Image of the Air Force wings with the museum name underneath

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Legacy of the Southeast Asia Wild Weasels

The Wild Weasels in Southeast Asia created an essential and lasting capability for the U.S. Air Force. Though some believed that SAMs would be "the death of the flying Air Force," the Wild Weasels provided an effective counter, paving the way and protecting strike forces over North Vietnam. The Wild Weasels accomplished their mission at great risk to themselves -- 34 Wild Weasels were killed or missing in action and 19 became POWs.

After the Southeast Asia War, with the role of the Wild Weasel established, the USAF developed even better systems for the suppression of enemy air defenses (or SEAD). The dramatically improved follow-on system, the F-4G, entered service in 1978, along with the excellent AGM-88 HARM (high speed anti-radiation missile) in 1980. Today the USAF operates single-seat HARM-equipped Wild Weasels unofficially designated F-16CJs, which saw service over Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom and in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

Click here to return to First In, Last Out: Wild Weasels vs. SAMs.