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  • F-111A in Southeast Asia

    At the start of Operation Rolling Thunder in 1965, the U.S. Air Force did not have an all-weather precision fighter-bomber. The highly-advanced F-111A provided this vital capability. Introduced to combat prematurely in 1968, the F-111A later returned triumphantly to play a key role in Linebacker

  • First 100-Mission Tour

    The first pilot to reach 100 "counters" was Capt. Donald Beck, an RF-101C pilot in the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, who completed his 100th on Nov. 15, 1965. Beck's 100 included missions over both Laos and North Vietnam. RF-101C crews were some of the first to fly Air Force combat missions

  • First 100 Missions over North Vietnam

    Capt. Eldon "Joe" Canady was an EWO (electronic warfare officer) in the first group of RB-66Cs to deploy to Southeast Asia in April 1965. These aircraft jammed enemy radar that directed anti-aircraft fire. Canady flew on the first RB-66C combat mission in Southeast Asia on May 4, 1965, and rapidly

  • F-105F Thud Wild Weasels and Rolling Thunder

    The two-seat Wild Weasel III F-105F Thunderchief or "Thud" formed the backbone of USAF SAM suppression during Operation Rolling Thunder. The F-105 Wild Weasels continued to develop tactics, flying two types of missions -- strike support, by far the more common of the two, and "hunter-killer" search

  • First In, Last Out: Wild Weasels vs. SAMs

    The Soviet SA-2 surface to air missile (SAM) threatened to halt air operations over North Vietnam. To suppress and destroy this threat, the U.S. Air Force countered with the courage and skill of the Wild Weasels, who flew some of the most dangerous missions in Southeast Asia.First In, Last Out: Wild

  • Forward Air Controller: O-2A Under Heavy Ground Fire in Southeast Asia

    This painting, by Andrew Whyte, depicts the museum's Cessna O-2A Skymaster (serial number 67-21331) on a forward air control (FAC) mission during the Southeast Asia War. To avoid being located, the enemy normally did not fire on FAC aircraft, but once discovered, they shot at the FAC with everything

  • FAC in SEA: The Legacy

    During the Southeast Asia War, propeller-driven FACs participated in every major military action against the enemy-flying with the first military advisors and supporting the last combat action in the SS Mayaguez recovery-with the possible exception of the strategic bombing campaign against North

  • FAC in SEA: Fast FACs

    Reacting to the increasing threat to their supply lines from air power, the communists gradually improved their antiaircraft defenses down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. In addition to heavy-caliber antiaircraft artillery (AAA), the communists deployed SA-2 Guideline surface-to-air missiles (SAMs)

  • FAC in SEA: The “Other War” - “Out-of-Country”

    The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Vietnam initially prevented the North Vietnamese from sending troops and military supplies directly to communist forces in South Vietnam. So in 1959, they began building a secret road system through neutral Laos and Cambodia. Named the Truong Son

  • FAC in SEA: Forward Air Control Aircraft

    Although easy to maintain, highly maneuverable, and capable of operating from small airstrips, the O-1 Bird Dog first flown by the FACs had many shortcomings. Its slow speed left it vulnerable to enemy small arms fire, its small size limited the amount of ordnance and radios it could carry, and it