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thedrifter
07-26-04, 08:45 AM
Issue Date: July 26, 2004

The Lore of the Corps
‘Flying Boxcar’ handled Corps’ heaviest loads

By Robert F. Dorr
Special to the Times

The heavy hauler of Marine aviation in the 1950s was the Fairchild R4Q Packet, also known as the “Flying Boxcar.”
The Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics gave the plane its name to signify that it was the fourth transport (“R”) built by Fairchild Aircraft (“Q”) of Hagerstown, Md. The big transport was more widely known by its Air Force name, the C-119.

With its fuselage between twin booms and huge clamshell doors at the rear of a generously sized cargo compartment, the R4Q was capable of carrying most equipment used by the Marines in the 1950s, not including tanks or self-propelled howitzers.

While their primary job was to haul combat cargo, R4Q Flying Boxcars also carried up to 64 troops and dropped parachutists and supplies. For airdrops, the rear loading doors were often removed.

The R4Q had a wingspan of 109 feet, 3 inches, a maximum speed of 395 mph and a range of 2,800 miles.

The first version, the R4Q-1, began service with Marine Transport Squadron 252 at Cherry Point, N.C., in 1950, only weeks before the start of the Korean War. It gave Marines a freight-hauling capability they hadn’t possessed before, but it also gave unprecedented headaches to maintainers.

The 3,500-horsepower Pratt & Whitney R-4360-20WA Wasp Major 28-cylinder radial engines were among the largest and most complex engines ever used in a propeller-driven airplane. One Marine mechanic said the engines “were constantly in need of attention.”

After the Marines received 41 R4Q-1s, production moved to the R4Q-2 model, of which the Corps acquired 108.

The R4Q-2 shifted to the 2.800-horsepower Wright R-3350-36WA engine, which proved easier to maintain. In early operations the R4Q earned a reputation for being accident-prone, and tests showed the booms were structurally weak; as a result, the tail shape was redesigned on the R4Q-2 model. But some Marines say the tail design was never perfected, with vertical stabilizers never quite large enough for easy control while turning in flight.

R4Q Flying Boxcars supported Marines in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. In fighting at the Chosin Reservoir in December 1950, R4Qs airdropped tons of supplies. The R4Qs were also used to drop flares to guide night bombers during nocturnal combat operations north of the 38th Parallel.

The Marine Corps began disposing of its 149 R4Q aircraft in the 1960s — rapidly swapping with the newer and more capable C-130 Hercules.

When the Pentagon system for naming military aircraft was overhauled in 1962, the R4Q-1 became the C-119C and the R4Q-2 was redesignated the C-119F.

A roster of Marine museum holdings does not include an R4Q aircraft. An R4Q-2 was part of the collection of a private museum in Pueblo, Colo., for many years, but its current status is not known.

Robert F. Dorr, an Air Force veteran, lives in Oakton, Va. E-mail him at robert.f.dorr@cox.net.

http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story.php?f=0-MARINEPAPER-3079789.php


Ellie

benny rutledge
07-26-04, 01:34 PM
The "Company" left one(C-119) at the end of the active runway in Chu Lai the Summer of 69'.Had mini-guns poking out of the Port side,landing gear collapsed and starboard wing shot up.As soon as the guns were salvaged it was destroyed.

Lock-n-Load
07-26-04, 05:11 PM
:marine: I had four "hops" from Seoul, Korea [K-14] to Itami, Japan...the C-119 was used for ferrying Marines going on R&R to Japan [1953,etc]...had jump seats outta nylon straps on both sides of fuselage..airspace over Japan was always turbulent [Divine Winds] but we were a happy bunch and mostly oblivious to the air pockets...from Itami, we were trucked to Camp Fisher, Kyoto, Japan for R&R...the C-119 represented a sentimental aircraft for us then...it had a long life; almost as long as the olde 1940s C-47s workhorses...a blast from the past. Semper Fi:marine:

Old Marine
08-22-04, 09:34 AM
Originally posted by Lock-n-Load
:marine: I had four "hops" from Seoul, Korea [K-14] to Itami, Japan...the C-119 was used for ferrying Marines going on R&R to Japan [1953,etc]...had jump seats outta nylon straps on both sides of fuselage..airspace over Japan was always turbulent [Divine Winds] but we were a happy bunch and mostly oblivious to the air pockets...from Itami, we were trucked to Camp Fisher, Kyoto, Japan for R&R...the C-119 represented a sentimental aircraft for us then...it had a long life; almost as long as the olde 1940s C-47s workhorses...a blast from the past. Semper Fi:marine:

I also flew on this plane from Korea to Japan for R&R. This thing would sit at the end of the runway and rev up the engines and shake like the wings were going to fall off. Before we would board the aircraft, the Crew Chief would toss parachute harness's out for us to put on. We got on the plane and started looking for the parachutes. Couldn't locate any so asked the Crew Chief where the parachuts were. His answer was "we don't have any parachutes, but Marine Corps regulations require that you wear a parachute harness."

Just another day in the Marine Corps.

I also got to ride this plane from ElToro to Charry Point. Very long flight.