Marjorie T Hansen: What happened to these planes? Did they go back to Vietnam to the South Vietnam Air Force? Fletcher has written that no gunships came back to the States after the war ended in 1973.
Everett Sprous: The last planes went over in late 72. They trained crews at Hurlburt until ’72, then sent any planes left to Thailand and Vietnam.
Wayne Laessig: The only remaining AC-119 is at Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) International AP. We have a team involved with the Vietnamese. They may end up in their American War Museum.
Don Clifford: There was a program called Palace Dog, I was on it TDY for 6 months, we weren’t told anything. We brought stripped AC-119s and AC-47s/C-47s from Vietnam to Clark just before the POWs were released. All aircraft were repaired to excellent condition, any part needed was available, we couldn’t believe the priority we had. The crew chiefs started every aircraft and taxied them every day. Everyone was proud of the way they had taken these terribly beat up aircraft and put them in top shape. Then one day the Operations Officer called a meeting of everyone. No explanation given, he issued axes and other demolition tools to everyone along with instructions on how to chop off the wings etc. The aircraft were ALL destroyed chopped up and put on the flatbeds of a Philippine salvage company. I felt like I had been raped. The worst moral I have ever witnessed followed. The one nugget of sunshine was that I was there to meet the POWs on their release
Everett Sprous: Thank you Don Clifford. I am glad I did not have to witness that.
Jim Mattison: any idea how many AC-119s were involved. We’re always interested in accounting for the AC-119’s demise
Leroy Wolf: That is the 2nd time I heard that story, one of the guys I work with @Travis was station also @ Clark
Don Clifford: Hi Jim Mattison, there were about 25 or so aircraft, there were 5 or 6, AC-119s the rest were AC-47/C-47, to the best of my memory, It has been a long time. This was in early 1973, 42 years ago in Feb.
Everett Sprous: Thank you Don, it sure helps knowing what happened to some.
Don Clifford: By the way, this is the first time in 42 years that I have mentioned Palace Dog.
Everett Sprous: It means a lot to us AC-119 troops to know what happened to our planes.
Don Clifford: I served 3 each 179 day tours before this one, so I knew a little about the situation. The enemy feared the gunships and I often thought the aircraft were a bargaining chip to help with the release of the POWs. If that were the case it was a good move, but who knows?