It may not be pretty, it may not have been fast, and it wasn’t even all the comfortable to fly in, but the C-2 Greyhound was the workhorse for U.S. naval aircraft carrier operations for nearly 60 years.
Known as the COD – Carrier-Onboard-Delivery – the Greyhound is a twin-engine, high-wing aircraft that was used to fly passengers, cargo and mail to and from aircraft carriers operating at sea since the mid-1960s.
With the Navy currently replacing the Greyhounds with the V-22 Osprey, the USS Midway Museum got the chance to have a C-2 as its newest aircraft exhibit on the ship’s flight deck.
“In 2021, I was approached by Pence Parsons, one of our long-time docents, and Cmdr. Eric Ponsart, then the commanding officer of the C-2 squadron at NAS North Island, asking if I’d be interested in displaying one of the decommissioned Greyhounds on Midway,” said Walt Loftus, Midway’s director of aircraft restoration. “I immediately said ‘yes’ and contacted the Naval Air Systems Command about the possibility.”
The Navy agreed to provide the museum with a Greyhound on a long-term loan basis, and in late-2022, a C-2 from San Diego-based Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30 (VRC-30) was towed to Midway’s Hangar 805 at North Island for restoration.
“Fortunately, because the aircraft was coming directly from an active-duty squadron, we only had to do minor modifications to get it ready for exhibit,” said Walt. “We mounted safety handrails on the loading ramp to allow guests access to the plane’s cargo bay, as well as installed some new interior lights. We also repainted it with VRC-30’s operational squadron colors.”
After committing nearly nine months and more than 500 volunteer hours to its restoration, the C-2 was floated by barge across San Diego Bay from North Island and craned on board Midway.
Midway’s airwing team was very excited with the acquisition of the Greyhound, which was flown by a crew of four (two pilots and 2 cargo specialists), had a range of more than 1,000 miles and could carry up to 10,000 pounds of cargo. It was often a disorienting experience for sailors flying to the carriers in the cargo area of a C-2 as all of the installed passenger seats in the aircraft faced backward.
“This is a great new aircraft exhibit for Midway guests to experience during a visit to the museum,” said Walt. “It gives me great pride for myself and our aircraft restoration team to work closely with the Navy to be able to bring a new plane on board for public display.”