Art Perry, FE
18th SOS, Phan Rang and Nakhon Phanom, 1970-71
I was born in 1939 at Flint, Michigan and moved to my home town of Fenton, Michigan early in life. I graduated from Mandeville High School in Flint, and the Community College of the Air Force as an Aircraft and Power Plant Mechanic in 1975.
I joined the Air Force to stay out of the General Motor automobile factories in my hometown area.
After AC-119K training at Lockbourne AFB in 1970, I was assigned to the 18th SOS at Phan Rang in May of 1970, then Nakhon Phanom until June, 1971. My job was Stan Eval (Standards and Evaluations) Flight Engineer.
My most exciting AC-119 mission was flying over the Plain of Jars (PDJ) in January, 1971, which resulted in over 200 holes in our horizontal stabilizer and booms from 37mm antiaircraft artillery fire (AAA). We also had some exciting nights flying over Cambodia in June 1970 and December 1970.
The main thing I will always remember about my time with AC-119 gunships are the people and crews I flew with, and lots of check rides as a Stan Eval Flight Engineer. Also, my time spent “on the ammo can” with fellow professionals on Lt. Col. Paluso’s crew and others (the Flight Engineer got to sit on an empty 20 mm ammo can behind the center console, right between the two pilots).
I retired at Hickam AFB, Hawaii in 1975 and now make Simpsonville, South Carolina my home.