AC-119 Gunships Mail Call

  2011 Mail bag

"Mail Call" replaced our guest book

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Previous Mail Calls: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011,

2012 Mail Call

Our friend Chuck Lunsford has left our flight pattern October 1, 2012 A heartfelt message for all my father’s friends,
It is with great sadness that I write you this message.  My father, Charles passed away last Friday night, Sep 28th, at approximately 8:15.  He was in the VA hospital since the previous Sunday, and was in some pain on Friday a few hours before his death, but at the end his passing was very peaceful and extremely quick, so we are glad that he did not suffer long.  He had pneumonia and Stage 4 cancer in his liver and spine, but it was so aggressive that the doctors also thought he probably had it elsewhere as well.
He was very and justifiably proud of his service in the United States Air Force, and I will ensure that he is buried by members of that organization up in Santa Fe National Cemetery.
We do not have a date yet for that or for the memorial at my mother's church here in Albuquerque, but I will let you know when I do.
Once again, thank you for being my father's friends.  He was my best friend and the best father a man could have.  I will miss him terribly, but remain thankful that he had people like you he could call his friends.

SGM Lawrence H. Lunsford
United States Army

Sep 23, 2012 — Sad News about our friend Chuck Lunsford. Chuck Lunsford flew C-119s, authored books & articles about them, and was a great source for our AC-119 histories as well as a great friend of the AC-119 Gunship Association. He has been diagnosed with stage 4 liver and spine cancer. In a message from Chuck’s sister Penny she told us, “He found this out the first part of September, after going into the VA Hospital in Albuquerque for horrible back pain.  As of September 21, he is in the ICU, and is expected to be with us a short period of time.  I know how he loved you guys.  I don't know if he had a chance to tell all of his friends.  
His Little Sister, Penny”

Chuck is a dear friend of the association and corresponded with many of us. Please keep Chuck, Penny, and family in your thoughts & prayers.

If you want more information, please contact Wayne Laessig at 707-592-4492.

Attention AC-119 Gunship Association members - May 23, 2012 - On the 21st Association president, Gus Sininger, had back surgery. Gus kept it pretty quiet but word is getting out and folks have expressed concern for his well being. we are happy to report Gus's surgery went well and he is now in the recovery process and will be rehabilitating for a while. Please keep Gus in your thoughts and prayers as we keep an eye on him and wish him a speedy recovery. We'll keep you advised of any changes.

Your Association Crew

For 1971-1972 Stingers - April 29, 2012 - Merle Young (Stinger Nav) is coming to our Fort Walton Beach Reunion with his two sons.  One of his sons, Darrell, contacted us with a request and we need your help.

Merle Young Stinger Nav

After Merle had a stroke, his recollection of specific guys he flew with or knew has become spotty.  We’re pretty sure Merle was a FLIR and pretty sure he was in one of the last classes that went over, since he graduated from Columbus training in December 1971.  He was likely a Major or Lt. Col over there having retired in June 1973 as a Lt Col.  
We’d like to make sure anyone coming to the Reunion who knew Merle at the very least introduces themselves to him and his sons to trigger some memories.  Merle’s sons tell us that works on other things and we want to try it here.   
So please think about...Did you fly with or know Merle Young?   If you flew with him, do you remember any of the other crewmembers or who the Aircraft Commander was?   Was Merle in your NAV class?   If so, who were some of the other NAVs in that class?  Send anything you remember to Darrell or call him at 806-236-4102, or to Wayne Laessig at or call him at 707-592-4492.

This is what we’re all about gang... keeping alive old friendships!

Last Flight for Robert "Bob" McNew who passed away suddenly on March 1st. Bob was Life Member #28 and one of the founding members of our AC-119 Gunship Association.
Bob died of Cancer and is survived by his wife Karen, son Sherman, and daughters Margaret, Heather, Phyllis, and Cheryl.  Anyone wishing to make a donation in his name can do so to Cancer Research.   Our condolences to Karen McNew and her family. More information will be made available as we receive it.

Another brother makes his last flight - April 11, 2012 - Bill Hanson has informed us we lost our gunship brother Bill Feezer to Cancer on April 9th. Bill was a Flight Engineer with the 18th SOS. Our condolences go out to Jeannette and the Feezer family. More information will be posted as we receive it.

More Sad News - March 25, 2012 - Marshall Mullins Stricken with Cancer. Marilyn Mullins informed us that her husband, Life member and Life Support Maintainer Marshall Mullins, was diagnosed on March 18th with Stage 4 prostate cancer. Marilyn stated “We’re not sure what the future will hold but for now our minds are reeling.  If we can make the reunion, we most certainly will be there as he enjoys getting together with everyone so much. But we’ll have to make that decision when the time comes.”
Marilyn has started a Blog that will provide Marshall's friends and supporters the viewpoints and milestones of how they're going about dealing with it all. Please visit 

Please keep Marshall, Marilyn and their family in your thoughts and prayers.

Sad News - March 25, 2012 - Brother Bill Feezer (18th FE and Life Member 131) has lung cancer that has spread to his brain.   Bill's wife Jeanette asked Bill Hanson to pass on this info, and that his Doc said he has anywhere from 3 to 18 months.  Please keep Bill, Jeanette, and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Fred Eggert Doing Well - Mar 10, 2012 - By the time we could get this posted Fred Eggert was in and out of the hospital. We're happy to report that, after a week in the hospital, Fred is now home and mending well. He had a severe case of pneumonia and a rapid heart beat and had to have his heart zapped. He had great doctors and lots of TLC from some very pretty nurses. Hell! that's enough to zap my heart.

Freds message to all his friends is "thank you for your prayers and a big heart felt thank you to the Lord who heard your prayers and answered them. Love to all my family and friends." P.S. "Dee was a real trooper."

We wish Fred a strong recovery and look forward to seeing him at the next reunion.

Your Association staff

New Family member - Feb 23, 2012 - Hello Everyone, We just wanted to give you guys an update, we had the newest member of the family join us on February 21, 2012.  

Name: William Ulas McFarland
Weight: 8lbs 8oz
Length: 20in
Time:1359 (1:59pm)

All 10 fingers and toes, with one extra pokie to boot.  haha.

Mom and baby are both doing good and are expected to be home Friday. Hope that everyone is doing well and hope to talk to you all soon.  
From out of the West, Low and Slow, The Reffners and McFarlands.

Prez needs patch Information - Feb 22, 2012 - Your association president needs to hear from anyone who knows the history behind the 18th SOS Squadron patch pictured here.

18th SOS logo He is trying to find out who made it up, why, and what were the specifics of the logo. Your webmaster's recollection is that it was not an official patch but one made up because they didn't like the official patch and your webmaster doesn't know what the "official" patch looked like. Anyone who can help with the history of the patch should contact Gus Sininger or the webmaster.

71st Looses a Member - Donald R. Jerrels Sr, 75, of Peru, Indiana passed away Wednesday, February 8, 2012. AC-119 Life Member #229, Don served 36 years including 71st "Shadow" Flightline Supervisor at Nha Trang Vietnam; both Bakalar and Lockbourne AFBs; and Desert Shield.

Don Jerrels photo
Don Jerrels

Jim Alvis remembers: "I worked for Don at Bakalar and Lockbourne, and enjoyed and appreciated his leadership. He and his wife Marcia attended a few Association reunions until his health deteriorated. Don will be missed by his 71st buddies."
Don was a lifetime member of the Masonic Lodge in Bastrop, Texas, and the VFW in Columbus, as well as a member of the U.S. Air Force Association, the DAV, the 71st Shadow Group, the Wabash Valley Coon Hunters, and Peru Grace Brethren.
In addition to his wife, Marcia, Don is survived by sons Donald R. Jerrels, Jr and James Jerrels; daughters Sonia Brooks and Shelia Smith; stepson David Diaz and stepdaughter Deborah Bales; and many grandchildren.
Don's funeral service was Saturday, February 11 followed by his burial in Sunset Memory Garden Cemetery with military honors. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association and online messages of condolence may be made at

2012 starts on a sad note - Fred Blum, retired Col. and AC-119 Stinger Navigator, passed away Saturday, January 14th in San Antonio, TX following an injury in October during a trip to Europe. There will be a Memorial Service at the Air Force Village Two at 1330 on January 21st, and a Military Internment at Ft Sam, 1345 on January 27th.  Mac MacIsaac and the association, will try to provide more info as it becomes available. If anyone thinks they’ll be able to attend the memorial Service or Military Internment, please contact Wayne Laessig at and we’ll make sure Mac knows.
Please keep Dodie and all their family in your prayers.

Another brother makes his final flight - In the early morning hours of January 9, 2012 Retired SMSgt Frank Zemanick, 63, answered God's call to come home. Frank retired after 25 years in the Air Force; he was Gunner on our AC-119K Stingers as well as AC-130 Spectres. The last few years he drove a school bus for St. Mary's School. He was a member of Knights Council 4444. Frank Zemanick
Frank was interred with full Military Honors January 16, with a Mass at the Knights of Columbus Hall, Fort Walton Beach, Florida; several of our AC-119 members attended.
Frank was very involved with the Knights of Columbus. If you would like to make a donation in Frank's name, donations may be made to the Knights of Columbus, 205 Carol Ave, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32540 (Phone # 850-243-4444).
He is survived by his beloved wife, Sandi, Son, John (Lindie), 4 granddaughters, brothers, Pete, John (Eileen), Tom (Betty), Ed (Mary), step daughters, JoAnn & Judy Hutchison, Shan Shepherd, Phyllis Spence Milonas, stepson, Richard Spence and several nieces and nephews. Please remember Frank, his wife Sandi, and their family in your prayers.

Update on Member Frank Bartlett - We received a brief update that Frank is stable and doing better. He has a severe head laceration and is black and blue. Having an aneurysm means more tests need to be done. Keep Frank and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Thank You. I just saw my grandfather Mahlon D. Henness listed on your Last Flight page and I want to say thank you. It really means a lot to me. He was always my hero and inspiration.
David Bukowski
Service Writer
AAA Arizona

Member Frank Bartlett needs your prayers and thoughts - Karen Graves informs us, via Shirley Bartlett, that Frank had a bad fall 6 days ago and has a large laceration on his head. Frank is black & blue but he had no brain trauma. In doing a CT scan of his head they diagnosed a large aneurysm of the brain. So that is the main concern at this time. More tests will be done on Monday. Please keep Frank and Shirley in your prayers and thoughts and we will pass on information as we receive it.

Need Help moving C-119 to museum in Cresson, Tx - Jan 4, 2012 - There is a group in Texas, who are attempting to move a C-119 from just southwest of Fort Worth, at the Pate Museum of Transportation to another museum. They are looking for guidance, and a few strong backs with this upcoming move.
The C-119 that is the last remaining piece of the Pate Museum and needs to be moved 16 miles from where it currently sits, to the "new" Granbury Veterans Museum where it is slated for renovation. The problem lies in the fact that the project had reached a stand still. The guys that have been working on it are a very small group of veterans that are up in years. It is going from a non-profit museum to a non-profit museum, so I'm sure you can see the funding/manpower problem inherent in that. I personally have a history with the Pate, and while I am in the military and have a varied range of mechanical and electrical experience, I am not well versed in aviation. I was asked to help because the powers that be know I will do everything I can. If you live in the DFW area, or are close enough to want to make the drive, I am going to start organizing weekend work trips starting sometime in mid-January. I know as far as Texas goes, these are our coldest months, but this project can't be abandoned now, cause I have a feeling thats where it will end.
Texas Department of transportation has offered us a permit to tow it down the highway to where its going on its own wheels without a trailer.... however.... all 6 tires are not only flat, but cracked and in some places shredded. I got hold of some guys in Alaska who still fly one of these babies, and they graciously offered to lend us wheels and tires, but we have to cover the shipping there and back. I should have mentioned this next very important fact earlier... I am not asking for nor will I accept your money. The Granbury Veterans Museum has a spot on their site for donations if thats what you want to do, and it will be appreciated. What I'm looking for is a like-minded group of people willing to volunteer their time and/or resources (i.e. tools, equipment, etc.) to help tackle this project. I know times are tough for everyone, and I'm not expecting a giant group of people to come rolling in and save the day. More so than anything else, I grew up loving this museum, and this plane, and I now have the chance to work with and touch the very thing I idolized as a child, and I'm hoping some of you will be as excited as I am to have the chance to hands-on work on this piece of history too.
Feel free to drop me a line as a message or reply to this post. Step one will probably just be getting everyone involved out there one weekend in January to spit ball ideas about how we can make this work. If interested Please visit:

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