PROJECT CORONA HARVEST
DO NOT DESTROY
1 October 1968 thru 31 December 1968
- 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|
|SECTION III - MISSION|
|The mission of the 510th Tactical Fighter Squadron during the period 1 October 1968 through 31 December 1968 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|
|SECTION V - EQUIPMENT|
21 F-100's Assigned
18 F-100's Possessed
|B. WEAPONS (INCLUDING MISSILES)
Group 4 - Downgrade at 3 year Intervals:
Declassified after 12 years
Section VI - Narrative
(U) "Buzzards of Bien Hoa", a proud call sign and well known among forward air controllers for target area professionalism, flew 1791 combat sorties against the Communist Viet Cong and those insurgents presently engaged in aggressive actions in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam during the period 1 October 1968 to 31 December 1968. The *** counts were high which encouraged high levels of morale and achievements among operations and maintenance personnel. The attachments contain a summary contain a summary of sorties flown, ordinance delivered, battle damage assessments, and awards.
(C) Viet Cong activity throughout III and IV Corps was characterized by surges in intensity. During this quarter Bien Hoa Air Base came under 2 separate rocket and mortar attacks. On the night of October 26th, a metal shelter covering a 510th revetment took a direct hit from a 107 mm rocket. Shrapnel was scattered over a wide area of the "Buzzard" ramp with negative damage to personnel or aircraft.
(U) Buzzard Operations staff reached new highs in providing the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing with dedicated, operationally ready fighter pilots. In addition to the normal influx of young, less experienced pilots, the Operations Section was given the task of checking out two senior attached pilots, who had never dropped ordnance from the F-100. The quickness and skill with which these checkouts and all normal theater upgrading were completed reflect great credit upon the Operations Section and the entire squadron. As of 31 December 1968 all squadron pilots are operationally ready and only four recent arrivals are not day and night alert qualified.
(U) The pilot turnover continued this quarter with five new pilots assigned and eight departing for a net loss of three pilots. Buzzard pilots presently average 670 hours in the F-100. This increase from the 640 hour average of the third quarter is due primarily to the loss of many young experienced wingmen and does not truly reflect an increase in combat experience. With the advent of the *** directive dated 4 December 1968, on limited element lead qualification, the squadron found itself with an excellent ration of 19 lead qualified pilots to seven wingmen. The immediate benefit of this status has been the flexibility that it gives our scheduling officer and the boost in the morale of the previously "hard core" wingmen.
(U) The aggressiveness of the Buzzards was exemplified by the way squadron commitments were accomplished. Although enemy activity during this period was generally light, the Buzzards were most capable and willing to strike under any circumstances. Their aggressiveness in combat continued to be recorded through a large number of awards and decorations for both assigned and attached pilots. A summary of all awards and decorations submitted and received during the quarter may be found in attachment 9.
(C) Continued accuracy of enemy ground-fire, combined with the Buzzards extraordinary aggressiveness resulted in the 510th Tactical Fighter Squadron achieving the dubious distinction of receiving more battle damage than any other squadron in the Wing. On the 1794 combat missions flown, 21 aircraft sustained significant battle damage, but with no aircraft losses. In all cases, the damage was a result of hostile fire and the efforts to reduce these figures***
(C) With the advent of the dry season, 7th Air Force directed that when feasible, lead aircraft on III and IV Corps missions would carry low drag bombs in place of high drags. The objective was to reduce the exposure to the enemy ground fire envelope. The program was ret with mixed emotions by the pilots since most felt it would degrade their ability to support troops in contact. However, the idea sees to be very sound since there has actually been very little reduction in flexibility and statistics have shown that the vast majority of battle damage is being sustained by the wingmen delivering napalm in the high exposure envelope close to the ground.
(C) During the second week in December the Buzzards began a test program dropping their external fuel tanks and carrying six stores of ordnance. Presently we are the only F-100 squadron in SEA to be configured in this manner. Initial tests have been very satisfactory with enthusiasm from the forward air controllers very high, although our effective operating area has been reduced to about a 100 nautical mile radius. Some experimentation with daily refueling has been done and the possibility of striking deep into IV corps with a tanker hook-up looks promising. As a result of the refueling tests, we are the only squadron in the wing whose pilots are current in air to air refueling.
(C) During the first two months of the quarter the Buzzards made every effort to support the new RAFCOM by making *** recoveries when at all possible. With the dust and haze problem that normally accompanies the dry season, the Wing benefited in two ways. First, the *** approach is safer and provides a *** traffic flow for the tower. Secondly, the extra approach helps increase the proficiency of the *** and the pilots. Also, Ten Son Nhut does not get unexpected F-100's on their runway in the middle of the night. Rumor has it that this happened to a highly experienced, slightly embarrassed Buzzard. After the beginning of the six store test in December, the 510th utilization of RAFCON dropped off due to fuel considerations.
(C) This quarter saw an increase in the support and suppression missions flown in conjunction with the Ranch *** C-123's. These missions are the most enjoyable day frag sorties flown. On several occasions formations of eight or more Buzzard aircraft suppressed extremely hot targets. The only hit the Ranch received while being supported by the Buzzards was a long CBU-2 pellet that hit *** Alpha Load on a 22 November mission. The Buzzards presented the Ranch crew a bottle of Champagne as a peace offering during the flight debriefing.
(C) During this quarter the squadron flew an increased number of Sky Spot missions and after the start of the six store test the number of ME-117 bombs dropped on each mission increased from eight to twelve significant increase but the pilots still do not feel we warrant any SAC silver stars.
(U) It was extremely gratifying to see the cooperation and diligence displayed by the operations and maintenance staffs during this period. It can be truly said that the maintenance and munitions staff under the direction of Major James C. McCoin, FR***, Captain Leslee ***, FR61851, and Captain Ben D. Booker, FV3135475, reached a new plateau of effectiveness during the period. Squadron commitments were met easier with smoothness and skill previously unknown.
(U) The Maintenance Section directed by Major McCoin was reorganized into three flights instead of the previous two. With a influx of more experienced NCO's and the benefits of our aggressive OJT program the quality of service rendered Buzzard pilots has never been higher. The new men soon became aware of the fact that they were Buzzards and they take pride in the association. On numerous occasions, Buzzard aircraft were flown by pilots over other fighter squadrons in the Wing because our aircraft were available and theirs were not.
(U) At the end of the quarter that 510th Tactical Fighter Squadron has 21 aircraft assigned with 18 possessed. All aircraft have completed the Center Wing Box (MOD 1028) modification. Two aircraft completed IRAN at Tainan, Taiwan during the quarter.
(U) The Buzzard Phase Docks performed 45 phase inspections during this period. Each aircraft was lost from the flying schedule for an average of 40 hours while in phase. TSgt Wimsett, AF17384209, the Dock Chief was faced with a backlog of aircraft when he took over in October, but through a program worked out with line chiefs, the Buzzard aircraft phase inspections have reached a smooth flow allowing for better utilization of Dock time and facilities.
(U) The OJT program continued to be the number one among the operational units. Major Eugene F. Mill, FR65146, was put in charge of the OJT program in October when Captain Corl*** was sent TDY and subsequently *** to 7th AF. Of the 36 men on OJT, 18 were tested and upgraded. It is only through *** and emphasis paced on this program by the Commander through all echelons that the Buzzards can maintain their top rating.
(U) In our Civic Action program, the squadron blessed Christmas cheer on 40 Vietnamese orphans with gifts and ice cream. The squadron also distributed 12,500 lbs of gifts donated by Eastern Airlines to the VNAF. These gifts were for a Christmas party for some 4000 Vietnamese children. The 510th has for some time supported four high school students in the Bien Hoa area.
(U) Aside from mission achievements, the 510th personnel have accomplished another almost impossible feat. We have come as close as possible in making our squadron and crew quarters a nice home away from home. Our squadron building has wall to wall carpeting, soft leather chairs, beautiful mahogany paneled walls and complete stereo system, all paid for with private funds.
(U) We invite all historical date readers to visit the 510th Tactical Fighter Squadron and witness the many prized accomplishments of the "Buzzards of Bien Hoa." Last, but the "Most" important to all "Buzzards" is that we bring to a close a very historical year with the statement, "We have completed one year of accident free flying."
HARVEY L. THOMPSON, 1Lt, USAF
ROBERT H. McINTOSH, Lt Col, USAF
COMBAT MISSION BREAKDOWN
1 October 1968 - 31 December 1968
Total Sorties: 1548
|Combat Sky Spot||114|
|Air Interdiction Support||948|
|Close Air Support||106|
|Automatic Weapons Positions||0||0||12||0||1||0|
|Rocket Launch Sites||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Meters of Trenches||1,150||128||1,1912||270||565||0|
|Foxholes/ Fighting Positions||4,037||0||34||0||0||0|