By Byron E Hukee, Jim Laurier
USAF Skyraider devices have been initially tasked to function quasi-training devices for the fledgling VNAF. outfitted purely with the two-seat types of the Skyraider, American pilots have been required to have VNAF 'observers' within the plane for each challenge. finally, this association was once replaced as adequate Vietnamese pilots have been proficient to guy their very own squadrons, whereas USAF squadrons have been tasked with shut help for US flooring forces. finally, no fewer than 4 USAF and 7 VNAF Skyraider devices observed carrier in Vietnam. also, one A-1 education squadron flew from Hurlburt box, Florida, through the Vietnam conflict period. within the ten years that this squadron used to be energetic, approximately a thousand USAF and three hundred VNAF pilots have been knowledgeable within the Skyraider. whereas the middle undertaking of all Skyraider squadrons used to be shut Air aid (CAS), different missions have been complete at a number of instances. between those have been seek and Rescue (SAR), evening interdiction at the Ho Chi Minh path, helicopter escort and distinct forces help to call yet a couple of. each one of those missions took complete good thing about the Skyraider's skill to convey quite a few munitions in shut proximity to pleasant forces whereas causing heavy casualties on enemy forces.
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Additional info for USAF and VNAF A-1 Skyraider Units of the Vietnam War
He told Locher that they would be back in 30 minutes to pick him up, and that he was to flash his signal mirror at the first A-1 he saw when they returned. ‘Sandy 01’ and ‘02’ then flew back across the Red River to bring the Jolly Greens in for the pickup. ‘Sandy 01’ and ‘02’ led the SAR force across the Red River and proceeded into the area. Buchanan saw the mirror flash and told the survivor to ‘pop’ his ‘smoke’. The Jolly Green soon saw the latter and slowed for the pickup. Once the survivor was on board, they headed south to cross the Red River Valley one last time.
This aircraft was one of the final 19 ‘survivors’ that were transferred to the VNAF in November 1972. There is no record of its fate (Gary Koldyke) By October 1968 there were three A-1 squadrons operating at Nakhon Phanom, and with the 6th SOS at Pleiku, the high water mark (100+ aircraft) was reached for the USAF A-1 in Southeast Asia. This would soon change as the war seemingly began to wind down for the Air Force following the cessation of Operation Rolling Thunder on 1 November 1968. With the disbandment of the 602nd SOS on 31 December 1970, the 1st SOS was the last remaining USAF Skyraider squadron in-theatre.
When being trained to fly the Skyraider, the VNAF upgrade pilot would be in either the right or left seat, depending on the phase of their training. More than 50 per cent of the missions flown by the unit during this period were in the training category, as reported at the end of 1964. There were initially 20 qualified Skyraider pilots in the squadron, but by the end of the year this number had increased to 31. By March 1965, the requirement to carry a VNAF observer had been removed, and at the same time the markings worn by the Skyraiders of the 34th TG reverted to those of the USAF.