July - Sept 1969

Project Corona Harvest
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PROJECT CORONA HARVEST
DO NOT DESTROY
NO: 0018497 (***)

1 July 1969 thru 30 September 1969

- Group 4 -
Downgrade at 3 year intervals.
Declassified after 12 years.

Air Force Form 7

Section I - ASSIGNMENT
Major Air Command Numbered Air Force Air Division Wing Group
PACAF 7th Air Force N/A 3rd Tac Ftr Wg N/A

 

SECTION II - SUBORDINATE UNITS
None

 

SECTION III - MISSION
The mission of the 510th Tactical Fighter Squadron during the period 1 July 1969 through 30 September 1969 has been to supply combat ready aircrews to the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing. The latest mission of the 510th Tactical Fighter Squadron in support of the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing has been to conduct combat operations against the Communist Viet Cong and/or Democratic Republic of Vietnam insurgents as directed by Headquarters 7th Air Force, and to assist and cooperate with the VNAF units assigned at Bien Hoa Air Base toward this end.

 

SECTION IV - PERSONNEL
  Officers Airmen Civilian Total
Assigned 25 85 0 108
Authorized 28 97 0 122
Attached 9 0 0 9

 

SECTION V - EQUIPMENT
A. AIRCRAFT
21 F-100's Assigned
17 F-100's Possessed (1 F-100F on loan from Tuy Hoa)
5 F-100's IRAN
B. WEAPONS (INCLUDING MISSILES)
N/A
C. ELECTRONICS
N/A
D. OTHER
N/A
Group 4 - Downgrade at 3 year Intervals:
Declassified after 12 years.


Section VI - Narrative
(C) The 510th Tactical Fighter Squadron, "Buzzards of Bien Hoa," flew 1317 combat sorties against the Communist Viet Cong and those insurgents engaged in aggressive actions in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam during the period 1 July 1969 through 30 September 1969. The attachments to this report contain a summary of sorties flown, ordinance delivered, battle damage assessments, awards received, and personnel turnover.

(C) Bien Hoa Air Base sustained five light rocket attacks during the quarter, but did not come under ground attack. These attacks caused no damage to property or injury to personnel of the 510th TFS.

(U) As of 30 September 1969, all but one of the pilots assigned to the 510th TFS were operationally ready and only two pilots were not day and night alert qualified.

(U) The pilot turnover for this quarter resulted in a net gain of one pilot with ten new pilots arriving and nine departing. Of these nine departing pilots, only five returned home to their families and new assignments. Of the remaining four pilots who departed the squadron, one was assigned to the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing as Weapons Officer, one to 7th Air Force Headquarters at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, and two to the 19th TASS as Forward Air Controllers.

(U) Lieutenants Stephen Morehouse and Thomas Jacobus were selected from the 510th TFS to become Forward Air Controllers. Experienced fighter pilots were wanted to begin an in-country check out program in the OV-10, and as a result the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing was requested to supply ten such pilots. Lt Morehouse left with 105 combat missions and Lt Jacobus left with 95 combat missions. The 510th TFS was sorry to see these two fine young pilots leave, but at the same time everyone knew they would do a truly outstanding job as OV-10 pilots and Forward Air Controllers. The fighter background Lieutenants Morehouse and Jacobus gained in the 510th TFS will certainly be an invaluable asset to them as they control air strikes during the rest of their tour in Vietnam.

(U) With the large turnover in pilots during the quarter, there were significant changes in the staff of the 510th TFS. Lt Col David P. Proctor Jr., 431524618FR, was Squadron Commander until 6 September 1969. Major Ronald M. Clements, 256502148FR, moved up from Operations Officer to Squadron Commander on 6 September 1969. Major Bennett Stone, 274327487FV, replaced Major Clements as Operations Officer and Major Richard D. Tindall, 333241283FR, replaced Major Stone as Assistant Operations Officer. Major Glen O. Darrow, 563304551FV, replaced Captain Gerald E. Reddick, 256484533FV, as Maintenance Officer, and Captain Reddick replaced Captain Leonard H. Moon, 528444888FR, as Flight Line Maintenance Officer. Captian Moon returned to C Flight as a line pilot.

(U) Lt Col David P. Proctor Jr., finished his tour in Vietnam on 6 September 1969 and returned home. His presence was missed by all members of the 510th TFS who gave his rousing send-off with a *** Change *** Flight and going away party. Lt Col Proctor was instrumental in building the 510th TFS into the finest squadron in the 3rd TFW.

(C) In an effort to scale down the war and reduce the war cost, the sortie rate for F-100's was cut throughout South Vietnam. This was evidenced by the fact that the 510th TFS flew only 1317 combat missions during the quarter opposed to 1773 combat missions the previous quarter. As a result of this reduced sortie rate, training missions were instituted to keep pilot and maintenance personnel proficiency at a high level. During the training flights pilots practiced close and tactical formations, instrument approaches, simulated gunnery and bombing passes and any other phases of training they flew were necessary and useful. Since the average F-100 flight time per pilot was only 419 hours as of 30 September 1969, the training flights served as a valuable aid in building pilot experience, competence, and confidence in the F-100.

(U) Maintenance continued their outstanding work in supplying the squadron with operationally ready aircraft throughout the quarter. As in previous quarters, the 510th TFS flew more sorties than either of the other F-100 squadrons in the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing. During the quarter the maintenance personnel turnover rate was unusually high. *** through the fine training and supervision conducted by operations and maintenance personnel, the 510th TFS maintained a truly outstanding level of proficiency and readiness.

(C) As of 30 September 1969, the 510th TFS had 18 aircraft authorized, 21 assigned, and 17 possessed. There were four F-100D's and one F-100F at Tainan, Taiwan for IRAN modification. An F-100F from Tuy Hoa was temporarily on loan to the 510th TFS while the F-100F assigned to the squadron was at Tainan. Of the 21 aircraft assigned to the Squadron, 19 were modified to give the capability of dropping all bombs singly.

(C) The "Buzzards" had a truly amazing and enviable record of battle damage sustained during the past quarter. Although one aircraft was lost due to enemy ground fire, only three others were hit during the entire quarter. This was the lowest number of hits of any squadron in the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing. With the monsoon season creating marginal weather conditions throughout the quarter, a higher percentage of high drag bombs were used which required low angle deliveries. Even with this added exposure to enemy ground fire, the squadron had the lowest battle damage rate since its' arrival in Vietnam in November 1965! This low battle damage rate was due in a large part tot eh efforts of the Squadron Commander and Operations staff and their constant emphasis on weapons employment and tactics. Curvilinear approaches, changing dive angle deliveries, high angle strafe, and normally only three bomb passes were practiced by pilots of the 510th TFS. These techniques reduced exposure to ground fire and made tracking nearly impossible for enemy gunners.

(C) The one aircraft lost this quarter was piloted by Lt Stephen Morehouse. Lt Morehouse lost all oil pressure and immediately headed back for Bien Hoa. By the time he got back to Bien Hoa the engine was compressor stalling and would no longer run at a sufficient power setting to allow a landing attempt. Lt Morehouse ejected safely and guided his chute to a landing in the west drag chute jettison area on Base! The base rescue helicopter was hovering about him as he descended but he was picked up by the Base Operations Officer. The aircraft impacted about three miles west of Bien Hoa Air Base.

(U) Major Eugene F. Miller continued to supervise the On The Job Training (OJT) program. The OJT program had 13 personnel in upgrade training as of 30 September 1969. There were no failures on the tests administered this quarter which indicates the quality of OJT training and the ability of the airmen assigned to the 510th Tactical Fighter Squadron.

(U) As in previous quarters, the "Buzzards" are flying high as the best of the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing and probably the best squadron in all of SEA!


//SIGNED//
HAROLD R. SOCOLOFSY ***, 1Lt, USAF
Historian

//SIGNED//
RONALD M. CLEMENTS, Major, USAF
Commander

Attachment 1
COMBAT MISSION BREAKDOWN
1 July 1969 - 30 September 1969
Total Sorties: 1317

I Corps 0
II Corps 34
III Corps 652
IV Corps 631

 

Fragged 765
Day Scrambled 402
Night Scrambled 150
Combat Sky Spot 114
Troops in Contact 148