De Havilland CV-2B Caribou
De Havilland Canada designed the Caribou in response to a US Army requirement for a tactical transport. The mission was to supply forward battle areas with troops and supplies and evacuate casualties. The prototype DHC-4 Caribou made its first flight in 1958.
Impressed with the DHC-4's STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) capabilities and potential for delivering troops, supplies, and equipment to isolated outposts., the US Army ordered five for evaluation as YAC-1s. The designation was changed in 1962 to CV-2 Caribou. The U.S. Army purchased 159 of the aircraft for use during the Vietnam War, where larger cargo aircraft such as the C-123 Provider and the C-130 Hercules could not land on the shorter landing strips. The Caribou could carry 26 fully equipped paratroops or 20 litter patients or two Jeeps. As a cargo aircraft the Caribou can haul more than three tons of equipment, and the rear loading ramp could also be used for parachute dropping.
In 1967, when responsibility for all fixed-wing tactical transports was transferred to the U.S. Air Force, the Caribou received the designation C-7. By the end of production in 1973, a total of 307 aircraft were built. The Air Force operated the Caribou in active, reserve and guard unit service until the 1980s. After retirement from the Air Force, 20 Caribous were transferred to the Army National Guard where they operated until the early 1990 s.
The Caribou on display, Serial No. 62-4149 was accepted by the U.S. Army in 1962 and assigned to the 61st Aviation Company, XVIII Airborne Corps at Ft. Bragg, NC in early 1963. On June 20, 1963 18 aircraft (including 62-4149) of the 61st AVN Co. were deployed to Vietnam. In 1967, 62-4149 was turned over to the U.S. Air Force and assigned to the 457th TCS. The remaining assignments are as follows: 1976-77, New Jersey ANG; 77-87, Maryland ANG; 87-90, Connecticut Army National Guard.
The aircraft was completely restored to its original Army configuration and markings in 1999 by the Army