Log of The Leper

historical-article-the-leperThe awesome firepower of an AC-47’s miniguns was on full display when an Australian journalist bummed a ride with a “Spooky” crew.

By Steve Birdsall @ Historynet.com

In 1967 a blackened, burned-out wreck lay near the minefield on the perimeter at Bien Hoa Air Base in South Vietnam. It was just one of hundreds of American aircraft lost to enemy action, but there was something special about this one.

The airplane was a “Spooky,” an AC-47 gunship. It couldn’t seem to hold a coat of paint, so they called it The Leper, but it had logged one of the best in-commission records of any aircraft in the U.S. Seventh Air Force. The Leper had started out as a Douglas C-47 transport, serial no. 43-48356, that left the United States for Britain on August 5, 1944, to serve in another air war long ago. Between battles it had racked up time as a VC-47 with Logistics Command and Air Defense Command. In September 1965, Tactical Air Command sent the transport to Eglin Field in Florida to be modified as a side-firing gunship.

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