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Date:January 12, 1968
Copyright: Nicholas Williams
Shortly after C141Heaven was started, Dave Grant sent me a big list of the status of all C-141's.There was a little note about 67-0011 that said: "Ground Trainer-North Field-CTR Wing Cracks" with an effective date of 7-April 1997. It said the a/c was currently located at Charleston, and I assumed the "North Field" reference meant on the north side of Charleston and perhaps used for emergency evac training, loadmaster training, or some other similar purpose.
In early February of 2005 I got this email from a guy named George Miller:
Are you aware of the C-141 left at North AFB in SC? I hope to go there soon to check this out. Not on display Just left there.
Well, I never heard of North AFB, and could find no reference whatsoever to it in any Google searches. Maybe it was a secret base started by Ollie North to import drugs to pay for the export of weapons shipments to Iran? Who knows? So I asked George:
This is very interesting news. Where exactly is North AFB? I can't seem to locate it on any web site or FAA directory anywhere.......
If the one you are talking about is still there please get some photos and we will try to figure out what is going on with it.
67-0017 was involved with a fire at McIntire ANG base in NC and destroyed. This may be the one you are thinking of. Check this link: 67-0017
There have been several that have been discovered to have damage of one sort or another (usually wing cracks or landing gear problems) that have been 'converted' to displays or 'ground trainers' because they simply could not be flown safely.
On 2/11, George replied:
Charleston has one C-141 on display (The City of Charleston) I believe this is the third edition 624 and 610' The current tail number 8079.
In regards to the 141 at North Field. I have been informed that is now a fire and rescue aircraft. They use it to practice rescue, and not sure how much is left. Will try to get pix next week if possible. Best GN
He also sent a note about where North is located:
Direct East of Aiken, South West of Columbia and North of Orangeburg. Located in the town of North South Carolina on Highway 321/178.
There is nothing at the field except a fire station and a huge WW2 runway that was never completed and is used by AMC as a drop zone.
I spent some time there in 1970 at what was called BARE BASE. We established a complete air base with fighter aircraft ready to roll.
Everything came in boxes and it was up to the troops to build the base in a very short time. It was a test and I never heard of ever being used again anywhere.
Also have some pix of 67-0011 in its flying days out of Charleston.
So George went to North, South Carolina, and found North Field, just South-East of North. (Without INS or GPS it's a wonder anyone from Charleston EVER got there!) and and found 67-0011. Here's what he says about it:
From: George Miller [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sunday, February 13, 2005 4:42 PM
Was at North USAF, AMC auxiliary air field this date.
The aircraft grounded there is 67-0011
From a few yards away the craft looked like it could take off in very short time.
Closer up it was obvious that the bird was dead. Everything on the out side looked very good, all in gray, the interior didn't look to bad either. The cockpit was gutted.
Everything that could come out --- was.
Someone had shot the windows and all were cracked. Tires were all up and the engines were still installed. All entrances were open except the clam shell door.
I was told that fire practice no longer was being considered and that the craft was going to be scrapped and sold to metal dealers. Pictures coming.
7:45 Sun GM
On October 9, 2015 Phil Godfrey sent C141Heaven this note:
I came across this page as I was wondering why I couldn't see 670011 in current imagery over North Field in SC. I discovered she was scrapped, and was disappointed to read it.
I was on the team that put her there to be an egress trainer, and we gutted her to enter as many serviceable parts into the supply system as we could. She flew on cracked wings from Charleston (IIRC) with only one operable main tank fuel pump per tank (no auxes), and the nervous aircrew left her where she stopped and walked briskly away without saying much. Severe heebee-jeebees. I'm not sure if there was even a right seater: may have been just one brave soul.
We hitched a forklift via chains to the main gear and drug her backwards into position, nose gear swinging until the scissors jammed into the lower fuselage. We had to press down on the cargo ramp with the forklift, wheelie the whole aircraft up a couple of feet, and manhandle the nose gear straight so we could continue the reverse tow.
There were about 15 mechanics on the team, and we pulled over 1,000 parts off of the airframe that week. It was a melancholy experience to see her give up so much, and we were not gentle. Her flight control cables were simply cut to make room for our hands. Our only requirement was to leave her looking like an airplane.
We left 67-0011 there and I never saw her again. There's something about dismantling an aircraft that imparts sorrow long after the job is done. I don't think I could have operated that crane-chomper thing in the pictures on your page.
The field from space.
It's just a little bit south-east of North, South Carolina.
How about that? All four compass points in ONE sentence!
(PS:Who's on first?)
From the information I have it appears this tail number was discovered to have center wing-box cracks while on the ground at North Field on April 7th, 1997. Due to its condition it was not able to be safely flown anywhere where it could be repaired or there were no repair parts available. Anyone who might know more info about this aircraft is encouraged to share their knowledge of the details.
Here's a series of shots that George Miller took in late February 2005 of 67-0011 sitting rather forlornly, all alone, on the ramp at North Field. Even the C-141's in Tucson have their sisters to keep them company ..... this poor creature is sitting there by herself ... hopefully she does not know the eventual fate that awaits it. When you see how it has been desecrated you may want to cry a bit ... that's ok. What has happened to this aircraft is nothing for the Air Force to be proud of.
In early June of 2005, C141Heaven got an email from SSgt Jeffery Kelly who works at the Public Affairs office at Charleston. He was working on a article about 67-0011, which was soon to be destroyed "as a safety hazard". He provided a few interesting facts about this aircraft.
-- 67-0011, was the only C-141 to ever carry the Air Force One call sign; it delivered President George Bush to Mogadishu, Somalia in 1992. (Note: There are photos of this event that will be made available to C141Heaven in the near future.)
-- On its way to AMARC in Tucson the wing cracked and was flexing beyond limits, forcing the aircraft to land at North Field. After this, it was cannibalized for spare parts.
-- It was later used as a fire department training aid for emergency egress.
By late June of 2005 the wheels of government procurement had arranged with a contractor to "remove" the aircraft from North field. These shots were submitted by Bradley Kuhn, a retired MSGT.
C141Heaven received this email from Joe Aguirre in January 2011...:
I "cut my teeth" as a crew chief at Charleston AFB, SC on these hard- working aircraft. I miss these old girls.
As an A1C or SrA in either 1997 or 1998, my supervisor MSgt Jim Thigpen asked me if I wanted to go TDY. Of course I said yes before knowing even where or when I was leaving. Being a member of the 437th AGS CANN Team, I was tasked to help manage an single aircraft designated to serve as a parts spare in support of the airlift wing's mission. However, this unusual task required that I drive a couple of hours up to North Field, SC to cannibalize a nose landing gear brace assembly off aircraft 67-0011.
As a young crew chief, I was excited to drive up to a relatively remote airfield and remove a part to help fix another C-141. After arriving to North Field, I spoke to a Fire Dept representative and explained my assignment. He escorted me to 67-0011, and at first glance, she looked ready to take off at moment's notice--mission ready. Once inside, however, it was clear this proud aircraft was now only a fire fighting trainer at best. Most of her instruments, aircrew seats, and other essential equipment were stripped away.
I pressed on with my assignment of removing the nose landing gear brace- -which proved more difficult that I had thought. The layers of paint and many years of in-place hardware on this component made removing the brace a challenge, but never too difficult for a determined crew chief!
After removing the part, I remember rubbing her nose radome as most crew chiefs did right before any launch, and thought how this old girl would never fly again. Was disappointed in that. However, even in her last hours, she helped another C-141 stay in the air by "donating" a part of herself...
Thank you for the memories 67-0011.
SMSgt Joe Aguirre
Source: Bradley Kuhn submitted this photo of the "First Bite"
Bradley was at the controls of the cruncher.
Source:Bradley Kuhn. After a few hours.
It must have been quite a day. Dale Cook attended the destruction festival and submitted these photos.
Copyright: Dale Cook
"A Day's Work"
Copyright: Dale Cook
Here's a few shots of 67-0011 in happier times.
67-0011 with others on the ramp at Norton (I think) in the late 60's or early
Copyright: Gerhard Plomitzer
In Zaire, Africa