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Charlie Chasers: History of USAF AC-119 Paperback – September 1, 2013


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Charlie Chasers: History of USAF AC-119 + One Trip Too Many: A pilot's memoirs of 38 months in combat over Laos and Vietnam + Takhli Tales: and other stories
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Hellgate Press (September 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555717314
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555717315
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Former USAF Captain Dr. Larry Elton Fletcher flew 177 combat missions as a pilot in AC-119 Shadow gunships during his tour of duty in Vietnam from May 1970 to May 1971. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Air Medal with eight clusters. He holds a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has penned two novels. He and his wife currently reside in Missouri.

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Customer Reviews

I read in kinlde the day it was released.
K. Schneider
This book covered the development and deployment of this type of aircraft used in the Vietnam war.
Scott Bailey
Recommend this book to those who are interesting in gunships or the Vietnam war in general.
P. Allen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K. Schneider on October 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What an outstanding book on the "middle child" of American GUNSHIPS. Everyone has heard or Spooky the AC-47's (as seen in John Wayne's Green Beret movie). Or the AC-130 Spectre which is all over TV and present day books. This book deal with the little know AC-119 Shadow. The author takes great pains in producing an outstanding account of the history behind this outclassed outmoded aircraft. From the being to end it is chock full of information , specification, history and first person accounts. I read in kinlde the day it was released. It an excellent book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard A. Lemen on November 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Author and former Air Force Captain Larry Fletcher makes you feel you are in the left hand seat flying a behemoth gunship above the green lush jungle when the radio blares “Corpsman, corpsman, heavy mortar and rocket fire”. You realize if you don’t act quickly and precisely “Charlie”, the North Vietnamese soldiers, will continue to kill and keep killing “Corpsman”, the call sign for the U.S. ground troops. You get coordinates and maneuver the AC-119 gunship into a circle over Charlie, then you pound him with 6,000 rounds per minute from each of your four portside miniguns and now you’re “Chasing Charlie”. Charlie soon learns you don’t mess with the “Shadow”, because as Lamont Cranston known as The Shadow in the 1930s movies always said “The Shadow knows” and this behemoth-killing machine, known as “The Shadow Gunship”, indeed knows he can and will chase Charlie away. “Charlie Chasers” takes you on a wild and historic ride, as if you were there, through the Vietnam War telling you a part of its history, little known to most of us. “Charlie Chasers” played a sentinel role in the conduct of the Vietnam War but were a well-hidden asset unknown to many of us, but to Charlie, the Viet Cong, they were one of his biggest fears.

Dr. Fletcher presents a well-written and researched account of the history of the USAF AC-119 “Shadow” gunships and the men who flew on them during their daily 5-hour missions into areas few students of the Vietnam War knew they ventured. As a Shadow pilot, former Air Force Captain Larry Fletcher gives the reader an eyewitness account from the cockpit and follows the gunship crews as they go about their daily chores of chasing Charlie to protect ground troops fighting for the “Republic of Vietnam”. “Charlie Chasers” is a thrilling account of what war was like flying in an American gunship under deadly enemy fire in wily weather conditions. It is a worthy read and an unforgettable account of the AC-119 Gunships in the Vietnam War.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Fozard, CW4, USA(Ret) on March 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
With three years In-Country as an Army Air Traffic Controller/Door Gunner, I've heard the callsigns of Spooky, Puff, Shadow, Stinger and Specter. I even have three separate night missions on the Spooky gunship down in the Delta flying out of Binh Thuy. They had me setting the timers on the flares and doing the kicking out the cargo door. It was three missions I'll never forget.

Trouble is, I've never seen any action of the Shadow, Stinger or Specter guns. I've heard the callsigns at all the bases I worked. This book really put you in there. You are in the cockpit, at the NOS and at the guns working your target. Brings you up close as the FAC gives you a target or your NOS hands one over to you. Gives you some insight on their down time too. We all had to relax sometime.

This is an excellent read for both the military and non-military reader. They are the guys you never knew. If you were on the ground, they were only a callsign that you heard, but never saw the bird. When you heard them flying overhead, the only thing you saw was the stream of tracers coming out of the black night to the bad guys who were trying to kill you on the ground. These are the guys who saved your butt when you needed it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Norm@Jackson on July 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There have been a number of books written about gunship operations, but never specifically on the AC-119 series. This was a good book for an overview, a bit repetitious at times, but a lot of good information that I had not read before.
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By Joe Sullivan on February 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great book to read about the war in Cambodia and what the Shadow Gunships were able to do.
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By P. Allen on January 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting books and well written. For some parts it is rather specific but that is due to it being a record for the brave aviators who served. I knew about the AC-119 before I read the book but never realized the full extent of their operation or contribution. Recommend this book to those who are interesting in gunships or the Vietnam war in general.
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