The Guns from Navarone

An Air Force civilian saved Air Force Special Operations Command more than $14 million by finding a 1950s-era cache of rare 40 mm gun parts in Greece for AC-130 gunships, according to a command release. The US military phased the modified M2 A1 cannons out of service except for AFSOC, and replacement barrels alone would cost some $1.3 million each to custom manufacture, states the Jan. 15 release. “The Greek army retired the weapon in 2005, so the parts were just sitting in a warehouse,” said Bill Walter, AFSOC strike program analyst who found the parts with US Army help. “I spent two days combing through several arsenals” in Greece before preparing to ship the parts to Eglin AFB, Fla., last December, he added. Walter’s team recovered 139 barrels and enough parts to last the remaining service life of these guns on the gunships, states the release. “With the exception of shipping, these parts were free of charge,” said Walter. (Hurlburt report by SrA. Melanie Holochowost)