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Old 06-29-2020, 08:04 AM
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Unhappy The Air Force's last AC-130U gunship, named 'Big Daddy,' made history before a flight

The Air Force's last AC-130U gunship, named 'Big Daddy,' made history before a flight this month
By: Airman 1st Class Hailey Ziegler - US Air Force & Business Insider News - 06-29-20
Re: https://www.businessinsider.com/air-...pancies-2020-6

Photo link: https://i.insider.com/5ef9ecfb4dca68...jpeg&auto=webp
The last AC-130U Spooky gunship to retire, aircraft 0128, also known as "Big Daddy," on the flightline at Hurlburt Field, Florida, June 26, 2020. US Air Force/Airman 1st Class Hailey M. Ziegler

* An AC-130U Spooky gunship named "Big Daddy" made history by being the first Spooky to ever receive a black letter initial on its status page before a flight.

* A black letter means the aircraft has no maintenance discrepancies and is a rare feat for any Air Force plane.

* The Air Force is phasing out the AC-130U. Big Daddy will be the last to retire and will be placed in the Hurlburt Field Air Park.

HURLBURT FIELD, Florida An AC-130U Spooky gunship named "Big Daddy" made history by being the first Spooky to ever receive a black letter initial on its status page before a flight, June 18, 2020.

This was a momentous accomplishment for Air Commandos in the 4th Special Operations Squadron and the 4th AMU.

2nd photo: https://i.insider.com/5ef9ecea3f7370...jpeg&auto=webp
Air Commandos prepare for the final flight of AC-130U Spooky gunship 0510 at Hurlburt Field, Florida, June 26, 2020. US Air Force/Airman 1st Class Hailey M. Ziegler

"A black letter is significant because it means there are absolutely no discrepancies whatsoever on the plane," said US Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mark Lennon, a section chief with the 4th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. "A black letter is when there's no discrepancies on the status page. The crew chief's last name and first initial goes in that place. It shows that aircraft has really been maintained with excellence."

This standard of excellence is only achieved through teamwork.

"It's a huge teamwork effort and accomplishment for everyone," said Lennon. "It takes a lot of hard work and pride to make this happen."

3rd photo link: https://i.insider.com/5ef9ecea4dca68...jpeg&auto=webp
A crew chief marshals AC-130U Spooky gunship 0510 out to its last flight at Hurlburt Field, Florida, June 26, 2020. US Air Force/Airman 1st Class Hailey M. Ziegler

The last Spooky, named "Gunslinger," retired to the boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, June 26, 2020. However, Big Daddy will be the last to retire and will be placed in the Hurlburt Field Air Park.

Any time an aircraft flies, it could come back with any number of discrepancies or those discrepancies which can be found when maintainers do their inspections.

"Aircraft across the Air Force usually fly with discrepancies, so it's really rare to see a black letter initial," said Lennon. "In my 11 years in service, I've only seen it one other time."

4th photo link: https://i.insider.com/5ef9ece82618b9...jpeg&auto=webp
Air Force AC-130U Spooky gunship
Air Commandos prepare for the final flight of AC-130U Spooky gunship 0510 at Hurlburt Field, Florida, June 26, 2020. US Air Force/Airman 1st Class Hailey M. Ziegler

The Spookys have been operational since 1995, providing combat overwatch for 18 of those years. The heavily armed aircraft incorporates side-firing weapons integrated with sophisticated sensor, navigation, and fire-control systems to provide surgical firepower or area saturation during extended loiter periods, at night and in adverse weather.

The mission down range has been taken over by the AC-130J Ghostrider gunships since July 2019. The same aircraft the 4th SOS and AMU will now be working with.

"After 25 years of service, we're closing one chapter and starting another with the AC-130Js," said US Air Force Capt. Hannah Boeman, officer in charge with the 4th AMU. "Talking to a lot of the maintainers at the 4th AMU, it's kind of a bittersweet moment for them. Since most of them have spent a majority of their career working with these aircraft, I know it's sad to see them go."

7-Facts about the AF130u spooky gunships:

1. 1. Each one costs about $210 million

2. It takes a crew of 13 to operate

3. It can attack two targets simultaneously

4. It was originally nicknamed "Puff the Magic Dragon"

5. It contains over 609,000 lines of software

6. Only 47 AC-130s have ever been built ...

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Personal note: During VN were we always called her - Puff the Magic Dragon.
On hell of a deadly piece of flying hardware!

Boats
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Boats

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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