On 24 October 1974, the U.S. Air Force successfully conducted an Air Mobile Feasibility Test when C-5A Galaxy 69-0014 (this aircraft!) air dropped an 86,000-lb Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) from 20,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean. The missile descended to 8,000 feet under a parachute before its rocket engine fired. The 10-second engine burn carried the missile to 20,000 feet again before it dropped into the ocean. The test proved the feasibility of launching an ICBM from the air. Due to engineering and security difficulties, however, the program was not continued. In the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT), the capability was used as a negotiating point.
In 1973, 69-0014 was the first factory-new C-5A assigned to Dover AFB, Delaware, and on 20 October 2013 it moved to the AMC Museum marking the first time a C-5 was retired to a museum.
As the Air Force’s largest strategic airlifter, the C-5 Galaxy can carry more cargo farther distances than any other aircraft. With a payload of six Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs) or up to five helicopters, the C-5 can haul twice as much cargo as any other airlifter.
The C-5 entered operational service in 1970 and has been a vital asset in every military operation since that time including the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and Operation Enduring Freedom. It has also been essential in humanitarian relief efforts including Hurricane Katrina and tsunami and earthquake relief. With a service life that stretches beyond 2040, the C-5 will remain a central figure in strategic airlift for decades to come.
C-5A Galaxy 69-0014 Arriving, August 7, 2013
I worked at 439 MXS Westover as an airframe mech for 12 yrs. We had many of the birds, all of them A models (when I was there). Helluva an aircraft. I had the pleasure of going on a few refuel missions, they called them “morale flights”. The pilots would have to do their refueling quals, and we were able to go. I knelt right behind the AC’s seat during the flights. He said I could go anywhere I wanted on the flight deck, but if behind him during refuel, DO NOT grab the back of his seat when getting up. We would get refueled by KC-135s out of Maine “Maniacs”. It was so impressive to me being right up front during the refuel, seeing the lights on the belly of the tanker, and the operator flying the boom.
I can always distinguish a C5 by that distinctive ringing engine sound, without even seeing it. I always loved when they did full engine runs. The whole base shook. Memories…
I grew up in Marietta, Georgia when they were in the height of rolling out the C5As. Saw them flying frequently and learned to identify them just by the unique tone of the engine. Many neighbors worked there at Lockheed. My wife’s dad was an engineer on the C-5 design project and had the responsibility of marrying the Tail to the Fuselage as one of several projects during his 30+ year career at Lockheed Georgia. I my self served at NAS Atlanta in the USMCR before transferring across the field to Dobbins AFB and the 94 Tactical Airlift Wing in the late 80s. Being co-located to the plant, Lockheed donated a full fuselage mock-up that had been used for testing, to us as a loading and unloading trainer. I loaded and unloaded many a C-5 at deployments to Charleston, Warner Robbins, and Rein-Main. I think the last time I was on one was vehicles from Army Forces Command out of Ft McPherson heading out as part of Desert Shield September of 1990. If you’ve ever had to climb up the ladder of a 40K parked at the back of an fully standing C-5, or wait standing on the aft of the cargo bay waiting the next 40K, you will appreciate the size of the C-5.
I worked on the C5s at Charleston. Amazing aircraft.
I worked the C-5 at Dover as an ART.
In the mid 70’s My wife and I were flying Space-A, trying to return from a European holiday from Torrejón Spain. There was a huge backlog of passengers because every C5A that landed went up on the board as “Broken”. Took us 4 days of waiting before one actually was well enough to get us to Dover.
Anytime a C5 flies anywhere nice, like Hickam, Ramstein, etc., you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be broken for a few days. That Red X comes in handy at those locations.
I crewed “Balls-Fourteen” when she was assigned to the 60th MAW, at Travis, in the late Seventies. Our crewchief was an ART reservist named Mike LaPlante.
We had a saying at the 164th MXS that 454 lands on jacks (as-in: lands on jack stands). 019 WAS a damn good jet though! Miss those birds!
I am looking for Josh Hinson. He was a flight instructor in Charleston, SC in 1973. He was a buddy of my Father, George T. “Bud” Martin often stationed together.
I believe Josh Hinson is dead now. He was a fixture in the 3rd MAS. He went to Charleston as a 2nd Lt. out of pilot training and was there until the C-5s moved to Dover. I flew with him numerous times.
I was at Cam Ranh when the first C-5 landed there. It was my final TDY to Cam Ranh from Clark where I was a Stan/Eval loadmaster on C-130Bs. The airplane came right over Herky Hill and was an impressive sight. I had orders to Charleston and already knew I was going to the 3rd MAS to C-5s. I got there in September. The squadron only had a couple of airplanes at the time. I was one of dozens of lower ranking NCO’s – mostly staff sergeants – coming back to the states from overseas assignments, mostly in Southeast Asia. Some, like me, were coming from C-130 squadrons at Clark, CCK and Naha while some were from C-123s and AC-47s in Vietnam. Those who had C-141, C-133 and C-124 experience were automatically put in the 3rd. (I had volunteered for C-5s while at Clark. I wrote MAC chief loadmaster Sam Hannah a letter volunteering. Although most of my experience was in C-130s, I had spent a little over a year at Robins in the 58th MAS and had a little over 1,000 hours of C-141 time.) There were so many of us that it was several weeks before we could start C-5 FTD. Right after I finished, I was put on a mission in 212, the LTF airplane, along with my buddy and fellow student, Jay Berry, to Cam Ranh Bay. It might be said to have been a trip from hell. Everything was fine through Cam Ranh, where we offloaded at the dock – we had loaded at the dock at Dover – and on to Kadena. At Kadena, I went in since I was to be in the troop compartment. The kneeling system got out of sequence and locked up. We had to wait at Kadena for several days for parts to be sent from Marietta. After maintenance got the airplane fixed, we went on to Elmendorf. I don’t remember what happened, but for some reason, we had to dump fuel and go back. We went into crew rest then tried again the next day. This time the #2 cowling came off and took out a slat. We dumped fuel AGAIN and went back. We were expecting to be stuck in Elmendorf for a month while a Lockheed team came in an repaired the airplane but a message came in for me and Jay Barry to catch the next C-141 for Charleston. (The loadmaster turned out to be my barracks roommate!) Jay and I went out on a Rhine Main turnaround and came back as qualified C-5 loadmasters.
I was on the C-5 for the next four and a half years. I made tech in February after I joined the squadron in September. Because trips were being used for training, we hardly ever flew. I was TDY to the JTF test team for awhile then the squadron put me in charge of APR monitoring and awards and decs. When we flew, we usually broke somewhere, often for the kneeling system. The rails were brittle and would break and the rollers were TERRIBLE! It took several men to push a pallet. I liked the dock but most loadmasters didn’t and MAC decided not to use it anymore. Gradually, the problems were fixed. The pneumatic kneeling system was replaced by hydraulic motors, the rails were reinforced and the rollers were replaced by new ones with Teflon-impregnated bearings. Still, I was getting a trip about every six weeks. We got even fewer when the 9th at Dover started getting airplanes and missions were given to them for training. (A cadre of 3rd personnel transferred to Dover to the 9th.) In the spring of 1973, we were advised that the 3rd was moving to Dover. I had married a WAF from Virginia who had ties to Dover and we didn’t mind the transfer. Right after we got there, we were called out for Nickel Grass. I was on the first airplane to depart Dover for the Azores. We were deadheading and were supposed to take the airplane on to Lod at Tel Aviv but we were halted at Lajes due to diplomatic concerns. When we woke up, we found that dozens of C-141s and C-5s had been halted at Lajes. I am not certain of the order. It’s possible that Josh Hinson had moved around us in the stage – the 436th history says he was the first into Lod but the description sounds like our crew. We took off from Lajes late in the afternoon and arrived at Lod around midnight. A crew of civilians from El Al offloaded our airplane using their loading equipment. A K-loader came in on a C-141 later. I made at least three trips into Lod during those three-four weeks. On one trip, we carried captured Soviet radar equipment back to Dover and on to Nellis.
I spent five years in the 3rd. When I came up for reenlistment for the third time, I decided to decline. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I was on a crew sent to Fort Campbell to test load Army helicopters in a combat configuration. The Army wanted to be able to unload their helicopters, crank them up and fly them off and right into combat. One of the helicopters was close to the sound-proofing in the cargo compartment by the crew entrance ladder. A rotor balancer was about 12 inches from the wall. All we needed to do was pad the rotor balancer with foam. However, the senior loadmaster was a master sergeant who had cross-trained out of Admin and had no combat experience. He insisted that the rotor balancer would have to be removed. I said to hell with it, they have no clue what it means to be ready for combat. I had been taking flight instruction and had my commercial license with instrument and multiengine ratings plus flight instructor certificates. I decided to try my lot in the civilian aviation world.
I really liked the C-5. Next to the C-130, it is my favorite of three types to which I was assigned. It’s a very comfortable airplane for the crew. Yes, there were irritants at first but they were fixed. I thought abandoning the loading dock was a bad idea – it came about mostly because senior loadmasters weren’t interested in making it work. By the way, the original nickname for the C-5A was Fat Albert.
When was the first C-5A, ” Fat Albert” landing in Cam Rahn Bay?
July 1970 we had competition, a rodeo. I won 1st place and drove the 40k unloader up to be the first person to unload cargo from that first flight in.
July 1970, around the 9th. The airplane was 212, the lead the force airplane. I had flown that morning and was at the barracks on Herky Hill when I heard it coming and went out and watched it come over, then I went down to the flight line and went out and talked to the crew. There is a story that it broke and was there for several days but this is a typical barracks rumor lie. We were scheduled for four-hour ground times when there was loading and offloading involved so some people may have thought it was broke. To the best of my knowledge, no C-5 ever spent more than a few hours in Vietnam. I made a number of trips to Cam Ranh and a few to Tan Son Nhut from the late fall of 1970 to sometime in early 1974 after the squadron moved to Dover.
Can we go inside the flight deck area?
Hello, you may venture through the flight deck on Open Cockpit Day. This event is held on every third Saturday of the month, April through October.
Worked 014, along with 212 and 019, along with 454, and a few others, while stationed at Altus for a couple of years as a 43172…before cross-training to 11370, Flight Engineer. Spent almost 15 years on the C-5, most of that time in Dover. Love that aircraft!
There was a C-5A landing in Cam Rahn Bay AB on June 19, 1971. An odd assortment of items were quickly unloaded e.g. a bus, a tank, etc. Given our priority and security levels, our three pallets of electronic gear, along with another pallet, four in total were loaded and returned to Kadena AB on Okinawa. Eight passengers total plus crew.
C5A pilot, 1973/1976. Travis AFB, CA 938th MAG. Many flights flown to Vietnam and Germany supporting troop movements, cargo deployment as required. Many enroute stops for RON and refueling. No inflight refueling at during those years. We were the “18 wheeler” of the sky.
Was anybody involved in C5A test flight out of Travis AFB to Vietnam?
I was on a return flight from Cam Rahn Bay AB, Vietnam, to Kadena AB, Okinawa, on June 19, 1971 and Ton Son Nhut AB, Vietnam, to Kadena AB, Okinawa, later in September 1971.
When was there a “test flight” out of Travis to Vietnam? The first C-5 squadron was the 3rd MAS at Charleston and the first flight to Vietnam was made by the 3rd lead the force crew. Travis didn’t get a C-5 until several months later.
In 1980, 36 years ago, I had the privilege and honor to perform a maintenance run on 0014. I was 21 years old, had been promoted to Buck Sgt (E-4) at the time and stationed at Clark AB Philippines. It was a beautiful January morning at Clark and I was tasked along with a crew of 3 more to perform an engine Test Run on beautiful 0014. She was getting ready for a long trip to the Indian Ocean and was carrying a load of fuel. The start of the engines were uneventful, however after a certain time, #2 engine exploded. Blew the engine cowlings off. I shut the engine down and applied the fire suppression system for #2 while crew called the Tower for help. We continued to conduct emergency shut down procedures and after that I gave the command as the person in the left seat to evacuate the aircraft. We came down those long stairs and started fighting the engine fire with the ground extinguisher. All we were thinking at that time was to save her 0014 from burning up. The fire was so intense that it crept up the nacelle and heading to the wing which was full of fuel. Without a 2nd thought, we ran back up those stairs to the cockpit and activated the fire suppression system for the entire wing. The Fire Dept did their best and the fire was extinguished. Thank God that no one got badly hurt. The aircraft stayed for many months on Clark for repairs. We were decorated for our actions, but what was really important to us was that we saved 0014 to fly another day. 23+ years later 0014 retired at Dover AFB, which was my 1st base I was stationed at in 1976 as a C-5 jet engine mechanic. I too retired as a CMSgt with 23+ years. We survived that horrible day and 0014 and my Mx crew continued to serve our country proudly. I do plan to see her soon, all of my MX crew have faded and we have lost touch, hopefully she 0014 will remember me after all these years, I had more hair then.
We visit the AMC-MUSEUM every time when over from Germany.
Looking forward to seeing the C-5A Galaxy on display next month!
Greetings from overseas