Gary W. Gears, AFVN AM/FM Saigon | January 1969

AFVN Saigon

Thom Whetstson
Thom Whetston at AFVN
Date of Recording: 01.xx.1969 (Exact Date Unknown)
Station: 550 AFVN Saigon, De Nang, South Vietnam (Vietnam)
Format: Various
Featured Air Personality: PFC Gary W. Gears (U.S. Army at the time of recording) (KQV, WCFL, WLS, WDAI, WIND, WJEZ, WJJD, WKQX, WMAQ, WRQX, CHUM)
Contributor: Thom Whetston

Gary W. Gears AFVN
PFC Gary W. Gears at AFVN Saigon

I’m gonna count the rockets for ya. I’ll give the final count on the hour.


Truly unique in it’s presentation, AFVN (Armed Forces Vietnam Network), “The Big 54” really tried to bring American Top 40 radio to the troops. After listening to this, you’d think this was recorded in the states, except for the public service (okay, military service) announcements.

Listen for LOTS of PAMS jingles, reverb (at times)… and notable, Gears mentions toward the end of this recording that he could swear he just heard missiles go off outside.

AFVN Saigon


  1. Paul Bottoms

    I worked with Gary at AFVN (he even mentions my name in about the first minute of it. Hey, I just heard a second plug for me as well)

    This is not an aircheck. This is a re-creation in the production room as Gary thought it should be.

    For reasons I don’t remember, Gary had been kicked off the air as a jock. But he was doing lots of production, voicing.

    For example, we had to give our rank so he would have had to say “Army Specialist Gary W. Gears” in real life. I don’t if Gary wouldn’t follow format or there was something else involved in him not being a jock.

    I know at the time he was talking to the PD of KQV in Pittsburgh which is where he ended up when he left Vietnam. i think he did this recording for them.

    Gary, who passed away in the early 90’s, was a hell of a talent.

    Paul Bottoms

    • Jim Yerkes

      I met Gary once while I was stationed in Saigon Consider myself very lucky to meet one on the real top 40 jocks back in the 1960.s . AFVN had 2 of the best Gary W. Gears and Don L. Brink at the same time. I remember one year later after leaving Naim hearing Gary on one of the chicago stations back in 1970 while on the Ohio turnpike on the way to the windy city. You never lose the voice.

      Jim Yerkes

  2. fielding freed

    Thanks for posting! I do Vietnam War living history and this really helps get my head into what you guys experienced. Thanks so much for your service!

  3. Greg

    Gary was the absolute KING, may he RIP

  4. Doug Offenbacher

    Gary and I were roommates during most of my year in VN. I did graphics and sets on the TV side at AFVN. He was an amazing talent with an ego to match so a third roommate and I made it our duty to keep him in check. One exception was his being chosen as the voice to deliver an “official US statement” to the North Vietnamese over AFVN radio. I half-jokingly referred to him that night as, “The Voice of the Free World.” I actually think he added that to his resumé. The “air check” was not real but done in the studio as a portfolio piece for his return to the States. He would bring them back to the room and listen to them at night. Some even had traffic reports which never happened there. But who cared, it showed what he was capable of, which was everything. We tried to get him off cigars and drop some weight but that was part of Gary. Lots of stories but not all for distribution. So I’ll just agree with above, he was a great guy, well worth knowing. He should have lived a lot longer.

  5. Specialist John Flanagan US54385737

    I served in Vietnam during 1968, at night we ‘d listen to “Go Phase One” 8 to 9 p.m. And “Go Phase Two” 9 to 10 p.m. With Gary Gears. It was very important! Marvin Gaye/Tammy Terrell, “Cowboys to Girls” The Intruders. Important stuff! Night after night, this was our connection to “The World” (the States). God Bless Gary Gears and all he did for us. He was so good! What a voice! He was special.

  6. Randall Underwood

    do you have any recordings from John Allgood? He was known as Gary Krist Stevens in Chicago. He was originally assigned to the 3rd Field Hosp. Operating Room….but was later assigned to AFVN 1972.

  7. Steven Green

    Gary Gears had one of the best voices in radio, anywhere.

  8. Warren Cosford

    For a while in The ‘70s we brought Gary in to do Friday afternoon production and weekend Jocking on 1050 CHUM in Toronto. We became good friends, and with our wives at the time, cruised The Mediterranean for a couple of weeks. Gary’s first wife….I think her name was Janice…..was one of the female jock team at WSDM “the stereo den for men” station owned by The Chess Brothers. Because of that connection, Gary was able to purchase “the board” from the Chess Studios which, I understand, he proudly mounted at his home studio. After his death, his second wife contacted me. A few years ago, we had dinner on my way through Chicago. She told me, at his request, she had Gary cremated with the Urn proudly displayed at his favourite Strip Club.

  9. Randall Underwood

    Has any one heard of John Allgood?? He was a very good DJ on AFVN back in 1972. Anyone know where he is now?? He was a friend.

  10. Warren, while working with Gary at AFVN, he told me he had been married to a woman who also might have been in the Army while station in Oregon. I don’t think the marriage lasted too long. I remember him playing me some airchecks on KISN Portland.

    • Randall Underwood

      Thank you …..I saw from Hal Lamar that John Allgood died in California back in 2006 ….I’m sorry to hear that. He was a good dude.
      I was there at 3rd Field Hospital when he came in as a medic….but he had his demo tapes from Chicago, and he was off to AFVN …..

      randy / olehippy13

  11. Chip Taylor

    This is the second air check this week that would not open!!!

    • I just checked. What seems to be the problem? The aircheck opens and plays properly in Google Chrome on my end. Are you using a PC, Mac or a mobile device? This will help diagnose your issue.

      • Chip Taylor

        I got it to open, thanks! My error I guess!

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