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Narrated USAF gun camera footage from the Vietnam War.
USAF Film Report FR-944
Originally a public domain film from the National Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).
The In-Country Air War 1965-1972
As 1965 opened, there was a desperate feeling among American officials in Washington and Saigon that something had to be done to raise South Vietnamese morale and reverse the depressing political and military situation. In early January, General Khanh agreed to continue supporting Premier Huong, but at month’s end he ousted Huong from office.
South Vietnam ‘s governmental turmoil did not end for another 6 months. During that period the military installed and removed a second civilian premier and, finally, ousted Khanh himself, who then went into exile. On 21 June, the Armed Forces Council installed Maj. Gen. Nguyen Van Thieu as the new chief of state and Air Marshal Ky as prime minister. While the South Vietnamese were still struggling to organize a viable government, the Viet Cong launched a series of destructive attacks on allied facilities.
Thus, in the early morning of 7 February 1965, enemy mortar and demolifion teams struck with 81-mm mortars against the U.S. advisory compound and airstrip at the ARVN II Corps headquarters in the Pleiku area, killing 8 Americans and wounding more than 100. Five U.S. helicopters were destroyed and other aircraft damaged. An hour later the Viet Cong attacked and set fire to aviation storage tanks at Tuy Hoa airfield. Fortunately, there were no casualties.
These events triggered a meeting in Washington of the National Security Council and President Johnson’s decision to order immediate retaliatory air raids against barracks and staging areas in the southern reaches of North Vietnam. That same afternoon, although the target areas were covered by clouds, 49 aircraft from naval carriers struck North Vietnamese Army barracks at Dong Hoi.
The USAF-VNAF portion of the retaliatory response was held up because of adverse weather. However, the next afternoon-accompanied by 20 F-100’s flying flak suppression sorties-28 VNAF A-1’s hit barracks at Chap Le. The President, emphasizing that these air strikes (Operation Flaming Dart) were reprisals for the earlier attacks, reiterated that the United States sought no wider war.
The enemy replied on 8 February when the Viet Cong struck Soc Trang airfield without inflicting casualties or damage. Two days later, however, they blew up a U.S. Army enlisted men’s barracks at Qui Nhon, killing 23 Americans, 7 Vietnamese, and wounding many others. The Allies responded immediately, launching Air Force, Navy, and VNAF planes against NVA barracks at Chanh Hoa and Vit Thu Lu…
On 8 March the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade landed at Da Nang to secure American installations there. On 5 May the Army’s 173d Airborne Brigade arrived at Bien Hoa to defend the military complex there. By the end of May 50,000 American troops were in South Vietnam, 10,000 of them Air Force, and more were to come. On 25 July the President, deciding that an even larger force commitment was necessary to save South Vietnam, authorized an additional troop buildup to 125,000 men.
As the American ground forces increased , so did U.S. air power. In February 1965, the Strategic Air Command deployed two B-52 squadrons to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for possible use over South Vietnam. In April the Air Force activated four 0-1 squadrons in South Vietnam. The first U.S. Marine F-4B’s arrived at Da Nang on 12 April and immediately began flying close air support missions. A number of Air Force tactical fighter and bomber squadrons also deployed to Vietnam on temporary duty assignments, which were later made permanent. In October 1965 the first of five F-100 squadrons moved to Bien Hoa and Da Nang. They were followed in November by F-4C Phantoms of the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing, which were based at Cam Ranh Bay, and experimental AC-47 gunships at Tan Son Nhut. By year’s end, the Air Force had more than 500 aircraft and 21 ,000 men at eight major bases in South Vietnam…