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please put it after your name and location.
Your message will be reviewed and posted as soon as possible.
help cut down on harvesting of email addresses I will use at instead
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want to thank all Stingers & Shadows that made my 1st dollar nineteen reunion a blast. I honestly had to take a few extra orbits to convince myself to go. But, thanks to the persistence of Gus, and my need to refresh a lot of memories, my wife and I decided we were cleared hot on Sandestin.
Just for history, I went into the Gunship program in July 72, everybody
I volunteered with went Spectre, I walked up to a twin boomed a/c called "Stinger".
Col Dick Ring was my class leader at Hurlburt. After all the schools,
I finally touch the sacred ground at NKP in Laaaaaaaaaate October 72.
I was the last of my class to get there, most were rerouted elsewhere.
I stayed at NKP for about 10 days, TDYd to Bien Hoa, got in-country qualified
by TSgt Leroy Jackson on 27 November 72. PCSd to Danang, The 18th closed,
we flew base defense, air cover for Saigon, and very few TICs. I reentered
the program with Spectre in 1982, did lead gunner, and dual qualified
IR/TV until 1991.
Anyway, special thanks to all, espically: Gus, Sam, Chief Bill, Chief George Carter, and Col Dick Ring. I missed a lot of ya, but will reconnect at Branson.
Tony Pakutinski (Pakman)
Medical problems sideline Shadow —I will not be able to make the trip to Destin for Reunion VIII due to the discovery of several medical problems that need immediate attention. I hope to get an update Tuesday and Wednesday that should clarify the extent of the problem. Treatment may involve surgery and that would put me on the shelf for several weeks. Please give ny regards to all the 119ers and have a great week in Destin. I will look forward to next year.
The Shadow Knows
Col Al Heuss 71st SOS
Illness strikes Gunship 1- Col (ret.) Ron Terry, an honorary AC-119 Gunship Association member and the father of the fixed wing gunship, has been diagnosed with leukemia and is undergoing testing to determine the extent of upcoming treatments. Please join us in holding Col Terry and his wife, Carole, in your thoughts and prayers.
This is for John (Wayne) Adams, I may have sent you the wrong e-mail address before, it should be mikolowskiatsbcglobal.net I was with shadow gunships in 1970-1971 Phu Cat, Tuy Hoa, then to Saigon then went to Travis Air Force Base CA. till 1983 where I retired.
catch u later
Robert (bob) (ski) mikolowski
Hello Gunship Comrades, My name is Thomas L. Butcher Sr. and I have been looking all over for a long time for a
Reunion and finally discovered it in Military News Letter and went to the Website and there you guys were. Thanks for the Invitation.
In October 1966 I was assigned to the 606 ACS in NKP Thailand after going through training at Hurlbert Field, (Aux Field 9) Three Months later we were Dissolved into the 4Th Air Commandos RVN. I was assigned to A Flight Danang AB. I was a Loadmaster and flew over 400 Combat Hours prior to going to the 7Th Air Commandos in Germany, Aug, 1967 and spent another 3 years supporting the 10Th Special Forces (Green Berets) located in BadTolz, Germany. I must say, being a member of the "Puff The Magic Dragon" forerunners
we were called SPOOKY 1-1,1-2,1-3 Call Signs.
I am looking forward to getting together in Oct with fellow true Warriors
of the Time ( Smile) I would appreciate knowing any other 4Th Gunship
guys that may be planning on attending. Would any one reading this drop
a line to butcrmillsatsbcglobal.net
Ret. SMS Thomas L. Butcher Sr.
No motorcycles, no reunion. I won't be coming to the reunion this year....the homeowners association that owns the island the hotel sits on has a ban on motorcycles, my main mode of transportation.
"K" IO '71-'72
"For those who fought for it, freedom has a taste the protected will never know."
Hello to all of my Gunship Brothers.
I'm looking forward to the Fixed Wing Gunship Reunion. This
Reunion will go down in history as the "first ever" Fixed Wing gunship
reunion. Each and every one of us that chose to fly and maintain these
one of a kind Special Operations Air Force Aircraft can be proud.
We flew some of the greatest, and little known, missions in the History of
the U.S. Air Force. The Maintenance troops that maintained these special
aircraft were, without a
doubt, the best in the Air Force. Together, all of us made up the most cohesive combat units the
U.S. Air Force has ever seen.
I look forward to meeting with our fellow Gunship Brothers and swapping
stories. This world will never see such a Gathering of former combat
Bob La Rosa
Faison, Stinger IO and Association Life Member, Loses His Wife and
Home In Fire
Faison, Ron's wife of 47 years, died in a fire at their home Sunday,
July 8th. Ron suffered smoke inhalation but was treated
and released. Several of Ron’s family, plus some of our
extended AC-119 family, helped Ron move into a condominium and got
him as settled in as possible.
sure Ron would love to hear from his gunship friends. Ron's new address
Drive, Apt #44,
Vacaville, CA 95687.
Please keep Ron and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
Cell Phone 707-592-4492
note: Many thanks to Wayne and the California crew who assisted
Ron during this trying time. It is a wonderful example of the gunship
family taking care of each other.
Duford, staff historian at National Museum of the Air Force, is looking
for an AC-119 100-mission patch.
I’m working on an exhibit and preservation
project about completing 100 missions in Southeast Asia. While the focus
of the exhibit will be on F-105 aircrews, I would like to have as many
other mission types represented as I can. To do so, I need to track down
donors who would be willing to give their 100 mission memorabilia to
the Museum. I know there was an AC-119 patch, but I’ve never seen
it. Do you happen to have one, or know someone who does? Also, can you
think of any other artifacts or photographs that would contribute to
the 100 mission tradition as related to the AC-119?
National Museum of the Air Force
(937) 255-4644 x739
Gunshippers Lose Close Friend
On 10 July, 2007 we gunshippers lost one of our unsung "heroes".
Richard E. Miller was a Field Service Representative (Tech Rep) for Fairchild.
He was instrumental in the development of the AC-119K while at St. Augustine,
Florida and was an expert, in everyway, on all C-119s. Once the Stinger
became operational, Richard volunteered to go to South Vietnam to assist
the USAF aircrews in transitioning from the AC-119G to the AC-119K. He
continued his services there until the the AeroProduct props were replaced
with the Hamilton Standard props (from 4 blade to 3 blade). His tour
of duty was 1970 - 1971 at Phan Rang.
Richard was extremely technically knowledgeable on the Shadows and Stingers.
His skills, and devotion to his duty, were paramount in the success of
that transition. He will easily be remembered by those who shared their
tour with him, both aircrew and maintainers.
In 2003, Richard learned of our gunship association through the website.
On one of his visits to the guestbook, he saw a request for technical
assistance on C-119s. He jumped at the chance and became active in assisting
the author of "Departure Message" (Chuck Lunsford) in obtaining
technical information for his chapter regarding the AC-119K Stinger.
He wanted to go to the gunship reunions but his health started to deteriorate.
He never was able to attend but was kept posted by his good friend and
fellow co-worker from Fairchild, Bill Dudley.
Following his tour in SEA, Richard went to Ethiopia to train their Air
Force flight crews on the C-119K (cargo version). I am fortunate to have
in my possession a photo of Richard with an Ethiopian crew standing in
front of a C-119K, circa 1974. If anyone would care to have that image
scanned to them, feel free to contact me at ac119katmsn.com or linvelatearthlink.net.
FE 1972 - 1973
July 18, 2007
Just wanted to thank you for a great website. I was at Phan Rang AB 9/66
to 6/68 with the 614 TFS...weapons load crew chief.
Great site. Will send in app.
Hard to believe this 4 Aug 07 will mark the 35th year since headed off
to NKP and the 18th as a new table nav. Ended up teaching VNAV at Danang.
First culture shock was learning we had to give the VNAV 2 hrs for lunch
so they could cook their own meal. Then having to convince Maj Hoang
(VNAV Cmdr that he had to let his IO out of the Conex container to attend
class (the IO went off base when should not have).
Then there was the unfortunate bailout accident (March 1973) at Danang
when one of the student FLIR Nav's got pulled under by the rescue fishing
boat because he forgot to get out of his chute after a controlled bailout
(Danang went DS, all precision stuff was down for MX, and not enough
fuel to RTB elsewhere). Rest of the crew got out without a scratch.
7th thought we had screwed up so they closed the school. Three days later
they realized we had not but it was too late--most of the instructors
had RTB'd Stateside. So Major Krueger and some of us headed off to Tan
Son Nhut to ferry C-119s to Clark until we had to get out of Vietnam
(troop count) the end of March '72. When I came thru Clark the end of
August '72 after pulling a tour as a FAN in OV-10's (Pave Nail and 2-stick)
watched them chop up the C-119's (They thought we could give the C-119s
to some other countries after trading our AC-119K's to the VNav for their
Other memories include being bombed at Danang by one our own F-4s, having
an F-4 bomb the target we were firing at (he had yesterday's Prayer
Wheel)(also learned that because your airplane gets hit, the crew does
not get awarded a Purple Heart (smile), seeing more ground fire after
the "war" stopped, me and my hutch trailer mate getting "fragged" with
a tear gas grenade (we lived next to the O'Club), and spending the last
night of the war in Danang's Stinger Hootch Bar (the thinking was that
while Charlie was going to hit us hard on the last day, we would be safe
in our Hootch as it never had been hit (the smarter ones headed to the
O'Club as it was as all remember farther in-land and also had not been
hit (the sad thing was that Charlie hit the outside of the base harder,
targeting the refugees,
Enough for now—good to see the Stinger pictures and crews again.
Gerald R. J. Heuer, Lt Col USAF (Ret)
Stinger Table Nav
Aug 72 to Mar 73
also Nail 233 (OV-10's)
Gunship Association Board Reply to: "Not
favor of a combined gunship reunion"
We received a number of responses to Garry’s message below. After
talking with Garry, we thought it would be helpful to clear up some misperceptions
and give you a sense of some of the responses we received:
• Our AC-119 Association members voted for this combined reunion as a one-time joint
Reunion. It is not intended to start a joint or Air Force Gunship Association. Our Association members voted several times on that; and the AC-119 Gunship Association will continue as is — period;
This combined reunion includes our own, separate, AC-119 activities on Friday, Saturday morning, and Sunday. The "joint" activity
is the Saturday banquet;
• Many of our members also served on other gunships. In fact, some
flew on, or maintained, all versions of the gunships. This joint reunion gives
all gunshippers the unique opportunity to meet again with friends from the
other gunship squadrons, rather than attending several reunions and risk not
seeing some of those friends and fellow squadron members. Remember, not all
gunship groups are fortunate enough to have an association or a reunion.
• We do not want anyone to miss the opportunity to see the brothers we served with in the AC-119 squadrons. We
are life-long friends and we want to see them every chance we get.
• Your Reunion Coordinators, Founding Fathers, and other volunteers make
it all happen and will continue to work hard for the AC-119 Gunship Association
as long as we're standing. Understandably, not everyone can make each Reunion.
But, it is with that understanding that attending membership voted to try different
locations and reunion styles to give others the opportunity to attend. It is
an impossible task to expect to please all of the membership, all of the time.
But we hope everyone who does come to a Reunion, supports the work and the
decisions made by our AC-119 Gunship Association members at our annual meetings.
Your AC-119 Gunship Association Board:
Vern, Ray, Doug, Jim A, and Wayne, in support of all our faithful volunteers over the years - Gus, Bill, Norm, Jim T, Ev, Rogers, Ron J, Chuck, Jerry, Fletch, Ralph, Mac, Craig, Bud, Bob, Art, Jimi, Walt, Fred, and everyone else who helps make us a great Association.
Please send any further inputs on this matter directly to Garry Gourley
per his request at gfgourley33athotmail.com and
copy in Jim Alvis, our Association Secretary at Shadow1969atindy.rr.com
Thank you! Just wanted to thank Gus and Norman for the hospitality at the Mini Reunion. Had a great time and met a lot of Gunshippers. Not a lot of AC-119 people made it however. Looking forward to the cruise and reunion this fall.
Brother Johnny Higgins
Little Rock, AR
favor of a combined gunship reunion. Gentlemen - I have to state my opinion
again (since 2000) that I am not in
favor of a combined gunship reunion. There has been many a discussion
the quality of having a tri-reunion—C130, C47 and us. We have worked
hard to get where we are now and those that have passed on that worked
hard — the argument being that we are not getting any younger or what
the reason does not hold water with me or a number of gunshipers that
spoken to or made comments too. I apologize but I only want to be in
company of my fellows AC-119 Gunship fliers and wrench benders. There
be a number of us that feel so adamant about this that we will not be
attending this upcoming reunion. If this idea offends anyone then I and
of my fellow Gunshipers apologize.
Please feel free to contact me on
website at gfgourley33athotmail.com to agree or disagree with me.
comradeship AC-119G/K Gunshipers.
Garry Gourley FE AC-119G Tan Son Nhut 1970/1971
Stinger Prop Troop Checking In
Hi folks, my name is Gary Ingram and I was stationed at Phan Rang from July 1970 to July 1971. I worked in the propeller shop for the gunships (g&k) models along with the C-47 props and 0-2 props. Lived in the Q4 area and spent many-a-night in the Happy Valley Drive-in watching movies and always waiting on mail call that we all looked forward to.
In Dec 1970 my prop shop boss (Msgt Reimer) sent me to NKP and work on the 6 C-119's that they sent there. Ended up working on C-119's, A-1 Sandy's, OV-10's. What an experience landing in CAM Rahn Bay, flight to Phan Rang on a C-123, staying in the transit barracks and finally bedding down in the Q4 area. Mama-san taking care of our clothes for $2.50 a month.
The past 26 years I have been an ART/Reservist at the Youngstown Air Base in Vienna Ohio. We have C-130H models that we received in July 1990. I am now the superintendent of Quality Assurance, finally made E-9 three years ago and will retire next August. I am looking for anybody that worked with me in the prop shop at Phan Rang or NKP, especially John Berger or my old buddy Sparky, but forgot his last name.
Special Invitation to all AC-119 Association members
Colonel Leonard C. Smales
Commander, 58th Operations Group
requests the honor of your presence at the
71st Special Operations Squadron, at which
Lt Col James L. Cardoso
will relinquish command to
Lt Col Todd A. Lovell
on Tuesday, the twenty second day of May
at ten o’clock in the morning
4150 Hangar Road SE
Kirtland Air Force Base New Mexico
R.S.V.P. by 15 May 2007
Military: Uniform of Day
Civilian: Business Attire
Reception to immediately follow in hangar
In 1969, I was, at age 20, a crew chief on a AC-119K, S.N. 926, Lockbourne AFB. 18th SOS. In Nov 69, my aircraft with 6 others ferried to Vietnam.
Over the years I lost touch with many of the guys and I recently just found this website regarding AC-119 Gunships. I am wondering if I would be able to, at least email, some of the guys that remember that time, either aircrew or maintenance?
Oh, one more thing, most of us in the squadron were recalled to Vietnam in 1970 to train the locals on the gunships.
My Primary station was Phang Rang, but I did go to Da Nang and Saigon as well.
CookChildren's Medical Ctr.
Clinical Engineering Dept.
Need confirmation on Happy Valley Close Air Support Mission 1970
Early in 1970 an AC-119 was about to take off at Phan Rang when they got a call saying there were troops in contact about 10 miles northwest of the base, and they were cleared to fire. It was just about sundown. They took off, turned left as they climbed, found the hamlet that was being attacked, and took out the attackers with one firing pass.
The date was probably 27 March or 27 April 1970. If you were on that mission or have it in your records, please contact me. I would like to confirm the date and hear the aircrew side of the story. I was the 315th TAW Civic Action Officer at Phan Rang, and I have the rest of the story.
Briefly: it was a Montagnard hamlet we had been working with. They saw men moving in the twilight, and sounded their alarm. Immediately, they were under attack by about 35 heavily armed NVA who were enroute to hit the base with mortars and a 57 mm recoiless rifle that could
have done some serious damage to aircraft on the flightline. The Montagnards radioed for help, and the gunship arrived just in time to save them. Next day, the Deputy Province Chief took me with him to honor the hamlet for what they did. The gunship firing pass was perfect.
Ben H. Swett
Colonel USAF (Retired)
Temple Hills, MD
Looking for old Friends: Former Stinger Winston Crotchett, retired AF MSgt, l960 thru l974, Nam, Okinawa, Thailand, Japan, etc.
Thanks and God Bless you each and everyone!
Winston at winjaiatgtec.com
Visited your site today, outstanding. Enjoyed reading the postings.
After serving with the 400 MMS(T), Kadena AB, Okinawa I pcs’d to the 317th FMS (munitions) at Lockbourne AFB, OH in August ’68 in support of the gunships. Processed and delivered a helluva a lot of 20MM, 7.62MM and Mk 24 flares. If I remember correctly didn’t we have an AC- 123 too?
After the 317th I pcs’d to the 421MMS, Phu Cat AB, RVN in August ’69 which changed to the 412MMS as the 12th TFW moved up from CRB in ‘70. Just thought I’d say hello and thank you for you service.
118 Central St.
Byfield, MA 01922
Update on 2007 President-elect, Ray Barradale
President-elect Ray Barradale had a heart attack while at the Albuquerque Reunion. He was stabilized and sent home for bypass surgery which went well. However, Ray developed complications that eventually resulted in surgery again to put in a defibrillator and pacemaker. Bottom line: Ray is ok but will be in a recovery mode for a while.
As a result, Ray decided that both his health and the Association’s needs are best served by stepping down as President. Per our by-laws Vern Hansen moves from Vice-President to President, with Ray and everyone’s support.
The Board also offered Ray an Honorary Vice-Presidency until next year’s Reunion elections, and Ray accepted.
Please keep Ray in your thoughts and prayers – he told us his goal is to regain his health, and to attend and enjoy our Joint Gunship Reunion in Florida! Ray asks that we all give Vern and your Association Board and Committees the support to keep the Association healthy and continuing to improve.
A Fallen Hero
Need help with VA Claim. My Name is Jimmy Ward Stationed at Phan Rang Oct 1969-Oct 1970. I worked on stingers as a JET ENGINE Tech. I would like to find anyone that was there during that time to help with a V A claim.
236 Archibald ln.
Goose Creek ,S.C.29445
E Mail: wa8jmataol.com
Thanks in Advance, Sgt. Jimmy L. Ward
A Fallen Hero
By George S. Carter
Recently I received an e-mail from a fellow member of the AC 119 Gunship Association informing me of the death, on September 9th 2006, of a fellow Viet Nam veteran. Bob Helmig and I were gunners on the AC-119K “Stinger” gunship. The cause of death--Multiple Myeloma....bone marrow cancer. The cause of his cancer—Agent Orange. Members of the 18th Special Operations Squadron lived, worked, and played together. Because the 18th SOS was split among three operating locations, NKP Thailand, and Bien Hoa and Da Nang, Viet Nam Bob and I did not socialize much but we flew several combat missions together. We depended on each other, and fellow crew members, in literal life and death situations. When it came time to put the rubber-to-the-road, we all had the same common interest, get the mission accomplished--protect allied troops on the ground--kill trucks, sampans, and anything that carried munitions or supplies to enemy combatants. We had a job to do and we did it very, very well. After the cease fire took affect in January 1973, Bob was so good at his job that he was selected to train Viet Namese airmen to become AC 119K ‘Stinger’gunners. A fitting tribute to his skill, dedication, and knowledge of gunship operations.Bob was a hero in every sense of the word. He was not drafted to become a gunner and fly on those rickety old aircraft. He was a volunteer and Bob took his job very seriously. History often repeats the anti-war sentiment in this country during the time of our service but Bob could care less about the anti-war crowd and their beliefs. He had a higher calling, to fight for the right of the anti-war demagogues to express their personal opinions about him and his governments’ participation in that war. We were all very young and idealistic in those days and I have seen that same vigor, idealism, and patriotism of young people as they continue to volunteer to serve their country, even though they may be placed in harms way. Bob would be proud of those young people as they carry on the heritage of service as he did over 33 years ago. They, like he, thumb their noses at the nay sayers and volunteer to give all if necessary for the preservation of our way of life.Just the word “Cancer” is enough to strike fear in the strongest of people. I have not been in contact with Bob since we left Viet Nam but I can imagine he tackled his disease with the same courage and tenacity he did as a gunner. He fought a heroic battle and lost. But his legacy will live on in future war fighters. If Bob could be here I am sure he would encourage all Viet Nam veterans to make sure they get their names put in the Agent Orange Registry. It is very easy and does not take much time. If you spent one day on the ground you need to be tested. Make an appointment with your nearest VA medical center or clinic and tell them you want to be tested for Agent Orange exposure and placed on the Agent Orange Registry. The following is a link to the VA Agent Orange Frequently Asked Questions site: http://www1.va.gov/agentorange/docs/B1AOBRIEF72003A.doc I suggest anyone interested use a search engine of choice and type in ‘Agent Orange Registry’ to become more educated about this killer. The following is extracted from the VA site regarding testing:Veterans participating in this voluntary program, offered at all VA medical centers, are given the following baseline laboratory studies: chest x-ray (if one has not been done within the past 6 months); complete blood count; blood chemistries and enzyme studies; and urinalysis. Particular attention is paid to the detection of chloracne, porphyria cutanea tarda, type 2 diabetes, soft tissue sarcoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, respiratory cancers, multiple myeloma, prostate cancer, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and peripheral neuropathy. Evidence is also sought concerning the following potentially relevant symptoms or conditions: altered sex drive; congenital deformities (birth defects, including spina bifida) among children; repeated infections; nervous system disorders; sterility; and difficulties in carrying pregnancies to term. Important note: A registry examination does not automatically lead to a disability claim, which must be filed separately if the veteran is seeking disability compensation. Veterans seeking compensation are not required to take a registry examination, and Vietnam veterans who have a registry examination are not required to seek compensation.
I am sure Bob, like all of us that served in the 18th SOS, are very proud of our service and if we had to do it over we would do it again in-a-heartbeat. Bob was hero and a patriot and will be missed by his family and friends.
George Carter is a retired Chief Master Sergeant and was an AC-119K ‘Stinger’ Gunner, 1972-1973.
Booz, Allen, & Hamilton
CPM - Housing Privatization
Altus AFB, OK
Comm: (580) 481-6379
Pre-reunion cruise on the Gulf of Mexico. Info via "Doc" Fletcher.
AC-47 "Spooky" IO/Gunner Van Carter is excited about the first-ever Fixed-Wing Gunship Reunion this fall in conjunction with our AC-119 Gunship Reunion. Van and his Spooky buddies have contacted Carnival Cruises about a Gunship Group Package on their five-day Gulf of Mexico cruise. Following is information that Van has sent to me thus far:
Port City: Mobile, Alabama
Cruise Ship: Holiday
Departs: Saturday, September 29 at 4:00 p.m.
Two Stops: Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico
Returns: Thursday, October 4 at 8:00 a.m.
(Plenty of time to drive to Destin for Reunion Pre-Registration & "Happy Hour")
Cost: $289.00 per person (The more cabins booked by our gunship group, the less the fare)
Activities: Among many, Drinking and Gambling
Gunship Reunion Date: October 5 thru October 7 at Destin, Florida.
If you want to cruise with us, let me know ASAP. Spread the Word; Send this information to other Shadows and Stingers in your e-mail address book. The more; the merrier and cheaper. Van needs an accurate count of sailors for group rates.
Sue and I, Bernie & Judy Smith and Marty & Sandy Noonan are booking.
Larry Fletcher at: fletch12atcharter.net
A call to all former members of the "Polish Bandits" and anybody else who had the good fortune to know and fly with lead gunner Lemoyne Shrodes.
Lee was diagnosed with prostate cancer last fall. His prognosis is good but he is going through chemotherapy and the discomforts associated with that. I talked with Lee at christmas time and he would really like to hear from any of his old comrades. Lee is one of those individuals who never went computerized so has no internet or E-mail access. For any of you "Spectre" people reading this, Lee was also a spectre gunner following his tour with the "Stingers". Spent time at Ubon and Hurlburt. Drop him a line or give him a call.
Lee's address and phone number:
424 N. Zane Hwy
Martins Ferry, OH 43935
Ken Schwandt, Stinger Gunner, Aug 70 - Jul 71
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