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Gun Fighters Rule

Posted by Jolly on October 3, 2011

gunfightersDaNang.gifWe are all entitled to own a gun under the 2nd amendment in the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.  That's not just a good idea for your home, but your jet as well.  We've all have seen how military planners in the past have thought that missile and radar technology would eliminate dogfights and the need for a gun on future fighters.  How many MiG's survived meeting their doom due to the lack of a gun on the Phantom? 

In 1967 the 366 Tactical Fighter Wing deployed to Da Nang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam.  F-4 crews at the time were becoming increasingly frustrated over an inability to shoot down MiG's in dogfights over Southeast Asia (SEA).  That all changed when the 366th added a SUU-16 20mm gun pod to it’s Phantoms fraged to fly air superiority missions.  According to wing historical files, on 14 May the wing scored it’s first two gun kills on a pair of MiG-17s, followed by a MiG-21 and another MiG-17 on 22 May and 5 June.  With four gun kills in three weeks, the 366th quickly became known throughout SEA as “The Gunfighters.”

To further distinguish it from other F-4 units, “Boots” Blesse (The 366th DO at the time and FUgunfightersMtnHome.gif Hero) and some of his crews designed an unofficial emblem to enhance the wings new Gunfighter persona.  The original design they came up with depicted the official F-4 mascot, Spook, holding a SUU-16 pod under his arm with guns blazing and the words “366th TFW – Da Nang” above the patch.  The 366th Fighter Wing now based at Mountain Home AFB, ID revived the patch from Da Nang in 1999 (while I was there with the Wild Boars) and still wears it proudly on Fridays.

I found this video on You Tube that's some vintage footage from the Gunfighters back in the day.  Enjoy!

It seems we continue to learn from history like this.  We avoid repeating these mistakes thanks to dedicated men and women who are willing to "go to the mat" fighting for what they know is right.  It's the old "technology verse numbers" argument.  You have to have a balance, just like you have to have a gun on your jet. 

The same could be said about having a gun in your home.  Our founding fathers were pretty damn smart when they drafted the constitution.  The 2nd amendment will continue to be attacked by “do gooders” in our land and we have to look back to history to protect our right to keep and bear arms.  It’s almost impossible to win an argument with these clowns, so we need arm ourselves with historical facts.  That being said, FU has come up with the top 10 lessons from history that support protecting the 2nd amendment and keeping a gun in your home, and for that matter on any future fighter.  Drum roll please………..

Number 10)  In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Number 9)  in 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Number 8)  Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

Number 7)  China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated

Number 6)  During WWII the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED!

Number 5)  Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Number 4)  Uganda established gun control in 1970.. From 1971 to 1979, 100,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Number 3)  Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Number 2)  Since gun owners in Australia were forced by new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their own Government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars. The first year results are now in:

 - Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent.

 - Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent.

 - Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44  percent)!

The Number 1 reason we need to defend the 2nd amendement, keep a gun in our home, and keep a gun on any future fighter: Because shooting a gun is a ton of fun, there's no known way to defeat it electronically, there's no minimum range, and if some liberal pussy thinks I can do without one it makes me want one that much more!


For all you Wild Boars from the Gunfighters looking for some cool garb to shoot Wistle Pigs in, check out our Retro Boar Garb and Current Boar Garb.  Pretty cool Stuff!




Posted by MickCooper on
I was honored to be present in "Boots" Blesse's trailer the night we designed and agreed on the "Gunfighter" patch for the 366th. The original patch just had "366 TFW" at the top -- everyone knew it was DaNang.
Posted by Jolly on
Got this from Clint:

I am a proud member of the 366TFW having served there with the 480TFS from, 8/12/67 until, 5/15/1968; and flew 134 Combat Missions, 100 of which were over North Vietnam. The accompanying combat film is exacting what our combat mission comprised. I am also proud to have served three of those months at the Command Post after accepting a request from one of the finest Combat Officers that the USAF ever had, Col. "Boots" Blesse. Thanks you for acknowledging the 366TFW....
To my friends to whom I am sending this e-mail....All who have flown "Air-to-Ground" Combat Missions, those missions never leave a combat pilots thoughts; never!
Clint Moses
Posted by dart on
I too am a proud member of the 366th TFW at Da Nang. By the time I got there they had the E model with the internal gun, lot more accurate then the pods. Had 158 missions with the 4th TFS. Tons of air to ground, favorite was snake and nap along with gun in the E model. Even got to drop a few 2000# blivets.
check six, dart (invert)
Posted by Jolly on
Got this from Beaner:


I pimped you about political statements before, but this time I want to compliment you! I appreciate you reminding us all of our freedom to bear arms, and equally important, the value of a gun on a jet!

I flew both the Viper and the Hog, and loved the experience of firing HEI/API. But then, who wouldn’t?


Posted by Jolly on

No worries, we are fighter pilots and speak our peace. I think you had a good point, politics is something we try avoiding. But all fighter pilots love guns, including this one. I'll be damned if I let some politician take that away from me (or my jet) -- Democrat or Republican!

Check Six,
Posted by Jolly on
From Al for Clint:

Clint, I can only imagine the thrill and emotion that you must have felt in VN. Fighter piloting is a special skill and leads to lifelong memories. I do remember looking down from 35,000 ft as we unleaded those big buffs on the jungles. My only special thrill was in a 36 AC mission over the DMZ when 50 unguided SAMs were launched against us. You may remember that flying goose routine we performed under attack and it must have been quite a sight with that many AC. I was sitting in the IP seat (permanent staff member required on all B-52 missions) when we observed this white telephone pole coming up right in front of us. No time to maneuver. We all through our arms in front of our faces as we thought there would be impact. The tail gunner said it exploded about a thousand feet above and behind us. Hooray for Wild Weasels who had suppressed SAM guidance systems. This does not compare with the daily thrills of F-4 jocks but it does provide some insight into the"moment of truth".

Regards, Al
Posted by Jolly on
This in from Pat:

How about the Navy's F-8 Crusader? "The Last of the Gunfighters". "When your out of F-8's, you're out of fighters". 4 20MM's arranged in the nose just like the F-86H. The way a fighter should be armed!

Pat McGirl
USAF, USN fighter pilot retired.
Posted by historicaltrekker on
I was a cannon cocker/gun plumber/muzzle f&*^%$ with the 333rd TFS at Takhli and then in the 43rd at McDill in 66-67. Slow learner that I am, I returned after 17 years into the 120 CAM at Buckley. I loved every minute of it... It takes us all to make it work...,
Posted by waltbj01 on
I was at Da Nang in the 366th 1971-72. 40 years old with 3000 hours in fighters when I got there. I was the Wing DOO for 6 months then CO of the 390th. 150 missions. Fighter Squadron CO is the best job in the USAF.
Posted by waltbj01 on
Finest gun fighter I ever flew was the F104A with the Dash 19 engine. It would go supersonic in military power in level flight at 25,000. 90 seconds from brake releae to 45,000 in a bird carrying 2xAIM(s and gun ammo right off the flightline. 27 miles, 1000 pounds of fuel, and less than 2 minutes from .9M to 2.0. Vmax way over 2.0. It would outturn an F4 using the maneuver flaps. Flew an XC from Tyndall to Homestead at FL730 amd M2. Was the squadron weapons officer for a year; sighted in all the guns, discovered gun dispersion was under 3 mils. Aircraft reliability was superb compared to F4s (got 2000+ hours in them.) Damned hard to see, too.
Posted by ThomRaab on
I am the current Gunfighter historian at Mountain Home AFB and I would like to speak with or contact Mick Cooper (the gentlemen who made the first post in this string) so I can discuss his knowledge of General Blesse's role in the design of the "Gunfighter patch." I have conflcting stories I'd like to resolve. I can be reached at Mick Cooper are you out there? Any one have contact info on Mick Cooper?

Ride hard, shoot straight, and always speak the truth!
Posted by bt1673 on
waltbj01, just curious, did you happen to know my father, Col. Bill Dillard. And if anyone is interested, found an old 8mm real in his belongings after he passed, nothing too exciting but there are a few scenes of the base, some time around 1971-72. Link to youtube -
Posted by bt1673 on
waltbj01, just curious, did you happen to know my father, Col. Bill Dillard. And if anyone is interested, found an old 8mm real in his belongings after he passed, nothing too exciting but there are a few scenes of the base, some time around 1971-72. Link to youtube -
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