The C-119 was a major redesign of the Fairchild C-82 Packet, with more powerful engines and a larger cargo compartment. It features the same rear loading, straight through cargo area as the C- 82. The C-119 saw extensive service in the Korean War, flying from bases in Japan. They also were used to transport supplies to the Arctic for the construction of the "DEW Line" chain of air defense radar stations.
Later models used 3,500 hp Wright R-3350 engines. Some were modified with an upward-hinged beaver tail cargo door and designated C-119J. Some of these modified aircraft were used for midair retrieval of imagery packages from orbiting Corona satellites.
In 1966, 26 C-119G models and 26 C-119K models were modified as gunships and designated as AC-119s then used in the Vietnam war. C-119s were also used by the U.S. Navy and Marines, Italy, Belgium, and India.
The last C-119 was retired from Air Force service in 1975. The aircraft on display at The Castle Air Museum was transferred to the U.S. Forest Service after retirement from the Air Force. It was used as a fire-fighting borate bomber. While in that service, it had a small jet engine fitted on top of the center fuselage. It is on indefinite loan to the museum.
By kjfitz @ 2007-03-10 15:19:56