Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Georgia Air National Guard Goes Global with Globemaster

 By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard

On Dec. 7, 1966, Maj. Gen. George Hearn, Georgia’s Adjutant General announces Georgia’s 116th MAG is the first Guard unit
to field the C-124 Globemaster. Georgia National Guard Archives.

On Dec. 7, 1966, the Georgia National Guard’s 116th Military Airlift Group became the first Air Guard unit in the nation to receive the C-124 Globemaster from the United States Air Force. In announcing the receipt of the new aircraft, Maj. Gen. Georgie Hearn, Georgia’s Adjutant General. observed that Georgia is one of three states in the nation to replace the C-97 Stratofreighter airframe with the larger C-124.[1]

The reallotment of Air Force military airlift assets came on the heels of Lockheed-Georgia’s production of the C-141 Starlifters. To make room for the new four-jet transport aircraft, the U.S. Air Force looked to transfer its inventory of C-124s to the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve.

This C-141 Starlifter on the concrete apron at Lockeed Company in Marietta, Ga. in August 1963 dwarfs a C-47 Skytrain and C-130 Hercules.
This aircraft made its first flight Dec. 17,1963. Georgia National Guard Archives.

The arrival of the C-124 Globemaster came at a time when the Georgia Air National Guard was conducting three global airlift missions per month to Vietnam. With a capacity one and a half times that of the C-97, the Globemaster provided additional capacity and range for the ever-expanding global mission of the Georgia Air National Guard.

The C-124 Globemaster was assigned to the Ga. ANG in December 1966 replacing the C-97 Stratofreighter. Stratofreighters are visible
to the left in this image from Dobbins AFB. Georgia National Guard Archives.

The first of the behemoth four engine aircraft arrived at Dobbins Air Force Base at 10:30 a.m. and was immediately mobbed by a curious crowd of media, pilots and mechanics of the 128th Airlift Squadron curious to see first-hand the aircraft that would replace the C-97 which had served the Ga. ANG since 1961.[2] With a wingspan of 174 feet, a length of 130 feet and a capacity of 25 tons, the C-124 had a slower cruising speed than the C-97 but had 50 percent greater range.

The Georgia Air National Guard took used the massive cargo capacity of the C-124 Globemaster to further its military air transport mission around the globe
into the 1970s. Georgia National Guard Archives.

[1] “State Guard First to Get Globemaster.” The Atlanta Constitution. Dec. 9, 1966, 13.


[2] “Ga ANG First to Get C-124s; 116th MAG Conversion Began 7 Dec.” The Georgia Guardsman Magazine, January 1967, 3.

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