An old C-119 Flying Boxcar airplane made the trip from near Cresson to Granbury Monday afternoon. It didn’t fly through the air, but rather was trucked down Highway 377.
The fuselage from the old Air Force cargo plane departed from the Pate Museum on Highway 377 near Cresson and “landed” at the U.S. Veterans Museum, 601 Thorp Springs Road, Monday afternoon.
“We’re glad it’s finally here,” said a relieved Tom Green, director of the U.S. Veterans Museum.
Green said he’s been contacted by people in Hawaii, Alaska and across the country who have been keeping track of the progress on the plane.
“I think it will be a nice addition to the museum, bringing more visitors here,” he stated.
When the Pate Museum began to be disassembled a couple of years ago, Green received an inquiry from military officials.
“They wanted to know if we would be interested in the old C-119 Air Force plane sitting in front of the Pate Museum,” Green said. “They were looking for homes for all the military-related things at Pate.”
“First we had to get permission from the city (Granbury),” he recalled.
For almost two years, Green rallied a group of volunteers to disassemble the plane.
“Cordell Hall, Brad Coker and a whole bunch of other people worked on this project. We worked out there when it was hot, cold and in-between,” Green said of the volunteers.
Frustrated. That’s how volunteers felt when modern power tools were not the right fit to remove all the rivets.
“We needed special tools for the nuts and bolts, but they were obsolete. The airplane manufacturer went out of business in the 1970s,” Green explained.
Using improvised tools, volunteers stripped the airplane of its wings, engines and other parts before the transport could take place. “The wingspan of the plane is 110 feet,” Green noted. “So we couldn’t move it down the highway with the wings attached.”
Green said the Air Force plane was used in the Korean War and in the first part of Vietnam. “They transported cargo and also used it to bring back the wounded,” Green said of the C-119.
Volunteers will now begin putting the plane back together.
“For every thousand rivets that came out, we’ll put a thousand back in,” a smiling Green said.
For more information, call the U. S. Veterans Museum at 817-578-3288.
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