AC-119 Gunships Mail Call

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Previous Mail Calls 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,

2017 Mail Call

AC-119 Gunship Association loses Shadow and our Association's first president, Charles M James June 2, 1925 - April 9, 2017

chuck James

Chuck James, Lt. Col. USAF ret. died April 9, 2017 in Boise, Idaho. He was born in Rantoul, Illinois June 2, 1925.

Upon graduating high school he enlisted in the Army Air Corps aviation cadet program. In 1944 at 19 years of age he received his pilot wings. By August 1946 he and Marilyn Grace Bridge of Dietrich, Idaho were married. Chuck and Marilyn traveled the world during the many years of their marriage. They recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

Chuck retired from active duty March 1974 as a Command Pilot having attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He entered active duty before the end of World War II and had his first deployment to Japan during the Occupation. His final deployment was to Vietnam where he accrued 650 combat hours (179 missions) as aircraft commander of an AC-119G night flying gunship. He amassed 9000 flying hours in a career of piloting, instructing, and serving as a flight examiner in 14 different military aircraft. A few of the many aircraft he flew include the CG-4A Cargo Glider, B-25 bomber, and C-118 (DC-6). Some of the awards and decorations he received include The Distinguished Flying Cross, nine Air Medals, Meritorious Service Medal, plus 12 other decorations. Included in the 52 nations he visited were assignments in Japan, Asmara, Eritrea (Ethiopia), Libya, Germany, Vietnam, Washington D.C. and many US stations. After retirement Chuck stayed active as a member/officer of Rotary, Masons, Shrine, Pilots of World War II, VFW, National World War II Glider Pilots Association, Air Commando Association, AC-119 Gunship Association (Serving as the first President), and National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.

Chucks parents and four siblings all predeceased him. He leaves his wife Marilyn, children Deborah Arata, Cheryl Richardson(David), Charles James Jr., Dennis James, grandchildren Shannon Arata, Matthew Nelms, Caylor Ross, Captain Christopher James(Sarah) & great granddaughter Charlotte James, Keith James(Jenny), and Lindsay James. He also leaves many other family and friends from across the country.

Remains to be interned and memorial services held at the Idaho Veterans Cemetery Boise, Idaho, 1PM May 8th 2017.

Chuck was a valued member of the AC-119 Gunship Association and will be missed by all.

Should anyone want to convey condolences to Chuck's wife Marilyn & family, her address is 4356 N Mellon Valley Road, Buhl, ID  83316

March 1, 2017 - AC-119 Gunship group loses another Stinger.
Former Stinger and AC-119 gunship brother Dick Mahany passed peacefully last night in Charleston, SC with Angela, son Richard, and family by his side. Angela's daughter Angie called me and the services are this Saturday in Savannah at St. James Roman Catholic Church—more info later.
Let us toast a good man, better who loved his country and Stingers.

Steve Meleen sends

March 1, 2017 - Jim Moore, Stinger FE and long time Association member stricken with Cancer.

We received this note from Jims Daughter.... " I am writing to let the association know that my Dad, Jim Moore, has been diagnosed with lung (mesothelioma) cancer. He is now at home recovering from surgery. The recovery process from the biopsy surgery is going a bit rough. Prayers and warm thoughts are appreciated

He has two appointments next week so we will have more information after that.

Lorraine McElrath

Messages for Jim can be sent to

February 28, 2017 - the 18th Special Operations Sq and the AC-119 Gunship Association has lost a great pilot.
It is with profound sadness we note the passing of our Brother-in-Arms, Al Milacek.

The Funeral services celebrating and honoring the life of Lt. Col. Ret. Alan D. Milacek, 77, of Waukomis were held February 27th in the First United Methodist Church with Graveside services in the Waukomis Cemetery. A Family visitation was held Sunday February 26, 2017 in the Brown-Cummings Funeral Home.
Alan was aircraft Commander on Stinger AC-119K tail number 883 whose crew received the coveted Mackay Trophy in 1971 for the most Meritorious Flight of the Year (1970). Milacek's aircraft sustained a devastating anti-aircraft artillery hit that shot off more than 17 feet of one wing. Milacek and his crew literally brought their limping aircraft home on "a wing and a prayer"!
The citation reads, in part: "Working as a team and displaying the highest degree of airmanship and courage in the face of extreme danger, they managed to successfully return to their home base, thereby saving a valuable aircraft. The exceptional distinctive accomplishments of Captain Milacek and his crew reflect great credit upon themselves and the United States Air Force."
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