In August 1967, Capt James Krause (Deceased), Capt James Wolverton (Deceased), Wing Commander Thomas Pinkerton, RAF (Deceased) and yours truly gathered around a drafting table along with design draftsmen and engineers of the Flight Test Modification Shops of the Aeronautical Systems Division, at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, in Dayton, OH. Jim Wolverton and I had just recently returned from Los Angeles, where we were assisting in a special study on Counter-insurgency conducted by the late Maj Gen Gordon P. Seville. The study was chartered by Gen Bernard Shriver, Commanding General of the Air Force Systems Command. Jim Krause (the father of Forward Looking Infrared [FLIR] in the Air Force) had just completed test of our earliest FLIR Sensor and Tom Pinkerton had built our first analog fire control computer. We laid out the design and integration plan of what was to be designated the Gunship II Modification Program. The modification was accomplished on one of the original three C-130 prototypes made available to us. The installation included 4-20mm Gatling guns, 4-7.62mm Gatling guns, FLIR, NOD (Night Observation Device), Beacon Tracking Radar, and the analog computer tying it all together. By this time, the AC-47 which we began deploying three years earlier in Vietnam had achieved an amazing combat record and was in high demand for close support and armed reconnaissance. Our hope was to take this capability to an even higher level of effectiveness and safety for the crews. This hope, which has been fulfilled a thousand times over, is now a matter of record.
The articles in this historic Air Commando Journal, on occasion of the retirement of the last of the AC-130H aircraft, describe some of this outstanding record. I am honored to have the opportunity to both congratulate and thank all those who have flown, maintained and provided the logistical support for the: AC-130A, AC-119G, AC-119K and the AC-130 E, H, and U model gunships, over these past six decades. Winston Churchill said of the RAF, “Never have so many owed so much to so few.” I think the same could well be said of those who flew and supported the AC-47, AC-119 and the AC-130 Gunships. Thank you, and thank you, and thank you ..... JOB WELL DONE!!!
-- Ronald William Terry
Col USAF (Ret)