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USAF Gunships in Southeast Asia

Time lapse photograph of an AC-47 helping defend Tan Son Nhut Air Base during the enemy Tet Offensive in 1968. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Time lapse photograph of an AC-47 helping defend Tan Son Nhut Air Base during the enemy Tet Offensive in 1968. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The minigun installation in an AC-47. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The minigun installation in an AC-47. (U.S. Air Force photo)

An AC-47 at Nha Trang Air Base displays the three Gatling type machine guns that make up its armament. The AC-47s were the first gunships and were called a variety of nicknames -- Puff, Spooky and Dragon ship were among the most popular. (U.S. Air Force photo)

An AC-47 at Nha Trang Air Base displays the three Gatling type machine guns that make up its armament. The AC-47s were the first gunships and were called a variety of nicknames -- Puff, Spooky and Dragon ship were among the most popular. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- AC-130A Prototype Fire Control Computer on display in the Southeast Asia War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- AC-130A Prototype Fire Control Computer on display in the Southeast Asia War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- AC-130A Prototype Fire Control Computer on display in the Southeast Asia War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- AC-130A Prototype Fire Control Computer on display in the Southeast Asia War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Spooky, Spectre, Shadow and Stinger

Developed by the USAF, the side-firing gunship first saw combat during the Southeast Asia War. Able to remain airborne for hours, gunships provided devastating, accurate gunfire against many different types of ground targets. Always in high demand, these gunships became an indispensable weapon greatly feared by the enemy.

Click on the links below to learn more about gunships in Southeast Asia.

Gunship I: Spooky
Airman 1st Class John L. Levitow
Gunship II: Spectre
Gunship III: Shadows and Stingers
Turning Night into Day: Candlesticks, Lamplighters and Blind Bats

Click here to return to the South Vietnam: Build-Up and Engagement Overview.

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