USAF and VNAF A-1 Skyraider Units of the Vietnam War

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Byron E. Hukee
ISBN
978-1-78096-068-5
Other Publication Information
Softcover, 96 pgs, 77 b&w and color photos, 30 color profiles
MSRP
$22.95
Product / Stock #
Combat Aircraft 97
Company: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Cover

The Skyraider was a part of the war in Southeast Asia from the start and soldiered on until the war ended in 1975. This volume looks at Skyraiders operated by US pilots in Vietnamese markings, as well as those operated by both USAF and Vietnamese pilots. From the early days when the US was extremely secretive about it’s involvement until the end, the Skyraider was there.

The book is broken down into four chapters. The first discusses the aircraft and its ordinance! Since all of the USAF and VNAF Skyraiders were ex-USN aircraft, a listing of all the modifications is shown on page eleven. A good discussion of the many problems with the Korean War-vintage 20mm wing guns and ammo is also given here. The older percussion-primed ammo led to jammed guns and exploding ammo, as well as overheating! All of the various bomb and rocket loads are discussed as well. One of the more unique items was the “Madden kit”! This was a converted flare canister that held various survival items needed by a downed airman. They were painted bright yellow so they could be easily seen in the jungle and were dropped to downed airmen when needed.

Chapter two covers the original Skyraider units in Vietnam. These were all VNAF birds, and the VNAF pilots had already seen combat with T-28s and F8Fs when they were given conversion training in Texas in 1961. The first USAF Skyraider unit arrived at Bien Hoa in June 1964.

Chapter three offers coverage of those units that were considered the follow-on units. These were very active in the middle years of the war. USAF units flew a lot of SAR missions with those of the VNAF supporting the South Vietnamese Army in fights against the VC. It was also at this time (late 1968) that some units of the VNAF began to phase out their Skyraiders for the jet-powered Cessna A-37.

Chapter four covers the last Skyraider units in Vietnam. One of the best passages in this chapter is a story about AH-1G Cobra pilot Capt. Bill Reeder and VNAF A-1 pilot Lt. Nguyen Dinh Xanh, both of whom were shot down and captured. Put in a temporary prison camp with about 200 other prisoners, they were all marched 11 days through the jungle to Hanoi. The story of their survival and how they helped each other is most compelling.

I really liked this book! The fact that the author flew Skyraider missions in Vietnam means that he can and does provide information that could only come from one with experience with the aircraft in-theater. As with other books in this series, one of the highlights is the 30 different profiles of USAF and VNAF Skyraiders, all of which are superb! I can recommend this book to modelers and historians alike! If you are interested in the Vietnam War or the Skyraider you will like this book.

My thanks to Osprey Publishing for the review copy, and my thanks to IPMS/USA for the review opportunity!

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