This monument is dedicated in honor of Airman First Class John L. Levitow of Hartford, Connecticut, the first Air Force enlisted man to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. On the night of 24 February 1969, Airman First Class Levitow was a loadmaster aboard an AC-47 "Spooky" gunship when it was hit by enemy mortar fire during a combat mission in Vietnam. Through the haze of pain and shock, Levitow with some shrapnel wounds, saw a wounded unconscious fellow crewmember lying perilously close to the open cargo door. As he crawled to the injured airman and dragged him to safety, he spied an armed, smoking magnesium flare rolling erratically around the cargo floor. Unhesitatingly he threw himself on the flare, dragged it to the open door and pushed it out just as it exploded in a white, hot blaze. Airman First Class Levitow's gallantry and heroism for his fellow airmen, at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, are in the highest traditions of the United States Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the forces of this nation.
The AC-47 gunship saw action in Southeast Asia from 1964-1969. Originally known as "Puff The Magic Dragon," its name was changed to Spooky in early 1966. Armed with three 7.62mm mini-guns capable of firing 9,000 to 18,000 rounds per minute, Spooky's
mission ranged from friendly hamlet protection and special camp defenses to enemy truck interdiction attack repulsion. Optimum operating altitude was 3,000 feet above ground level. Fame and honor were bestowed upon the men of Spooky. But the greatest came from the ground troops they defended;
"Thanks Spooky! We wouldn't be here now without you."
The aircraft on display is actually a C-47B, serial no. 43-49127. Painted and marked to depict an AC-47, serial No. 43-49770 assigned to the 14th Air Commando Wing in Southeast Asia during 1969. A military version of the commercial DC-3, the venerable C-47 "Skytrain" was a workhorse for the Air Force for nearly 40 years. Used in varying configurations by American and allied forces, it saw action in both theaters of World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam.
This particular aircraft was dropped from inventory in 1969 and later served until 1981 as a U.S. Navy R4D. Commissioned again in October 1994, it served duty in Germany Newfoundland, the United States, and Vietnam
This aircraft's configuration has been restored as closely as possible
to that of the AC-47 that Airman First Class Levitow served on in
Wing Span 95 feet · Max Air Speed 230 MPH
Overall length 64 feet 5-1/2 inches · Cruise Speed 167MPH
weight 16,976 pounds · Range 1,350 miles
This aircraft is on loan from the US Air Force Heritage Program.
This plaque dedicated by USAF SNCOA Class 85-C
This aircraft is on loan from the National Museum of the United States Air Force.