AFVN Saigon

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


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



Steve West is a 39 year veteran of broadcasting. His air work as a Jock and News Anchor includes six radio markets and over two-dozen radio stations. Steve currently works on-air for the Super Radio USA media group out of Minnesota. Steve is the founder of the Airchexx Media Group and manages and Airchexx Live - the official station of Airchexx.


Paul Bottoms
May 12, 2010 at 6:22 pm

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
    July 7, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    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

fielding freed
March 6, 2012 at 11:17 am

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!

December 11, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Gary was the absolute KING, may he RIP

Doug Offenbacher
December 24, 2013 at 3:59 am

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.

Specialist John Flanagan US54385737
April 12, 2014 at 3:55 am

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.

Randall Underwood
September 22, 2014 at 8:10 pm

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.

Steven Green
June 13, 2015 at 7:31 pm

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

Warren Cosford
June 14, 2015 at 10:29 am

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.

Randall Underwood
June 14, 2015 at 6:51 pm

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.

June 15, 2015 at 7:46 am

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
    April 12, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    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

Chip Taylor
December 21, 2016 at 12:33 pm

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

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