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The Variety of Aircraft Flown by the Guard Was Astounding

The Cast of This Film Alone Makes it a Must See For Avgeeks

F-105s. Image via USAF

The Army National Guard and the Air National Guard (ANG) are portrayed performing many of their wide variety of duties in the Vietnam-era film “The Men and the Minute.” The film features the Tennessee ANG flying their Boeing C-97G Stratofreighters, Puerto Rico ANG flying North American F-86H Sabres, Massachusetts ANG flying their Convair F-102A Delta Daggers, Illinois ANG flying their KC-97L Stratofreighter tankers, and New Jersey ANG flying their Republic F-105D Thunderchiefs. The film was uploaded to YouTube by PeriscopeFilm.

One particularly interesting part of the film is the role of the Oklahoma ANG and their specially-equipped communications relay aircraft dubbed “Talking Birds.” These 137th Air Transport Wing C-97 aircraft were capable of deployment to anywhere in the world and often did just that. Crewed by nine and carrying up to 39 additional communications specialists, the “Talking Bird” aircraft were equipped with the latest in navigation equipment, avionics, and communications equipment of every type. Why? Because these aircraft kept the President in contact during the days when Air Force One was not equipped with its own mobile command communications capability as it is today.

F-102A. Image via USAF

The film begins with an eyeful of Tan Son Nhut during the mid-1960s. Also appearing in the film in supporting roles are a bevy of Army and Air Force ANG aircraft including the McDonnell Douglas RF-101 Voodoo, Lockheed C-130 Hercules, Fairchild C-123J Provider, Douglas C-124 Globemaster II, Lockheed Constellation, de Havilland Canada U-6B Beaver, Bell UH-1D and UH-1E Iroquois, Cessna O-1 Bird Dog, Douglas C-47 Skytrain, de Havilland Canada C-7A Caribou, North American F-100D Super Sabre, Helio U-10D Courier, a Lockheed P-2 Neptune from VP-18 Flying Phantoms, Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar, Hiller OH-23 Raven, and the Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw. There’s even a UH-1D with sling loaded Cessna O-1 Bird Dog for those of you who hadn’t seen anything unusual today.

Stratofreighter. Image via USAF

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Bill Walton

Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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