Gooney Bird III. [Conclusion.]
This is coolbert:
The concept is called "big sky, little bullet".
American combat aircraft, providing close air support [CAS] for engaged U.S. ground forces, can fly through a battle zone in relative security, the chances of being hit by an indirect fire round [hostile or friendly], being relatively slim.
Here is an instance of where the concept failed.
An AC-47, flying CAS for embattled U.S. forces in Vietnam, taking a hit from a DOWN-WARD PLUNGING Viet Cong [VC] mortar round.
A hit [on a wing] the shrapnel of which wounding the flight-crew servicing the 7.62mm miniguns. A perilous situation that would have resulted in the AC-47 being blown out of the sky.
IF NOT FOR THE HEROICS OF A SEVERELY WOUNDED CREW MEMBER!! JOHN LEVITOW. Heroics for which John was awarded the Medal of Honor [MoH].
Such was the robustness of the "gooney bird", that EVEN WHEN MORTALLY WOUNDED, THE "BIRD" STILL MAINTAINED AIR-WORTHINESS AND WAS FLOWN TO GROUND SAFELY, IN LARGE PART THANKS TO THE COURAGEOUS BEHAVIOR OF JOHN LEVITOW!!
[Levitow passed away recently, AND IS THE LOWEST RANKING MEMBER OF THE U.S. AIR FORCE TO HAVE BEEN AWARDED THE MoH.]
Sixty years and going. The "gooney bird". Again, with a remarkable robustness!!