CHICO THE GUNFIGHTER

Things were getting ‘hot’ in South Vietnam during the spring of 1972. The North Vietnamese invasion across the demilitarized zone (DMZ) caught the American and South Vietnamese militaries off guard. For its part, the US Air Force needed to come up with a response quickly. Its name was ‘Chico’…

img_82-1_0.jpg
‘Chico’ was F-4E serial 68-0339 of the 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron, pictured here on its take-off roll. ‘Chico’ flew strictly singleaircraft missions as a FAC in the ‘hot’ areas in and around the DMZ.
Col J. D. Pewitt via author
img_82-2_0.jpg
‘Chico’s’ two SUU-23/A gun pods were both named ‘Spooky the Gunfighter’.
James Parks via author

DURING THE INFAMOUS Easter Invasion of South Vietnam in 1972, the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) ‘Gunfighters’ used a single F-4E Phantom II in a unique configuration that had devastating effects on North Vietnamese troops and equipment that were moving through the DMZ. The 366th’s director of operations, Col J. D. Pewitt, conceived the idea of operating one F-4E as a free-roaming and heavily armed strike-reconnaissance aircraft that would be known as ‘Chico the Gunfighter’.

T

Become a Premium Member to Read More

This is a premium article and requires an active Key.Aero subscription to view.

I’m an existing member, sign me in!

I don’t have a subscription…

Enjoy the following subscriber only benefits:

  • Unlimited access to all KeyAero content
  • Exclusive in-depth articles and analysis, videos, quizzes added daily
  • A fully searchable archive – boasting hundreds of thousands of pieces of quality aviation content
  • Access to read all our leading aviation magazines online - meaning you can enjoy the likes of FlyPast, Aeroplane Monthly, AirForces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, Aviation News, Airports of the World, PC Pilot and Airliner World - as soon as they leave the editor’s desk.
  • Access on any device- anywhere, anytime
  • Choose from our offers below