Promoting world peace and security one flight at a time
On August 23, 1963, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed it was a “great moment for our nation” when he unveiled by remote control from the White House the initial Lockheed C-141 StarLifter military transport plane. By ceremoniously pressing a gold key in the nation’s capital and allowing for the virtual rollout of the carrier some 650 miles away in Marietta, Georgia, President Kennedy ushered in the first jet-powered airlifter and set in motion a versatile aircraft which helped write history throughout its 43 years of service.
Extending the military’s reach
Responding to President Kennedy’s order to develop an all-jet military transport troop and cargo carrier, Lockheed produced the StarLifter on time and under budget using the exclusive designs of its Marietta-based engineers. From 1965 to 2006, it served as the mainstay of the U.S. military airlift, participating in every operation from Vietnam to Iraqi Freedom. The aircraft’s speed proved invaluable during Vietnam by cutting roundtrip flight time between California and Saigon from 95 hours to 34, while its 93-foot cargo bay made it easy to offload almost 70,000 pounds of freight per hour.