Vietnam War, specially equipped AC-47 "Spooky" were
used as gunships. They flew their last mission in December
1969. The ready availability of C-119s in Air Force
Reserve units finally decided the issue in favor of the Boxcars,
at least as an interim measure until sufficient AC-I30s could be
brought on line. The next step proved far more controversial.
The Flying Boxcars were armed with four
7.62mm SUU-IIA/IA minigun pods, one more minigun than the three
carried aboard the AC-47s, and with the increased ammo supply
afforded by the larger payload capacity, the AC-119G was about
25% more effective than the AC-47.
Te first four C-119Gs of the 71st
Special Operations Squadron finally arrived in Vietnam in
December 1968 to begin a three-month combat evaluation. The
AC-119s needed a catchy call sign since the AC-47 crews had
Spooky. An ill-considered attempt by Seventh Air Force to assign
the radio call sign "Creep" to the 71st did at least
give the squadron an early opportunity to demonstrate its
fighting mettle to the headquarters staff. Following a
"howl of indignation" from the squadron, Seventh Air
Force agreed to change the call sign to the one that the 71st
requested "Shadow." The name stuck and the aircraft
were known as AC-119G Shadows.