C-123K Provider

Manufacturer: Fairchild
Designation: C-123
Version: K
Nickname: Provider
Type: Cargo / Transport
Specifications
Length: 76' 3" 23.24 M
Height: 34' 6" 10.52 M
Wingspan: 110' 33.53 M
Wingarea: 1223.00 Sq Ft 113.61 Sq M
Empty Weight: 29900.0 lbs 13560.0 Kg
Gross Weight: 60000.0 lbs 27210.0 Kg
Propulsion
No. of Engines: 2
Powerplant: Pratt & Whitney R-2800 & 2 2850Lb J85-GE
Horsepower (each): 2500
Performance
Range: 1825 miles 2938.00 Km
Cruise Speed: 170.00 mph 273.00 Km/H 147.57 Kt
Max Speed: 240.00 Mph 386.00 Km/H 208.65 Kt
Ceiling: 28000.0 Ft 8534.00 M

 

The C-123 was originally designed to be a glider by the Chase Aircraft
Company. Fairchild Aviation inherited the design and created the Provider. The
plane was designed to fly from short, unprepared runways and incorporated a rear
ramp for parachute jumps, cargo drops and parachute drag unloading. The plane
could carry most Army wheeled vehicles and howitzers. The C-123 was used
extensively in Viet Nam as the primary Agent Orange defoliant sprayship. A
modified C-123 served as General William Westmoreland's executive transport. No
fuel is carried in the wings of the aircraft. All is carried in the engine
nacelles or wing drop tanks to reduce the chance of fire in combat. This
attributed to the Provider's relatively short combat radius.

Our C-123K is the troop transport version of the "Provider".  The museum's
C-123 was originally built as a B model, serial number 54-612, manufactured by
Fairchild Aircraft, Hagerstown, MD, and was delivered to the Air Force on
December 20, 1955 at Ardmore AFB, OK.  This aircraft was flown by 10 different
units assigned to the Tactical Air Command, Air Force Reserve, and a two-year
stint with USAFE at Dreux AB, France, as well as nine months at Leopoldville AP,
Congo, until 1965.  Our aircraft was converted from a B model to a K model in
1967. This aircraft is on loan from the USAF.

According to the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA/RSA), Maxwell
AFB, AL, the museum's C-123K has the following history:

Our C-123 served at the following locations:

Feb 1956 -  To 309th Troop Carrier (Assault) Group (TAC), Ardmore AFB OK

May 1956 -  To 60th Troop Carrier (M) Wing (USAFE), Dreux AB France

Jul 1958 -  To 2584th Air Reserve Flying Center (AFRES), Memphis MAP TN

Aug 1958 -  To 2589th Air Reserve Flying Center (AFRES),

Dec 1958  - To 445th Troop Carrier Wing (AFRES), Dobbins AFB GA.

Jun 1963  - To 918th Troop Carrier Wing (AFRES), Dobbins AFB GA

May 1965 -  To 1st Air Commando Wing (TAC), Hurlburt Field FL

Aug 1965  - To 1127th Field Activities Squadron (USAFE), Leopoldville AP
Congo

Apr 1966  - To 1st Air Commando Wing (TAC), England AFB LA

Jun 1967  - To Fairchild, Hagerstown MD (converted to C-123K)

Aug 1967 -  Returned to 1st Air Commando Wing

Mar 1968  - Unit became 1st Special Operations Wing (assignments to
Lockbourne AFB OH)

Aug 1969  - Unit moved to Hurlburt Field FL

Jan 1972 -  To 906th Tactical Airlift Group (AFRES), Lockbourne AFB OH

Jun 1975  - To 355th Tactical Airlift Squadron (AFRES), Lockbourne (later
Rickenbacker) AFB OH

Sep 1981  - Dropped from USAF inventory by transfer to school or museum

It made its last flight into March Field in 1981.

In 1998, the plane was restored and painted in the markings it wore while
assigned to the 1st Special Operations Wing, Eglin AFB, FL.  Its nose art, "The
Chief", is in honor of its volunteer Crew Chief, retired Chief Master Sergeant
Jim Meek.  Jim was the flight chief for one of the first C-123J's equipped with
ski's to land in Greenland in 1958.  He has given over 10,000 volunteer hours to
the museum and has cared for the C-123 since 1981.