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CL-3 Wilson Air Transportable Loader

The CL-3 loader is a self-propelled elevator designed to load cargo onto the main deck of widebody aircraft. Due to aircraft fuselage curvature, it cannot be used to load wide-body lower lobes. It has a rollerized platform that is pitch or roll adjustable up to 4 inches and can hold up to a triple-married 463L pallet. The elevator platform roller trays can be turned over to permit the loading of wheeled or tracked vehicles without additional subflooring. The CL-3 may be loaded into C5A/B, C-130, and C-141B aircraft. The CL-3 was never tested or certified for transportation on civil aircraft in the three-pallet configuration.

Maj Gen Winston P. "Wimpy" Wilson did more than any other single individual to build the modern Air National Guard (ANG). During his career in the National Guard Bureau (NGB) from 1950 to 1971, he revolutionized the Air Guard and significantly influenced the Defense Department's view of the role of the reserve components.

Wilson convinced a reluctant Air Force to include the ANG in the airlift mission. The Air Guard began exchanging some fighters for special operations airlifters in 1955 and aeromedical airlifters the following year. By 1960, Wilson had succeeded in obtaining C-97s slated for the boneyard. They were the Guard's first strategic airlifters. In 1961, he obtained KC-97s, the ANG's first tankers. By 1970, Wilson obtained the ANG's first C-130s pioneering its involvement in tactical airlift. Applying the same concepts that had proven successful in air defense, Wimpy worked to integrate the Guard's air mobility assets in the Air Force's daily operations. As a byproduct of training, ANG volunteers and personnel on annual training status flew airlift and tanker missions on a daily basis.

Wilson's innovations paid off. In October 1961, ANG fighter and airlift units were mobilized during the Berlin crisis. After a short period of training, 216 ANG fighters and reconnaissance aircraft were dispatched to western Europe in "Operation Stair Step" to strengthen NATO against the Soviets. The Guard's C-97 units flew global airlift missions.

In addition to support of the active force in connection with routine training, ANG airlifters also flew as volunteers during the Cuban missile crisis and the Dominican Republic intervention. In January 1966, Air Guard airlifters began flying regularly scheduled missions to Vietnam as volunteers.

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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias

Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:36:50 ZULU