The C-133 Cargomaster that so many worked so hard to bring to the AMC Museum is a reality. The success of the C-133 veterans in raising enough money for the reassembly of the plane, the hard work of the volunteers and the thousands of manhours, and the determination of the museum and its foundation to place a Cargomaster in the collection has paid off!
Conceived as an air transport for America’s large missiles, the C-133 was designed to meet the requirements for the USAF’s Logistic Carrier Support System. The C-133 Cargomaster was developed by the Douglas Aircraft Company and first flown on 23 April 1956. It was the largest turboprop transport ever to be accepted by the U.S. Air Force. In 1958, C-133s began flying MATS air routes throughout the world, and two Dover based C-133s established transatlantic speed records for transport aircraft on their first flights to Europe. The fleet of 50 aircraft proved itself invaluable during the Vietnam War, but fatigue problems led to their withdrawal from service in 1971.
The aircraft differed considerably from the C-74 and C-124 Globemasters that had preceded it. A high-mounted wing, external blister fairings on each side for the landing gear, and rear-loading and side-loading doors ensured that access to, and the volume of, the large cargo compartment were not compromised by these structures.
The cargo compartment (97 feet 4 inches length and 13 feet 4 inches high) was pressurized, heated, and ventilated. The Cargomaster had a 13,000 cubic foot cargo area with floor tie-down facilities permitting installation of 200 airline-type seats.
The C-133 could accommodate 110,000 pounds of cargo or a fully-assembled Thor, Jupiter or Atlas ballistic missile. Cargo was loaded via a two-section rear door assembly, the lower section formed a ramp for drive-on/drive-off capability, or by a cargo door on the port side of the forward fuselage. The C-133 was able to accept practically every type of vehicle in service with the U.S. Army.
The Cargomaster went directly into production as C-133A; no prototypes were built. The first C-133As were delivered to the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) in August 1957 at Dover. A total of 35 were built: the last three having a “clamshell” rear door assembly which increased the compartment length by 3 feet, making it possible to airlift completely assembled Titan missiles. These were followed by 15 C-133B aircraft that retained the “clamshell” doors and incorporated more powerful engines.
What was the function of the black horizontal wheel located on the top center of the glareshield? It appears to be similar in size and shape to the nose wheel steering wheel located by the AC’s left leg.
Dennis Eck, A1C [Senior Airmen in today’s terms]: I was stationed at Dover Air Force Base from October 1962 until May 1966 and assigned to the 1617th Flight Line Maint Squadron of the Military Air Transport Service [MATS]. I was a jet engine mechanic primarily functioning as a fireman would. Trouble shot engine issues on the flight line, night shift, and make the necessary repairs there. If the repairs were major, as an engine change, the plane would be taken to one of six hangers used for C – 133’s. Our shop was in one of those hangers. After major components were changed I would run the engine/s from the pilots seat, given approval from the tower. Traveled many times to other bases and to some other countries as [TDY]. McGuire, NJ; Mrytle Beach, SC; Fort Campbell, KY; McDill, FL; Chanute, IL; Edwards, CA; Travis, CA; Goose Bay, Labrador; Lahayes, Azores; Rahm Mein, Germany; Furstenfeldbrueck, Germany. Most flights were on C – 133’s, some on C – 135; C -130; C – 124; C – 141. In consideration of the C – 133, for the size and available technology of the time it was a work horse that could carry loads that no other could. The engines could of used a little more power as the props were 18 feet in dia. Many of the planes would go to countries all over the world including Viet Nam to deliver supplies, big equipment, and return to the states with abused equipment to be rebuilt. Sometimes the returning flights to Dover would have deceased soldiers to cared for. I enlisted at 17 and at 21 discharged having learned and did a lot I do not regret.
Sgt Rick Bremen, stationed at Travis from 1964 to 1968, Turbo prop tech working on many C-133’s. On flying status for test flights on all C-133’s coming out of PE Inspection. Hooked up and ran a special analyzer on each test flight to record all prop and engine readings for analysis before the aircraft was released back to service.. Much more sensitive then any cockpit instruments. Really enjoyed all my flights on the 133s.
I was stationed at Dover from June 64 thru December 67. Worked on the C-133 all that time. Became a crew chief in 66, and went on flying status to fly with my aircraft until my discharge in 67. There were a lot of ups and downs during that period of time with the aircraft as many know. At least two groundings during those years, and a lot of flight testing with many modifications. We all stayed and supported our aircraft the best we could. Enjoyed my years at Dover and would do it all over again if possible. I thought Dover was a very nice base to be stationed, and kind of close to my home town in New Hampshire. Many good memories were made with my years on active duty. Went on to serve in the Texas Air National Guard and finish up for retirement. Give my best to all the airmen I served with in the 617th OMS.
I was stationed at Dover from Sept. 1966 until Feb. 1970, assigned to the 436 FMS. I was an “M.A.” guy and spent many a night replacing/repairing one the many “parting strip” valves, on and in the wing, yeah that mass flow valve was a “bugger” also. Got to fly on one to Lajes AFB for support for a NATO exercise (TDY), don’t think too many maintenance types got that opportunity. Half way there, while warming up, the back end never got past about 45 degrees, in the cockpit we got to see a Travis B model slowly pass us up on the way to the Azores as well. The 133’s were grounded just as I was discharged due to that terrible event over Nebraska. Visited 2008 at the Air Force museum in Dayton, an old Dover bird, brought back memories, most good.
I am Sgt. Jack L. Cole Crew Chief on aircraft 0536 form 1965 to 1968. I was stationed at Travis AFB California as part of the 1501 Maintenance Sq. 601st OMS and I was one of the flying Crew Chiefs who made sure these planes made their missions while in the field. I also flew with the plane while on missile run all over the USA and delivering ICBMs all over and launch missiles to Cape Kennedy for the manned and unmanned shots. I recovered Apollo 3 and dropped it off in Long Beach California. I loved flying on this plane because she gave me a challenge to keep her airworthy as all of us who worked on them found that to be a very hard job sometimes. The first year (1965) I helped work on the plane on the line while I learned the plane and her systems and for the last two years (1967-1968) I flew everyday. If I wasn’t washing cloths or sleeping I was airborne. I flew with the best flight crews ever and had become just one of the crew.
I visited the Air Mobility Museum in 2018 just to visit my old friend 0536. I am not a shame to say I cried like a baby while I walked around her and put my hands on her skin. That brought back many memories of lots of hard work and good times I had, I would do it all over again if asked.
There are a few of us old C-133B Crew Chiefs still kicking, just not too high, It was a pleasure to serve with them and I just wish we all could get together again. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sgt. Jack Cole
Crew Chief C-133B 0536
Hello, I’m a lifelong C-133 enthusiast who spent 2 very full years on aircraft 56-1998 at Dover, 1967 and 1968. Started out as a ground crew member on the night shift mx crew (617OMS) on the airplane and after about 18 months was moved up as the assistant CC, on the night shift. I don’t think any of the other guys wanted the job!
I then began training for flying status and was nearly complete when an airman approached the airplane while I was getting checked off on an engine run one afternoon. He was carrying my PCS orders for Morón AB, Spain.. I shut the engines down and walked off the flight line. I never set foot on a Cargomaster again while on active duty.
Those were, without question, my best two years of a 30 year career.
I was stationed at Kadena in 1505 Support Sq (1962-1964) as a engine mechanic and the first to be run qualified on the C-133. We had one C-133 that was around for awhile with severe vibes after take off. Spent many hours operating engine problems. We found on a test flight it to be a broken engine bay door. I thought this was a very unique aircraft. I am now retired after 46 years of military aircraft work and miss it at times.
My Dad, MSGT Dennis C. Childres, flew 35 missions to Vietnam on the C133,receiving the Air Medal! He also worked on the flight lines in the Korean War. He was the flight engineer on the “bus” he called it. He retired in ’75 but I will have to look up his Squadron name. His name is on the plaque at the Dover AFB Museum with many who flew on this dangerous plane. He was a wonderful father and family man, we loved him dearly! He always put us first, never complained much even after 2 open heart surgeries. He worked harder than anyone I know! He gained his wings in 2008. He is survived by 4 children, 14 grandsons, & 9 great grandchildren. Truly our Hero!
My father was also there, MSgt. Ralph Draughon. Was sent to Okinawa for 3 years in 63. Returned back to Dover and stayed until retirement. Was Flight Line Chief at end. He was with maintenance.
I had the pleasure of knowing and serving with your dad at Dover. I was stationed there from January 1961 until August of 1964 when I was discharged. I was Assistant Crew Chief on 56-2010 and we lovingly called our plane the “lead sled” or the barn on wheels. Lost two good friends to crashes. We had a nickname for your dad “The Dragon”. All I can say he way a stand up guy and always stood behind his maintenance crews. It was not the easiest aircraft to work on and to keep flying but it taught me a lot about hard work, lessons that helped me later on in life. Your dad was one of those individuals that you are lucky enough to meet in your life that for one reason or another you never forget. Some of the best years of my life were spent at Dover and 55 years later I still have many good memories.
Good morning, Mr. Billing,
I hope you’re doing well. My father, MSGT Harry Gordon, was at DAFB from 1956 to 1970 when he retired. I was born at the DAFB hospital. Dad was a flight engineer on the C-133’s but I don’t know any of the men he flew with or which planes. Dad began his military career during Korea and ended with the arrival of the C-5. We lived in a large old farm (plantation) house that mom and dad rented from a gravel company near the takeoff and landing strip. We watched all the planes come and go right from our front yard. Many times, mom would somehow know when dad was on his way and would tell us to watch for his plane. My brothers and I would ride our bikes over to the paved road to the gravel company and watch the planes come in about 100 feet above our heads. When they were still aways out and much higher, we would dip our arms and the planes would dip their wings. I can still hear the roar of the C-133’s, the scream of the C-141’s and the whine of the C-5’s engines as they passed above our heads. It would be great to know the tail numbers my dad flew and if any of the crewmembers he flew with are still alive. I plan to visit the Air Force Musem in Dayton soon. Dad got his heavenly wings in 1996 at the age of 63. I’m now almost 62 and think of him often. Thank you for you service and all you did for our country!
I was stationed at Dover AFB, Delaware from Nov 1954 until April 1961, assigned to the 1607th Periodic Maintenance Squadron, first as an administrative clerk in the Orderly room, and then became Chief Clerk at 1607th Periodic Maintenance Squadron working on the Flight Line behind the large Black hanger. Anyone who may be associated with the AMC Museum who may have worked in the 1607th, please contact me at this e-mail address. Thanks.
Pastor Richard Morrison Sr.