Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar

The Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar (Navy and Marine Corps designation R4Q) was an American military transport aircraft developed from the World War II-era Fairchild C-82 Packet, designed to carry cargo, personnel, litter patients, and mechanized equipment, and to drop cargo and troops by parachute. The first C-119 made its initial flight in November 1947, and by the time production ceased in 1955, more than 1,100 C-119s had been built.

The aircraft saw extensive action during the Korean War as a troop and equipment transport. In July 1950, four C-119s were sent to FEAF for service tests.[citation needed] Two months later, the C-119 deployed with the 314th Troop Carrier Group and served in Korea throughout the war.

During the Vietnam War, the incredible success of the Douglas AC-47 Spooky continued, but limitations of the size and carrying capacity of the plane led the USAF to develop a larger plane to carry more surveillance gear, weaponry, and ammunition, the AC-130 Spectre. However, due to the strong demands of C-130s for cargo use there were not enough Hercules frames to provide Spectres for operations against the enemy. The USAF filled the gap by converting C-119s into AC-119s each equipped with four 7.62 minigun pods, a Xenon searchlight, night observation sight, flare launcher, fire control computer and TRW fire control safety display to prevent incidents of friendly fire. The new AC-119 squadron was given the call-sign "Creep" that launched a wave of indignation that led the Air Force to change the name to "Shadow" on 1 December 1968.[10] C-119Gs were modified as AC-119G Shadows and AC-119K Stingers. They were used successfully in both close air support missions in South Vietnam and interdiction missions against trucks and supplies along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. All the AC-119G Gunships were transferred to the Republic of Vietnam Air Force starting in 1970 as the American forces began to be withdrawn.

Many C-119s were provided to other nations as part of the Military Assistance Program, including Belgium, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Italy, Jordan, Taiwan, and (as previously mentioned) South Vietnam. The type was also used by the Royal Canadian Air Force, and by the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps under the designation R4Q until 1962 when they were also redesignated as C-119.

A number of aircraft were acquired by companies who were contracted by federal agencies including the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to provide airtankers for fighting wildfires. Others were pressed into civilian cargo service. After a series of crashes, the age and safety of the aircraft being used as airtankers became a serious concern, and the U.S. C-119 airtanker fleet was permanently grounded in 1987. Eventually, many of these aircraft were provided to museums across the U.S. in a complicated – and ultimately illegal – scheme where stored USAF Lockheed C-130 Hercules transports and Navy Lockheed P-3 Orion anti-submarine patrol aircraft were provided to the contractors in exchange for the C-119s.[11] (See U.S. Forest Service airtanker scandal.) After the end of the airtanker days, many C-119s flew in Alaska for Northern Pacific Transport, Gifford Aviation, Stebbins & Ambler Air transport, and Delta Associates, being used for public service contracts, such as hauling building materials to the villages in the bush of Alaska that have no road access.