AC-47 "Spooky"







(Spooky (SN 43-16368) tail number 368. According to his log, my father flew this aircraft several times)

This page is very much a work in progress. Any comments, corrections, additions, etc. are encouraged. E-mail me It has been wonderful hearing from all the Spooky air and ground crewmembers over the short time I have had this site up. Please, if there is anything you would like to add, correct, etc., please let me know. I have many hours into this project, but I am nowhere near done. Please keep the info and contributions coming.

My late father flew this historic aircraft in well over 200 combat missions during the Vietnam war. Though he didn't talk a whole lot about the war, it was still pretty clear he was very proud of his time as a Spooky pilot. I believe this is because he was flying at a fairly low altitude and was shooting directly at "bad guys" to protect troops on the ground- usually Special Forces camps under attack at night. He said that quite often "Snake Eaters" (Green Berets) would come by the base looking for "Spooky 21" or whoever it was that protected them during the night. Of course, he felt the guys on the ground were the real heroes. For sure there was plenty of bravery to go around.

My father also flew B-52's later on in the war. As there were many more B-52s out there than AC-47's and there is much more on the web about "BUFFs," for now I'll focus on Spooky. My grandfather flew B-29s over Japan in WWII and was awarded the Silver Star. Both flew their big Boeing bombers from Andersen AFB in Guam.

Pilot's Log (Updated 8-09)- I have transcribed much of the information from his log. I know there are a few sites out there with information on tail numbers of the C-47's converted to AC-47's. I hope I can add to that knowledge base as well as others. It was pretty tedious typing all this in and trying to read his handwriting. Of note: according to his log, he flew 223 combat missions in AC-47's and personally fired 1,036,600 rounds of 7.62 ammunition.

Training Manuals- I have located the training manual for the AC-47. Sandwiching a standard C-47 flight manual are sections on the program, missions, flares, etc. The last section is titled "AC-47 Side Firing Gunnery." I'm not going to scan the C-47 manual, but do plan on scanning and posting the AC stuff. It's going to take several hours to scan and organize everything, but I'll get it up as soon as I can. (9-10-07 The first section is now up. Fascinating stuff. Check out the "Unconventional Warfare" section to learn about dropping grenades out the door or fring a Thompson out the co-pilot's window.)

Aircraft Exteriors- (Updated 3-2013)

Aircraft Interiors-

Night Photos- Mostly shots of Spooky firing guns or flares.

People- I think most are people at Pleiku when my father was there

More People- Second page of Pleiku folks. Some visitor submissions (Updated 3-2013)

Pleiku AB- Most should be Pleiku. If I'm wrong about any locations, please correct me.

4th SOS "B" Flight History- March 1969

Other- Some cool stuff in here that just doesn't fit in the other categories. (Updated 3-2013)

Help Identify These Photos- People, Places and Things I could use your help identifying

Squadron 14- Recently, I went to Kansas and got to check out a very special aircraft.

Aussie "Spooky"- Some Aussies have restored a 1944 C47B and painted it like a Spooky

"Nguyen Charlie" cartoon from Stars and Stripes

A "Spooky" at Hurlburt Field, Florida. Taken October 2009 during the Air Commando Association Reunion.



All photos Copyright 2009 Chris Smithson


This site is the personal property of Chris Smithson. It is hosted locally by ConnectNC and is not part of, affiliated with, or even close to being an official site of the Town of Southern Pines.


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