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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 firepower accuracy, low-level survivability, and unmatched time-over-target.

Four USAF squadrons served in SEA: the 1st Air Commando Squadron, call signs Hobo was first in 1964, followed in 1965 by the 602nd Fighter Squadron (Commando), call sign Firefly, both initially at Bien Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam. The 6th Air Commando Squadron, call sign Spad, commenced operations at Pleiku Air Base, South Vietnam in March 1968. The 22nd Special Operations Squadron, the last USAF A-1 unit formed at NKP Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, in late 1968 and used the call sign Zorro.

On August 1, 1968, all USAF Skyraiders units became Special Operations Squadrons. When performing search and rescue missions, A-1s primarily used the legendary call sign Sandy.

The US Navy transferred 330 Skyraiders to the Air Force including the A-1E, G, H, and J models. Flying over 90,000 combat sorties in the nine year span of USAF operation, nearly 200 A-1s were lost, and 102 pilots died flying A-1s in combat. The heroism displayed by USAF Skyraider pilots earned them 2 Medals of Honor, 14 Air Force Crosses, and many other awards for valor. 

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