"Gunship Guru" saves Air Force millions

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 03:33 PM CDT
"Gunship Guru" saves Air Force millions story image
It almost sounds like a movie script. A civil service employee from Hurlburt Field travels halfway around the world to claim a warehouse full of gun parts.

In the end, he saves the Air Force $14 million.

He is the man they're calling the "Gunship Guru."

You're looking at parts for a 40mm gun; the type that's used on an AC130 gunship.

These guys have been in storage for a while, but they're about to be put to good use.

Bill Walter has been working with gunships and guns for more than 30 years.

So when his team found out there was a warehouse full of like-new parts in Greece, he was sent to check it out.

"It was pretty exciting, I can tell you that. It was kind of like stepping into a museum where they'll let you take stuff," Walter said.

The U.S. gave the parts to Greece after World War II. Most of them are perfectly preserved.

"This is the original wrapper from the 1940's and the original preservative. They call this mummy wrap for good reason," Walter said.
Many of the parts are expensive and hard to come by. The haul included 139 gun barrels; each could cost as much as $200,000 to make today.

"I think the money is very important obviously. I think it's also important to keep our ACS and our guys in parts like this, so it's like a double win," Walter said.

Travel and shipping cost about $18,000.

In return, the Air Force got $14 million worth of parts that will last the life cycle of this gun.

"We're always trying to find better ways of doing things, and this isn't the first thing and it isn't going to be the last thing. We'll keep on trucking," Walter said.
The parts are currently in the inspection process, but after that they'll be ready to put on the planes.
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