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Douglas AC-47 "Spooky" (aka "Puff the Magic Dragon")


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Salty Dog

This airplane was nicknamed Puff the Magic Dragon thanks to its ferocious three side-mounted 7.62 mm General Electric miniguns.

The Vietnam War was still in its early years. The war of attrition had escalated on both sides. The North Vietnamese Army were emboldened by victories earlier that year and were working with guerrilla fighters of the dreaded Vietcong to move south and infiltrate U.S. and South Vietnamese strongholds.

It was the night of December 23rd, and U.S.-allied forces in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, or the ARVN, were stationed at the Trahn Yend outpost on the Mekong River delta. The troops sensed a stealth attack from the Vietcong was imminent but were powerless to stop it. The local guerrilla army was closing in. ARVN officials had radioed a nearby U.S. Air Force base requesting aerial assistance. The situation was beyond tense.

The guerrillas were accustomed to this procedure and knew they had to simply retreat back into the jungles and fields and hide, and wait for the planes to exhaust their munitions. Eventually, the U.S. planes would assume the enemy had either been wiped out or withdrawn and would themselves retreat from the area. The guerillas would then re-emerge from the shadows and re-engage their attack.

For the Vietcong, though, that night was different. Huge streaks of bright red unleashed from the sky like glowing, thrashing tongues. They rained down in heavy, electric blankets in all directions. A new and powerful weapon had introduced itself that night: The Douglas AC-47. The glowing red of its ammunition gave the craft a nickname that quickly spread among the ARVN: “The Dragonship.”

- As images and footage of actual events are not always available, Dark Docs sometimes utilizes similar historical images and footage for dramatic effect. All content on Dark Docs is researched, produced, and presented in historical context for educational purposes. -

 

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Salty Dog

During the Vietnam War, brute force was the answer.. Fire enough rounds and hope to hit something...

It amazing how much has changed and how computers have changed the way they target and deliver aerial armament today...

 

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I forget the John Wayne movie where Puff was introduced...but it sure made a big impact  on a me a lil kid.   Never could forget that scene.     

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1 hour ago, samatm said:

I forget the John Wayne movie where Puff was introduced

The Green Berets...a classic!

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Soupeod
55 minutes ago, mikecon3 said:

The Green Berets...a classic!

Love that Movie!  My Father flew a few missions on those AC-47s. He had some stories!

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On 12/3/2020 at 2:55 AM, Soupeod said:

Love that Movie!  My Father flew a few missions on those AC-47s. He had some stories!

My dad flew AC-119s over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos and over South Vietnam during the 'Eater Offensive" which occurred in 1972. He finished up as the squadron commander of the 18th SOS, but he still flew combat missions almost every night. He didn't talk about his experiences much unless you asked pointed questions. Then again, I understand fully why that was. Even if what you do isn't classified (which most of that was until 1985), it is often painful to talk about. I didn't find out about my father's heroism until I accidentally found his award citations for medals that hadn't ever been awarded (because he retired and they were slow). I was a major at the time that I found the citations and certificates, and I arranged to formally present my father's medals to him with the entire family gathered in my living room on Christmas day of 1992. Seldom in my life did I know with certainty that I had given my father a Christmas present that he really appreciated, but the tears of joy in his eyes and pride on his face told me that I had done well that time. If you go to Hurlburt Field in Florida (headquarters of the 1st Special Operations Wing), you will see all of the gunships, both past and present, on static display.

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smokey

I got to fly Tec for 3 weeks with a mini gun in the 1st air cav 229th way to much fun of course cleaning up sucked

 

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Soupeod
16 hours ago, smokey said:

I got to fly Tec for 3 weeks with a mini gun in the 1st air cav 229th way to much fun of course cleaning up sucked

 

@smokey

 

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On 12/3/2020 at 2:57 PM, mikecon3 said:

The Green Berets...a classic!

OF course!   thanks    i remember staying up late past bed time  and watching it with my big brother!    

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smokey

Come on them were great days not often a 18 year old can have all the grenades he can carry i extended a few times lets not forget sneaking in to saigon to see the love of my life anna lee number 31 

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