|Your cart is currently empty|
In 1963, USAF modified 150 Skyraiders into A-1Es for use by the 1st Air Commando Wing. USAF units began flying the Skyraider in Vietnam in 1964 and by the end of 1972, the last of the A-1s of the 1st Special Operations Squadron were turned over to the VNAF. In those eight years of operations, the Air Force used the Skyraider for a variety of missions. There were A-1 squadrons which flew exclusively at night to interdict truck traffic along the Ho Chi Minh trail. Other squadrons were supporting General Vang Pao and his loyalists in Laos. Army special operations were also supported by A-1s on priority missions.
The common bond between all A-1 squadrons was SAR , They were also used to perform one of the Skyraider's most famous roles: the "Sandy" helicopter escort on combat rescues. USAF Major Bernard F. Fisher piloted an A-1E on the 10 March 1966 mission for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor for rescuing Major "Jump" Myers at A Shau Special Forces Camp. USAF Colonel William A. Jones, III piloted an A-1H on the 1 September 1968 mission for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. In that mission, despid to his base and reported the position of a downed US airman.
The Skyraider had all the necessary assets; speed, ordnance carrying capability, communications, and the ability to withstand punishment. Since the A-1 was frequently operated near its maximum gross weight, its speed capability was not fast. There was a standing joke among Spad drivers. There was only one speed you had to remember- 120 knots. You took off at 120 knots, cruised at 120 knots, and landed at 120 knots. Weapons deliveries were planned at higher airspeeds, maybe as high as 250 knots, but after third or fourth pass, 120 knots worked for weapons delivery too.