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Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi"

The C-141 "Hanoi Taxi" performs a fly-by at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force during its final flight on May 6, 2006. The "Hanoi Taxi" was the first aircraft to return Vietnam prisoners of war to the United States on Feb. 12, 1973. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jeff Fisher)

The C-141 "Hanoi Taxi" performs a fly-by at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force during its final flight on May 6, 2006. The "Hanoi Taxi" was the first aircraft to return Vietnam prisoners of war to the United States on Feb. 12, 1973. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jeff Fisher)

The C-141 "Hanoi Taxi" performs a fly-by at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force during its final flight on May 6, 2006. The "Hanoi Taxi" was the first aircraft to return Vietnam prisoners of war to the United States on Feb. 12, 1973. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jeff Fisher)

The C-141 "Hanoi Taxi" performs a fly-by at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force during its final flight on May 6, 2006. The "Hanoi Taxi" was the first aircraft to return Vietnam prisoners of war to the United States on Feb. 12, 1973. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jeff Fisher)

The C-141 "Hanoi Taxi" touches down at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force during its final flight on May 6, 2006. The "Hanoi Taxi" was the first aircraft to return Vietnam prisoners of war to the United States on Feb. 12, 1973. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jeff Fisher)

The C-141 "Hanoi Taxi" touches down at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force during its final flight on May 6, 2006. The "Hanoi Taxi" was the first aircraft to return Vietnam prisoners of war to the United States on Feb. 12, 1973. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jeff Fisher)

DAYTON, Ohio -- The C-141 "Hanoi Taxi" taxis past the National Museum of the United States Air Force after its final flight on May 6, 2006. The "Hanoi Taxi" was the first aircraft to return Vietnam prisoners of war to the United States on Feb. 12, 1973. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jeff Fisher)

DAYTON, Ohio -- The C-141 "Hanoi Taxi" taxis past the National Museum of the United States Air Force after its final flight on May 6, 2006. The "Hanoi Taxi" was the first aircraft to return Vietnam prisoners of war to the United States on Feb. 12, 1973. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jeff Fisher)

DAYTON, Ohio - The C-141 "Hanoi Taxi's" final touch down at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ben Strasser)

DAYTON, Ohio - The C-141 "Hanoi Taxi's" final touch down at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ben Strasser)

DAYTON, Ohio (5/6/06) -- The C-141 "Hanoi Taxi" final flight crew. The aircraft made its final flight to the National Museum of the United States Air Force in 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jeff Fisher)

DAYTON, Ohio (5/6/06) -- The C-141 "Hanoi Taxi" final flight crew. The aircraft made its final flight to the National Museum of the United States Air Force in 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jeff Fisher)

DAYTON, Ohio (5/6/06) -- Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Charles Metcalf, director of the National Museum of the United States Air Force, addresses the audience after the C-141 "Hanoi Taxi" made its final flight. Ceremony speakers included (from left to right) Gen. Duncan McNabb, commander of Air Mobility Command, Gen. (Ret.) William Begert, vice president of business development and international programs in the Military Engines unit at Pratt & Whitney, Lt. Gen. John Bradley, commander of Air Force Reserve Command, and Ross Reynolds, vice president of air mobility programs at Lockheed Martin. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jeff Fisher)

DAYTON, Ohio (5/6/06) -- Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Charles Metcalf, director of the National Museum of the United States Air Force, addresses the audience after the C-141 "Hanoi Taxi" made its final flight. Ceremony speakers included (from left to right) Gen. Duncan McNabb, commander of Air Mobility Command, Gen. (Ret.) William Begert, vice president of business development and international programs in the Military Engines unit at Pratt & Whitney, Lt. Gen. John Bradley, commander of Air Force Reserve Command, and Ross Reynolds, vice president of air mobility programs at Lockheed Martin. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jeff Fisher)

DAYTON, Ohio - The C-141 "Hanoi Taxi" sits during a ceremony after its final flight to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ben Strasser)

DAYTON, Ohio - The C-141 "Hanoi Taxi" sits during a ceremony after its final flight to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ben Strasser)

DAYTON, Ohio - Lockheed C-141C cockpit at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio - Lockheed C-141C cockpit at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio - Lockheed C-141C cockpit at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio - Lockheed C-141C cockpit at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio - Lockheed C-141C cockpit at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio - Lockheed C-141C cockpit at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio - Lockheed C-141C cockpit at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio - Lockheed C-141C cockpit at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Lockheed C-141C navigator station at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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Lockheed C-141C navigator station at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Lockheed C-141C flight engineer station at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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Lockheed C-141C flight engineer station at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio - Lockheed C-141C at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio - Lockheed C-141C at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Restoration staff move the Lockheed C-141C Hanoi Taxi into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Dec. 16, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jim Copes)
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Restoration staff move the Lockheed C-141C Hanoi Taxi into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Dec. 16, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jim Copes)

Restoration staff move the Lockheed C-141C Hanoi Taxi into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Dec. 16, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Don Popp)
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Restoration staff move the Lockheed C-141C Hanoi Taxi into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Dec. 16, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Don Popp)

Restoration staff move the Lockheed C-141C Hanoi Taxi into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Dec. 16, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jim Copes)
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Restoration staff move the Lockheed C-141C Hanoi Taxi into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Dec. 16, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jim Copes)

Restoration staff move the Lockheed C-141C Hanoi Taxi into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Dec. 16, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Don Popp)
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Restoration staff move the Lockheed C-141C Hanoi Taxi into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Dec. 16, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Don Popp)

Restoration staff move the Lockheed C-141C Hanoi Taxi into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Dec. 16, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jim Copes)
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Restoration staff move the Lockheed C-141C Hanoi Taxi into the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Dec. 16, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jim Copes)

Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Paul Kari, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, poses with the Lockheed C-141C Hanoi Taxi in the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Dec. 16, 2015. Kari was flown to freedom on the Hanoi Taxi in 1973. (U.S. Air Force photo by Don Popp)
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Lt. Col. (Ret.) Paul Kari, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, poses with the Lockheed C-141C Hanoi Taxi in the new fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Dec. 16, 2015. Kari was flown to freedom on the Hanoi Taxi in 1973. (U.S. Air Force photo by Don Popp)

Volunteers cleaning and polishing the C-141 Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" on January 28, 2016. The work is being done in preparation for the museum's new fourth building, which opens June 8th.
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Volunteers cleaning and polishing the C-141 Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" on January 28, 2016. The work is being done in preparation for the museum's new fourth building, which opens June 8th.

Volunteers cleaning and polishing the C-141 Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" on January 28, 2016. The work is being done in preparation for the museum's new fourth building, which opens June 8th.
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Volunteers cleaning and polishing the C-141 Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" on January 28, 2016. The work is being done in preparation for the museum's new fourth building, which opens June 8th.

Volunteers cleaning and polishing the C-141 Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" on January 28, 2016. The work is being done in preparation for the museum's new fourth building, which opens June 8th.
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Volunteers cleaning and polishing the C-141 Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" on January 28, 2016. The work is being done in preparation for the museum's new fourth building, which opens June 8th.

Volunteers cleaning and polishing the C-141 Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" on January 28, 2016. The work is being done in preparation for the museum's new fourth building, which opens June 8th.
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Volunteers cleaning and polishing the C-141 Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" on January 28, 2016. The work is being done in preparation for the museum's new fourth building, which opens June 8th.

Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jim Copes)
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Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jim Copes)

Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jim Copes)
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Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jim Copes)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Interior view of the Lockheed C-141C Starlifter "Hanoi Taxi" in the Global Reach Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

This C-141A, serial number 66-177, was the first to carry POWs home from Hanoi. The aircraft came to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in May 2006. The red cross was applied for OPERATION HOMECOMING to denote a peaceful mission. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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This C-141A, serial number 66-177, was the first to carry POWs home from Hanoi. The aircraft came to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in May 2006. The red cross was applied for OPERATION HOMECOMING to denote a peaceful mission. (U.S. Air Force photo)

When the aircraft left the ground, the POWs knew they really were free. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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When the aircraft left the ground, the POWs knew they really were free. (U.S. Air Force photo)


Note: Visitors are permitted to walk in this aircraft.


The C-141 Starlifter was the US Air Force’s first major jet aircraft designed to meet military standards as a troop and cargo carrier. Lockheed (now Lockheed Martin) built a total of 285 C-141s, and for more than 40 years, C-141s performed numerous airlift missions for the USAF. With its great range and high speed, the Starlifter projected American military power and humanitarian efforts rapidly across the globe.

The Starlifter originated from a 1959 requirement for a fast, strategic transport aircraft that would serve as a “work horse” for moving U.S. Army troops rapidly anywhere in the world. The C-141 made its maiden flight on December 17, 1963, and the C-141A became operational in April 1965 with the 1501st Air Transport Wing at Travis Air Force Base, Calif.

During its early operational service, the C-141A demonstrated that it had the potential to transport larger cargo loads, and the USAF lengthened the C-141A’s fuselage by 23.3 feet and added aerial refueling capability. The first modified “stretch” C-141B arrived at Altus Air Force Base, Okla., in December 1979, and Lockheed completed the modification program in 1982. The additional cargo capacity of the C-141Bs gave the USAF the equivalent of 90 additional C-141As. Later modifications included strengthening the wings which added extra service life to the Starlifter. From 1997 to 2001, C-141Bs were converted to C-141Cs by the addition of advanced avionics.

In July 1986, the USAF began transferring its C-141s to Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units, and the last two Starlifters were retired from service in 2006. Over their four-decade career, Starlifters logged more than 10 million hours, including a record set in 1981 when a C-141 flew 67,000 pounds of cargo non-stop from New Jersey to Saudi Arabia, refueling three times in flight.

Hanoi Taxi -- A Symbol for a War
Although the C-141s had flown many military and humanitarian missions, none was more significant than the mission flown by the Hanoi Taxi, the aircraft on display. This C-141 (serial number 66-0177) airlifted the first American prisoners of war to freedom from Gia Lam Airport in Hanoi, North Vietnam, on Feb. 12, 1973. The Hanoi Taxi flew two missions into Hanoi, carrying out 78 POWs and two civilian returnees to the Philippines, and four missions from the Philippines to the United States, carrying 76 ex-POWs.

Afterward, the Hanoi Taxi continued flying missions around the world for three more decades and logged more than 40,000 flying hours. During its lifespan, the Hanoi Taxi underwent many changes. Originally built as a C-141A model, its fuselage was lengthened and aerial refueling capability was added in the early 1980s. The USAF redesignated it as a C-141B. Later, the aircraft had its wings strengthened and was converted to a C-141C by the installation of advanced avionics. In 2002 the Hanoi Taxi received its final programmed depot maintenance. It was also repainted as it appeared when it went to Hanoi in 1973 -- except for the Red Cross which was used to show it was carrying hospital patients. The Hanoi Taxi flew in these markings for the next four years instead of the standard paint scheme in recognition of its important history.

In May 2004 the Hanoi Taxi again tapped the timelines of history when Maj. Gen. Edward J. Mechenbier, himself a POW repatriated from Vietnam, flew it back to Vietnam to repatriate the remains of two American service members killed in action. The Hanoi Taxi was flown to the museum in May 2006.

TECHNICAL NOTES:
Crew: Two pilots, two flight engineers and one loadmaster (one navigator added for airdrops); two flight nurses and three medical technicians added for aeromedical evacuation missions
Armament: None
Engines: Four Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-7 turbofan engines with 20,250 lbs. thrust each
Load: Either 200 troops, 155 paratroops, 103 litters and 14 seats, or 68,725 lbs. of cargo
Maximum speed: 500 mph
Range: Unlimited with in-flight refueling

Click here to return to the Global Reach Gallery.

 

Find Out More
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Related Fact Sheets
Return with Honor: American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia
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Cockpit360 Images
View the C-141C Pilot Station
View the C-141C Copilot Station
View the C-141C Flight Deck Overview
View the C-141C Forward Cargo Area
View the C-141C Aft Cargo Area
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Videos
 Interview with Lt. Col. Steve Schnell-445th ALW
 C-141 "Hanoi Taxi" Aircraft Move Time-Lapse
 C-141 "Hanoi Taxi" Moved into Fourth Building
 
Air Force Museum Foundation
View C-141 products in the Museum Store
See the C-141 in Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag at the Air Force Museum Theatre
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