11 June 2013

C-123 Historical Record: 731st aircraft w/prior Ranch Hand history

Thanks to the Air Force Reserve Command and the Air Force Historical Research Agency, we now have a more complete record of those aircraft assigned to the 731st with previous use in Operation Ranch Hand. This is only for five aircraft, and the remaining five we still have to pin down, for instance, #362.

The list shows the association of the 74th AES with the 731st and thus explains how aircraft assigned to the 731st are also flown by the 74th. It also shows the list of aircraft used for Ranch Hand, and AFHRA's archival reconstruction of where those C-123s went after Vietnam and came to be assigned to the 731st.

The VA and Joint Services Records Research Center have insisted on this information to connect Form 5s and flight orders with duty aboard contaminated airplanes. They demand much more along other subjects, but this should tie up the historical questions raised by VA and their insistence that proof be on official military paperwork. While VA will certainly dream up more and more excuses to block our claims, at least this eliminates one of those blocks!

Our thanks to the archivists who worked so hard on this, especially Mr. Barry Spink at AFHRA.

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