• Pvt. Yael Castanon, a CH-47 Chinook repairer for Company B, 563rd Aviation Support Battalion, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, paints the underbelly of the Fairchild C-119 on static display near Campbell Army Airfield June 4. Soldier volunteers are striving hard to make the Flying Boxcar look better than the Douglas C-47 Skytrain next to it, which the Air Force is refurbishing. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jennifer Andersson, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs/Released)

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    Pvt. Yael Castanon, a CH-47 Chinook repairer for Company B, 563rd Aviation Support Battalion, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, paints the underbelly of the Fairchild C-119 on static display near Campbell Army Airfield June 4. Soldier volunteers are...

  • Airman 1st Class Sean Talamos, a tactical air control party member for the 19th Air Support Operations Squadron, exfoliates the tail of a Douglas C-47 Skytrain on static display at Fort Campbell, Ky., June 1. The aircraft is being readied for a full-fledged makeover. The 19th ASOS is in the midst of a friendly competition with the 563rd Aviation Support Battalion, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, which is refurbishing a Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar at the same site.

    Air Force 1

    Airman 1st Class Sean Talamos, a tactical air control party member for the 19th Air Support Operations Squadron, exfoliates the tail of a Douglas C-47 Skytrain on static display at Fort Campbell, Ky., June 1. The aircraft is being readied for a...

  • Air Force Master Sgt. Scott McCoy (left) and Air Force Staff Sgt. Bobby Olson, tactical air control party members with the 19th Air Support Operations Squadron, scrub down a Douglas C-47 Skytrain on static display at Fort Campbell, Ky., June 1. McCoy was responsible for initiating the restoration, which has since led to a friendly competition between the Army and Air Force and is benefitting the Pratt Museum that is responsible for all static displays on Fort Campbell.

    Air Force 2

    Air Force Master Sgt. Scott McCoy (left) and Air Force Staff Sgt. Bobby Olson, tactical air control party members with the 19th Air Support Operations Squadron, scrub down a Douglas C-47 Skytrain on static display at Fort Campbell, Ky., June 1. McCoy...

  • Air Force tactical air control party members Staff Sgt. Michael Bailey (foreground), Airman 1st Class Sean Talamas (right) and Master Sgt. Josef Hanson clean up the outside of a Douglas C-47 Skytrain on display at Fort Campbell, Ky., June 1. Members of the 19th Air Support Operations Squadron are preparing the aircraft for a full exterior restoration that will return it to its original appearance and erase the signs of aging.

    Air Force 3

    Air Force tactical air control party members Staff Sgt. Michael Bailey (foreground), Airman 1st Class Sean Talamas (right) and Master Sgt. Josef Hanson clean up the outside of a Douglas C-47 Skytrain on display at Fort Campbell, Ky., June 1. Members of...

  • Air Force Master Sgt. Josef Hanson, a tactical air control party member with the 19th Air Support Operations Squadron, hoses off the engine of a Douglas C-47 Skytrain on display at Fort Campbell, Ky., June 1. The Skytrain is one of two aircraft on display that are currently undergoing restoration.

    Air Force 4

    Air Force Master Sgt. Josef Hanson, a tactical air control party member with the 19th Air Support Operations Squadron, hoses off the engine of a Douglas C-47 Skytrain on display at Fort Campbell, Ky., June 1. The Skytrain is one of two aircraft on...

  • Pvt. Brandon Seavey, integrated family of test equipment operator for Company B, 563rd Aviation Support Battalion, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, tapes a porthole window in prepartation for its base coat of paint near Campbell Army Airfield June 4. The Soldiers of 563rd ASB and the Airmen of the 19th Air Support Operations Squadron have joined forces to refurbish two historic aircraft on static display. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jennifer Andersson, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs/Released)

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    Pvt. Brandon Seavey, integrated family of test equipment operator for Company B, 563rd Aviation Support Battalion, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, tapes a porthole window in prepartation for its base coat of paint near Campbell Army Airfield June 4. The...

  • Soldiers of the 563rd Aviation Support Battalion, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, spruce up the Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar on static display near Campbell Army Airfield June 4. The Army and the Air Force have challenged each other to restoring the C-119 and the Douglas C-47 Skytrain on the corner of Wickham and Entrance roads. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jennifer Andersson, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs/Released)

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    Soldiers of the 563rd Aviation Support Battalion, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, spruce up the Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar on static display near Campbell Army Airfield June 4. The Army and the Air Force have challenged each other to restoring the...

A Skytrain and a Flying Boxcar are the lucky recipients of a much-needed makeover here at Fort Campbell, Ky.
The aircraft, a Douglas C-47 Skytrain and Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar, are on static display on the corner of Wickham and Entrance roads. Sun damage, lack of use and weather have all left signs of aging on the aircraft, but thanks to some friendly competition between the Army and the Air Force, these beautiful ladies will soon find their fine lines and wrinkles significantly erased.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Sonny Bumgardner, a logistics specialist for the 19th Air Support Operations Squadron here, said the overhaul was never intended as a challenge, but likes the results of it.
Cpl. Roy Gorris, a structural aircraft mechanic for Company B, 563rd Aviation Support Battalion, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, said the makeovers became a friendly competition between the Airmen and Soldiers on Fort Campbell, and the Soldiers are winning by a nose.
Pvt. Brandon Seavey just arrived at Fort Campbell, his first duty station, and in his first month volunteered to assist with the transformation. The integrated family of test equipment operator carefully placed tape over windows in preparation for the aircraft's foundation of paint.
He said he didn't know he was in a faceoff with the Air Force until he was already working on it, and that makes him want to do an even better job.
"They got the easy tasking," Gorris teased as he pointed at the C-47 Skytrain the Airmen have been working on. "All they have to do is repaint what is already on it. We have to start from scratch. It's easier to restore from the beginning if there's nothing on it."
Naturally, Bumgardner disagreed.
The effort to spruce up the C-47 Skytrain was the brainchild of Air Force Master Sgt. Scott McCoy, an aircraft mechanic for the squadron, Bumgardner said.
"I don't think at any point in time it was a competition," he said, but he didn't hold back from talking smack, either. "Ours is just going to look better."
"We're going for perfection here," Bumgardner said. "You can't just throw some paint on there and call it good."
With the help of Fort Campbell Fire Department, approximately 50 Airmen of the 19th ASOS volunteered their time to washing the Skytrain, using scrub brushes and 300 gallons of cleaner. Bumgardner said the next step of the aircraft's facelift is to sand down the paint she currently wears.
Gorris said the Soldiers reskinned the horizontal and vertical stabilators for the Flying Boxcar prior to the brigade's deployment in 2011.
"We are painting it (an aluminum color), like it came out of the factory, and it's going to get a great deal of detailing," Gorris said.
Factory-fresh is the goal, but accuracy is the key.
"Every aircraft we have we want to make historically accurate," said Dan Peterson, the director of the Don F. Pratt Museum on Fort Campbell.
Both aircraft will be restored to the style of the 1950's, Gorris said.
"We're putting it back like it was when it originally landed here at Campbell in the '50's," Gorris said. "That's why this aircraft is here -- it used to bring in the troops for jumps."
Peterson said both airplanes are significant to the 101st Airborne Division history.
"(The C-119) had been taken for a smoke jumper plane for firefighting -- that was its last life before it was turned into the (General Services Administration), and we were able to … rescue it."
There is one bit of irony in this: the Air Force chose the aircraft used by the Army and the Army is restoring the World War II aircraft used by the Army Air Corps, the precursor to the Air Force.
All Army museums must go through a Certification Inspection every five years. This is the magic year for the Pratt museum. The efforts being put forth by the Soldiers of 563rd ASB and 19th ASOS will certainly help during the inspection, Peterson said.
Peterson said it is fortunate these side-by-side aircraft are being repainted right now because it will make Fort Campbell look good during the inspection.
"They gave us the funding to get the paint, so we're going to give them a quality piece of work in return," Gorris said.
When this makeover is complete, Gorris said he will be dedicating his personal time to restoring more aircraft for the museum.
"It would be a great honor and my legacy to preserve Aviation history by painting the aircraft at the Heritage Park and the one at Campbell Army Air Field," he said.
If every company on post would volunteer to restore one aircraft, Fort Campbell would have the most amazing display, Gorris said.
And there is no lack of aircraft on Fort Campbell.
If he could find more volunteers, Peterson said he could always find more aircraft for makeovers.
Peterson welcomes the friendly rivalry in this situation. He said regardless of whether the Army or Air Force does a better job, ultimately, it's Fort Campbell who wins.

Page last updated Thu June 7th, 2012 at 00:00