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Preface In the summer of 1999, as our office progressed with the reorganization of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center (WR-ALC)/Robins Air Force Base (RAFB) Archives, I came across numerous documents and several unpublished studies focused on the U.S. involvement in the Second Indochina War. Of course, the emphasis was on how the center supported the airmen in Southeast Asia. These were not tightly organized studies, rather initial reports, most of which were completed by Richard Maltais, then a historian in the center’s History Office, which, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, was a part of the Office of Information. Today, for good and obvious reasons, that organization has been divided into the History Office and the Office of Public Affairs. As I skimmed over the pages of one volume on the AC-119 Gunship Modification Program, I was struck by just how important the center, then designated the Warner Robins Air Materiel Area (WRAMA), had been to the overall support of USAF operations in that war. Maltais, the historian at that time, had collected volumes of raw data and even written a rambling narrative that, for various reasons, provided little historic perspective or analysis. Worst of all, for those who study the Second Indochina War, much of the work was classified and has only recently become available to the public. Still, as I read on, it seemed to me it was a story that needed to be told again, this time with the perspective of thirty years and with a clear analysis of the events that affected the program. It became my intention to rework these long-lost reports and primary materials into a proper history. To accomplish this, I have examined the volumes of documents and studies from the early 1970s on file at the WR-ALC Archives. I have also incorporated primary materials collected over the years from holdings at the Air Force Historic Research Agency (AFHRA) at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, and the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) Archives at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. I have used some of these in previous projects and incorporated them into the WR-ALC Archives. Of course, any work on fixed-wing gunships will rely heavily on Jack S. Ballard’s outstanding 1983 official history, The United States  preface Air Force in Southeast Asia: Development and Employment of Fixed-Wing Gunships, 1962–1972, and Maj. Richard F. Kott’s important, although lesser known, CHECO study, The Role of United States Air Force Gunships in Southeast Asia. Both works, especially Ballard’s, provide a big-picture perspective of the subject. By blending these works and as many primary sources as possible, I hope I have unveiled the important role played by WRAMA in the design, production, and deployment of this important USAF weapon system. In addition, I have also extended the story beyond production and deployment to combat maneuvers in critical operations such as Commando Hunt. While the focus of the study is the modification of fifty-two C-119 Boxcars into AC-119 gunships designed to kill enemy ground forces and to destroy Communist trucks rolling down infiltration routes to resupply their comrades in South Vietnam, the book also examines the military needs and political nuances involved in the decision to build these gunships. It is my desire to tell the entire story of the AC-119 in the context of the overall conflict in Southeast Asia and to remind everyone of the significance of air logistics centers in national defense, both then and now. There are many people I must thank for supporting me in this project . First, the quiet man with the great mind, Richard Maltais, one of the most prolific historians in the USAF history program of his day. Had it not been for his determination to gather documents, interview key personnel at WRAMA, and record the events of the 1960s and 1970s, there would be little about the AC-119 from which to write. I also want to thank my colleague Dennis Mills for his honest and thoughtful edit of my manuscript. His sage advice tightened the text and made it more understandable to a wider range of readers. That is important since even the most brilliant ideas mean very little unless they reach as many people as possible. I would also like to thank those in the WR-ALC History Office— Diane Truluck, Becky Wainwright, Dave Chupinsky, and Lt. Col. Faron Thompson—who helped edit the book, advised me on the...


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MARC Record
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