|The first of today's three images is probably a staged Air|
Force publicity shot.
The Packet, unfortunately, was somewhat of a failure. It was underpowered, and the design of the fuselage made it less than ideal for the cargo it was intended to carry. The Air Force wasn't happy, and asked Fairchild to redesign the aircraft. Initially designated the XC-82B, the redesign utilized larger engines, and the cockpit was moved forward, freeing up cargo space. Now happy, the Air Force ordered this new version into production as the better-known C-119 Flying Boxcar, and over 1,100 were built.
But what is especially interesting about two of these photos is what's in their backgrounds. One of the C-82's roles was that of glider tow. During the war, WACO built over 13,000 CG-4 troop gliders, which were towed into combat behind transports such as the C-46 and C-47.
But with the end of the war, it became clear that large troop-carrying gliders were no longer relevant, and the production contract was cancelled, with only 473 aircraft built. Only one complete G-15 fuselage has survived the years, and is awaiting restoration at the WACO Museum and Aviation Learning Center at the historic WACO Field, Troy, Ohio. (Images of the current condition of the airframe can be seen here - you'll have to scroll about 3/4 down the page.)
If anyone has stories of what the aircraft were utilized for at Fort Benning, please share!