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AN/MRC-108 Communications System

The commitment of American forces to combat in South Vietnam created an urgent need for radio communications between air and ground forces, which used different radios. In response, the U.S. Air Force Electronic Systems Division developed the AN/MRC-108 in 1965 for use by USAF personnel operating on the ground. Mounted on a Ford M151-A1 Jeep, this rugged communications system included high frequency (HF), ultra high frequency (UHF), very high frequency (VHF), and VHF FM radios. It coordinated with the Direct Air Support Center with requests for immediate air support, airborne forward air controllers (FACs), strike aircraft, cargo planes, helicopters and ground forces. The M416 trailer carried antennas, rations, supplies and a gasoline-powered generator for operations at fixed locations.

In the close air support role, an enlisted ROMAD (Radio Operator, Maintainer and Driver) drove the jeep and maintained the radios while the FAC, who was a pilot, directed the aircraft striking enemy targets. In its airlift support role, the enlisted Combat Control Team (CCT) guided airdrops and airfield operations from unimproved runways. If necessary, such as during the siege of Khe Sanh when they directed the airlift operations that kept the outpost supplied, the CCT could also direct close air support strikes.

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