Excerpts from the May 1, 1969 issue of Phan Fare,
The Happy Valley Weekly

Phan Rang Rated Best

Phan Rang AB is rated the best Air Force base in Vietnam for the January-through March quarter, according to a letter from Gen. George S. Brown, Seventh Air Force Commander, to Col. Frank L. Gailer Jr., commander, 35th TFW. In his letter commending Phan Rang's selection, General Brown said,"This selection is indicative of the completeness of facilities, high standard of maintenance and attention to base appearance and cleanliness." The letter continued, "Noteworthy items were your new theater, improved defense facilities, troop housing area, and overall base appearance."

Col. Robert C. Goold Base Commander, praised the personnel on Phan Rang. "Our winning the 'Best Base in the Seventh Air Force' award is directly attributable to the close cooperation and hard work contributed by all base organizations," his letter read. "Of special note were the outstanding accomplishments of the 554th Civil Engineering Squadron (RED HORSE).

A team of officers from Hq. 7th AF visit all bases every three months. They tour the installations to inspect new construction, judge improvements, and determine the cleanliness and condition of all facilities. Each base is scored, with the highest score earning the quarterly award. Phan Rang also earned the award for the second quarter of 1968 and tied Tuy Hoa for the third quarter.

Targeting Positive With Shadow's Modern Gear

"OK pilot, I'm tracking the target now." "Roger NOS, I have your light," replies the pilot. "I'm starting orbit now. Arm the guns!" The co-pilot flips the arming switch to "ON" as the big 'Flying Boxcar' rolls left. On the pilot's gunsight combining glass, a dotted line reticle controlled by the fire control computer moves up to converge with the fixed reticle in the center of the glass.

One more cross check back to the instrument panel reveals that the aircraft is on the firing circle and at the correct angle for accurate fire. As the pilot thumbs the trigger, the tropic darkness is blasted apart by the roar of mini-guns and the hot lava-like stream of lead pouring into the Viet Cong positions below.

"Shadow" is the third generation gunship to see action in Southeast Asia. One of her principal advantages over the first generation gunship is this ability to locate and fire upon targets under cover of complete darkness. This feat is made possible through use of the intircate fire control system installed in the AC-119G.

The system is comprised of an analog computer, night observation sight (NOS), safety CRT-type display panel, optical gunsight, sight amplifier, sight control panel, and boresight box. Other interface units plus a variety of switches, circuit breakers, conduits, etc., make up the integrated package. Target identification begins with the four-power telescope-like NOS which has been designed for night viewing in low intensity light. When aimed at a prospective target, the NOS transmits data on angular line of sight between the target and the aircraft lateral axis.

This information combiles with aircraft magnetic heading and attack altitude to compute the aircraft-target relationship and thereby position a moving reticle - representing the target - for the pilot's viewing. Three modes of firing are avaliable for selection at the pilot's discretion. Of these, two utilize full system operation while the third, manual, involves only the pilot's gunsight. "Being able to fly 'black-out'," relates one Shadow crew member, "has allowed us to catch a number of VC/NVA trucks flat-footed. With their engines running, they can't hear us; and without using lights or illumination, they don't know we're around until that mini-gun firepower comes ripping from the sky."

 Gunship Hits Enemy Convoy

An AC-119 gunship of 'B' Flight, 71st SOS recently thwarted an attempted enemy attack against a small outpost and then went on to attack a supply caravan. Called to an area about 60 miles southwest of Ban He Thoat near the Cambodian border, Shadow brought her guns to bear against a Viet Cong position after receiving a description of the area from the ground forces.

The VC were so near the outpost that the ground forces had to whisper into their radio to tell Shadow where they wanted the fire. When Shadow fired into the position, the ground forces reported the VC were withdrawing and that Shadow probably stopped an attack against the friendly position.

Moving off the original position, the Shadow pilot Capt. Wm. Casey saw moving lights along a narrow road leading from Cambodia to Vietnam. "By using binoculars and the Night Observation Sight (NOS)," stated Captain Casey, "the other crew members could positively see pairs of moving lights headed deeper into Vietnam." "Our first burst at the vehicles brought an explosion and fireball of considerable size that apparently blocked the road." Casey continued, "We continued to fire at the rest of the vehicles trying to move past the burning road block until we ran out of ammunition."

In all, twelve secondary explosions were counted by the Shadow crew and the ground forces in the area. Shadow also started three sustained fires as a result of her deadly accurate mini-gun barrage. Additional battle damage will be forwarded to Shadow's home after the ground forces conduct a sweep of the area.