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  • Discoverer XIV

    The Discoverer XIV is the first satellite to be ejected from an orbiting space vehicle and to be recovered in midair. Discoverer XIV was launched into a polar (north-south) orbit by a Thor booster from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on Aug. 18, 1960. After the Thor exhausted its fuel, the Agena

  • Douglas SM-75/PGM-17A Thor

    The SM-75/PGM-17A Thor intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) was the product of the early Cold War race to deploy nuclear armed missiles before the Soviets. Thor was designed to be an interim nuclear deterrent while the U.S. Air Force developed long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles

  • Dangerously Close! USAF Close Air Support in the Southeast Asia War

    Close air support (CAS) -- sometimes called tactical air support -- gave American and South Vietnamese ground forces a tremendous military advantage. However, the U.S. Air Force had to relearn CAS tactics used during World War II and the Korean War. Because the USAF's high-speed combat jets flew too

  • Down in the Weeds: Ranch Hand

    The dense jungle in Southeast Asia allowed the enemy to ambush vehicles and boats on transportation routes, creep close to stage attacks on bases, move men and materiel and hide their own camps. Ranch Hand crews denied the enemy this cover by spraying herbicides in key areas. To accomplish the

  • Dirty Thirty

    In April 1962, 30 U.S. Air Force pilots were sent to fly as advisors in the South Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) 43rd Air Transport Group. Their arrival permitted the VNAF to release some of its own experienced pilots to form new units for its rapidly-expanding air arm.This small group of Americans

  • DShK-1938/46 Heavy Machine Gun

    A Deadly "Sweetie" Used by communist forces in Southeast Asia, the Degtyarov-Shpagin Krupnokaliberny (DShK) machine gun presented a deadly threat to low-flying aircraft-like the Forward Air Controllers (FACs). Sometimes called Dushka (meaning "Sweetie"), they could be mounted on armored vehicles or

  • De Havilland C-7A Caribou

    The C-7A was a twin-engine, short takeoff and landing (STOL) utility transport built by De Havilland Aircraft of Canada, Ltd. It was used primarily for tactical airlift missions from short, unimproved airstrips in forward battle areas. It could carry either 26 fully equipped paratroops, 20 litter

  • Douglas RB-66B Destroyer

    The B-66 was developed from the U.S. Navy A3D Skywarrior as a tactical light bomber and photo reconnaissance aircraft. The RB-66B photo reconnaissance version became the first production series and totaled 145 of the 294 B-66s built. The USAF also developed a weather reconnaissance version, and

  • Douglas B-26K (A-26) Counter Invader

    The Counter Invader was a highly modified version of the Douglas A-26 Invader, a World War II attack bomber. Redesignated B-26 in 1948, the Invader served again during the Korean War (1950-1953), mainly as a night intruder against North Korean supply lines. It was removed from service in 1958, but

  • Douglas A-1E Skyraider

    The A-1E on display (serial number 52-132649) is the aircraft flown by Major Bernard Fisher on March 10, 1966, a mission for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. He rescued a fellow pilot shot down over South Vietnam by landing in enemy territory under heavy fire and flying him to safety. This