Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Wistful Wednesday: The Big Guns

Far Guy was the Supervisor of “The Gun Shop” for a number of years before he went into the Weapons Release Shop as a Supervisor….then he went to Quality Assurance and Safety Inspection.  Before “The Gun Shop” he was in Weapons Loading.

Gene Gun Shop (2)

Yes that thing on casters is a gun. 

A 20 MM Gatling Gun.  It has six barrels it shoots 6,000 rounds a minute. The rounds could be high explosive incendiary (HEI), armor piercing or target practice (TP) usually every 7th round was a tracer.  The F-4 Fighter could carry up to five of these guns. 

Gene at the gun shop  1978

He is bore sighting using a laser.  It is bore sighted to 2,000 feet. 

The Pilot squeezes the trigger for short bursts because long bursts would warp the barrels.  The shortest burst recorded was 25 rounds.

It was possible for the gun to try to put more than one round in a barrel at a time when this happened several things would break inside and there would be gun powder all over.   The only way to make things safe was to spray WD 40 all over everything and soak up all the gun powder.

There were 22 of these guns in the gun shop.  They also stored all the ammunition.  The Gun Shop itself was located in a very secure spot on base …away from everything else in a rocket storage building.  No one got to go out there unless you were escorted.  I visited once during an open house. 

Gulfport Mississippi  was like a second home during the time at The Gun Shop.  All the live fire exercises were held out over the Gulf.   The base at Gulfport was what is called a bare base, they had to take everything they needed from home base ( an exercise in mobility).

Shots were fired from the gun aboard an F 4  at a big aluminum dart shaped target that was towed by another aircraft.   At first the target would be brought over the runway and the cable that was attached to it was cut so that the target would land safely.   One time the cable failed to break away after being cut so they headed back over town toward the Gulf…when the cable finally broke…it went completely through a Barber Shop in downtown Gulfport…thankfully it was Monday and the Barber Shop was closed.   From then on the target was dropped off over the Gulf.

20MM round

A 20MM round

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19 comments:

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  2. The F4 Phantom II was built without an internal gun, a serious flaw in Viet Nam, where the enemy had to be visually identified. Being close enough to ID the enemy negated the good radar - all missile advantage of the F4.

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  3. Very interesting and great that you have these photos. Your children/grandchildren are so blessed to have your blog.

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  4. Who knew? That gun on casters looks like a sculpture of a pig. (Can you tell I'm a country girl?).
    And leave it to you, FS, to notice there were no.jammies in that suitcase on my post yesterday! You made me laugh.

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  5. I knew those guns were big but not that big. Our military has some impressive fire power.

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  6. I didn't know this was what Far Guy did back then. It's very impressive indeed. I had heard of a Gatling Gun but never saw one before.

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  7. Thanks for sharing you pictures and story of Far Guy's assignment in the military. And tell him thanks for his service from the Gun Shop!

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  8. What an awesome post, one I will share with the son and hubby.

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  9. Far Guy is an amazing man - a lot of lives depended on his skill.

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  10. Wow!!!! very interesting about Far Guy. A hero I would say, great pictures. Blessings Francine.

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  11. Wonderful post and photos ! My Uncle was in the same type of thing only in England ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !

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  12. WOW! That was some job and a very important one.

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  13. Not very many people get such a detailed look into weapons like this.

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  14. I'm surprised that a fine organization as the USAF used WD40 to service its planes and bombs. I was using it myself, servicing my lawn tractor, when my Vietnam Vet. truck driving neighbor handed me a can of JP80 and told me it was twice as good.....:)

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  15. Well, I guess that's one vote for Mondays: the barber shop being closed. What a catastrophe it would have been otherwise!

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  16. I learned something new about you, or your husband, again today. Cool. I did not know about has military service. the photos are a great thing to have.

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  17. That is fascinating! I always learn from you guys...you're so smart! I hope there were "no smoking" signs appropriately posted. (ha! ha!). Scary working with that stuff every day....I bet you both said your prayers every night.

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  18. Very cool! Miss ya at Sunday Stills. :-)

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie