Oklahoma City Artist Depicts Missions of Vietnam Era
and "little Known" AC-119 Gunships
Contact: Bill Petrie, CMSgt, USAF, Ret.
August 7, 2004
Oklahoma City Artist Helps Tell Story About Little Known Vietnam Era Gunships
Two oil paintings by Oklahoma City artist, and Air Force Reservist, Darby Perrin, were donated to the United States Air Force Museum by the AC-119 Gunship Association. The paintings detail the highly dangerous missions flown by the aircrews of the 71st, 17th and 18th Special Operations Squadrons during the Vietnam conflict beginning in 1969.
The remarkable and dangerous missions of the Special Operations Squadrons who flew the AC-119 Gunships during the Vietnam War were brought to life by Perrin and the paintings werem presented the weekend of October 1-3 at the United States Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio.
The paintings feature the AC-119G Shadow and the AC-119K Stinger gunships as they flew their many, and often secret, missions in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia during the conflict in Southeast Asia. AC-119 gunships are credited with destroying countless numbers of trucks and supplies on the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos and are also credited with saving hundreds of lives in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia during their four years of operation.
An AC-119G Shadow Attacks Viet Cong strongholds
"Guns Hot "
An AC-119K Stinger gunship wreaks havoc with the North Vietnamese on the Ho Chi Minh Trail
Click here to order prints
Retired Chief Master Sergeant, and Oklahoma City resident, Bill Petrie, painting project officer for the AC-119gunship Association, said “Perrin realistically captured the formidable gunships missions by depicting a true-to-life scenery backdrop for the paintings and by recreating the distinct mission and attack angle of the two gunships.” As a crew member, Chief Petrie flew more than 170 gunship missions against the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos.
“This was an exciting project. I learned some important history from Chief Petrie about a group that was virtually unknown during the Vietnam War,” Perrin said. “I paint at my studio on Tinker Air Force base. When people stopped in my studio and saw the gunship paintings they were awed and surprised.” Many, including me, did not know the Air Force had such a gunship.”
The paintings highlight the fifth anniversary of the AC-119 Gunship Association. When the Vietnam war wound down, these quiet warriors went their separate ways. More than 30 years later, former crewmembers felt the history of what they did was disappearing. Vowing not to let that happen they formed an association and developed a website to help piece together their remarkable role in the Air War over Southeast Asia.
“With more than a million people visiting the Air Force Museum each year, we have an opportunity to tell our story,” said Rogers Stevens, AC-119 Gunship Association president and former gunship pilot. “Through these paintings, visitors to the museum can see the virtually unknown gunships in action.” “Through the remarkable talent of Oklahoma artist Darby Perrin, our history is now preserved for future generations to see.”
The scenes depicted are based on first-hand accounts from crewmembers who flew and maintained the mighty war bird. The paintings will hang in the Air Force Museum’s new Vietnam War learning center when the exhibit space is complete.
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For more information about the Association, the AC-119 Gunships, and their short but remarkable history in Southeast Asia, visit their website (www.ac-119gunships.com).
For more information on Oklahoma City artist Darby Perrin, visit his website at (www.planeart.com).
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