C-7A Caribou

Serial Number: 63-9760

The C-7 Caribou was flown to the museum in 1992. While tracing its history, it was found that the plane was stationed at Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, from 1969 to 1970. Museum volunteer, Col. Bill Hardie, 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 materiel 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 American steak and chicken, to live pigs, chickens, ducks, and eels for the Army of the Republic of Vietnam troops), passengers (U.S. military, Republic of Vietnam military and civilians, and even North Vietnamese Army 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.

Gallery

  • 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
AMC Museum
Restoration Crew Chief
Bill Landmesser
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, Alabama
3 Aug 1983 Dropped from the USAF inventory by transfer to the US Army, Maxwell AFB, Alabama

50 Comments

  • Jim Biggie

    My name is Jim Biggie. I was a crew chief in the 493rd at Cam Rahn. About 1970. Looking for anyone that worked with me. 4408th CCTS C123k at Lockbourne AFB before that.

  • John Record

    My first two times under rocket attack, I was pre-flighting Bou 9760 on spot Papa 5 on the nights of May 8 and May 12, 1970. When the C-7a Caribou Association had its reunion in 2012, we went to the museum at Dover Air Force Base to see Bou 9760. I had to explain my relationship and memories of the “Blue-Tailed Gal” to my wife. It was truly nice seeing her again. “Bou Boy Forever” Proud to be a Blue-Tail lover. Oh, to be young again!

    SGT. John Record, 457 T.A.S., Cam Ranh, March, 1970, to March, 1971. Crew Chief KA-62-4163

    • Jim Biggie

      Hi,
      I’m Jim Biggie. I was a caribou crew chief at Cam Ranh about the same time. Got sent home after a out 7 months for dependent health crisis. I don’t remember much but trying to locate anyone who worked with me.
      Jim

  • Gordon Keith Rhymes

    I ran into an old vet, Caribou crew member the other day said he was in a flight of 21 Caribou that flew from the US to Vietnam in the early sixties. Wish I’d had more time and wish I’d gotten his contact info. What he told me was a fascinating story and I’d like to hear more. This sounds like it could be a good book or at least a good story for the VVA Veteran Mag or Vietnam Magazine.
    I am a Vietnam vet with two tours. Love hearing fellow vets stories.

  • Frank Stipech

    My brother, LTC Edward F. Stipech (then a Major) was one of the last company commanders of an Army Caribou company and trained Air Force pilots when they took over the aircraft in 1967. There was a big battle over this A/C in the halls of the Pentagon in 1966 as the Air Force had it’s nose out of joint because the Army was flying missions with this A/C which the Air Force said they should be flying. The agreement that resulted was that the Army would give up the Caribou but would have unlimited/unrestricted use of helicopters. As history records, the Army made the most of that agreement made the helicopter role into what it is today.

  • MICHAEL D. SCOTT

    I was an Aircraft airframe repairman, AFSC 53450 ,Airman A1C ,and was assigned to the 483rd attached to the 535th and 536th TAC ALFT SQDN’s at VUNG TAU and worked those most all of the C-7A’s that were attached. Fixed mostly ground fire damage and cargo doors and related structures due to Pallet extractions. I was assigned to VUNG TAU from Dec 1966 to Aug 1967.

  • Robert W. Street Jr.

    I was a dispatcher for the 457th TAS, from Nov 69 to mid 1970. Transferred to 483rd TAW til Nov 70. Was tdy to Can Tho for a month in early 70. Flew several times on the C-7 ” Blue Tails” as an acm, Loved the airplane. Not sure if I ever flew on 63-9760. Visited the museum and 9760 a few years ago. What a beautiful restoration.

  • Ray Milligan

    SGT Ray Milligan ACFT Mechanic , Phu-cat C-7’s, 70-71

  • Stanley Bixler

    I was a SSgt stationed at Cam Rahn Bay AB, Vietnam from October 66 to September 67. I was one of the four original enlisted sent from the 6252 Operations Sq, Tan Son Nhut AB Vietnam (holding squadron for personnel arriving for follow on assignment to man the new wing and squadrons when the AF took possession of the C7A from the US Army on January 1, 1967) to Cam Rahn to occupy the new headquarters building. The first Commander of the 483TCW was Colonel Paul Mascot and the Vice Commander was Ralph Bullock. I spent my tour providing direct admin support to both the commander and vice commander.

  • Mike Shockley

    I was in the 483 from Jan thru dec 68. Does anybody remember a C7A coming in with only the front wheel down, the pilot managed to land the plane with only small damage to the plane. If it wasn’t for Tet it would have been great duty.

    • There was a plane that landed with the gear up in 68. It had just come out of the phase dock and was on a shake down flight. Someone in the dock had the plane on jacks to repair some linkage. When it was reassembled they had the linkage on wrong. The gear went up ok but wouldn’t come down on the one side. When the plane was coming in for landing one gear only extended half way and locked. They tried to get it down but it was stuck half way. Eventually they landed with the gear up on a foamed runway.

  • Gerald Wiegand (Wiegy)

    While stationed in Dau Tieng in early 1967, I was performing my MP duties guarding our very short secondary airstrip when a Caribou landed in strong headwind in about 30 feet touch to stop. I was amazed. It was from then on my favorite aircraft.

  • Jackie Shield Lauer

    My father Capt John C. Shield flew this plane in Cam Rahn Bay 69-70. I just found two letters that he had written to my sister and I when he was in Vietnam! We are planning on taking dad to the museum in Dover on Saturday October 12, 2019.

    • Could a C7a Caribou restart its engines without ground power?

      I remember C-130s had to keep engines running at small air fields?

      Jim
      Duong Dong Air Station
      Phu Quoc island
      Vietnam 68-69

      • charles sitzenstock

        Yes the C-7 could start their engines off the battery buss and did so at many stops to forward fire bases and where Ground power was not available. From November 1968 to Dec 1968 I was a Flight Engineer stationed at Phu Cat Air Base in I Corp where we had 15 Caribou. We lost many aircraft and aircrew (stationed at Phu Cat, Saigon, Da Nang, and Voung tou)

      • David Palo

        You bet she could, it had electric starters powered by the DC battery buss. SSGT D.palo 42350

  • Chris Griffiths

    My late father was a radio technician with the Royal Australian Air Force, RAAF Transport Flight Vietnam (RTFV) flying DHC-4 (C-7) Caribou from Vung Tau in 1964-65.
    I have a newspaper clipping of him discussing avionics repairs with a Sergeant Charles Ford of the U.S. Army

  • Alan hecker

    My best friend put the spark plugs in the last Caribou at Camron Bay to be flown to a museum in Ohio, we were supposed to go visit that on our bucket list but he passed away , his name was Robbie Robberson served 1968 1969 United states air force hoping somebody knows what museum Caribou flew to

  • Chris Harney

    My Dad was in the Air Force 64′-68′ and was assigned to the base at An Khe (437th TCS) to facilitate the transfer of the caribous from the Army to the Air Force. He was there Fall of 66′-winter 67′.
    I’ve got pictures of one of the planes he was in. They had to make a belly landing when the landing gear malfunctioned. Nose number 170

  • Melvin “Charlie” Steadman

    I was a USAF 834th Air Division TALO/TALA (Tactical Airlift Liasson Officer/Airman) attached to the 9th Infantry Division at Bearcat RVN. Our daily support for airlifting troops and supplies to forward bases at Dong Tam and Tan An was provided by C-7A aircraft from Vong Tau (535/536 TAS). During TET 1968 I sometimes had to “borrow” aircraft from other units to meet mission requirements. A special thanks to the 9th Inf Div for providing airtight security around my dirt patch.

    Later in my career flew as a radio operator on EC-135C/L, E-4A/B, C-135B, and VC-9C.

    Still have a warm spot for the Caribou. Best job I ever had. Can’t say much for the location!

  • J M Kinsey

    My first jumpmaster duty after the jm course was a C-7 about 1979. I was with 10SFG out of Ft Devens. A wing or squadron of NG C7 pilots needed airborne missions so we were busy putting a few troopers into dropzones in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
    It was a pretty good experience for my first time jumpmastering.

  • Robert Kraft

    I was on a “Caribou” for a flight from an airbase somewhere near Fort Myer, VA where I was stationed, to Fort Bragg , North Carolina. I was a member of an Army dance band that was being flown to play at an officer’s club for some special occasion. On the return trip, I was not feeling very well and I knew I was going to be airsick, so I asked the co-pilot, who was looking out the side windows to check on the engines, where the airsickness bags were located. The band was split between two planes and his reply was that all of the airsickness bags were all on the other plane. I told him that he’d better find something for me really quick or he’d have a mess to clean up later. A minute later I saw him walk from the cockpit through the plane carrying a 2 pound coffee can filled with cigarette butts. He calmly walked to the rear, opened up the “jump ramp” enough that he could dump the can’s contents into the slipstream and then handed the can to me —- JUST in time ! The plane ride was so rough that I kept banging the bridge of my nose on its edge and it was sore for days ! One of my friends, an alto sax player, told me a few days later that the only thing that kept him from being as airsick as I was was the fact that I had the ONLY coffee can !! Those were the days !!!

  • Bennie E Hudson

    Why is there never anything mentioned on the 483rd TAWG-Combat Crew Training School (CCTS)-Forward Operating Location (FOL) C7A (October 1971 – August 1972) @ Phang Rang US AB (3 mos.) and then we were relocated to Phu Cat AB (8 mos.), about conducting training from day 1 to completion, of the South Vietnamese Pilots & Co-Pilots, trained to fly the C7A in country by American Pilots vs. it all being done in Dyess AB, TX.? We also did regular US Re-Supply & Troop sorties, to all types of US Firebases, during this training, at the same time!

    Lt. Col. Ferguson (8) mos. and Lt. Col. Caudle (3 mos.), were our commanders during this time of the 483rd TAWG-CCTS- FOL. We had very sharp Pilots, Operation Staff and a cracker box group of Maintenance & Support personnel, second to none. At Phu Cat AB, we were on an “all South Vietnamese” ran airbase. There was a group of US Army Advisory Team personnel and other advisors @ Phu Cat AB, totaling about 250, plus, our 85 from the 483rd TAWG-CCTS-FOL, assigned from the 483rd TAWG C7A wing out of Cam Ranh Bay AB.

    • Thach T. Trinh

      I was there, Phucat AFB, from Apr.1972-Sept.1972 right after I left Keesler AFB, MS ( 3389th.) I was very fortunate to be trained by many Great American Pilots! It was fun to fly this amazing airplane…We practiced many 360 degree landings ( 1500 RPM, 15″ MP) at different type of very short runway.

  • Dave Dudzik

    I got to Cam Ranh July 67 to 68. Started in docks then got transfered to Red Tail 458. It was my first base out of school. It was a easy plane to maintain . The only job I hated was changing that deicer boot on wing. Must have been half a million screws holding it on.

  • Larry Sullivan

    Was part of the crew that got the caribous ready for check flights FCF after coming out of the docks at Cam Ranh 70-71. Worked under CMSGT Brady, great man. Also did TDY in Can Tho. Great plane but hated working on those aug-tubes.

  • Duane Strickland

    I was a loadmaster at Cam Ranh Bay in 1969. I left Dec 24 and was discharged.

  • David Rice

    In Fall 1967, I remember reading a Stars and Stripes article about a C-7A clipping the top of a tree during a short field takeoff, and flying back to Saigon with the tree stuck in his right wing. Anybody remember that?

  • Jerryl F. Hyche

    I qualified as a jumpmaster on a C7A out of Maxwell AFB in 1982. Aircraft was assigned to the 20th SFGA at this time.

  • Beth Meader

    My father, Lt Col Merten L Meader also flew the C7 out of Cam Ranh Bay in 70/71. If anyone remembers him I’d love to hear from you. He only told me two stories about flying. One was while he was flying he had his arm out the window and was looking down and saw a man in black pajamas. The man stated to shoot so he got out of there. The other story made him upset because he was on a mission with supplies for the troops. But when they got there, there was no sign of them. He circled and continued to look but never found them. He never knew what happened. My mother, brother and I accompanied him to his flight training in Abilene, TX. Thank you to all for your service.

    • William P Lowe

      thanks great life (story) sounded like a great man … God Bless

    • jerry becker

      My arrival in country was at Cam Ranh Bay in September of ’70 and it was a stopover for me on my way to my permanent assignment at Phu Cat AB. As there was no room available at the temp quarters we had to sleep in the air terminal while waiting for a flight out to Phu Cat. That flight was to be on a C130 and was then looking like a 5 day wait.
      On the evening of our third day there we were given word that a C7 that had arrived earlier that morning was reloaded with mail and supplies headed for Pleiku but had room for about 10 passengers and could be rerouted with a stop at Phu Cat. Only drawback was that we had to be strapped to the floor but after 3 days with very little sleep I didn’t care.
      Don’t remember the pilots name except he was a light bird, had a mustache and a great sense of humor. I also heard from the loadmaster as he strapped us in that that flight wasn’t supposed to leave until the next evening but the colonel stepped in. Another feature I remember is that upon takeoff the floor that we were sitting on was opened and remained open for the first 5 or 10 minutes of the flight. What a trip! I am still greatfull for that pilot stepping up like that.

  • Tom Maddox

    I was involved in an Army (QM petrolum unit from Ft Campbell,Ky)-Air Force competive test at the Donaldson Air Force Base, Greenville, SC in 1963. At that time the Caribou was a Army unit & it was our understanding the test was with an Air Force competive type unit.

  • Warren Searls

    I flew as Aircraft Commander on 63-9760 on a TDY assignment in Sept 10-12 out of Bien Hoa then back to Cam Ranh Bay AB on the 12th. On one of those short hops I was on my way to Can Tho flying low over the Mekong Delta when I spotted Can Tho airfield just on the otherside of a towering thunderhead. Going around would have taken a long time so I decided to duck under the thunderhead. I dropped to about 100 feet above the rice paddy and started under when the plane got hit with a downpour. Both engines quit with a row of 80 foot trees in front of me. Instinctively I reached up and hit the alternate air switches and both engines caught immediately. Total time without power must have at least one second, maybe almost two. Lesson learned: don’t fly under thunderheads with heavy rain! Unless of course you switch to “alternate air” first.

  • Mark Gilbert

    I am a Senior Technical Writer for Bombardier Aerospace (formally de Havilland Canada) in Toronto where the Caribou was manufactured. I had the pleasure of visiting the museum while in the Dover area on business many years back and I spent a pleasant afternoon with Col Hardie while he related his experiences with 63-9760. Congratulations on such a fantastic display of aircraft and all the best to all of you.

  • Larry Alten 1969 535th & 1971 457th

    For those of you who are not familiar with the C-7A Caribou association, you are eligible to join if you were flight crew or maintenance. There is a yearly reunion. Check out their website for more information.

  • KEN JONES

    I quite likely launched and recovered this bird at Cam Ranh Bay as both of us arrived there about the same time (March 1970). I was a recip. mechanic and we spent a lot of time on the ramp readying the Caribou for its next mission. The augmenter tubes were always cracked and filthy dirty ~ we had to remove and clean them thoroughly before sending them off to the weld shop for repair.
    One morning as the flight crew was boarding the aircraft they spotted a field mouse as it scampered up into the tail section of the fuselage. My buddy grabbed the fire ax and I a broom ~ we corralled the mouse with the broom and my compadre squashed it with the ax. He grabbed the mouse by the tail and escorted him off the aircraft ~ the flight crew jumped on board and away they went. Just another day on the ramp at “Caribou Bay.”

  • John McDowell

    My Father, Maj. (at the time) John W McDowell flew these out of Cam Ranh Bay in 69-70. would love pictures of him if anyone remembers him or stories. Thanks for everyone’s service. You are all heroes!

  • Sgt. Ray Johnson

    I have noticed that the HF long-wire antenna is missing. Also, the radar display that resides in the forward center console is not Vietnam era. I was an avionics technician assigned to the 483rd between 1970 and 1971.

    • Kenneth D Bryant

      Sgt Johnson, I got to Cam Ranh Bay in September 1971 until we closed CRB and March 1972 moved to Phu Cat assigned to the VNAF AFAT2 Det 3 until Oct ’72… 760 was one of my favorite to work on, I was Comm/Nav RADAR and that aircraft did have the Collins Color Weather RADAR. The only units in the system were the display and in the radome the R/T unit and Antenna. It was a really sweet system. I remember one flight up at Phu Cat went we took several rounds of ground fire and the Radar Display flashed bright green and died. As soon as we landed I opened up the radome and there were bullet holes in the bottom of the mount and of the R/T. I took it out and into the shop. There was only one circuit board in the unit and one of the bullets split the board and blew all the components off the board. Anyway, not all C-7As had the RADAR but after 1970 some did and it worked well for weather.

  • Joe Bonneville

    I worked on the C7A at Seward AFB. We took them over from the Army in 1966 at Ft Benning GA. We move them to Seward AFB in Dec 66 and Jan 67. Worked in aircraft structural repair till March of 1968. Then assigned to 9th Air Commando squadron and name changed to 9th SOS in Nha Trang Vietnam working on the O2B Cessna push pull twin tail. Psychological war fare unit. I loved that C7A. It was a cool aircraft.

  • John H. Bell

    June 16, 2016 John H. Bell

    I happened to be browsing thru the Caribou Association web site and clicked on the Caribou on display at the Air Mobility Museum, Tail Number 63-9760. I was stationed at Cam Ranh Bay AB, Viet Nam from August 1959 to August 1970. I perused my old Form 5, Flight Time folder, and confirmed that I had flown that aircraft several times during my tour of duty. A couple of times it must have been for a Test Hop for change of engine, propeller or other flight check requirement, because they were short flights – about half an hour, and I was in a check flight status while there. I also noted that there were some of the regular combat airlift missions also. My sincere thanks to the Crew Chiefs and others for maintaining a great plane!

  • S/Sgt. C.L. Cook (Cooky)

    When I arrived in Cam Ranh Bay from aircraft familiarization at Fort Benning, I was assigned as Crew Chief to C7A Blue Tail 63-9760. I remained Crew Chief until I was assigned Flight Line Maint. coordinator in the Blue bread truck, coordinating with Rainbow Dispatcher. I left Nam for the world, just as the 1968 TET offensive was formulating. Proud to have served in some pretty remote spots in the Highlands, taken along on some of these missions, in the event of immediate unforeseen problems or ground maintenance needs.

  • Clyde s Duke

    I was an engine mechanic on the C7 caribou in Cam Ranh Bay 68 69 and loved it!

    • John Jesse Patterson

      My dad was in the 537th tactical squadron he worked on them he was a staff sergeant in the usaf his name was Byrd D Patterson Sonny was one of his nicknames maybe u served with him thanks

    • John Jesse Patterson

      My dad was a aircraft mechanic he worked on them 2 he was in the 537th tas maybe u served with him

  • Bruce Siemering

    My father, now 80 yrs young, flew one of these in Korea. He would love to go up in a C7 again even as a passenger. Does anyone know where this could happen?

  • Jim Biggieb

    I was the crew chief on 669. Red tail . Gotta love changing a cracked Aug Tube. Yuk

  • Victor Sabala

    I was the crew chief on red tail 145 68-69

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