Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fairchild AC-119


The Fairchild AC-119G Shadow and AC-119K Stinger were twin-engine piston-powered gunships developed by the United States during the Vietnam War. They replaced the inadequate AC-47 Spooky and operated alongside the early versions of the AC-130 Spectre gunship.

By November 1968, the aircraft had deployed to Vietnam and joined the 14th Special Operations Wing at Nha Trang. The AC-119Gs were placed in the 71st Special Operations Squadron which was formed from the activated 71st Troop Carrier Squadron, of the Air Force Reserves located in Columbus, Indiana. When the 71st SOS reserves returned to the states, in 1969, the gunships were taken over by the newly formed 17th SOS.
The AC-119Ks were placed in the 18th Special Operations Squadron. With the addition of the two types, the 14th SOW for a time in 1968 was flying eight different aircraft from ten different bases in South Vietnam. The 14th SOW was deactivated in 1971. Limited numbers continued to be operated out of Hurlburt Field, Florida as late as the fall of 1972, but the AC-119 was shortly after, phased out of the US Air Force. The AC-119G and -K continued to serve in extremely small numbers with the Republic of Vietnam Air Force (VNAF) until the de facto reunification of the country in 1975. During the Vietnam War, only five AC-119 Gunship IIIs were lost to all causes. 

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