Extract from an interview with Claire Hall, 8 October 2008
Reproduced with permission of Brian Wilson
Puff the Magic Dragon – what on earth is Puff the Magic Dragon?
Ahh, it's a secret weapon. PTMD was a DC3 aircraft, it had two pilots and one gunner and they'd stripped everything else out of the plane, and it had what they call mini guns, which are like machine Gatling guns with multiple barrels, and M60 machine guns down both sides of the plane. So you had about ten of them down this side and ten down that side, and a couple rear-mounted pointing down as well, all controlled from the front of the plane by this one gunner. So he had the fire power of 20 or 30 machine guns, and the centre of the plane was just piled up with ammunition, each of them carefully fed to each of the guns.
In those days there was no computer control so it was all mechanically controlled. And the plane would fly over an area and he'd just turn the guns on and would spray machine guns in a cone and there would be every square inch for about 3 or 400 yards, say a football field, would just be hit with a round. So it was like a massive shotgun blast from the sky.
And course when they put tracer in – every third or fourth round would be a tracer – this thing would fly along at night and you'd just see these cones of colour of fire coming out and blasting wherever you sent. And he was called Puff the Magic Dragon because he made everything go away. When Puff flew over, nothing else survived.
Interview extract from exhibition at Vietnam Veterans Reunion held at Manurewa RSA, 5-6 June 2010