Fairchild C-123B “Provider”
In October of 1953 the Fairchild Aircraft Company was awarded the contract to begin a series production of 293 C-123B aircraft. It had an upswept rear fuselage modified with a hydraulically operated loading ramp. This shape remains the characteristic of most modern military transports to this day. The C-123B was utilized as a troop carrier, medivac transport, and support missions from short, minimally-prepared landing strips. Operational enhancements continued and the aircraft was used extensively during the Vietnam conflict for a multitude of missions.
The Coast Guard acquired the first of eight C-123B’s from the USAF in June of 1958 for use as logistical transports in support of the expansion and installation of the LORAN C network and other isolated installations. These installations were situated around the globe, many of which were in remote locations. The aircraft operated from Coast Guard Air Stations located at Miami, Florida; Puerto Rico; Barbers Point, Hawaii; Guam; Kodiak, Alaska; and Naples, Italy. They were distinguished from other C-123s by the Coast Guard color scheme and the large nose-mounted APN-158 radar. As a secondary mission they were also utilized for search and rescue.
The last of the aircraft were retired from Coast Guard service in 1972.