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Research Library. Model Room. Book Heritage Flight. Book Aircraft for Air Shows. It featured a wide fuselage with side-by-side seating and room for additional crewmembers behind the pilots resulted in an extremely versatile combat aircraft since there was room for system operators for several missions, including electronic countermeasures and early warning. By the U.
Marines had long since converted all of their tactical squadrons to the A-4 Skyhawk. The Navy continued to operate Skyraiders that, in as a result of Department of Defense overhaul of aircraft designations, were now designated as A-1s. In the course of this operation the first U. Navy pilot to be killed in the Vietnam War was shot down.
Alvarez, also an A-1H pilot, was shot down and captured. He is considered to be the longest-serving prisoner of war from the Vietnam War.
Following conversion of an AD-1 to an AD-2 preproduction prototype, initial service deliveries began in , with AD-2s built in all. Night-attack Skyraiders also proved their worth, engaging targets by the light of airdropped flares. There was a stinger-style arresting hook behind the tailwheel. Photo by Caliaro Luigino. Because of its ability to carry large bomb loads, absorb heavy ground fire and fly for long periods at low altitude, the Skyraider was particularly suited for close-support as well as search and rescue missions.
Air Force. During the Vietnam War it was a tradition that no crew member of any "Jolly Green" or the crews of the fire suppression aircraft would ever be allowed to spend their own money in any bar when aircrews of other aircraft, regardless of service, were present.
On March 10, , Major Bernard F. In the course of the action Maj. Fisher landed under withering fire, taxied the length of the debris-strewn runway, was hit over nineteen times and affected the rescue of the downed pilot.
For his heroism, Maj. Fisher was awarded the Medal of Honor. Shortly thereafter, on April 30, the South Vietnamese surrendered and most of the remaining A-1s were destroyed, thereby ending the combat career of this remarkable aircraft. A-1s fired rockets and missiles, dropped bombs and napalm, flares, and just about any weapon in the arsenal…even one Mark 1 Mod 0 toilet, on targets during their service in Vietnam. By , the Skyraider had been completely retired in Navy service.
However, there was another service still using Skyraiders in Vietnam. The United States Air Force flew Skyraiders in Vietnam from until , when the remaining examples were transferred to the Vietnamese Air Force, whose pilots had been trained to fly them by the United States beginning in A detailed account of that incredible mission can be found here.
The other Skyraider pilot was performing the mission for which the Skyraider was perhaps best known in Vietnam- combat search and rescue CSAR support. Jones would fly the lead in and coordinate the rescue mission- call sign Sandy One. Jones did not want to go 0 for 2 that day so he bored in low and finally located the pilot.
In so doing he took numerous hits from enemy ground fire. One of those hits disabled his ejection seat and jettisoned only his canopy. After Jones landed he passed on the exact position of the downed pilot before he would accept medical care for his serious injuries.
The Air Force lost a total of Skyraiders all causes in Vietnam. The Navy lost another 65 of them all causes. The Skyraider was honored at least in most cases with the longest list of nicknames in aviation history. These terms of endearment and respect for the most part included the well-known and obscure; the universal and narrowly specific; the humorous and descriptive.
Gabon finally retired the last operational Skyraiders on the planet in Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.