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71st Special Operations Squadron

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Click on photographs for full size viewing and scroll on the larger photos


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71st in training at Lockbourne Air Force Base in photo above during 1968. AC119G on the ramp at Lockbourne. Robert Finkle and Terry Tompson and a 71st SOS AC119G at Lockbourne.


Sergeant Betty Caldwell trains on the grenade launcher at Lockbourne AFB Ohio with the 71st. Lt. Colonel Earl Scott's ferry crew. SSGT Archie Garrett, Crew Chief; MSgt Dale Stickles, Flight Engineer; Lt. Colonel Earl Scott, Pilot; Major Bob Beaty, Navigator and Lt. Colonel Warren Johnson, Pilot.

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The cockpit of an AC119G, overhead panel and minigun. Photos taken at Lockbourne Air Force Base 1969.

Tan Son Nhut Air Base Vietnam

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Main Gate to Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Officers barracks and Operations Building.


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Tan Son Nhut views from a 71st AC-119 Gunship and 71st Gunship nose art

Captain Marvin A. Evans (71st Gunship Pilot) recalls one mission that stands out as his most exciting and memorable. "We were directed to a target area where a forward air controller (FAC) spotted an enemy truck convoy carrying supplies. We circled over them, and really poured it on with our miniguns. They fired back, but did not hit us. For an hour and a half we kept it up and those trucks went up in smoke, one after another. All I could think of was a row of dominoes knock one over and the rest go with it. The whole crew sure felt good after that flight, since those enemy supplies wouldn't be used against our troops."

More 71st SOS crewmembers

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From left to right MSGT Jackie McGinnis, SSGT Robert Eckstein, MSGT Clarence McDaniel and Captain Fred Harwood 

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From left to right Lt. Col. Boris Chaleff, Major Joe Dague and Major Herman A. Heuss.

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A C-123 on the ramp at Nha Trang Air Base, Vietnam. Major Joseph W. Dague and his corn crop outside Squadron Operations Building at Nha Trang. Major Dague had been in the farming business since 1946 and was a charter member of the National Flying Farmers Association. He had a Cessna 140 and when the unit was activated and sent to Lockbourne Air Force Base, Ohio, he would fly his Cessna home every Friday and back on Sunday. Major Mauri Ray (seated) and lt. Col. William Horrell in Squadron Operations and the Operations Building opposite Nha Trang Control Tower. Looks like a foggy day in Vietnam.

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Vietnamese maids at the officer's "Hooches" quarters.14th FMS Minigun Newsletter cover January 1969, Nah Trang Air Base, RVN.

From the 14th FMS Newsletter: "Howdy troops, 1968 has ended with a bang and now we find ourselves in the middle of the first month of 1969. Most of us rotate this year so it should be a good one. I'm ready, are you?

Welcome 71st SOS is the going byword around here. They've bounced-in on us with a great deal of exuberance and ready to get on with their mission. They are a proud group of personnel and, from what I can see, they very well deserve to be proud. The aircrews, as well as the ground support personnel, are out to get the job done. No stragglers in that outfit. We have been able to work together with them in servicing their aircraft and look forward to continued cooperation between our two units. Let's show them we can keep their guns in  A-1 condition. "The Shadow" is here to stay.

As our cover indicates, we have arrived at another milestone in the evolution of Air Force weaponry. The 71st SOS , have been arriving at regular intervals. The innovation and modifications employed in this old bird are amazing and serve to make it a truly formidable weapon system. Shadow sports four miniguns and a host of other gear that should make things really miserable for Charlie. We welcome the 71st SOS and wish them every success.

A special thanks to Herman A. "Al" Heuss, Col. USAFR (Ret.) for the background information and crew identification on many of these 71SOS photographs.

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January 16, 2012