C-123K Provider

Serial Number: 54-658

After serving in Vietnam, the museum’s Provider went on to further distinguished service. After retirement from the US Air Force, it was picked-up by the Department of State and was instrumental in the war on drugs in Peru. Moving food and medical supplies, building material, fuel and whatever else was needed to support the forward bases, the plane took hostile fire on several occasions and was instrumental, also, in transporting casualties to help and safety. Because of its unique capabilities as a cargo transport plane, and its ability to use unimproved landing strips in remote regions, the Peruvians nicknamed this plane “El Burro.”


The Provider is a short-range assault transport used to airlift troops and cargo onto short runways and unprepared airstrips. Designed by the Chase Aircraft Co., the C-123 evolved from earlier designs for large assault gliders. The first prototype XC-123 made its initial flight on October 14, 1949, powered by two piston engines. A second prototype was built as the XG-20 glider. It was later test-flown, powered by four jet engines. The production version, with two piston engines, was designated the C-123B. Chase began manufacture in 1953, but the production contract was transferred to Fairchild. The first of more than 300 Fairchild-built C-123Bs entered service in July 1955. Between 1966 and 1969, 184 C-123Bs were converted to C-123Ks by adding two J85 jet engines for improved performance.

  • Manufacturer: Fairchild Aircraft
  • First Flight: 14 October 1949
  • Retired: 1976
  • Crew: Pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, navigator
  • Payload: 24,000 lbs; or 61 troops
  • Length: 76 ft 3 in
  • Wingspan: 110 ft
  • Height: 34 ft 1 in
  • Empty Weight: 35,366 lbs
  • Loaded Weight: 60,000 lbs
  • Powerplant: 2x Pratt & Whitney R-2800-99W radials; 2x General Electric J85-GE-17 turbojets
  • Maximum Speed: 228 mph
  • Cruise Speed: 173 mph
  • Range: 1,035 mi
  • Service Ceiling: 21,100 ft
Assignment History

The assignment history for the Air Mobility Command Museum's C-123K Provider, serial number 54-658:

Date Location
Apr 1956 to 513th Troop Carrier Squadron, Assault (Tactical Air Command), Stewart AFB, TN
Jul 1958 to 346th Tactical Airlift Squadron (TAC), Pope AFB, NC
Dec 1961 to 464th Tactical Airlift Wing (TAC), Pope AFB, NC
Jul 1963 to 2nd Air Division HQ (Pacific Air Forces), DaNang AB, South Vietnam
Oct 1965 to 377th Combat Support Group (PAF), Tan Son Nhut AB, South Vietnam
Sep 1966 to 35th Tactical Fighter Wing (PAF), DaNang AB, South Vietnam
Jul 1967 to 315th Air Commando Wing (PAF), Phan Rang AB, South Vietnam
Jul 1968 to 315th Air Commando Wing (PAF), Bein Hoa AB, South Vietnam
May 1970 to 24th Special Operations Wing (Southern Air Command), Howard AFB, Panama
Nov 1971 to 906th Tactical Airlift Group (Air Force Reserve), Lockbounre AFB, OH
Jun 1975 to 356th Tactical Airlift Squadron (AFR), Lockbourne AFB, OH
Jan 1976 to 355th Tactical Airlift Squadron (AFR), Rickenbacker AFB, OH
Jul 1987 to Military Aircraft Storage Center (Air Force Logistics Command), Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ
Apr 1987 Disposition by transfer to US State Department

Write a reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments are reviewed before being posted.