What Happened to C-123 Aircraft

C-123 veterans exposed to Agent Orange

As part of its landmark study, “Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure In Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft”, the Institute of Medicine tested remaining available C-123 aircraft for TCDD residue. The chart that follows is what happened to C-123 aircraft used in Operation Ranch Hand identified in historical records¹.

UC-123 with tail numbers 55-4532, 55-4571, and 56-4362 (“Patches”) were sampled for TCDD residue by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies for their report.

UC-123 Tail Number² Squadron Assignment, Museum/Year (if known) Fate of C-123
54-558 4500th ABW, MAP Sold to Royal Thai Air Force (Thailand), 1971
54-570 4500th ABW, MAP Sold to Royal Thai Air Force (Thailand), 1971
54-575 4500th ABW, MAP Sold to Royal Thai Air Force (Thailand), 1971
54-576 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 56th SOW (Thailand, no date); 405th Fighter Wing (The Philippines, no date); South Vietnamese Air Force (1971); MASDC (no date); AFLC (1972); MAP Sold to Royal Thai Air Force (Thailand), 1973
54-577 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); Vietnam Air Force (no date); MASDC (no date); AFLC (no date); Air America (1973); MAP Sold to Royal Lao Air Force, 1973
54-578 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 56th SOW (Thailand, no date); MAP Sold to South Vietnamese Air Force, 1973
54-584 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); Vietnam Air Force (1971); MASDC (no date); AFLC (no date); MAP Sold to Royal Thai Air Force (Thailand), 1973
54-586 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1968–1970); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1970); AFLC (no date); 911 TAG (PA, 1972); 731st TAS (MA, 1981); retired from service 1982 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
54-588 12th ACS Crashed/lost, Vietnam, 1962
54-589 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (no date); MAP Sold to Royal Thai Air Force (Thailand), no date; records show it was later destroyed in combat
54-591 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); Vietnam Air Force (no date); MASDC (no date); MAP Sold to Philippines Air Force, 1970
54-597 12th ACS Crashed/lost, Vietnam, 1966
54-602 1st SOS Crashed/lost, Florida, 1968
54-605 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1966–1968), 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1970); AFLC (1971); 907th TAG (OH, 1972); 355th TAS (no year); 356th (OH, 1973); retired from service 1984 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
54-607 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1966–1969); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1971); AFLC (1971); 1st SOW (FL, no year); 24th SOW (Panama, 1973); 907th TAG (OH, 1975); 355th TAS (OH, no year); 356th (OH, no year); 439th AW and 731st TAS (MA, 1976); retired from service 1982 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
54-611 12th ACS Crashed/lost, Laos, 1967
54-618 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1966–1969); 309th SOS (Vietnam, no year); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no year); MASDC (1970); AFLC (1971); ADTC (FL, no year); 302nd TAW, 906th TAG, and 355th TAS (1972–1981, OH); retired from service 1982 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
54-621 19th ACS Crashed/lost, Vietnam, 1967
54-628 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1966–1968); 309th SOS (Vietnam, 1969); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no year); MASDC (1970); AFLC (1971); 355th TAS (OH, no date); retired from service 1982 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, 2010
54-630 12th ACS Crashed/lost, Vietnam, 1967
54-633 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (no date); AFLC (no date); 1st SOW (FL, no date); 906th TAG, 907th TAG, and 355th TAS (OH, no dates); retired from service 1982 Retired for preservation — Museum of Aviation, Robins AFB, GA, 1984
54-658 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1970); AFLC (no date); 24th SOW (Panama, no date); 906th TAG and 355th TAS (OH, no dates); retired from service 1982 Retired for preservation — Mobility Command Museum, Dover AFB, DE, 1987
54-693 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1967–1968); 309th SOS (Vietnam, 1969); 315th TAW (Vietnam); MASDC (1970); AFLC (1971); 1st SOW (FL, no date); 355th TAS and 356th TAS (OH, no date); retired from service 1982 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
54-701 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1968–1970), 309th SOS (Taiwan, 1969); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1970); AFLC (1970); 4500th ABW (VA, 1970); 906th TAG, 355th TAS and 356th TAS (OH, no dates); retired from service 1982 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
55-4511 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1968); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (no date); AFLC (no date); MAP Republic of Korea, no year
55-4520 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1968–1969); 310th SOS (Taiwan, 1969); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1970); AFLC (1971); 51st ABW (South Korea, no date); 56th ABW (AZ, no date); 907th TAG (OH, no date); 356th TAS (OH, no date); retired from service 1981 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
55-4532 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1968–1970); 310th SOS (Taiwan, no date); 315th TAW (Vietnam, 1970); MASDC (1970); 24th SOW (Panama, 1970); AMARC (1970); AFLC (1971); 911th TAG (PA, no date); retired from service 1980 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
55-4547 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1968–1969); 310th TAW (Taiwan, 1969); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1970); AFLC (no date); 4500th ABW (VA, 1970); 906th TAG, 355th TAS, and 356th TAS (OH, no date); retired from service 1986 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
55-4570 12th SOS and 311th SOS (Vietnam, 1968–1969); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1970); AFLC (no date); 51st ABW (Korea, no date); 907th TAG (OH, no date); retired to AMARC (no date); MAP Royal Thai Air Force (Thailand), 1975 (currently located in Chiang Mai Museum, Thailand)
55-4571 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1968–1969); 310th TAW (Taiwan, 1969); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1970); AFLC (no date); 24th SOW (Panama, no date); 907th TAG, 355th TAS, and 356th TAS (OH, no date); retired from service 1986 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
55-4577 12th SOS (Vietnam, 1967–1968); 310th SOS (Taiwan, no date); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); 911th TAG and 758th TAS (PA, 1972); MASDC (1980) Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
56-4362
(“Patches”)
346th TCS (NC, 1961); ORH (Vietnam, 1962); 4500th ABW (VA, 1962); 315th Air Division Headquarters, 2nd
Division (Vietnam, 1963); 377th CSG (Vietnam, 1966); 315th ACW (Vietnam, 1966 [converted to UC-123 in MD, 1968]); 315th TAW (Vietnam, 1968 [converted to insecticide sprayer—Operation Flyswatter]); 377th (Vietnam, 1972); MASDC (1972); 911th TAG (PA, no date); 901st TAG and 731st TAS (MA, 1972)
Retired for preservation — US Air Force Museum, Wright-Patterson, AFB, OH, 1980
56-4368 464th TCW Crashed/lost, Vietnam, 1962
56-4370 464th TCW Crashed/lost, Vietnam, 1962
56-4371 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1970); AFLC (1971); 906th TAG (OH, no date); 355th TAS (OH, 1975); retired from service 1982 Destroyed at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, 2010
56-4373 310th TAS Crashed/lost, Vietnam, 1971
56-4378 309th ACS Crashed/lost, Vietnam, 1966
56-4384 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 310th SOS (1969); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (no date); AFLC (no date); MASDC (no date); MAP Year and country undisclosed
57-6289 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 315th TAW (Vietnam, no date); 405 Fighter Wing (The Philippines, no date); MASDC (1970); Vietnam Air Force (1971); AFLC (1973); MASDC (no date); MAP Royal Thai Air Force (Thailand), 1973
57-6291 12th SOS (Vietnam, no date); 315th SOW (Vietnam, no date); MASDC (1970); AFLC (no date); 302nd TAW, 906th TAG, and 355th TAS (OH, no dates) Crashed, Oklahoma, 1980

 

¹ C-123 aircraft tail #’s 54-583, 54-585, 54-635, 54-685, and 55-4544 were excluded from this table. Each of these aircraft were identified as Operation Ranch Hand planes in some recent historical documents provided by the VA (Young and Young, 2013, 2014a,b); however, although these C-123 aircraft were stationed with the 12th SOS in Vietnam (Operation Ranch Hand), the flight records for these aircraft do not indicate that they were used for herbicide missions (USAF, 2009a). Tail #56-4375, nicknamed “The White Whale” was used for VIP transport, not herbicide missions, and was also excluded from this table.
² C-123 aircraft tail numbers that are in bold were destroyed and recycled in 2010.

SOURCES: Institute of Medicine of the National Academies; Information compiled from Alvin L. Young, A.L. Young Consulting, Inc., personal communication, May 5, 2014; Carter, 2013; Young, 2014; Young and Young, 2014a,b.

ABBREVIATIONS: ABW, Air Base Wing; ACG, Air Commando Group; ACS, Air Commando Squadron; ACW, Air Command Wing; ADTC, Armament Development and Test Center (Eglin Air Force Base, FL); AFB, Air Force base; AFLC, Air Force Logistic Command (Hayes Aircraft Facility, Napier Field, Dothan, AL); AMARC, Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center (Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, AZ); CSG, Combat Support Group; MASDC, Military Aircraft Storage and Disposal Center (Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, AZ); SOS, Special Operations Squadron; SOW, Special Operations Wing; TAG, Tactical Air Group; TAS, Tactical Airlift Squadron; TAW, Tactical Air Wing; TCS, Troop Carrier Squadron; TCW, Troop Carrier Wing.

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