C-7A Caribou

Serial Number: 63-9760

The C-7 Caribou was flown to the Museum in 1992 and in tracing its past, it was found that the plane was stationed at Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam from 1969 to 1970. One of the museum’s volunteers, Col. Bill Hardie, USAF Ret., researched his flight records of the time he spent at Cam Ranh Bay and found that he and the plane were old buddies.

In Vietnam the Caribou was used to re-supply fighting forces in-country because of its unique ability to fly in and out of camps on short, unimproved airstrips. The museum’s ‘bou is restored to its Vietnam- era appearance. In addition to its Vietnam service, this C-7 also served time with the Army’s Golden Knights Parachute Team.

Mission

The C-7 was used to move people and material into forward areas, where short, unprepared strips, were the norm. They were almost always operated under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) or “Special VFR,” but were fully equipped instrument aircraft. Typical cargoes were fuel (gasoline, diesel fuel, and JP-4), munitions (small arms ammunition, 2.75 inch aircraft rockets, 105mm, 155mm, 175mm, and 8 inch howitzer projectiles), food (widely varying from very conventional American steak and chicken, to live pigs, chickens, ducks, and eels for the ARVN troops), passengers (U.S. military, RVN military, RVN civilians, and even NVA POWs), and sadly, bodies. Most of the destination airstrips of the C-7 in the 1971 time period were along the borders of Laos and Cambodia with South Vietnam and were firebases or Special Forces outposts (U.S., ARVN, and Montagnard). The Caribou was a workhorse that went from sunrise to sunset every day operating in the heat, humidity, dust and mud from the low-lying Vietnamese Mekong Delta to the towering mountain regions of the central highlands.

The C-7 could accommodate up to 32 passengers, 26 fully-equipped paratroops, 20 litter patients, or an 8,740 pound cargo load.

  • Manufacturer: de Havilland Canada
  • First Flight: 30 July 1958
  • Retired: 1980s
Specifications
  • Crew: Pilot, co-pilot, loadmaster
  • Payload: 8,740 lbs; or 32 passengers; or 26 paratroops; or 20 litter patients
  • Length: 72 ft 7 in
  • Wingspan: 95 ft 7 in
  • Height: 31 ft 10 in
  • Empty Weight: 16,920 lbs
  • Loaded Weight: 28,500 lbs
  • Powerplant: 2x Pratt & Whitney R-2000-7M2 radials
  • Maximum Speed: 215 mph
  • Cruise Speed: 121 mph
  • Range: 1,380 mi
  • Service Ceiling: 24,800 ft
Assignment History

The assignment history for the Air Mobility Command Museum's C-7A Caribou, serial number 63-9760:

Date Location
1 Jan 1967 To 483rd Troop Carrier Wing (Pacific Air Forces), Cam Ranh Bay AB, South Vietnam
21 Apr 1968 to 6200th Material Wing (PACAF), Clark AB, Philippines
22 Apr 1968 to 483rd Tactical Airlift Wing (PACAF), Cam Ranh Bay AB, South Vietnam
6 May 1968 Deployed to Clark AB, Philippines
6 May 1968 to 6200th Material Wing (PACAF), Clark AB, Philippines
18 Mar 1970 to 19th Tactical Fighter Wing (PACAF), Kadena AB, Okinawa
20 Mar 1970 to 483rd Tactical Fighter Wing (PACAF), Cam Ranh Bay AB, South Vietnam
30 Sep 1977 to 357th Tactical Airlift Squadron (ANG), Maxwell AFB, AL
3 Aug 1983 Dropped from the USAF inventory by transfer to the US Army, Maxwell AFB, AL

1 Comment

  • back in 68 & 69 at Camn Ranh Bay, to the best of my recollection, the crew chief of that A/C was SSgt Tom Billott. myself, I was the crew chief of A/C 740, an I always said my plane would return from the daily mission in better shape than his. It used to piss him off when my plane came back with no writeups, and his would have a couple of pages full.

    A1C charles fisher ( at the time)

    Msgt Ret. now.

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