Nha Trang Air Base - History - USAF Air Commando Wing

USAF Air Commando Wing

The United States Air Force activated the 14th Air Commando Wing on 8 March 1966 at Nha Trang Air Base during the Vietnam War. The USAF forces stationed there were under the command of the United States Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) Seventh Air Force. The APO for Nha Trang Air Base was APO San Francisco, 96240

Operations of the unit included close and direct air support, interdiction, combat airlift, aerial resupply, visual and photographic reconnaissance, unconventional warfare, counterinsurgency operations, psychological warfare (including leaflet dropping and aerial broadcasting), forward air control operations and escort, search and rescue, escort for convoy and defoliation operations, flare drops, civic actions, and humanitarian actions.

The 14th Air Commando Wing distinguished itself by extraordinary heroism, exceptional gallantry and outstanding performance of duty in action against hostile forces in Southeast Asia from March 8, 1966 to March 7, 1967, earning a Presidential Unit Citation. Flying thousands of widely diversified sorties, elements of the Wing caused many enemy casualties and destroyed or damaged more than 8,500 structures, 500 trucks and 60 fuel sites as well as numerous automatic weapon positions, radio stations, bridges and boats.

Flying the venerable C-47 aircraft, one squadron of the Wing helped abort a large number of night hostile operations against friendly forts and hamlets through flare drops and minigun saturation fire. Despite the often heavy and accurate enemy antiaircraft fire, the search and rescue missions of the Wing recovered 91 skilled airmen during this period. In addition, the Wing's psychological warfare missions directly or indirectly influenced the surrender of thousands of enemy soldiers. Operational squadrons at Nha Trang were:

Also operated out of Phan Rang Air Base.
  • 5th Special Operations Squadron 8 March 1966 - 15 October 1969 (C-47D, SC-47D, U10A/B, Tail Code: EO)
  • 6th Air Commando Squadron 8 March 1966 - July 1968
moved to Pleiku Air Base during July 1968 and redesignated 6th SOS.
  • 9th Special Operations Squadron 25 January 1967 - 14 October 1969 (O-2B, C-47D, Tail Code: ER)
  • 14th Air Commando Squadron 25 October 1967 - 1 May 1968 (AC-47D)
Replaced by: 3d Special Operations Squadron 1 May 1968 - 15 September 1969 (AC-47D, Tail Code: EL)
  • 15th Special Operations Squadron 15 March 1968 - 14 October 1969 (C-130E (I))
  • 17 Special Operations Squadron 1 June 1969 - 14 October 1969 (AC-119)
  • 18 Special Operations Squadron 1 October 1969 - 14 October 1969 (AC-119)
The 15th ACS, 17th, and 18th SOS transferred to Phan Rang Air Base on 14 October 1969 performing combat and combat rescue operations.
  • 20th Special Operations Squadron 8 March 1966 - 14 October 1969 (CH-3, UH-1)
Transferred to Tuy Hoa Air Base 14 October 1969 performing combat operations.
  • 602d Air Commando Squadron 8 March 1966 - 8 April 1967
  • 604th Special Operations Squadron 15 November 1967 - 14 October 1969 replaced 602d and transferred to Phan Rang Air Base on 14 October 1969
  • 71st Special Operations Squadron 20 December 1968 - 10 June 1969 (AC-119)
Part of the Indiana Air National Guard. In South Vietnam, the squadron performed combat gunship, forward air control, and other special operations. Deactivated and transferred to Bakalar Air Force Base, Indiana to resume reserve training.
  • 21st Tactical Air Support Squadron (TASS)
Relocated from Pleiku Air Base in September 1966 where it was attached to the 14th Air Commando Wing under the 505th Tactical Air Control Group. On 8 December 1966, the 505th was re-designated the 504th The headquarters for the squadron remained at Nha Trang until October 1969 when it was transferred to Cam Ranh Air Base.

The 14th ACW moved to Phan Rang AB on 15 October 1969, which ended the USAF operational use of Nha Trang AB.

Read more about this topic:  Nha Trang Air Base, History

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