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  • A-1s in Southeast Asia

    Flown by the South Vietnamese (VNAF) and US Air Force during the war in Southeast Asia (SEA), the A-1 Skyraider excelled in operations including close air support and search and rescue. The single-engine propeller-driven attack aircraft, the last of its type to see combat in the USAF, excelled in

  • PRAIRIE FIRE Mission

    A top-secret joint special operations unit called the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observation Group (SOG) conducted unconventional missions in Southeast Asia.One such operation called for US Army Green Beret SOG teams to be inserted via helicopter into Laos to observe and

  • Sandy: Locate, Identify, and Protect

    With its long loiter time, pin-point accuracy, and rugged construction, the A-1 Skyraider excelled at Rescue Escort (RESCORT) to recover downed aircrew.The first USAF A-1s assigned to RESCORT duty came from the 602nd Air Fighter Squadron (Commando) in August 1965. Skyraiders rotated from Bien Hoa

  • Madden Kit: Improving the Odds

    Wartime needs often lead to battlefield innovations. This was the case with the Madden Kit, a rescue kit made from a hollow Mk 24 parachute flare canister.In February 1971, Skyraider pilot Captain James Madden was in the second day of a rescue mission over Laos. Night fell over the Mu Gia Pass with

  • Against All Odds Lieutenant Colonel William Jones III

    On September 1, 1968, Lieutenant Colonel William Jones III, flying A-1H, serial number 52-139738, led a group of rescue helicopters to recover a downed pilot who ejected over North Vietnam. As the on-scene commander, Lt Col Jones flew multiple low-level passes near a well-defended enemy supply road

  • Rescue of Oyster 01 Bravo

    On May 10, 1972, the start of OPERATION LINEBACKER, a flight of four US Air Force McDonnell Douglas F-4D Phantom IIs from the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron took off from Udorn RTAFB, Thailand, to provide escort cover for strike flights heading into North Vietnam.Using the call sign Oyster, the

  • A-1 Legacy and the A-X Program

    The US Air Force learned many lessons regarding SAR and CAS from its A-1 Skyraider experience in Southeast Asia.As early as 1966, the USAF anticipated the need for a specialized close air support aircraft and these lessons shaped the request for proposals sent to industry under the new A-X

  • The Need for Fuel

    The 3rd Aerospace Rescue and Recover Group determined that if a downed Airman could be reached within fifteen minutes, the chances of rescue were good. However, after thirty minutes or more, the survivor’s chances of being rescued drastically decreased.Unfortunately, the US Air Force’s rescue

  • Refueling Innovation

    Previously considered impossible prior to 1964, a handful of US Air Force pilots and civilian engineers at Wright Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB), Ohio, took the concept of helicopter aerial refueling and turned it into a reality.Conventional thought at the time was that a helicopter was too

  • Helicopter Aerial Refueling

    Helicopter aerial refueling allowed for improved range and capacity, and was the first major breakthrough for the rapid response and deployment of rescue forces in Southeast Asia.Following successful tests at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the Air Rescue Service requested modified C-130s and H-3s