Friday, July 31, 2009

August 1, 1966

Another long day in a long air war, during the year the US should have won the Vietnam War ...

Four US aircraft were lost in SEA:

F-104C 56-0928, 435TFS 8TFW, flying out of Udorn AB, was lost to a SAM while flying CAP for an Iron Hand mission over North Vietnam. The pilot, Capt. John Kwortnick, was killed.

F-105D 62-4380, 13TFS 388TFW, Korat AB, was lost to AAA fire eroute to attack the Thai Nguyen rail yard. Pilot Capt. Ken Walter, ejected and spent 7 years as a POW.

F-104C 57-0295, 435TFS, 8TFW. The 435th had a run of bad luck on this day, losing two of its Starfighters. This one was was also lost to a SAM while covering the Thai Nguyen rail yard attack. Lt. Col. Arthur Finney was killed instantly.

O-1E 56-2550, 20TASS 505TACG was downed by groundfire near the DMZ. Pilot Lt. Col. E Abersold was recovered with light injuries.

A side note - the F-104's deployment to the Vietnam theater was nothing short of a disaster. the aircraft was useless for ground attack. It was used primarily as an anti-MiG defender for air strikes, and as point defense for airbases from attack from the North Vietnamese Air Force (a threat that never materialized). Every mission it was used on in SEA was a testament to the aircraft's inability to perform any of those missions.

1 comment:

AP80 said...

Thank you for writing these reminders to honor the men and woman who bravely gave their all to make the most of what they had to work with... What infuriates me is that most Americans are clueless that so many were/are lost because of inadequate defense budgets and contracts riddled with politics instead of good sense. And sadly we are still losing men and women today for the same stupid reasons.