Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Covert, secret missions along the ‘Ho Chi Minh Trail’

Another interesting article about aviation during the Vietnam War. Worth a read ...

For 30 years, Michael P. Smith Jr. could say nothing about his service while based in Thailand during the Vietnam War. It is a story about a group of men who worked covertly on missions that saved the lives of many of their fellow servicemen. 

While not the official designation, the squadron is nicknamed the “Ghost Squadron.” Its official designation was Observation Squadron 67, or VO-67, though observation had basically nothing to do with why the squadron was created and deployed in 1967. The real mission of the squadron members was so secret that not even the personnel at the Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base in Thailand knew why they were there.

The mission was declassified in 1998, 30 years after the squadron was disbanded, and about two weeks ago the squadron received a Presidential Unit Citation during a ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.

“The trail was regarded as one of the most heavily defended areas in the Vietnam War. Many 37 and 57mm radar controlled AAA guns and small arms awaited the slow lumbering OP-2E Neptunes as they made there long straight line run in to implant the coded sensors. The squadron would eventually implant several thousand ‘Acoubuoys’ (electronic listening devices) along the trail. At times approaching the target area at 50 feet above the terrain then popping up to 500 feet just before the target, implant sensors, and then a max-power jinking clime out. VO-67 was also the only aircraft squadron, of any service, to use the famous Norden Bombsight during the Vietnam War. The sight was used to implant the ‘Adsid’ sensor, Air Delivered Seismic Detection Sensor, at altitudes of 2,000 to 3,000 feet. 

Read the Full Story ..

For more information on the Squadron, check out its WebSite ..

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