Spooky -- the first operational Air Force gunship -- was based on the World War II-era Douglas C-47 cargo aircraft. Armed with three side-firing 7.62mm miniguns, Spooky gunships dropped flares and stopped enemy ground attacks against airfields, bases and villages. They also provided road convoy escort and close air support for troops in contact with the enemy.
The first AC-47 combat missions took place in December 1964. Within a year, they were in action throughout South Vietnam providing local defense at night. On thousands of occasions, Spooky crews prevented friendly ground positions from being overrun.
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