DAYTON, Ohio (AP) – A jet that transported American prisoners of war to U.S. soil during the Vietnam war has moved to a new hangar at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Ohio.
The U.S. Air Force C-141 Starlifter, dubbed the “Hanoi Taxi”, was rolled into a new, $40.8 million hangar at the Dayton museum last month, The Dayton Daily News reported.
Museum visitors will be able to walk inside the cargo bay through a rear ramp door to better understand how airmen did their job. The display will be open to the public next June.
Former Air Force fighter pilot Paul Kari said he was on the first flight out of Hanoi in 1973 after he was a prisoner of war for more than seven years in a prison camp.
“I would say that although fighter pilots would say fighter planes are the most beautiful . this one supersedes it because it brought us home to freedom and that’s the most precious thing,” Kari said.
The 80-year-old retired lieutenant colonel said he endured torture, malnutrition, brutal interrogation and harsh living conditions in the camp. He said his rescue was a “dream come true.”
“Halfway to the airplane, an Air Force colonel put his arm around me and welcomed me home and tears, after eight years, just finally burst,” he said.
The four-engine plane brought 78 American POWs and two civilians out of Vietnam on two trips to Hanoi. It transported 76 POWs in Vietnam from the Philippines to America.
It flew for the last time to Wright-Patterson in May 2006.
“This is actually the last C-141 that was in service,” said Jeff Underwood, a museum historian.
Information from: Dayton Daily News
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