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C-123K — Fairchild’s hybrid Provider walkaround and Lt. Col. Joseph Jackson’s MoH

16 March 2012

C-123K — Fairchild’s hybrid Provider walkaround and Lt. Col. Joseph Jackson’s MoH

35º 07′ 49″ N / 79º 01′ 19″ W

Two days previously was the post about the original version of the Fairchild C-123 Provider, but the “Kilo” version is the one that made the Provider famous in Vietnam War — the C-123K powered by a pair of conventional reciprocating engines as well as a pair of turbojet engines. Unbelievably, it was also also the aircraft type flown into history by Joe Jackson (USAF) into the airfield at Kham Duc during the Vietnam War.

May 1968 found the US Special Forces Camp located at Kham Duc, and its airfield, in a world of hurt under a determined assault by two regiments of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA). By the time Jackson and his crew arrived the camp had been evacuated, the NVA were overrunning it but three men of a combat patrol team (CCT) had been mistakenly inserted — three men had been left behind armed with only M-16s.

Jackson flew his Provider to a combat assault landing onto an airfield strewn with several air wrecks and all manner of debris to rescue the CCT. The rescue was successful and Lt. Col. Jackson was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

John T. Correll wrote a concise report of the situation leading to the rescue as well as a detailed description of the Jackson’s airmanship in an article entitled “Rescue at Kham Duc” in the October 2005 issue of Air Force Magazine — here is the link to the 300 Kb PDF file, which is worth the read and has the photo of Jackson’s Provider on the battle damaged runway during the rescue.

The C-123K in the photographs below is displayed at the 82nd Airborne Division and War Memorial Museum.

Fairchild’s C-123K Provider at the 82nd Airborne Division and War Memorial Museum — photograph by Joseph May

Right aspect view, note the engines and external fuel tank, though the gear is not long the Provider is an excellent short field aircraft — photograph by Joseph May

The C-123 had a short segment of ramp which could lower and most of it would rise to meet the cargo cabin’s roof — photograph by Joseph May

Visibility from the cockpit is good — photograph by Joseph May

Detail view of the piston engine and turbojet engine of the left wing — photograph by Joseph May

The Provider’s characteristic high rise tail — photograph by Joseph May


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