The Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar (Navy and Marine Corps designation R4Q) is an American military transport aircraft developed from the World War II-era FairchildC-82 Packet, designed to carry cargo, personnel, litterpatients, and mechanized equipment, and to drop cargo and troops by parachute. The first C-119 made its initial flight in November 1947, and by the time production ceased in 1955, more than 1,100 C-119s had been built. Its cargo-hauling ability and unusual twin-boom design earned it the nickname "Flying Boxcar".
The aircraft saw extensive action during the Korean War as a troop and equipment transport. In July 1950, four C-119s were sent to FEAF for service tests. Two months later, the C-119 deployed with the 314th Troop Carrier Group and served in Korea throughout the war.
During the Vietnam War, the incredible success of the Douglas AC-47 Spooky but limitations of the size and carrying capacity of the plane led the US Air Force to develop a larger plane to carry more surveillance gear, weaponry, and ammunition, the AC-130 Spectre. However, due to the strong demands of C-130s for cargo use there were not enough Hercules frames to provide Spectres for operations against the enemy. The Air Force filled the gap by converting C-119s into AC-119s each equipped with four 7.62 minigun pods, a Xenon searchlight, night observation sight, flare launcher, fire control computer and TRW fire control safety display to prevent incidents of friendly fire. The new AC-119 squadron was given the call-sign "Creep" that launched a wave of indignation that led the Air Force to change the name to "Shadow" on 1 December 1968. C-119Gs were modified as AC-119G Shadows and AC-119K Stingers. They were used successfully in both close air supportmissions in South Vietnam and interdiction missions against trucks and supplies along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. All the AC-119G Gunships were transferred to the South Vietnamese in 1973 when the American forces were withdrawn.