AC 119 Air and Ground Crew – Our Stories
What are our Bios, Videos, and Stories about?
Simply put, these are what we talk about when we get together, and what we tell others about ourselves, our AC-119 crews and missions, and even what we did in our time off – they are our memories. And they are as important in their own way as many of the historical “documents” we have! Read, watch, listen, and maybe learn what it was like, and why we are “Brothers Always”.
- Bios: in 2009 we completed the AC-119 History Book with about 240 biographies written by the crew members and support team members of the 71st, 17th and 18th Special Operations Squadrons. They tell of our experiences flying and supporting the AC-119G “Shadow” and the AC-119K “Stinger” gunships in Vietnam between 1968 and 1973. The History Book includes vignettes of our experiences in AC-119s, as well as some stand-alone stories and AC-119/Squadron historical information.
Not everyone did a Bio for that original History Book, so we slowly started collecting additional new Bios, year-by-year, until we had enough to publish a follow-on book. But, we learned the expense would be huge, so we came up with a new, better idea: a Kindle-Book we call AC-119 Gunships Biographies (Volume 1) which includes both the original History Book Bios and all the new ones!! It does not include the History Book’s AC-119 and Squadron Historical info that is in the original. AC-119 Gunships Biographies (Volume 1) is interesting and exciting reading – it is hard to put down. The accounts and experiences of our gunship crew members and maintainers during their time in the Vietnam War are unique to that time, and to each of us. Some of the Bios were written by friends or families of those Killed In Action as well as some by those who are no longer alive. You can also order a AC-119 Gunships Biographies (Volume 1) here.
Videos: in 2005, at our Dayton Reunion, we did videos of individuals, plus some as group videos. Since then, we’ve done additional videos at every Reunion, including several by family members. These videos capture a unique perspective of our time in AC-119s because viewers can see the emotions in our faces and voices. There’s no doubt about what the speaker “meant.”
There are also several “historical” videos at the end of the alphabetical listing – they’re great! You can also order a video DVD by calling or emailing Ev Sprous at 520-528-9444 or [email protected].
- Stories: sometimes telling our stories takes more than a page or two, or it just doesn’t fit in as a “Bio”; but they do help others understand our experiences and lives in AC-119s, and the impact of that. These are great reading and include things some of us didn’t talk about very much, or even know about! We also combined these into a Book titled AC-119 Gunships Stories you can order here.
In addition to bios, videos, and stories you can find even more of our history below.
- Presentation – Oct. 2012 AC-119 Gunship Presentation at Pacific Coast Air Museum by Wayne Laessig – Straight Scoop Newsletter
- Poem – AC-119 Gunships by Jeff “Donkey” Winter
- Poem – My Crew by J.D. Smith
- Poem – Ode to the Left Hand Bank Club by Francisco Rivera-Rodrigues and Friends
- Poem – The Reunion by Rachel Firth for the 306th BW
- Presentation – AC-119 Gunship at the Pacific Coast Air Museum 2012 , Including Rucker
- Presentation – AC-119 Gunship to SF Air Sheriff by Wayne Laessig
- Report – War Against Trucks Aerial Interdiction in Southern Laos by Bernie Nalty
- Story – Bill Petrie Honored with Statue at Lackland
- Stories – Don Browning Flak Hit Mission and Awards – Newspaper Articles
- Story – Firing Circle, and Letter with Picture for Heritage Room Picture by Mike Drzyzga
- Story – Flying with the 71st Troop Carrier Squadron, 434th Troop Carrier Group by Marv Litke
- Story – Marcus Rhinelander on the Ho Chi Minh Trail
- Story – My AC-119K Stinger Gunship Story by Dick Iversen
- Story – The Shadow in Southeast Aisia, Dedicated to Tom Lubbers by Earl Farney
- Story – The Gunship Chronicles (Stinger 41) by Larry Barbee