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C-141B “Starlifter”
63rd MAW, 14th, 15th & 53rd MAS
Norton AFB, CA


C-141B “Starlifter” of the 63rd Military Airlift Wing, 14th, 15th & 53rd Military Airlift Squadrons out of Norton Air Force Base, CA

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The 63rd Transport Group was originally activated on 1 December, 1940 at Wright Field, Ohio. Two years later the Group moved to Altus AFB, Oklahoma, training replacement crews for troop carrier organizations, until deactivation in 1944. Reactivated in 1952, the 63rd Troop Carrier Wing at Donaldson AFB, South Carolina, had 7 squadrons of C-124’s. Missions included Distant Early Warning Line (DEW-Line) and “Operation Deep Freeze”. In 1963 the Wing moved to Hunter AFB, Georgia.

On 1 April, 1967 the 63rd came to Norton AFB. California with two squadrons. 14th and 15th MAS. Both squadrons served in Europe during WWII compiling outstanding records. In January, 1972, the 53rd MAS was reactivated and assigned to the MAW. During Vietnam the squadrons flew around-the-clock support using C-141 A’s. The 63rd MAW served as the prime carrier for the famous Bob Hope Christmas tours, transported the triumphant Apollo 11 astronauts after their historic lunar landing mission, and provided the first U.S. aircraft to land at Hanoi, picking up the first American POW’s. The 63rd MAW, having operated into the USSR. the People’s Republic of China, both poles, and all continents, stands ready to “fly anywhere, anytime, on the shortest of notice”.

The “Professionals” have more than earned their nickname. The C-141B”Starlifter”, manufactured by the Lockheed-Georgia Company, is a long-range, high-speed, high-altitude, sweptwing aircraft designed as a heavy logistic transport. Powered by four Pratt & Whitney turbofan jet engines, each producing 21,000 pounds of thrust, the C-141 B is inflight refuelable, and airlifts combat support equipment, troops, air-evac patients, and fully assembled missiles. The C-141 B carries a maximum payload of 90,200 lbs. has a maximum gross weight of 343,000 lbs. and a top speed of 566mph.

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