This is the DC-3 plane the State Dept denied to Stevens and Security Support Team at U.S. Embassy in Libya

Oct 05 2012 - 7 Comments

According to the CNN Security Clearance blog, the State Department denied a request by the security team at the U.S. Embassy in Libya for continued use of a DC-3 plane earlier this year.

Even if the presence of the white Dakota belonging to the DoS Air Wing (Department of State) would not have helped stopping the terrorist attack on the Benghazi consulate on Sept. 11 the news that the diplomatic mission was denied the support of a plane (based on the assumptions that a special flight would have been chartered had it been necessary) raises questions over whether the State Dept. properly addressed security concerns and requests coming from the Embassy in Tripoli.

The DoS Air Wing provides a wide variety of missions, including reconnaissance and surveillance operations, command and Control for counter-narcotics operations, interdiction operations, logistical support, Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC), personnel and cargo movement by air, aerial eradication of drug crops (currently only in Colombia).

Interestingly, the DoS DC-3 N707BA was often spotted at Malta, after the end of Operation Unified Protector.

The aircraft had been deployed to Iraq before being moved to Libya. When commercial flights were resumed to Tripoli and Benghazi, the aircraft was moved back “to other State Department business.”

Although quite obsolete (since it is based on a 1930s concept), the turboprop is quite effective because it is extremely efficient, reliable, requires little ground support and can operate also from unpaved runways.

That’s why the DoS, based at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, still operate it on several known and clandestine missions across the world (including Afghanistan).

Image credit: Brendon Attard

  • Nicola del Cioppo

    The US Dept. of State does operate N707BA, a DC-3. But it’s flight logs last list it as making a round trip between Miami and La Cieba, Belize on 4-5 July 2012. I find nothing in N707BA’s flight history indicating any activity in Libya or Iraq. That’s a long way from home for a DC-3, isn’t it? The Benghazi plane could be another DC-3 – possibly a government contract one. Or maybe it wasn’t a DC-3 at all. Get the registration numbers from the Benghazi aircraft and we’ll find out.

  • Simon Wolfers

    What an incredible design to be still being used over so many decades.

  • Arby

    A DC-3? What are they trying to do? Re-shoot Casablanca? If so, they need an Electra…

  • Kevin

    Old CIA trick…multiple aircraft with the same N-numbers, and sometimes even the same serial numbers.

    They did it with Air America a lot.

  • Photographed this bird in Afghanistan in 2009 making touch and go’s on Bagram AB.

    • Chuck out west

      Very cool.
      Thank you for your service

  • Scott Roberts

    C-47, military version, NOT DC3… Heavier construction, square windows & entry/cargo/jump door on the LEFT side…