First "Hanoi Taxi" Flight to Retrieve American POW's through Operation Homecoming
Hanoi Taxi is a Lockheed C-141 Starlifter strategic airlift aircraft (serial number 66-0177) that was in service with the United States Air Force and became famous for bringing back the first returned prisoners of war in Operation Homecoming.
Introduced to replace slower piston-engined cargo planes such as the C-124 Globemaster II, the C-141 was designed to a 1960 requirement and first flew in 1963; production deliveries of an eventual 285 began in 1965, 284 for the Military Airlift Command, and one for NASA.
This aircraft, which was delivered to the Air Force in 1967, was the last C-141 to be withdrawn from service after a career of almost 40 years, as the last of the fleet was retired in 2006 as sufficient C-17 Globemaster III aircraft became available in the regular Air Force to allow C-141s still serving with Air Force Reserve units to be replaced by the C-5 Galaxy aircraft being seconded from the regular Air Force.
In Paris on January 27, 1973, American and Vietnamese representatives signed agreements for the cessation of hostilities and the repatriation of war prisoners. Operation Homecoming began the next month and ended in April. During that period, 591 American P.O.W.s returned home. Representatives of the U.S. military debriefed returnees for information regarding the more than 2,000 Americans still listed as missing. According to the government, none of the P.O.W.s were able to provide definite information about any remaining captives. Both the Nixon administration and the Vietnamese government concluded that all living P.O.W./M.I.A.s had been returned.