On the night of April 3-4, 2019, on a heavily-fortified mountainside near Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, a group of joint American special operations and coalition forces found themselves taking fire as casualties mounted after an improvised explosive device attack.
In need of assistance, the Special Tactics operators on the ground called for an AC-130U “Spooky” Gunship, (Callsign Spooky 41) who arrived to suppress the enemy located in close proximity to the group.
As the gunship fired down on the enemy, at times less than 140 meters from the group, three medical-evacuation helicopters hovered more than an hour to safely rescue all 15 patients. The enemy was not able to get a single shot off at the MEDEVAC helicopters, due to the precise airpower strikes of Spooky 41’s aircrew.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Jim Slife, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, presented two Distinguished Flying Crosses with “C” device and 12 Single Event Air Medals with “C” device to 4th Special Operations Squadron Airmen, March 2, 2020, here, for their actions in April.
“The most lethal part of any gunship is not the 25 mm, the 40 mm, or the 105 mm [weapons] sticking out of the side of this big beautiful airplane,” said Slife during the ceremony. “The most lethal part of the gunship is the crew.”……..
The AC-130U’s capability to track and engage several targets simultaneously with different levels of ordnance is an invaluable asset to special operations forces on the ground. It offers a 105 mm howitzer cannon, 40 mm Bofors cannon and a 25 mm GAU-12 Gatling cannon.