confinement. The exhibit also includes a new display on the Son Tay prison camp rescue raid, which occurred in late 1970 and demonstrated that the United States was serious about the welfare of its POWs.

The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located on Springfield Pike, six miles northeast of downtown Dayton. It is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day). Admission and parking are free.

NOTE TO MEDIA: For more information, contact the National Museum of the United States Air Force Public Affairs Division at (937) 255-4704, ext. 333.

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