NOSE ART – If Webster had defined the term he probably would have noted that it was the personalization of some type of machine, usu­ally an aircraft, with a name and/or painting that reflected the present “owners" feelings toward that machine, his reason for using that machine, or his present emotions. Thus NOSE ART could express everything from love to hate to patriotism to quirks that only his machine had at the time. The actual “art" would range from paintings of gorgeous women to cartoon characters to just a simple name.

Although not strictly confined to military airplanes, that is where 99% of NOSE ART is found. One thing that all nose art had in common was the fact that it was never authorized, although in times of war it was rou­tinely condoned. Unit commanders had all they could handle in trying to keep up the morale of the crews under their command that were far from home and facing death on every mission. Anything that would break the tension of every day combat was certainly something that should be nur­tured.

One of the things that this author noted in researching this series was that NOSE ART reflected the attitude of the people involved in the war, both at the front and back home. During the Second World War, I found there were several basic themes to nose art – Sex, Patriotism, Music. GI Attitudes, Home, The Mission, The Airplane, and Luck. Sex and Patriotism were easily the front runners in the Second World War. Names such as “Abroad For Action" and “Double Busted Toby from Muskogee", with an appropriately unclothed female painting to go with the name, left little to the imagination about what U. S. troops were fight­ing for. While patriotic themes like “Nip Nipper” and “E-Rat-Icator" were usually accompanied by cartoon caricatures of Tojo and Hitler tak­ing a beating.

Thoughts of home carried a wide range of remembrances of more

Ceece was short for Cecil, the Seasick Sea Serpent, a popular car­toon show. The F-51D Mustang was flown by pilots of the National Advisory Committee For Aeronautics (later NASA). (Joe Bruch)
"De Boss" was a Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star serving with the Alaskan Air Command as a utility aircraft for unit commanders dur­ing 1969. (Norm Taylor)

peaceful times. Anything from cartoons like “Snow White" to places like ‘Omaha One More Time" – were all found on Army Air Force air­craft. The air and ground crew’s thoughts about the various airplanes were recorded with names such as “BigAss Bird" (a P-47) and “Twin – tailed Nifties" (a B-24). And there were a thousand different “Lucky Ladies."

The missions the crews Hew often reflected in the nose art. Cargo air­craft had such names as “Over Loaded." Reconnaissance aircraft were “Photo Fanny" and “Over Exposed." And night fighters carried names like “First Nighter" and “Sleepless Knights." Swing music was the sound of the era, and naturally some of the more famous titles became aircraft names. Songs like “In The Mood", “Sentimental Journey", and “Pistol Packin Mama" were big favorites throughout the war.

And the art! The art and artists that painted those airplanes were unri-

CALIFORNIA BOOMERANG was the California Air National Guard F – 86A that set the West Coast to East Coast to West Coast speed record on 21 May 1955. The BOOMERANG was assigned to the 115th Fighter Squadron at Van Nuys Air National Guard Base. (David Menard)

valed anywhere in history. Absolutely gorgeous free-hand paintings of females with, but usually without, clothes abounded. Quite often the artists would “borrow” a real piece of art and recreate it on the nose of an aircraft. The famous Vargas pin-ups that appeared in Esquire Magazine were copied and recopied. Cartoon characters were also a favorite of the combat crews, with Bugs Bunny and Donald Duck lead­ing the fight against the Axis Powers.

The end of the Second World War brought with it many changes. The dropping of the atom bomb signaled the dawn of a “new age”, and with it Congress created a new Air Force. And this new Air Force had new aircraft, new uniforms, and new regulations that forbade unauthorized paintings and/or symbols on the new aircraft. Nose art simply faded away with minor exceptions for elite units. This all changed on 25 June

DENNIS was a 55th Strategic Reconnissance Wing RB-47H electron­ic intelligence aircraft that was used to monitor Soviet radar emis­sions along their borders during the early 1960s. (55th Elint Assn.)
1950. On that date the North Korean communists attacked South Korea in an effort to militarily unify the country under communist rule. That attack began three long years of war between UN forces, led by U. S. troops and air power, and the North Korean and Chinese Reds. It also saw a resurgence in NOSE ART.

The nose art in Korea suffered from a certain lack of enthusiasm. The Second World War had a common goal of ALL the people – defeat of the Axis powers. They were “real” bad guys. In Korea there was sim­ply the veiled threat of a world takeover by the communists. And of the multiple nose art “themes” found during the Second World War, only Sex. Home, The Mission, and the old standard Luck remained. Patriotism was replaced by the UN mission and exemplified with names like “Red Eraser.”

The artists in the Korean Theater were easily the equal of their Second World War counterparts. But alas, the Vargas girls were gone, to be replaced by movie stars and free-hand paintings of just plain gorgeous females. Both Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell adorned more than one aircraft in Korea. Cartoon characters were still very much in vogue.

image12 image13

TOMMY’S TIGATOR was one of the B-52Ds assigned to the 4925th Test Group (Atomic) that dropped live nuclear weapons on the “tar­get” at Eniwetok Atoll during 1958. (AFM)



The Waiting Lady didn’t wait around for anyone. She was a F-104A with Air Defense Command’s 83rd Fighter Interceptor Squadron and was capable of 1,400+ mph speeds. (Marty Isham)

with Bugs Bunny and Sylvester P. Pussycat being among the favorites. But a new rascal began showing his ornriness late in the war. “Dennis The Menace" was a natural for any fighter pilot to use. Again, as it did at the end of the Second World War, the end of the Korean War saw the nose artist’s brushes go back on the shelf, with only a rare bit of nose art showing up on aircraft Hying in one of the many competition events that were staged throughout the 1950s.

The 1960s was an era that revolutionized the culture of this nation, indeed of the world. A President and his brother were both assassinated. The King of Rock and Roll was replaced by a Liverpool foursome call­ing themselves “The Beatles." There were peace marches, peace protests, race riots, and love-ins. Surfing was in and swing music was out. Gasoline was twenty-five cents a gallon, and cars had over 450

The Playmate, a RB-47H from the 55th SRW, wears the distinctive Playboy Magazine rabbit symbol on the TELL TWO fairing covering the Elint antennas. (55th Elint Assn.)


LUCKY SEVEN was another T-33A assigned to the Alaskan Air Command at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska during May of 1969. (Norm Taylor) horsepower. And there was a war. another Asian war. In August 1964 some North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked a U. S. destroyer in the South China Sea. President Lyndon Johnson ordered Air Force and Navy fighter-bombers to strike targets inside North Vietnam in retalia­tion for the torpedo attacks. It was the beginning of the longest, most hated and misunderstood conflict in U. S. history.

When the air strikes began the American populace took little notice. The attitude was “Oh well, we’ll whip those rice paddy daddys for

image17Homestead’s Hesperides Xlll/Guardian of the Golden Peace, was a B-52H from the 19th Bomb Wing. She was temporarily based at Wurtsmith Air Force Base during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. (Joe Bruch)

awhile and then we’ll come home.” But the “awhile” never seemed to come. With the war dragging on. the American people became disen­chanted with all aspects of it. People protested the war in streets all over America. Young men refused the draft and took refuge in Canada. Even the men that served and returned home were looked on with disdain. It was a very unpopular war.

But for the most part, the men that served and fought in Southeast Asia, had the same pride in themselves, their units, their mission and air­craft as air and ground crews of both the Second World War and Korea. With F-I05s striking deep into North Vietnam on a daily basis, it was almost inevitable that some type of nose art would again surface as it had in both previous wars. Names associated with the war soon were

The Playboy bunny symbol began adorning airplanes almost as soon as the magazine began appearing on the newstands. This F – 86H named PLAYBOY was assigned to the 104th TFS/Maryland Air National Guard. (Joe Bruch)
seen on the sides of the F-I05s. Names like “Hanoi Special” and “NorthBound” reflected the feelings of the crews that flew them. Again the names and art were a reflection of the times. What better name for an F-105 than “Protestor’s Protector.”

The prevalent themes of the nose artists in both Korea and the Second World War were long gone, even Sex. Yes, there was the occasional nude, but it was rare. In fact true nose art was rare. Usually the only per­sonalizing of a combat airplane in Southeast Asia was a simple name. Gorgeous Vargas girls of the Second World War were replaced by protest signs. Bugs Bunny was replaced by the new reigning king of the cartoons, Snoopy. Flag-waving slogans like “American Beauty” was translated to the image of the working class – “The Silent Majority.” And bomber aircraft like the B-52Ds had no art at all!

By far the most recognizable female was Little Annie Fannie, a Playboy Magazine cartoon cutie with enormous attributes. “Annie” made an appearance on many Southeast Asian aircraft. But she was the rarity, not the norm. Most of the “art” was simply an expression of the day, or a whim. “Crown Seven” was something you drank to forget the war, and the name of a F-105F Wild Weasel. “Peanuts” was the name of the comic strip that Snoopy came from, and the name of an awesome AC-l I9K gunship. Most of the “art” was cartoon form and made little or no sense with regards to the war. Some could be traced to the mission of the unit or airplane, like “SAM Fighter” and “Butterfly Bomber.” Values had changed and so had the nose art, for much of it was anti-war in nature.

In the early years of the war. Most of the F-I05s operating from bases in Thailand had names and minor forms of artwork. By 1968, the art had improved to the point where it was rivaling some of the better material in Korea. When the F-4Es arrived in 1969, the artwork took a giant stride in quality. The F-4E had a nice “canvas” to work with using the air intakes. Large paintings soon embellished the sleek Phantoms at Korat. They were named things like “Here Come Da Judge” and “Wrecking Crew.” The art itself ranged from the famous Warner Brothers “Roadrunner” character on “Arizona Chicken” to a large sham­rock on “Fighting Irish.” But few nudes!

Even this art was brought to an end quickly. It was terminated in 1970 by Air Force regulations. An edict came down from 7th Air Force to



Papa’s Sin was a TL-I9D Bird Dog flown by Squadron-Signal author Al Adcock when he was stationed at Tan Hep International Airport, South Vietnam during 1963 as an Army Forward Air Controller. (Al Adcock)


Little John was a F-100D assigned to the 531st TFS/39th Air Division based at Misawa Air Base, Japan during November of 1961. The very colorful Super Sabres had Red, White, and Blue bands on the nose, with Red and Blue chevrons on the tail. (Norm Taylor)

remove all art from its friendly fighter-bombers! The Air Force, in its inimitable wisdom had taken away another little morale booster from the fighting men in Southeast Asia. The crews of course, simply moved the nose art to the nose gear door. But the era of nose art in the Vietnam War had all but ceased to exist. Even the maximum efforts launched during the LINEBACKER operations of 1972 were clinically performed in virtually clean aircraft. When U. S. involvement ended in 1973, the Vietnam War drew to a close, so did nose art. Art would not return until the early 1980s when Strategic Air Command began allowing certain historical units to again adorn their aircraft with historical nose art. By 1991 and the beginning of the Gulf War, nose art could be found on vir­tually all aircraft types in the Air Force. But that is another part of the story.

This cartoon caricature of a B-52 was painted on the nose of the NB- 52B that served as the launch vehicle for the X-15 research aircraft. The NB-52B was assigned to the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, California during 1974. (Tom Brewer)



Trans-Paddie Airways was a UH-34 assigned to Marine Air Group 16 at Marble Mountain in the Summer of 1969. The UH-34 was still the primary mode of air transport for Marines this late in the war. (Arthur Sachel via Ernie Converse)

Tiki 2 was an armed UH-21C based at Nha Trang, Republic of Vietnam during 1963. The UH-21 was the primary mode of transport for Army troops early in the war. (Al Adcock ) (Left) The nose art on this UH-1B Huey was the Pink Panther, the cartoon character logo of the popular Peter Sellers movie by the same name. The MOTOWN logo would indicate that some member of the crew was from Detroit. The aircraft was assigned to the 361st Aviation Company. (Glenn R. Horton Jr.)

Pussycat was one of the 479th Tactical Fighter Wing’s F-104C Starfighters based at Danang during 1966. The F-104s were based in Vietnam as MiG Combat Air Patrol aircraft. Although there were several MiG scrambles and attempted intercepts, the two Mach 2 fighters (MiG-21 and F-104) never met in combat over Vietnam. (Tom Hansen)



MIGHTY MOUSE was an A-26K Counter-Invader with the 609th Special Operations Squadron, based at Nakhon Phanom Air Base, Thailand. The A-26s flew night interdiction missions against the Ho Chi Minh Trail during 1968. (USAF)

The Grunt 2 was a standard C-47D trash hauler flying cargo and mail out of Danang in the Fall of 1966. (Tom Hansen)



THE IRON EYEBALL was a RF-101C Voodoo of the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron/460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon. The aircraft made reconnaissance sweeps over North Vietnam during May of 1970, (USAF)

SGT C. A. Shaw puts the finishing touches to “Snuffy Smith” by the open rear door of one of the FC-47s armed with ten.30 caliber machine guns. The FC-47s were assigned to the 4th Air Commando Squadron at Bien Hoa during 1965. (C. A. Shaw)


Playboy had a skull wih a top had and white gloves as art. The UH – 21C was based at Nha Trang, South Vietnam during 1963. (Al Adcock)


REAPER was a Bell UH-1C Huey gunship with the Mavericks gun platoon. (Eugene Schwanebeck)

The Wooleyberger was one of the U. S. Army CH-37 Mohave heli­copters that performed heavy lift assignments early in the war. (U. S. Army)

This was the typical MORNING AFTER look after a long night on Tudo Street in Saigon. The art was carried on a U. S. Army UH-1C Huey gunship. (Eugene Schwanebeck)

Charles The 1st, was a Grumman C-1 Trader Carrier On Board Delivery (COD) transport at Danang during 1967. Charles was unusual in that it had the name painted on the nose. (Tom Hansen)


The sharkmouth marking that was very popular during the Second World War was also used in Southeast Asia. Here it is applied to a rather rare aircraft in Vietnam, a Grumman TF-9J FAST FAC of the 1st Marine Air Wing at Danang during September of 1967. (USMC)



HOT STUFF had a devilish Porky Pig cartoon on the nose under the U. S. Air Force logo. She was a B-52F Stratofortress of the 454th Bomb Wing and carried out some of the first ARC LITE missions of the war. There are eighteen Black bomb mission markings on the fuselage side. (Colonel Robert Amos)

Eight Ball, aka Arkansas Razorback, was a F-105D with the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron based at Korat, Thailand during 1966. She was armed with four 750 pound bombs on the centerline and a Sidewinder missile under the wing for self defense. (Aircraft Publicity Bureau)

image37"Подпись: The little guy on the tail of this F-4 Phantom assigned to the 366th TFW at Danang in October of 1966 was the “mascot” of all the McDonnell-Douglas crews - the true Phantom II. (Tom Hansen)image38"image39
Bugs Bunny’s nemesis Yosemite Sam was the mascot of the Bandits Platoon of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, and was painted on the doors of the unit’s UH-1 Hueys. (Glenn R. Horton Jr.)

This Snoopy was carried on the tail of the C-47D ‘hack’ assigned to the Base Flight of the 8th TFW at Ubon, Thailand in 1967. (Tom Hansen)

Sometimes the nose art was modified when a crew was changed or the mission changed or the aircraft itself was changed. This was “PUFF” the original FC-47 as it appeared when it was armed with three Gatling gun pods. (C. A. Shaw)



image41“Ripley’s BeLieve It Or Not” was a McDonnell – Douglas F-4D Phantom II. The aircraft was assigned to the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron/432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Udorn Air Base, Thailand during 1966. The aircraft has a 497th TFS Night Owl added to the intake, (via Tom Brewer)



The MYSTERY SHIP, a popular song by the rock group The Doors, was an extremely well done painting on the nose of a Huey ‘slick’ from the 57th Assault Helicopter Company at Tan Son Nhut. (Colonel J. Ward Boyce)

This UH-34 carried the artwork of Snuffy Smith when it was assigned to Marine Air Group Sixteen (MAG-16) at Marble Mountain Marine Air Base, South Vietnam during the Summer of 1969. (Arthur Sachel via Ernie Converse)

Snoopy II was a F-100D flown by LT Bruce Cereghino when he was assigned to the 81st TFS/50th TFW. (Dave Menard)

Подпись: -Г
image47image48“Git-Em” Bullett was one of the 4th Air Commando Squadron FC – 47Ds. The aircraft was armed with ten.30 caliber machine guns dur­ing 1965. The FC-47 Dragonships were assigned to the 14th Special Operations Wing at Nha Trang, but had detachments throughout South Vietnam to be closer to the action wherever Charlie appeared. (USAF)

Wiley Coyote holds an ‘Acme’ anti-SAM missile on this EF-105F Wild Weasel from the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Korat during 1967. (Jon Alquist)

Cat Killers was the name of an Army 0-1E Bird Dog Forward Air Controller (FAC) at Tan Son Nhut during 1965. (Colonel J. Ward Boyce)

The black bull insignia was actually a “zap” applied at Torrejon AB, Spain prior to crew E-17’s deployment to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam for ARC LITE missions with the 738th Bomb Squadron during 1965. (Colonel Robert Amos)



image50Snoopy the WW I Ace was carried on the nose of this EC – 121 Warning Star of VW-1 at NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii during 1969. (Nick Williams)



image53"Подпись: IP**image54

Mickey Titty Chi was assigned to the 34th TFS/388th TFW at Korat during late 1965, flying missions deep into Route Pack 6 (near Hanoi). At this early date no tail codes were carried on the F-105s. (Aircraft Publicity Bureau)


MISS MARIE was carried on the fuselage of a F-105D with the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Korat, Thailand during 1967. (Fairchild Republic)
“Birth Control” was definitely the attitude of the crew of this CH-47A Chinook gunship assigned to the 1st Air Cav. The Chinook gunship had.50 caliber machine guns in the windows, plus a 40mm grenade launcher under the nose and 20mm cannon on the sides. (APB) (Above & Below) No truer statement about the Vietnam War could be found than the one carried on this B-52D with the 99th Bomb Wing at Westover Air Force Base. The Stratofortress had over sixty-eight ARC LITE missions to her credit during 1968. Snoopy proclaimed for all to see – HAPPINESS IS HOME. The bombs on the fuselage side were in Red. (R. W. Harrison)

Charles Schultz’s famed Beagle, Snoopy rode The Great Pumpkin into the skies over Hanoi with the 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron. During 1966 the unit was based at Korat Air Base, Thailand. The air­craft was armed with six 750 pound bombs on a Multiple Ejector Rack (MER) on the centerline station (David Menard)


Подпись: «В® ... /ЗШ Hang On Snoopy, was an Army CH-37 Mohave firefighting helicopter at Phu Loi, South Vietnam during 1967. Snoopy was carrying a fire hydrant. (U.S. Army)


Just the name Lawdy Miss Kay was all that was carried on the nose of this RF-101C Voodoo of the 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Tan Son Nhut. (AFM)

(Below & Left) FLYING ANVIL IV, another fine description of the take­off performance of the F-105, was carried on a F-105D from the 355th TFW at Takhii during 1966. At this time no tail codes were carried on 355th TFW aircraft. The ANVIL was on the ramp at Danang following an inflight emergency. (Tom Hansen)


TUMBLEWEED sits on the ramp at Hill Air Force Base, Utah after many combat missions with the 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron during Operation LINEBACKER in 1972. The aircraft has many patched panels covering battle damage. (Hugh Muir)



Miss Minooky carried a copy of the famous Marilyn Monroe nude as nose art when the F-86D was assigned to the 25th FIS/51st FIW at Naha AB, Okinawa in the late 1950s. (Fernando Silva)

(Right) Lieutenant Xavier Guerra, was known as “X” and carried the name El Flying Wetback on his F-86D of the 94th FIS at the 1955 Yuma Worldwide Rocketry Meet. (Budd Butcher)

The High and Mighty One was certainly the correct name for the NB – 52A used to haul the X-15 research aircraft to its launch altitude. It was assigned to the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, California during 1965. (Tom Brewer)

lOL ROVER was a F-86D flown by Lieutenant Colonel Frank Rinn when he commanded the 94th Fighter Interceptor Squadron during 1955. The markings were typical of aircraft competing in the Worldwide Rocket Meet held at Yuma Air Force Base, AZ. (Budd Butcher)

Terry & Pirates was the name applied to the prototype FC-47D gun – ship by Captain Ron Terry and his “gang” at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida during 1964. (Jack Morris)


THE FOO PUSSY was a standard C-47B trash hauler that delivered mail, cargo and troops all over Southeast Asia. The PUSSY was parked on the ramp at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon during 1966. (AFM )

The EC-47Ns, Ps and Os intercepted Viet Cong radio traffic during the Vietnam War. Beep! Beep! was one of these ELINT aircraft assigned to the 360th TEWS at Tan Son Nhut Air Base during 1969. (USAF)




Подпись: Snoopy rode with Colonel Hal Comstock when he flew this F-100D with the 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Bien Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam during 1966. The skull marking is a carry over from Colonel Comstock’s Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. He flew the P-47 while assigned to the 56th Fighter Group during the Second World War. (David Menard)

Satan’s Chariot was a F-4C Phantom II assigned to the 559th TFS/I2th TFW at Cam Rahn Bay during 1968. The name was in White while all trim on the tanks, pylons, gear door, and tail was in Blue. (JEM Aviation Slides)

L’ll Guy was a RF-4C reconnaissance Phantom flown by Major Don Macholz, with Captain Ward Boyce as WSO. The RF-4C was assigned to the 11th TRS at Udorn, Thailand during 1968. (Colonel J. Ward Boyce)

image69 image70

HALF FAST was a near-sighted turtle carried on the fuselage of this EF-105F Wild Weasel of the 13th TFS at Korat in 1966. The Shrike missile was the preferred weapon of the SAM-suppression units in SEA. (via Marty Isham)

SHEHASTA was assigned to the commander of the 12th TFW at Cam Rahn Bay during 1969, Colonel Floyd White. Wing commanders had three color bands on the intake (Blue, Red and Yellow) and on the fin cap. (via Tom Brewer)



The PAHOKIE TIGER was a shark-mouthed F-100D of the 308th TFS/31st TFW based at Bien Hoa, South Vietnam during December of 1965. The shark teeth were in Yellow and the Tiger had at least 110 Black bomb Ye110 mission marks. (David Menard)

MUGLY OTHER was an EF-105F with the 13th TFS based at Korat, Thailand during 1967. The name fits the art, but not the airplane! (Aircraft Publicity Bureau)


Cherry Buster was the name carried on the XM-156 Universal Mount on the side of this UH-1C gunship of the 121st AHC at Soc Trang. The mount is carrying a 2.75 inch rocket pod. (via Lou Drendel)

“Bits & Pieces” was both the name of a song from the Dave Clack Five and this UH-1H in Vietnam during 1969. (Glenn R Horton Jr.)

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This RF-8 Crusader had a speedy duck carrying a camera on the nose. The aircraft was assigned to VFP-62 aboard USS ROOSEVELT during 1962. (Dick Starinchak)


Night Hawks was not a personal marking, but rather the squadron name of VAQ-33. Their AD-5Ws were assigned an electronic warfare mission which was indicated by the Black Crow symbol painted on the nose under the name. (JEM Aviation Slide)

Major Don Kirby was nicknamed “Needle” when he flew with VMA – 311 during 1968. His A-4E Skyhawk carried the squadron markings on the fuselage and his name on the nose. This was typical of Marine nose art. (Tom Brewer)

Colonel Hal Comstock flew this F-100D when he commanded the 416th TFS at Bien Hoe, South Vietnam in July of 1966. It carried the same “art” as his 56th FG P-47 in which he shot down five German aircraft. (SSGT David Menard)


This F-100D of the 481st Tactical Fighter Squadron/27th TFW at Bien Hoa, South Vietnam during 1965 carried a Snoopy cartoon character on the nose and eight rows of Black bomb mission markings. (USAF)

Camellia City 49er was one of the BIG EYE EC-121 Hs that monitored North Vietnamese airborne traffic throughout the war. It was TDY at DaNang in December of 1966. (Tom Hansen)


The Jefferson Airplane was an A-1H of VA-25 flown by Commander Cliff Church, that was named after the San Francisco psychedelic rock band. (Dick Starinchak)




Carolyn’s Folly was an A-1E from the 1st Air Commando Squadron based at Nakhon Phanom in 1966. The 1st ACS was known as the RAIDERS and their A-1s flew some of the first SANDY air rescue missions into North Vietnam escorting CH-3 Jolly Green Giant heli­copters. (USAF)




PORK CHOP CHARLIE was a B-52F of the 736th Bomb Squadron. She flew at least forty missions from Anderson Air Force Base, Guam during the first ARC LIGHT strikes of 1966. (Colonel Robert Amos)

(Right) This Grumman OV-1C Mohawk from the 131st SAC at Phu Loi during December of 1966 sports a smiling sharkmouth. (Terry Love)

Gladiator was painted on the nose of one of the UH-1C Huey Cobra gunships assigned to the 57th AHC at Tan Son Nhut during 1965. Some of the artwork in Vietnam rivaled even the best of the Second World War and Korea. (Colonel J. Ward Boyce)


Captain Kim Pepprell prepares to board Jinkin Josie, an EF-105F Wild Weasel assigned to the 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Takhli, Thailand during 1968. (Kim Pepperell)

image88"Подпись: A local Vietnamese artist applies the finishing touch to “Hungry”, a UH-1C Huey gunship assigned to the 114th AHC - the King Cobras. The UH-1C was named after a 1966 Paul Revere and the Raiders tune. (Eugene Schuanebeck)image89"image90
image91image92This sharkmouthed UH-1C Huey gunship has a jury-rigged 7.62mm Gatling gun installed in the old 40mm nose turret. It was assigned to the 114th Assault Helicopter Company, the King Cobras. (Eugene Schwanebeck)

The CHERRY GIRL was actually three girls – CATHY, EVA, and JUDY, as was denoted under the art. “Cherry Girl” was an EB-66C with the 41st TEWS/355th TFW at Takhli Air Base, Thailand during April of 1969. (USAF)

“Dragon Six” was both the name/nose art and the call sign for this UH-1H Huey. (Captain Ron Botz)

Throughout every war messages have been scribbled onto bombs and the Vietnam War was no different. These 500 pound extended fuse ‘daisy cutters’ hung on an A-1 Skyraider from VA-25 carry mes­sages from the ordnancemen of the squadron. (Dick Starinchak)

Mac’s Marauders was one of the 4th SOS Spooky AC-47 gunships that served with the Detachment at Danang in 1968. The ‘ghost’ insignia was used by all the AC-47 gunship units. (Colonel J. Ward Boyce)




PHANTOM 558 was the name carried by this UH-1 Huey of the 199th Infantry Brigade. (Glenn R. Horton Jr.)

(Right) Snuffy Smith has picked a bad place to sleep, on top an AIM- 7 Sparrow air-to-air missile. The intake art was carried on a F-4C Phantom II of the 432nd TFW during 1969. (via Tom Brewer)

Certainly the North Vietnamese would have considered all F-I05 Thunderchiefs as “The Grim Reaper”, considering the destruction the Thuds brought to the North. This Reaper was assigned to the 354th TFS/355th TFW at Takhli during 1969. (John Julian)

image96Charles Schulz’s favorite Beagle “Snoopy” was also one of the big favorites with the nose artists in Vietnam. This Snoopy adorns the nose of a F-100D with the 481st Tactical Fighter Squadron. (USAF)

image97 image98

Nose art on Navy/Marine Corps aircraft was rare due mainly to the problems of maintaining the aircraft at sea. Blondie was a Marine F – 4B of VMFA-542 at Danang, South Vietnam during 1966. (Jim Sullivan)

Casper The Friendly Ghost, a B-52F of the 320th Bomb Wing, on the ramp at Anderson Air Force Base, Guam during 1966 ready for another mission over South Vietnam, some 1,200 miles away. (Joe Bruch)



This was the original "PUFF” AC-47 as it appeared in December 1965 following its last mission armed with ten.30 calibre machine guns. In early 1966 it was armed with three Gatling gun pods. (Dave Menard)

WHAR’S DEM MiGS?? is a strange name for a F-105F flying the Ryan Raiders mission in 1967. The Raiders flew night attack missions at low level to develop tactics for the deployment of the Convair B-58 Hustler bomber to Vietnam. (Jon Alquist)



I Must Go had the Wiley Coyote cartoon character painted on the nose. It was an EC-47P from the 360th TEWS/460th TRW based at Pleiku Air Base, South Vietnam during 1967. (Al Adcock)

RAMROD was one of the “Young Tiger” KC-135 tankers that kept the missions into Route Рас Six supplied with fuel. She carried ninety – six mission including forty-eight flown from Kadena, Okinawa. (Hugh Muir)





image106"Maggies Orange Blossom Special was one of the A-1H Skyraiders of the 602nd Special Operations Squadron, flying interdiction missions along the Ho Chi Minh Trail during 1968. (Dave Colbert)


SNUFFY, a UH-6 Beaver of the 2nd Signal Group during December of 1967 carried the Al Capp cartoon character Snuffy Smith on the engine cowling. (Terry Love)

This Hello U-10 Bullshit Bomber of the 56th ACW at Nakhon Phanom in November of 1967, had a large speaker mounted just behind the pilot. (Terry Love)


Charles Schulz’s favorite Beagle was, of course, the W. W. I “Ace" who was constantly doing battle with the infamous Red Baron. Snoopy adorned the nose of this WC121N from VW-1 at NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii in June of 1969, (Nick Williams)

Snoopy holds a gas nozzle on this KA-3B tanker of VAQ-121 on the ramp at Danang Air Base, South Vietnam during November of 1967. (Tom Hansen)

image109"Black Jack was an UH-1H assigned to the 2nd Signal Group based at Long Binh, South Vietnam during 1967. (Terry Love)

image110The HANOI HUNTER was one of the F-4Ds assigned to the 433rd TFS. This unit was one of the 8th TFW Wolfpack squadrons at Ubon during 1968. One of the crews of the HUNTER was credited with a MiG victory which was carried as a Red star on the splitter plate, (via Tom Brewer)

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Erie Gal had a Green shamrock under the name on this F-105D flown by Captain Robert Amos when he was assigned to the 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Takhli, Thailand during November of 1968. (Colonel Robert Amos)

(Right & Below) General Westmoreland used this highly polished Fairchild C-123 as his in-country transport during 1967. With its Gloss White upper fuselage the airplane was naturally named the “ White Whale” and the crew were known as “The Whalers.” (Tom Hansen)



Подпись: ' Ля I . . irMUV

The crew chiefs are just beginning to finish the sharkmouth on this AH-1G Cobra assigned to A Troop/7th Sq/1st Cavalry Regiment in 1969. The indian head motif on the engine cowl was the insignia of the 7th Squadron. (John Cespedes)


SALTY DOG, a F-105D of the 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron, taxis past the Takhli revetments with a full load of Mk 82 500 pound bombs on the centerline station during 1968. (John Julian) (Left) A pair of ducks and the logo “FLY 362ND UNITED” was carried on a Bell UH-1D Huey at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon, South Vietnam during 1965. (Colonel J. Ward Boyce)

The Exterminator was one of the Northrop F-5C Tigers assigned to the 10th Fighter Squadron at Bien Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam dur­ing June of 1966. The F-5s were being evaluated as potential aircraft for the South Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) and later the F-5A and F – 5E became the first jet fighters to be assigned to the VNAF. (David Menard)


image118 image119

OL’ EAGLE EYE, an F-4D Phantom of the 435th TFS at Ubon, Thailand during November of 1968, also carried a caricature of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing’s Wolfpack symbol, (via Tom Brewer)

Lucy expresses her feelings over her unexpected predicament, not unlike the crews that served in Vietnam, “the Pea-Nut Special” was an AC-119K gunship of the 17th SOS at Phan Rang in 1969. (Brigadier General William Fairbrother)


Unquestionably the raunchiest nose art of the Vietnam War was Cherry Girl, a F-105D Thud of the 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Takhli, Thailand. The art made inflight refueling a very interesting operation, especially for the boom operator. The Thud also has one MiG kill marking under the cockpit. (Paul Minert)

Lady Luck was the person every pilot wanted riding with him when he went to Route Рас Six, Hanoi, as this F-105D of the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing did quite often. (Jon Alquist)


Peacemaker was an AH-1G Cobra gunship assigned to В Troop, 1/9 Cav, 1st Air Cav in South Vietnam during 1969. (George Sullivan)




(Right) The Super Snooper was one of the RF-4Cs assigned to the 11th TRS/432nd TRW based at Udorn Royal Thai Air Base during 1968. (Russell Houston III)

The Golden Goose was an EF-105F Wild Weasel flown by “Goose” Gowell when he was assigned to the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Takhli in 1968. (Colonel Robert Amos )


Подпись: The Green Dragon was a RF-101C Voodoo of the 45th TRS/460th TRW was based at Ton Son Nhut, South Vietnam during late 1969. The art work was carried on both sides. (J. P. Wood via R. L. Ward) image127
(Above & Left) The Grim Reaper/Hell’s Angel was a F-I05D from the 354th Tactical Fighter Squadron/355th Tactical Fighter Wing flown by Lieutenant Chuck deVlaming when he was stationed at Takhli Royal Thai Air Base during 1969. (Doug deVlaming)

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JEANNIE, a F-4C Phantom II with the 391st Tactical Fighter Squadron/12th Tactical Fighter Wing at Cam Rahn Bay, flew mis­sions ‘in-country’ against Viet Cong targets within the borders of South Vietnam during 1968. (USAF)

SATANS ANGELS, a F-4C of the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing at Danang during early 1967, carried the “Phantom” mascot as art, and had 160 White bomb mission markings displayed on the intake. (Tom Hansen)



Freedom Fighter, was an EF-105F Wild Weasel flying with the 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron/388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Korat, Thailand during 1968. (Jon Alquist)

WITCH DOCTOR/RECOVERY was an UH-1B Medivac (rescue) heli­copter based at Tan Son Nhut Air Base outside Saigon during 1965. (Colonel J. Ward Boyce)

The pilot of this night Forward Air Controller 0-2A of the 23rd TASS made sure that strike pilots knew he was below them by painting THE FAC in large White letters on the upper wings of his overall Black observation aircraft. (Pickett)





Many of the F-105 crews decorated their aircraft with names associ­ated with the mission they flew. HANOI Special was the F-105D flown by Lieutenant David Waldrop of the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat during 1967. (APB)


“Chopper Gator” was a Bell UH-1F rescue Huey assigned to the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing at George Air Force Base, California. (Captain Wallace T. Van Winkle)

The White bulldog on the nose of this UH-1D was the unit marking of the 129th Assault Helicopter Company in 1966, while the champagne glass on the door was a personal marking. (Lex McAuley)

Colonel Allan MacDonald flew this F-4E named Betty Lou when he commanded the 388th TFW at Korat during 1969. The command stripes around the fuselage are Blue, Black, and Green (front to back) for the three squadrons in the 388th TFW. (via Tom Brewer)


An example of the same aircraft being flown by two different pilots was this RF-101C Voodoo of the 45th TRS/460th TRW. Both pilots retained the same nose aft but changed the name from KATHY’S CLOWN to GERRY’S CLOWN. The aircraft carried three Purple Hearts awarded for a mission on 4 January 1969. (Major Wayne Roberts)


Black Jack was a F-105D (serial 61-0063) assigned to the 354th Tactical Fighter Squadron/355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Takhli in the Fall of 1969. (Doug deVlaming)


Sugar Bugger has Peppermint Patty as a mascot. Patty was another of Charles Schulz “Peanuts” characters. The aircraft was an F-105D from the 388th TFW at Korat, Thailand during 1968. (Jon Alquist)




Santa Вой, a C-7 Caribou with the 457th TAS at Cam Rahn Bay, car­ried this wild Christmas color scheme when they delivered presents to the crews during December of 1969. The nacelles read ‘Merry Christmas’. (Robert F Dorr)

“The Super Sow" was an expression of how the crews felt towards the flying performance of the AC-119Ks assigned to the 17th SOS at Phan Rang in 1969. (Brigadier General William Fairbrother)

A “shadow” of Snoopy adorns the nose of this NA-1E assigned to the Naval Air Test Center at Patuxent River, Maryland in December of 1969. (Tom Brewer Collection)



The Pink Panther was a B-52D from the 325th BS/92d SAW at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington during 1970. The ‘Panther’ carried these markings for the GIANT VOICE bombing competition held at McCoy Air Force Base, Florida in November of 1970. (Ken Buchanen)


IRON BUTTERFLY was the name of an acid-rock band back in the states. It was also the name adopted by the crew of this AP-2H Neptune gunship of VAH-21 based at Cam Rahn Bay during 1967. The aircraft has seventy missions on its “scoreboard.” (David Ostroski)



Thor was one of the AC-130A gun ships assigned to the 16th Special Operations Squadron based at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, that had the SURPRISE PACKAGE modifications. This modification added a pair of 40mm Bofors cannons to the awesome armament of multiple Gatling guns. The SPECTRE marking above the name was carried on all AC-130As. (AFM)



JEANIE ll/l Dream Of Jeanie was a F-105D Thunderchief of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Takhli in 1967. The Thud was named for Barbera Eden, the gorgeous genie of the late 1960s TV show. (AFM)


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SOCK IT TO ‘EM, was named after a popular saying on the TV show “Laugh-In.” The A-1J Skyraider was assigned to the 602nd Special Operations Squadron/56th Special Operations Wing. The Skyraider was armed with a full load of Cluster Bomb Units (CBUs), bombs and minigun pods while on Search And Rescue alert at Nakhon Phanom Air Base, Thailand during 1969 . (Don Garrett Jr.)

Colonel Paul Douglas was the Arkansas Traveler and carried those markings on all of his combat aircraft. During the Second World War he flew a Republic P-47D Thunderbolt (left) with the 396th Fighter Squadron/368th Fighter Group. In Vietnam he flew a Republic F-105D Thunderchief (below, left) with the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Korat, Thailand and later he also flew a McDonnell- Douglas F-4E Phantom II (below). The Phantom was his mount when he commanded the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Korat during 1969. (Robert F. Dorr and USAF)




HEY JUDE, named after the Beatles anti-war tune, was one of the brand new F-4E Phantoms assigned to the 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron at Danang Air Base during 1972. It was modified with the long distance television camera, or TISEO, mounted on the wing leading edge. (USAF)


The sharkmouth decoration even found their way onto small aircraft, such as this TO-1D Forward Air Control Bird Dog from the 19th TASS at Bien Hoa in January of 1966. (David Menard)

Подпись:SWAMP FOX 18 was an Army L-19 assigned to the 199th Aviation Battalion, flying Forward Air Control (FAC) missions over South Vietnam during 1968. (John Cespedes)

CHARLIE CHASERS was the correct terminology for the 17th SOS AC-119G Shadow crews that chased Viet Cong traffic up and down the Ho Chi Minh Trail at night. Charlie was mumbling something about “Help never comes anymore.” (Don Garrett Jr.)

Andy Capp was the DELINQUENT, when it was assigned to the 390th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Danang. There was a B-26K “kill?” marking on the intake and 435th Tactical Fighter Squadron zap behind Andy Capp. Zaps were applied to any aircraft that landed at a base it wasn’t assigned to. (Harley Copic)


The Green Dragon was one of the Navy OP-2Es assigned to VO-67 at Nakhon Phanom, Thailand. VO-67 dropped sensors along the Ho Chi Minh Trail during Operation IGLOO WHITE. (Author)



The pilot and crew chief of Tigger, a F-105D from the 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat, Thailand during 1968, share a fondness for both the airplane and the art. The Thud carries a full load of M – 117 750 pound general purpose bombs. (USAF)


(Left) Here Come Da Judge was a popular song title and ‘Laugh-In’ saying that was carried over to Vietnam on this F-4E of the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron/388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Korat dur­ing 1969. (JEM Aviation Slides)


Holy Huey Batman! This UH-1C “Batcopter” was parked on the ramp outside the Bat cave at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon during September of 1966. (Terry Love)



The Super Spook was a F-4E Phantom of the 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat, Thailand. Lieutenant Bill Coppick was the pilot, and Lieutenant Bill Burns was the WSO during 1969. (George Koch)

Lieutenant Colonel Raymond Girard and Captain Carmen Luisi have just completed a full tour, flying their 100th mission with the 366th TFW at Danang in January of 1969. Their F-4C was named THE SAINT with the name being carried in White on a Red flag. (USAF)

Ridge Runner II was a RF-4C assigned to the 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron/432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Udorn, Thailand during 1968. The aircraft carried the cartoon charac­ter “Snuffy Smith” on the intake. (Russell Houston III)

The Delta Queen II was one of the eighteen AC-47D gunships trans­ferred to the Vietnamese Air Force during 1969. (USAF)


“Hey Bud”, was an 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron RF-4C Phantom based at Udorn, Thailand in October of 1969. RF-4Cs replaced the aging RF-101Cs for recon mission over North Vietnam. (Colonel J. Ward Boyce )


Wahoo was one of the super-secret EC-47Ns of the 460th TRW at Danang during 1970. The EC-47N can be identified by the X System antennas under the nose and wings. (Lieutenant Colonel Barry Miller)


(Right & Left) AI-E-gator was a F-8E Crusader of VF-24 aboard USS HANCOCK which was flown by Lieutenant Bill Olsen. The aircraft was on the ramp at Ubon Royal Thai Air Base during a stop-over in 1972. (John Poole)

L/7 Buddha, a F-4E with the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron/388th TFW based at Korat in 1969, had an Outstanding Unit Award and Presidential Unit Citation ribbon painted on the fuselage under the windscreen. (JEM aviation Slides)

Everything that operated from Korat Royal Thai Air Base was adorned with a sharkmouth marking at one time or another. This EB-66E was assigned to the 42TEWS/388th TFW in 1972. (Don Logan)


image163(Right & Left) Easy Rockin Мата II was a F-4E flown by Captain George Koch, with Lieutenant P. K. Brown as WSO. It was assigned to the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron/388th TFW at Korat, Thailand during June of 1970. A short time later the 7th Air Force ordered the artwork removed from all combat aircraft. (George Koch)

BUD MAN was a F-4J Phantom serving with VF-31 aboard USS SARATOGA (CV-60). The markings were added when the unit deployed to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada during 1975 to take part in an Air Force RED FLAG exercise. (Hugh Muir)


(Right) Patches sure lived up to its name. Over its career in Vietnam the Fairchild C-123 Provider took 567 hits from ground fire, and its crew was awarded four Purple Hearts. The C-123B flew the danger­ous, low level, controversial RANCH HAND (Agent Orange) defolia­tion spray missions. The cartoon character was Snuffy Smith and the aircraft carried four Purple Hearts for the awards made to the crew members. (Tom Hansen)

BABY JANE II was a Cessna 0-2A Forward Air Controller (FAC) air­craft assigned to the 21st TASS at Phu Cat, South Vietnam during November of 1970. The 0-2 was the replacement for the 0-1 Bird Dog. (Norm Taylor)


Major Buddy Jones flew the Memphis Belle II, a 355th TFW F-105D that was named after the famous Second World War B-17 bomber, complete with the correct art on the fuselage. (John Julian)


image169Подпись: The Gloppita Glopita Machine was an A-1H Skyraider assigned to VA-165 aboard USS INTREPID during August of 1966. (Walt Ohrlich)Casper, *ъе

friendly Phantom?

Casper, the friendly Phantom? was a 432nd TFW F-4D Phantom based at Udorn in 1973. He certainly did not appear too friendly with that evil smile and 500 pound bomb. (Ron Thurlow)


Andy Capp yells “GIVE *EM “L” from the side of this F-105D of the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat in 1968. (Republic Aviation)

(Left) The U. S. flag was carried on a F-105D named Don’t Tread On Me. The aircraft was assigned to the 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron out of Korat during 1968. (Jon Alquist)

Подпись: An extremely rare sight was nose art on any NATO aircraft at any time. This Norwegian Air Force C-119 Flying Boxcar carried Mickey Mouse’s friend Goofy on the nose. (Matt Herban)Подпись: ■SEisbiiПодпись: ■ * * *image172

Bombs were often personalized with sayings, but rarely as much as this sharkmouthed weapon on the flight deck of USS CORAL SEA. (Dick Starinchek)



image175"The Joyce Elaine was a RF-4C piloted by Chuck Rovell, with Senor Naumann as Navigator. The aircraft was assigned to the 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron at Udorn in November of 1969. (Colonel J. Ward Boyce)

Sometimes the artwork was extremely small but effective. This nose gear door art indicated the fear the Viet Cong had when one of the big EC-121 M Warning Star listening posts were nearby. (Mick Roth)


The sharkmouth marking took on every conceivable form during the Vietnam War. These “dragon teeth” were painted on a F-4D Phantom of the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing at Danang. (Chris Abbe)


The Shamrock brought the luck of the Irish to this 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron F-4E crew at Korat in 1969. The word was that one of the crew was a Notre Dame fan. (Harley Copic)

Diana was another F-4E from the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron that had art on the aircraft during1969, and then was forced by Air Force orders to have it removed during 1970. (Don Garrett Jr.)

image178The BIG COUNTRY BOMBER was one of the B-52Ds from the 96th Strategic Wing based at Abeline, Texas that deployed to McCoy Air Force Base, Florida for the 1971 Giant Voice bombing competition. (Tom Brewer Collection)

Подпись: When the Air Force ordered all the art and names removed from their ‘friendly fighter-bombers’ in 1970, the crews resorted to painting names and art on the inside of the nose gear door. GRANNY GOOSE was an F-4D Phantom of the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Udorn during 1972. (Tom Brewer Collection) image180Подпись: Muttley the Flying Dog was carried on both intakes of a sharkmouthed F-105G from the 17th WWS at Korat during Linebacker operations in 1972. (Doug Remington)image181image182image183


MONTEZUMA’S REVENGE, a term relating to what happened if you drank the water in Mexico, was used along with an outhouse as art on this AC-119K gunship at Phan Rang in 1969. The AC-119 could certainly rain a lot of “crap” on you. (Brigadier General William Fairbrother)


LITTLE CHRIS was a F-4E assigned to the 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron/388th TFW at Korat in 1969. The F-4Es from the 388th replaced the venerable F-105 Thuds, and carried out the strategic bombing campaign against North Vietnam from 1969 on. (Ron Thurlow) (Left) SAM SEEKER was one of the EF-105Fs assigned to the 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat during 1968. The panel below the R in SEEKER was used to secure the internal bomb bay. (Jon Alquist)

El Toro Bravo (The Brave Bull) was a F-4E from the 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat in early 1970, with one MiG kill painted on the splitter plate. (Don Jay)


image187The Good Widow Mrs. Jones was an UH-1D Huey gunship from the 121st Assault Helicopter Company known as the Soc Trang Tigers. (Mike Cusick)

(RIGHT) THE YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS was another of the Soc Trang Tiger’s UH-1D Hueys. The aircraft was preparing to load troops at Soc Trang during March of 1966. (Lex McAuley)

Thumper was the name of this UH-1C Huey gunship from the 121st Assault Helicopter Company at Soc Trang. The name was derived from the Gl term relating to the sound made by the 40mm grenade launcher carried in the nose turret and the crew used the Walt Disney character as art. (via Lou Drendel)



IRON BUTTERFLY was the name of a rock and roll band in the late 1960s, and the correct nickname for this F-105 of the 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat during Operation LINEBACKER in the summer of 1972. (Lieutenant Harry Miller)


Captain Paul Wyrick flew the CHU LAI RUM RUNNER, an A-4E Skyhawk with Marine Attack Squadron 223 (VMA-223). The aircraft was on the ramp at Ubon RTAB after making an emergency landing at the base due to an inflight emergency in 1968. (Tom Brewer Collection)


I don’t know what Snoopy was saying but his attitude is clearly shown by his uplifted middle finger. Trapper was a F-4D with the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Udorn in August of 1971. The air­craft has two MiG kill markings on the splitter plate. (Tom Foote)


Captain Ron Kilgus and Captain Ted Lowry flew Sinister Vampire, an EF-105F from the 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Takhli, Thailand. THe aircraft had one SAM site kill marking under the cockpit. (Tom Brewer Collection)


This A-1H Skyraider of the 1st Special Operations Squadron/56th Special Operations Wing was armed with bomblet dispensers, bombs, rocket pods, mini gun pods and fuel tanks. Its nickname was BLOOD, SWEAT, AND TEARS, the name of a rock and roll band. The A-1H was based at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base during 1970. (USAF) (Right) The City of Homestead was the personal aircraft of the com­mander of the 436th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Homestead AFB, Florida in 1969. A sharkmouth was added to the Phantom at a later date. (APB)

image195Подпись: QUEEN OF THE FLEET was a F-105D assigned to the 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat. (Jon Alguist)image196This has to be one of the largest sharksmouth markings ever. The aircraft was a B-52D Stratofortress that flew the final ARC LITE strike in Laos during 1973. (AFM)




image200"The name of this 17th WWS F-105F Wild Weasel speaks volumes. The Wild Weasel SAM hunters were certainly a BUF’S BUDDY. (Doug Remington)


(Right) The TERRIBLE TYKE was flown by Major George Hull and Major Jerry Evefan with the 497th TFS Night Owls at Ubon, Thailand in 1969. (Tom Brewer Collection)

MIG BAIT was a 469th TFS F-4E piloted by Lieutenant Colonel Ken Coffee, with Lieutenant Colonel Tommy Fike as his WSO. A fully loaded Phantom was an easy mark for MiGs in the skies over Hanoi, at least until its bombs were dropped. (George Koch)

image203(Right) The Playboy Bunny symbol was one of the most used deco­rations during the Vietnam War. This sharkmouthed RF-4C of the 14th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron/432d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, based at Udorn, Thailand in 1972 carried the Bunny on the splitter plate in White. (Tom Brewer Collection)

This F-105D Thunderchief from the 333rd Tactical Fighter Squadron/355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Takhli, has a razorback hog painted on the fuselage side in White under the intake, plus the Outstanding Unit Award and Presidential Unit Citation ribbons under the windscreen. (Tom Brewer Collection)



Captain Bob Taffet and Major Ray Costello flew Taffet’s Tee-Loc, a F – 4D Phantom with the 435th TFS/8th TFW at Ubon in 1969. A “Tee – loc” is a Thai term meaning girl “Friend” (bar-girl, prostitute, etc). (Tom Brewer Collection)



FOXY LADY was the name of this CH-47A Chinook. The name was derived from a slang term for a good looking woman and the Jimi Hendrix popular song. (Norm Fulks)

A favorite expression used by the Chinese Communists to depict U. S. forces was Paper Tiger. The F-4E from the 469th TFS in the background certainly means business as it heads for its target inside South Vietnam during 1970. The name was in Yellow and White. (USAF)


Подпись: Brain Damage was one of the F-4C Phantom Wild Weasels with the 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron detachment that operated from Korat during Linebacker operations in the Summer of 1972. (Doug Remington)image209TINY TIM in a steel blast revetment at Danang during May of 1970. The air­craft was on SAR Alert (Search and Rescue) for possible escort duty. TIM was one of the A-1H SANDYs that flew the extremely dangerous air rescue helicopter escort missions deep inside North Vietnam throughout the war. These aircraft were very heavily armed with bombs, bomblet dispensers, mini gun pods, rocket pods and their inter­nal four 20mm cannon. With its long range, good loiter time and heavy arma­ment, the A-1 Skyraider was the perfect platform for the SAR rescue mission until the North Vietnamese began to use small shoulder launched surface – to-air missiles. When these weapons made their appearance, the slow speed of the Skyraider ended its usefulness as a SAR escort and the aircraft were replaced by the A-7D Corsair II, another U. S. Navy aircraft modified for use by the Air Force. (Lieutenant Colonel Barry Miller)


The Black Widow spider painted on the intake splitter of this F-4E Phantom from the 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron was actually the unit emblem of the squadron after it re-deployed to Udorn during 1972. (USAF)




“Winning their hearts and minds” seems to be what the art on this UH-1C Huey Cobra gunship is implying – the Gl way. The Huey Cobra was from the 176th AHC at Chu Lai, South Vietnam. (Norm Fulks)

Sleezee “Dee” was the name on this UH-1H of the 116th AHC at Phu Loi, South Vietnam. The Huey also carries the Yellow Hornets mark­ing on the nose. (Glenn Morton Jr.)

Stump Jumper stands search and rescue “alert” on the 1st SOS ramp at Nakhon Phanom, Thailand during October of 1969. The mul­tiple Tan stripes around the rear fuselage indicate that this aircraft was assigned to a squadron commander. (Harley Copic)

image214"Snoopy’s dog house got a coat of SEA camouflage paint on this F – 105D named BEAGLE POWER. The aircraft was assigned to the 388th TFW at Korat Royal Thai Air Base during 1968. (David Hansen)

Lucy seems to have a problem and Charlie Brown was the cause. The White painted area covers the aircraft’s previous name. The F – 105D was assigned to the 44th TFS. (Aircraft Publicity Bureau)



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(Above & Left) The MUSKETS were the gunship flight of the 176th Assault Helicopter Company, flying UH-1C Huey gunships out of Chu Lai, South Vietnam during the Summer of 1971. Huey gunships had fixed M-60 7.62mm machine guns and rocket pods. Some also carried a 40mm grenade launcher in the nose. (Mike Campbell)


THE SAM LIQUIDATOR was certainly the correct name for any of the EF-105F Wild Weasels that flew defense suppression missions against the very formidable North Vietnamese air defense system. (Jon Alquist)


LOAD MASTER was a UH-1B Huey slick (troop carrier) assigned to the 121st Assault Helicopter Company at Xuan Loc in January of 1966. (Lex McAuley)


Oh, will that smart! “The Polish Cannon” was an AC-119K Stinger gunship with the 18th Special Operations Squadron at Phan Rang in 1969. (Brigadier General William Fairbrother)


ОГ Bullet was an 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron RF-4C Phantom II flown by Jack Ferguson and Barry Johnson out of Udorn, Thailand during November of 1969. (Colonel J. Ward Boyce)






GUNFIGHTER AIRLINES was the C-47 base flight aircraft of the 366th TFW at Danang during August of 1970. It was used to take per­sonnel to R&R destinations as well as for hauling mail and VIPs to Danang. (Captain Tom Roberts)

(Right) ‘THUMPER" was another of the ex-Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Canadair Sabre Mk 6s (F-86Fs), that were used as target drones for new missile systems like the Stinger and Patriot surface – to-air missiles. (Mike Kasiuba)

Spartan I was an ex-Navy R4D transport assigned to the John F. Kennedy Center For Military Assistance at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Fort Bragg was the home of the JFK Special Warfare Center and the Green Berets. (Tom Brewer Collection)

SAWADEE KRUP was a Thai expression that roughly translated means the last plane leaving, which this F-105G from the 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron was in the Summer of 1973, one of the last birds to leave Korat, Thailand, (via Tom Brewer)








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The Positive Thinker was a F-4E Phantom assigned to the 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat, Thailand during 1969. Most air­craft in the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Korat had some sort of art during this time period. (Tom Foote)

This RF-4C from the 11th TRS at Udorn, Thailand during 1970, was named Hillbilly Slick and had Snuffy Smith painted on the splitter plate. The RF-4Cs from the 11th TRS had a great deal of ‘splitter’ art during this period. (Tom Foote)

This UH-1H was assigned to the 117th AHC, known as the “Annie Fannies” and carried the name STUMP JUMPER on the side of the nose when it was based at Bien Hoa, South Vietnam. “Annie” was “HEAVY”, especially in the frontal area. (Glenn Horton Jr.) (Left) Major J. B. Davis and 1st Lieutenant R. Mooney flew this F-4D Phantom named Ripley’s Believe It Or Not while assigned to the 13th TFS at Udorn, Thailand during 1969. (via Tom Brewer)

The Root Pak Rat was a EF-105F with the 333rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, flown by Captain Warren Kerzon with Captain Scottie Mcintire as EWO. The aircraft was credited with ten SAM site kills. (Marty Isham)




image234"The Good Widow Mrs. Jones was an UH-1D Huey gunship from the 121st AHC, known as the Soc Trang Tigers. Later she was modified with the addition of panties. (Lou Drendel)

(Right) Miss Marlene was a F-105D with the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron/388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Korat, Thailand during 1968. (David Hansen)

This F-100D Super Sabre named Sizzlin’ Susie flew interdiction and ground support missions with the 352d TFS/35th TFW out of Phan Rang, South Vietnam during 1970. (USAF)

This RF-4C from the 11th TRS at Udorn carried the name Lil Bee dur­ing October of 1969. The pilot was Jack Sikes, with Gary Robbins as his navigator. (Colonel J. Ward Boyce)

In December of 1970 the 0-1F Bird Dogs of the 21st TASS at Phu Cat Air Base, South Vietnam had small Black names on their cowling. This 0-1F was Ronnie’s Racer. (Norm Taylor)


The Yellow Submarine was one of the MISTY FAC F-100Fs from the 612th Tactical Fighter Squadron/35th Tactical Fighter Wing at Cam Rahn Bay during 1967. These aircraft flew high speed recon mis­sions over lower threat target areas. (Joe Michaels)

Andy Capp drinks a toast to LABELLA on the outer nose gear door panel of this F-4J Phantom II from Fighter Squadron Thirty-One (VF – 31) aboard USS SARATOGA (CV-60) in August of 1975. It is unusual to find art of any kind on Navy aircraft. (Hugh Muir) (Left) City of Columbus was named after the Indiana city where this aircraft’s parent reserve unit was based. The City was one of the AC – 1190 Shadow gunships assigned to the 71st Special Operations Squadron/14th Special Operations Wing at Phan Pang, South Vietnam during 1968. (USAF)

Armed with a full load of 750 pound bombs with fuse extenders, the SAM FIGHTER taxies to the active runway at Takhli Royal Thai Air Base during 1969. The aircraft was truly named since it was one of the Wild Weasel EF-105FS from the 354th Tactical Fighter Squadron that countered the North Vietnamese Surface-To-Air Missile (SAM) defenses. (John Julian)

image239"Подпись: B.D. Worrell was the Crew Chief of PEANUT AIRLINES, a Douglas C- II7D Super Goonie at Cam Rahn Bay, South Vietnam during 1971. (Tom Hansen) Snoopy’s expression WAR IS HELL (in Blue just behind Snoopys head), with his dog house going down in flames, tells it all — espe­cially about the Vietnam War. The F-4C was flown by 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron pilot Larry Krotz, with Dick Bower as his Navigator. (Colonel J. Ward Boyce)

(RIGHT) ORLANDO.. Where The ACTION is was the name of a B-52D Stratofortress from the 367th Bomb Squadron/306th Bomb Wing that participated in the 1971 GIANT VOICE bombing competition held at McCoy Air Force Base, Florida. The aircraft carried the Strategic Air Command badge on the nose just ahead of the name. (Tom Brewer)

Some nose art will be forever captured. Colonel Robin Olds’ famous F-4C Phantom II SCAT XXVII was restored to its Vietnam era paint scheme complete with nose art and kill markings. It was then placed on display at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. Colonel Olds was an ace during the Second World War and added four MiG kills to his record in Vietnam. All of his aircraft were named SCAT. (David Menard)

The Cessna 0-1E was known as the Bird Dog, so naturally the crews of the 19th TASS at Bien Hoa, South Vietnam in 1968 added “dog teeth” to their aircraft instead of the more traditional sharkmouth marking. (USAF)

The typical sharkmouth marking did not fit very well on the UH-1C gunship, so the men of the 174th Assault Helicopter Company at Qui Nhon, South Vietnam modified the marking to suit their aircraft dur­ing 1970. In addition to the sharkmouth, the aircraft carried two White stripes around the tail boom. (Norm Fulks)

The Irish Eagle/lron Spud was a Grumman 0V-1C Mohawk recon­naissance aircraft assigned to the 131st SAC during May of 1967. (Bob Chenowith) (Left) Major Don Parkhurst fastens the G-suit garters prior to another mission from Korat, Thailand in the appropriately named THE WRECKIN CREW, a F-4E with the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron during 1970. (USAF)

T. D.s TEELOC was a sharkmouthed F-4E Phantom II of the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron based at Korat, Thailand during early 1970. A “teeloc” was a Thai expression meaning girlfriend, hooker, or whatever. (Don Jay)


image247"Подпись: ARIZONA CHICKEN was a slang term for the venerable Roadrunner. The Phantom carried the Warner Bros, super quick bird as the art. The CHICKEN was an F-4E from the 34th TFS at Korat, Thailand during 1970. (USAF) “Ye Ole Battle-Ax” was one of the colorful RF-4Cs with the 11th TRS/432rd TRW at Udorn, Thailand during 1969. (Colonel J. Ward Boyce)




‘KILL’ MAD DOG also carried DEATH ON CALL under the art on the nose of this UH-1C of the 240th Assault Helicopter Company, known as the “Mad Dogs.” They were assigned to Camp Bearcat during January of 1971. (Lou Drendel)


ARNOLD was a B-52H Stratofortress with the 23rd Bomb Squadron/5th Bomb Wing at the 1971 GIANT VOICE meet held at McCoy AFB, Florida. SAC allowed the use of extensive nose art on competition aircraft. (Tom Brewer)

tumbleweed was an RF-4C from the 11th TRS at Udorn, Thailand during the LINEBACKER II operations in 1972. (Hugh Muir)


This Boeing KC-135A Stratotanker was part of the Young Tiger force. It got its sharkmouth marking when it landed at Korat Royal Thai Air Base and personnel from the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing decided it would look good with one of their sharkmouths. (Joe Bruch Collection)

Snow Bird was a Boeing B-52H Stratofortress of the 410th Bomb Wing. She carried this name and snowflakes in White on the nose just below the cockpit for the 1974 GIANT VOICE bombing competi­tion. She also carried the Strategic Air Command badge and an Air Force Outstanding Unit award. (Tom Brewer)





Air Force ordnance specialist Dale Kinbilo screws one of the thirty – six inch fuse extenders into a 750 pound low drag bomb on a Triple Ejector Rack (TER) on the inboard pylon of a 388th Tactical Fighter Wing F-4E Phantom II at Korat Royal Thai Air Base during May of 1970. The F-4E had a pirate ship painted on the intake since the North Vietnamese often referred to U. S. pilots as “Yankee Air Pirates.” (USAF)

Rosa L, a F-105D of the 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron and Honey, an EF-105F of the 333rd Tactical Fighter Squadron fly formation enroute to targets in North Vietnam. EF-105Fs normally flew Wild Weasel SAM suppression missions until the bombing halt of 1968. Both aircraft are armed with full loads of 750 pound bombs. (USAF)

Leo s Lady carries phony nose art which was applied to the Douglas B-26K Counter-Invader on display at the Castle Air Force Base Museum, California. Art was very rare on the B-26Ks operating in the war zone. (H. W. Rued)


Batgirl was a Douglas A-26K Counter-Invader (serial 64-17645) with the 609th Special Operations Squadron at Nakhon Phanom Air Base, Thailand in the Summer of 1968. (AFM)

TWEETY BIRD was typical of the personal markings applied to EC – 475 from the 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at NKP during July of 1972. (John Poole)


The Grey Ghost was a McDonnell F-101В Voodoo from the 116th Fighter Interceptor Squadron/Washington Air National Guard that was loaned to the Colorado State University for clear air turbulence flight tests during 1974. (Hugh Muir)


(Left) A fine example of the chalked ‘artwork’ found on many aircraft after the 1970 7th Air Force edict that banned nose art on 7th AF air­craft was seen on MADAME PELE, a F-4D of the 435th TFS/8th TFW at Ubon during the LINEBACKER operations in 1972. (John Poole )

The Sick Eagle was a Grumman C-1A Trader Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) aircraft assigned to USS ORISKANY (CVA-34). At this time the aircraft was on the ramp at Danang Air Base, South Vietnam during October of 1967. (Tom Hartsen)


A late 60s term with a double meaning was “Fly United”, as shown here on an AC-119K Stinger gunship assigned to the 18th Special Operations Squadron at Phan Rang, South Vietnam. (Colonel J. Ward Boyce)

The City Of El Paso was a B-52B assigned to the 95th Bomb Wing at Biggs Air Force Base, Texas. It was displayed for a time at the Air Force Museum before finally being scrapped in the late 1970s. (Author)



(Right) In 1970 the 7th Air Force ordered the removal of ail nose art. The crews countered by painting the art on the inside of the nose gear door as illustrated by Muff Diver, a F-4D Phantom of the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Udorn, Thailand during July of 1971. (via Tom Brewer)

Napalm Nellie rests in the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base salvage yard following her combat tour in Vietnam with Heavy Attack Squadron 21 (VAH-21) which was based at Cam Ranh Bay, South Vietnam. The Lockheed AP-2H Neptune flew trail interdiction mis sions over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. She carries seventy-one Black bomb mission markings under her ribbon bar. (Mick Roth)

Even civilian aircraft had nose art. The el pajaro grande (the big bird), was a Douglas DC-3 (N778X) based at Mojave, California in June of 1975. (Tom Brewer)




Even civilian aircraft got the sharkmouth treatment. This F-86 Sabre was used as a chase aircraft by the Raytheon Corporation. She car­ried her civil registration in Black on the rear fuselage and the Experimental category logo under the cockpit.

Cooter was just one of many names that this famous EF-105F car­ried. The 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron’s owl and moon “zap” was applied when the EF-105F made an emergency landing at Ubon, Thailand. The aircraft also carries a Presidential Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award and two Red star MiG kill markings under the cockpit. (John Julian)

(Left) BEAGLE POWER was carried on a F-105D Thunderchief of the 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat, Thailand during 1969. (Dave Hansen)

Ground crewmen push The Jefferson Airplane into its revetment at Phu Cat, South Vietnam on 22 November 1970. The Cessna 0-2 was assigned to the 21st Tactical Air Support Squadron and flew Forward Air Controller missions over South Vietnam. (Norm Taylor)



The POLISH GLIDER was a F-105D of the 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Takhli RTAB during 1970. It also carried a Polish Eagle insignia and the legend YANKEE AIR POLAK. (Doug deVlaming)


(Right) The “SALTY DOG’’ was a F-105 Thunderchief of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Takli during 1970. (Doug deVlaming)

Minnesota Fats was a famous pool player in the 1950s and 1960s and the name given to this A-1E Skyraider of the 1st Special Operations Squadron, 56th Special Operations Wing. The aircraft was based at NKP, Thailand during July of 1972. (John Poole)

image276“MiG” Eater was another of the VF-31 F-4J Phantoms that deployed to Nellis Air Force Base for RED FLAG in 1975. (Hugh Muir)


image278Подпись: шЧ -- ‘ • * tv' ШШ Уь- : 1 image279"

Подпись: Sharkmouth decorations were the rage during and immediately after the Vietnam War. Even stateside units such as VX-4 painted some of their TA-4J Skyhawks during 1975. At the time the unit was stationed at Naval Air Station Miramar, California. (Hugh Muir)
Подпись: (Below) Bud Man was a F-4J Phantom serving with VF-31 aboard USS SARATOGA. The markings were added when the unit deployed to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada in 1975 to take part in an Air Force RED FLAG exercise. (Hugh Muir)


Подпись: The Lanie Gale Express was a F-4E Phantom of the 308th Tactical Fighter Squadron/31 st Tactical Fighter Wing at Udorn Royal Thai Air Base during 1972. The 308th TFS was TDY at Udorn and temporarily assigned to the 432d Tactical Fighter Wing. (John Poole)

This U. S. Army QF-86F drone carried Walt Disney’s famous Mickey Mouse character on the gun bay door. The aft fuselage and outer wingtips are painted Gloss Orange. These air­craft were used as tar­gets for anti-aircraft mis­sile training. (George Bracken)

THOR’S HAMMER was typical of the personal markings carried by F – 100 Super Sabres with the 309th Tactical Fighter Squadron/31st Tactical Fighter Wing based at Tuy Hoa, South Vietnam in April of 1970. (USAF) (Right) Squadron mates hose down the pilot of NASHVILLE SOUND, a F-100D of the 90th TActical Fighter Squadron, 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing at Tuy Hoa, South Vietnam after completing his 100th mission. (Ron Picciani)



HALF A YARD was an EF-105F flown by Lieutenant Colonel Ed Moriarty of the 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Takhli during 1970.The aircraft carries a full load of eight 750 pound bombs. (USAF)




Colonel Ed Walsh, commander of the 56th Special Operations Wing, celebrates his 100th mission in front of his A-1H named THE PROUD AMERICAN. His crew chief has also added another legend on the fuselage side which read, “COL Walsh #1 Boss c/c SGTClark.” In addition to the names, the aircraft carried an eagle on the engine cowling. (Frank Murray)

A Snake and the name MAGNET ASP were carried on the fuselage of this F-105D of the Virginia Air National Guard at Richmond, Virginia during 1973. The aircraft carries the National Guard badge on the fin along with the legend VIRGINIA in White above the serial number. After the Vietnam War, a number of F-105s were transferred to the Reserve and National Guard. (Joe Bruch)

image286"This sharkmouthed F-105G Wild Weasel of the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Korat, Thailand during 1972 carried the name WHITE LIGHT­NING and a White flash on the intake lip. The aircraft is armed with a Shrike anti-radiation guided missile on the outboard wing pylon. The canopy rails were painted Blue with the crew’s named in White. (Doug Remington)



BALLS A ‘ FIRE was a very weathered A-1H Skyraider of the 1st Special Operations Squadron assigned to the SANDY rescue mission. The aircraft was armed with bomblet dispensers, mini-gun pods, and napalm tanks in addition to its internal 20mm cannons. The Sandy A-1s were kept in their revetments fully armed and fueled, ready to go at a moments notice. (Don Garrett Jr.)

image290"The IRON DUKE taxies out loaded with four 750 pound bombs on the wing pylons and a centerline fuel tank. The F-105D was assigned to the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Takhli Royal Thai Air Base, during 1969. (John Julian)




A pair of A-1H Skyraiders of the 602nd Air Commando Squadron, THE LOVE MACHINE (foreground) and THE GOOD BUDDHA (back­ground), are led by an OV-10 Bronco of the 23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron, (via Ron Thurlow)

The Jolly Roger, a F-105D of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing flies for­mation on a KC-135 tanker. In addition to its name, the Thunderchief also had a small skull and cross-bones on the intake lip in Black. (John Julian)



BAD NEWS was an A-1J Skyraider SANDY on detachment to Danang. SANDY detachments were based at various locations around South Vietnam and Thailand. (Don Garrett Jr.)

A Yellow “Happy Face” inside a sunburst and the name YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE were carried on the nose of this F-100D Super Sabre of the 306th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Tuy Hoa, South Vietnam during 1970. ( Joe Vincent)

S. P.F: III was a Yellow and White Bee with Red blood dripping from its stinger. This unusual art and name was carried on the nose of a F-100D Super Sabre of the 306th Tactical Fighter Squadron/31 st Tactical Fighter Wing at Tuy Hoa, South Vietnam during late 1969. By this time, the F-100 was only being used over South Vietnam in support of troops in contact. (Joe Vincent)



CORN FED was an A-1E Skyraider of the 602nd Air Commando Squadron based at Nakhon Phanom (NKP), Thailand during 1970. The Skyraiders were very reliable but by this time were beginning to show their age. (JEM Slides)

(Left) SGT Leonard Williams works on TINKER, a F-100D of the 352nd Tactical Fighter Squadron at Phan Rang, South Vietnam dur­ing September of 1969. The name was Yellow with Black shading. (Air Force Museum)


This singing cartoon character was carried on a Republic F-105F Wild Weasel attached to “Ryan’s Raiders,” the 13th TFS, during 1968. (Jon Alquist)




This Indian character was painted on an EF-105F (serial 63-8327) of the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing based at Korat, Thailand during 1968. The indian is carrying a Shrike anti-radiation guided missile, the standard weapon for Wild Weasel EF-105FS. (Dave Hansen)

OKIE JODY on the ramp at Danang Air Base, South Vietnam during May of 1967. The F-105D Thunderchief was assigned to the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing. The name was in Yellow. (Neal Schneider via Tom Hansen)

Подпись:A cartoon Viking maiden and the name Ye Ole Battle-Ax were carried on the splitter plate of this RF-4C Phantom II (serial 65-0548) of the 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron based at Udorn, Royal Thai Air Force Base during March of 1970. The RF-4C replaced the RF – 101 Voodoo for missions over North Vietnam. (Colonel J. Ward Boyce.)



OLD CROW II was a Republic F-105D Thunderchief flown by Colonel С. E. Anderson of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Takhli Royal Thai Air Base during 1968. The art was a Crew dressed in top hat and tails. Colonel Anderson had been a Second World War ace with the 357th FG and carried the same art on his P-51D. (Colonel С. E. Anderson)

SIZZLIN Susie was a F-100D Super Sabre at Phu Cat Air Base, South Vietnam during 1970. The F-100 was used primarily for operations over South Vietnam since it lacked the electronic warfare equipment for offensive bombing operations over the heavily defended North. (USAF)

“PRUDI’S PRIDE” was a F-105D Thunderchief of the 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat, Thailand during 1969. The aircraft was flown by Captian Bob Nesbitt. (Dave Hansen)



SUGAR FOOT ///was a F-4D Phantom II of the 559th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Cam Ranh Bay, South Vietnam during September of 1969. The Phantom was flown by the commander of the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing. (Richard Kierbow)

Jinkin Jose was painted on an EF-105F. The name was Yellow out­lined in Black, her bikini was in Yellow and the SAM missile was in White.

image309"The THUNDERCHIEF was painted on an EF-105F Thunderchief of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Takhli during 1968. The name was in Red, the lightning bolt was in Yellow outlined in Black and the indian had a White head-dress with Black tips to the feathers. The head – band was Red, White and Black, the lower portion of the feathers were Red and the disk was in Yellow. (Doug deVlaming)



Nose art — there is no definition for it in any Webster’s Dic­tionary. but just ask any air or ground crewmen from any war since the Second World War and they’ll tell you not only what it is, but what it meant to them. It was a way of personalizing a piece of machinery that you had to depend on and it appeared on almost everything that was used in combat, from aircraft to tanks. Most of the really beautiful and/or outrageous art appeared on aircraft.

In the Second World War, nose art was divided into four basic cat­egories: home, patriotism or the war, music and sex. Aircraft were named after pieces of that far away, lost item — home. “Bainbridge Belle” and "Jersey Jerk” were examples of this. Patriotism and the war caused many a flourish with the paint brush. Hitler and Tojo were often seen being battered about on the sides of В-17s and B-24s. The music of World War 2 also led to a great many names like “Pistol Packin’ Mama” which was used on almost every fighting aircraft type in the war.

But undoubtedly, it was the magical three letter word SEX that led to most of the art work. Naked and almost naked women were painted on every type of aircraft, in almost every air force. Some of it was beautifully done like "Cherokee Strip” and “Sugar Puss.” Some of it quite vulgar, such as the 8th Air Force B-17s “Mount’N Ride” or "Rosie’s Sweat Box.” Quite a bit of the nose art was copied from Vargas paintings that appeared in Esquire magazine, the World War 2 equivalent to Playboy. The Vargas girls were never named in the magazine but carried every conceivable name when repeated on the aircraft. Nose art became so popular that many times the aircraft name and art was also painted on the crews flight jackets, especially in the 8th Air Force.

But when war broke out in Korea, the American public, the GIs and the professional soldiers were all a little confused. Very few people knew why we were in Korea in the first place. Consequently, the nose art reflected this confusion. Oh sure, there still was the ever present subject of SEX and this was quite apparent on the B-29s that took the war deep into North Korea. The 19th BOMB GROUP based at Kadena was even subjected to censorship on their aircraft. It seems that the base commander at Kadena had his wife living with him on base, and she got upset at seeing all that nudity on the nose of the air­craft. Never mind that the crews were laying their lives on the line each and every day. against a very formidable foe. She put the pressure on her husband and he ordered that all nose art be “clothed.” And so
it was that beautiful art work like LT Dick Thompson’s “That’s It” had panties and bra painted on.

But there was something lacking with the feelings of the GIs that were fighting the war — and it showed in the nose art. The attitude toward the communists showed with names like “Red Eraser” and "United Notions.” But most of the time ittookthe form of names like "Purple Shaft” and "Beat Up Bastard.” The musical side of the nose art equation also wasn’t there. The song titles reminded everyone that they really didn’t want to be there, so wry few aircraft were named after songs. Frankie Laine’s “Mule Train” and Rosemary Clooney’s “Come On ‘A My House” being exceptions. Much of the fighter nose art was captured from feelings towards the aircraft they flew. "Mach One Mac,” “MiG Mad Marine” and "Gopher Patrol" being good examples of Sabre nose art.

Art work on stateside units, when it was allowed, was more along the lines of the Second World War. Perhaps it was the pride of the stateside crews showing, not that the air and ground crews in Korea had a lack of pride — far from it. Pride was almost the only thing that got the crews through what amounted to the worst fighting con­ditions since Valley Forge. There just wasn’t anything easy about the Korea War, except dying. Back і n the states, the air and ground crews decorated aircraft for the many non-combat tests. They called them “competitions.” The Air Force World Wide Rocket Meet held at Yuma AFB prior to the William Tell Meets was a fine example. Only the best units were sent to Yuma. Special teams were selected, not only from a group or wing, but many times from an air division that would have up to six or seven squadrons. And these crews would apply nose art to the aircraft that were selected to hold up the honor of their unit. The 498th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, known as the “Geiger Tigers," had all their aircraft named and carried nose art for the 1956 Yuma Meet. Even Strategic Air Command bombing com­petitions saw a little use of nose art, although I’m sure that GEN Curtis LeMay frowned upon it.

With the exception of the friendly competitions held throughout the world in the late 1950s and early 1960s. nose art simply faded away. A few units had aircraft that were named, like the 538th Fighter Interceptor Squadron’s F-104As, but nothing gaudy, or pat­riotic and especially not sexy! It would remain for another little war in another far off little country for the nose art fad to make a return. The country was South Vietnam and the war would last over seven years!

SWEET MUSIC, a P-47D Thunderbolt of the speth Fighter Squadron/ 404th Fighter Group based at Fritzlar Airdrome, Germany after the end of WWII, carries the group insignia on the cowling in addition to its musi­cal “art.” (Jeff Ethell)



The FLYING SHAMROCK was a P-47M Thunderbolt of the 456th Fighter Squadron/414th Fighter Group based at North Field, Iwo Jima during late 1945. (George Lovering)

R. O.N., an abbreviation for official orders calling for the crew to Remain Over Night. The A-26C Invader was assigned to the Ohio Air National Guard. (David W. Menard)

Подпись: This Consolidated B-24J Liberator based at Nome, Alaska during 1947 carries a highly unique form of the classic sharkmouth design. (AFM)An unnamed but certainly colorful P-47D Thunderbolt of the 397th Fighter Squadron/368th Fighter Group based at Straubling, Germany after the war. The Black and Yellow bands around the rear fuselage were used to identify aircraft assigned to the German Occupation Forces. (Jeff Ethell)



Many Second World War units kept their wartime markings long after the war ended, as did WHAT’S UP DOC!, an F-51D Mustang of the 35th Fighter Group based at Irumagawa Air Base, Japan during 1949. (Bob Pattison)

This P-47D Thunderbolt named Slick Chick was the personal aircraft of the group commander of the 368th Fighter Group, COL Frank Perego. (Jeff Ethell)



image15"The First Lady, Mamie Eisenhower, christens the C-121 Presidential air­craft (today known as Air Force One) on 24 November 1954. President Eisenhower’s aircraft was named Columbine III. (AFM)

BUG’S BUCKET O’BOLTS was a P-80A with the 412th Fighter Group at March Field, California during 1946. The 412th Fighter Group was the first operational unit to be equipped with the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star. (USAF)

Подпись: SPOKANE SPOOK, an F-82G Twin Mustang of the 319th Fighter (All Weather) Squadron based at Moses Lake Air Force Base, Washington in 1949, carried the art on the radar housing. (David Menard)

GONE FOREVER, a 35th Fighter Group F-51D Mustang at Irumagawa, Japan. It was easy to tell what was in the thoughts of most of the GIs minds during their overseas tour. (Bob Pattison)


Many of the A-26C Invaders of the Michigan Air Guard carried names and/or nose art similar to BIG DEAL. This Invader was the wing comman­der’s aircraft. (David W. Menard)

Подпись: THE DUCHESS was another 35th Fighter Group F-51D Mustang based at Irumagawa, Japan that retained its Second World War nose art. (Bob Pattison)

This P-61 A Black Widow night-fighter of the 52nd Fighter (All Weather) Ready For Freddie was another F-51 D Mustang of the Irumagawa-based Group has had its top turret removed, prompting the crew to name the

35th Fighter Group during 1949. Most of the group’s Mustangs had aircraft FLAT TOP. (Dave McLaren) nose art of some sort. (Bob Pattison)



Rhapsody In Rivets was flown by COL Bruce Holloway, Commander of the 412th Fighter Group at March Field, California. The multi-colored bands around the rear fuselage are command bands. (USAF)


“Reddi Kilowatt” adorns the engine nacelles of this Lockheed F-5G

Lightning named I’M REDDI. The aircraft was operated by the Weather The Big Stud was Bob Baseler’s P-47N Thunderbolt. The aircraft was Modification Company. (W. J. Balogh) used to advertise for Army Air Force recruiters at air shows during 1946.

(W. J. Balogh)


The TEXAS TAILPIPE, F-86A (49-1028) of the 56th Fighter Group, was flown by COL Robert Casey when the group was based at Orchard Place AFB (now Chicago’s O’Hare Airport) during the early 1950s. (USAF)




image27Old Glory adorned the nose of this 40th Fighter Squadron/35th Fighter Group F-51D Mustang based in Japan during early 1950. (Bob Pattison)

The HURRICANE HUNTERS carried the patch of the 53rd STRATEGIC RECONNAISSANCE SQUADRON on the nose of their Superforts when they were based at Kindley Air Force Base in Bermuda. (AFM)

image28The Davey Crockett was a Douglas C-54 flown by the Continental Air Division of the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) during 1947. (USAF)

Baby Jean and the rest of the 412th Fighter Group’s P-80As on the ramp at Washington National Airport during 1946. Each pilot’s Second World War score is carried on the vertical fin. “Jean” was the Deputy Group Commander’s aircraft. (USAF)






NIGHT ‘TAKEOFF,’ an F-82G TWin Mustang of the 319th Fighter (All Weather) Squadron at Moses Lake Air Force Base, Washington. Most of the Twin Mustang interceptors from the 319th carried art of some type on the radar housing. (David Menard)


Some of the art work on the F-51D Mustangs of the 40th Fighter Squad­ron reflected the pilot’s previous Second World War service. The pilot of DESERT RAT had served with the 57th Fighter Group in North Africa. (Bob Pattison)

THE BIG WHEEL, an Army Ryan L-17B Navion, was the personal aircraft used by the commander of 8th U. S. Army in Korea. The aircraft was based at Yokota Air Base, Japan during 1949. (Fred LePage)



image35MAGGIE was a C-119C that was also named TEXAS ROSE when she was assigned to the 64th Troop Carrier Squadron, the Blue Tailed Flies. “Maggie” was based at Pusan during the Fall of 1952. (Robert C. Mikesh)

CHIEF SPOKANE was THE RED ERASER, an indication of the destructive power of a full load of bombs from this B-29A Superfortress of the 92nd Bomb Group. (AFM)

SCAP stood for Supreme Commander Allied Powers. This was GEN Douglas MacArthur’s personal C-121 on the ramp at Kimpo soon after the airfield was retaken following the Inchon landings in September of 1950. (Army)

ATOMIC TOM was one of the first B-29s to see combat in the Korean War, flying on the first 19th Bomb Group mission of the war (26 June 1950). (Bill Ritter)



CAPT. SAM AND TEN ‘SCENTS’ described the aroma of the crew after sweating out any mission that took them into MiG Alley in northwest Korea. (Hill)

Подпись:SAC MATE, was a play on the Strategic Air Command title of the B-29 force in Korea. This 22nd Bomb Group (M) B-29A was based at Kadena in the Fall of 1950. (Tom Brewer)

image41When they took over the aircraft, the new crew of T. D. Y. WIDOW added an entirely new female “mascot” to the nose of the B-29A Superfor­tress. (AFM)



НОТ ТО TROT was С-119С Flying Boxcar of the 50th Troop^arrier Squadron at Johnson Air Base, Japan during 1950. (Bob Pattison)

MOON’S MOONBEAM was an RB-29A of the 91st Strategic Recon­naissance Squadron at Yokota AB, Japan during 1951. She was later renamed Daijobu and flew long range reconnaissance missions along both the Red Chinese and Soviet borders during the Korean War. (Tom Mullen)

* ЫК





Even these TARZON radio-controlled 12,000 pound bombs carried nose art. TARZON bombs were directed to their targets, usually the North Korean bridges across the Yalu River, from 19th Bomb Group B – 29 “mother ships.” (AFM)

A very scantily clad Indian maiden graced the nose of this 19th Bomb Group B-29A Superfortress named APACHE. (AFM)




COLONEL BRADY’S DIXIE Special was a 3rd Bomb Wing (Light) B-26C Invader that flew some of the dangerous anti-radar missions, now known as WILD WEASEL missions, when it was based at Kunsan, Korea during 1952. (John Horne)

An unnamed nude adorns the nose of this 13th Bomb Squadron/3rd Bomb Group (L) B-26B Invader based at Kunsan, Korea in 1952. The eight fixed forward firing .50 caliber machine guns on the B-26B made it a great attack aircraft. (John Horne)

THE BIG GASS BIRD was a 98th Bomb Group (Medium) B-29A Superfor­tress based at Yokota Air Base, Japan during 1952. (AFM)

The name Wrights Delight’s/They Chose’n Flew was an obvious reference by the crew of this B-29A Superfortress to the area of Korea (Chosen) that their missions were flown against. (AFM)


Black undersurfaces called for when the MiG-15s made daylight mis­sions into North Korea impossible for the B-29 force to continue, even with F-86 fighter cover. (USAF)




image53CHOTTO MATTE, а В-29А from the 98th Bomb Group(M), being refueled at Yokota for another strike against communist targets in North Korea in December of 1951. The B-29s used SHORAN radar to get a fix on their blacked out targets during their night missions. (Army)

The LEMON DROP KID was a 19th Bomb Group B-29A Superfortress that was named after a Bob Hope movie character and came complete with a cartoon character of the famous actor. (John Senior)

A mechanic checks the engines of Dark Eyes, an RB-26C from the 12th TRS/67th TRW at Kimpo during July 1951 as an M16 anti-aircraft halftrack moves by. The RB-26C had flown at least 108 missions over Korea. (USAF)






LT Johnston stands next to his FAT CAT, an F-80C Shooting Star of the 36th Fighter Bomber Squadron/8th Fighter Bomber Group based at Suwon in February of 1952. (Fred LePage)

Beat Up Bastard was a veteran of both the Second World War and Korean missions. The B-29A flew with the 30th Bomb Squadron/19th Bomb Group during 1950. (Dick Oakley)

image54‘Mary Lou,’ an RF-80A Shooting Star of the 15th Tactical Recon­naissance Squadron/67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing was based across the field at Kimpo from the 4th Fighter Interceptor Wing MiG Maulers during 1952. (George McKay)

Another ten ton load of 500 pound general purpose bombs is readied at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa during March of 1952, for loading aboard the PURPLE SHAFT, a 93rd Bomb Squadron B-29A. (USAF)

TWIN NIFTIES was another play on words describing both the twin-tailed C-119 and certain portions of the female anatomy. She belonged to the 314th Troop Carrier Group at Pusan in August of 1951. (USAF)

The pilot of this 39th Fighter Interceptor Squadron F-86E was obviously a lover of at least three ladies — MARLINE, NANCY, and MARION. I wonder how many more were on the port side gun bay door? (SAAF)

FOR SALE, INQUIRE WITHIN, was an RB-45C Tornado from the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron at Yokota during 1953. Even though they were jet-powered, the RB-45CS were still easy prey for the MiGs. (AFM)


HEART’S DESIRE II was a night flying 98th Bomb Group (Medium) B-29 based out of Yokota during August of 1952. Most of the nude art work at Yokota went uncensored as opposed to the art on Kadena-based B-29s (the base commander’s wife objected to the nudes). (USAF)


(Above and Below)

BEETLE BOMB, originally named after a Spike Jones song, needed something to fight for, so the 92nd Bomb Group (M) crew added a worthwhile “target” at a later date. (AFM)

SURPRISE PACKAGE, a WB-29A weather reconnaissance aircraft of the 512th RS (VLR). The 512th was based at Johnson Air Base on the northern-most Japanese island of Honshu, flying weather recon flights near the Soviet border. (USAF)



Подпись: ‘PUNCH BOWL QUEEN’ was a 19th Bomb Group B-29A Superfortress that was loosely named after the infamous Korean battle ground. (AFM)HOMOGENIZED ETHYL was a KB-29 tanker from the 43rd Air Refueling Squadron. The 43rd’s KB-29S flew many of the first combat air-refueling missions, extending the range of bomb-laden F-84Es from the 136th Fighter Bomber Group so they could deliver their weapons on targets deep inside North Korea during 1952. (W. J. Balogh)

HONEYBUCKET HONSHOS II was an RB-29A from the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Long range recon­naissance missions against Red Chinese targets were flown by 91st RB-29s and RB-50s from the 55th SRW. (Mike Sell)


United Notions, a 98th Bomb Group (Medium) B-29A, was named an obvious play on words describing the forces that were fighting the com­munists in Korea. (AFM)



TIGER LIL was an RB-29A (42-94000) that carried some twenty-seven camera mission markings on the fuselage in Black. The aircraft was assigned to the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron. (AFM)





An unnamed F-80C of the 36th Fighter Bomber Squadron. The aircraft was staging through Kimpo Air Base during 1952, carrying the standard armament for F-80C fighter-bombers of two 500 pound GP bombs. (Warren Thompson) л

This unnamed cutie adorned the side of a 35th Fighter Group F-51D Mustang in Japan during 1950. (Bob Pattison)


Beer City Special “Miss BBII," was an F-80C Shooting Star of the 36th Fighter Bomber Squadron at Suwon. The Shooting Star was flown by CAPT “Triple Tom” Owen during 1952. (Tom Owen)

THE HOLLYWOOD SPECIAL “Blow Job,” was an 80th Fighter Bomber Squadron F-80C Shooting Star whose name “probably” referred to the

jet’s exhaust. (W. T. O’Donnell) The Black Widow carried nose art derived from an Esquire magazine

calendar. It was assigned to the 37th Bomb Squadron/17th Bomb Wing (Light) at K-1 (Pusan) during the Summer of 1952. (Robert C. Mikesh)




Ordnance for the night’s mission is laid out in front of JUNIO, the B-26C Invader flown by COL Charles Howe when he commanded the 452nd Bomb Group (Light) at Pusan during early 1951. (John Horne)

Miss Minooki, an old sentiment resurrected from the Second World War by the crew of this 17th Bomb Wing (L) B-26C Invader based at Pusan during 1952. Her scoreboard has some 150 missions recorded as Black bomb markings. (Robert C. Mikesh)

Martha was one of the glass-nosed RB-26CS operated by the 12th Tacti­cal Reconnaissance Squadron/67th TRW at K-14 (Kimpo) during 1952. The Night Black RB-26Cs often flew the “Hunter” portion of “Hunter – Killer” missions along with heavily armed B-26s from the 3rd and 17th Bomb Wings (Light). (Paul Swendroski)



Nancy, also known as Honey Bucket, was one of the Project ASHTRAY RF-86A Sabres (48-195). These aircraft had their guns removed to make room for a camera installation. The ASHTRAY RF-86AS were all assigned to the 15th TRS/67th TRW at K-14. (Bill Coffey)


6th Chadwick was the sixth aircraft that MAJ Fortney of the 3rd Bomb Group (L) had flown with that name. The B-26B has only five guns fitted in the six gun nose cap with one of the center guns being removed. (Bob Esposito)

Small light planes in Korea were used in the Forward Air Controller role, commonly known as FACs. BUNNY HOPS was a Stinson L-5 assigned to the 8th U. S. Army during 1952. (Army)


KATHY was an RF-86A ASHTRAY conversion. The pilot knew that Every Man (was) A Tiger in the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron at Kimpo. You had to be when you flew “alone, unarmed and unafraid!” (Bill Coffey)



HELLS BELLE was a B-26C from the 452nd Bomb Group (L) based at Pusan East during 1951. The 452nd Bomb Group (L) was a California Air Guard unit activated for duty in Korea. (AFM)

Bowl ’Em Over was a Meteor F.8 flown by Flying Officer Bruce Gogerly when he shot down a MiG-15. Gogerly was assigned to No 77 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force based at K-14. (AWM)


LT Charles Wurster shot down a North Korean Yak fighter on 30 June 1950. He is talking with his crew chief next to MAID FOR ACTION, an F – 80C of the 36th Fighter Bomber Squadron/8th Fighter Bomber Group, based at Itazuke AB, Japan in the Summer of 1950. (USAF)

Symon’s Lemon, an RF-51D with twenty-six photo missions on its score – board. The Mustang was assigned to the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron/67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing based at K-14 during 1952. (NAA)



Various stages that Never Hoppen went through before finally being approved by the base commander’s wife at Kadena. The nude was the original art work. (Dick Oakley)

SOUTH SEA SINNER was a 28th Bomb Squadron B-29A Superfortress based at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. She was tastefully covered by her flower leis. (Dick Oakley)

When the order to cover up came through, she was given panties and a bra, but as it turned out, this still wasn’t good enough to please the CO’s wife. (Dick Oakley)

Persuade-Her was another B-29 painted by CAPT Dick Thompson of the 19th Bomb Group. Many of his nudes had to have clothes put on them at Kadena by order of the base commander. (Dick Oakley)


Finally, the panties and bra were exchanged for a skimpy two piece bathing suit (bikinis hadn’t been invented yet) along with the complete deletion of the offensive bed. (Dick Oakley)

HOT TO GO was still another of the 19th Bomb Group B-29s based at Kadena in the Fall of 1951. The Black undersurfaces were added after the MiGs forced the B-29s to shift to night missions. (Dick Oakley)



ALL SHOOK, a B-29A of the 19th BG was named Soft Touch before having the undersurfaces of the aircraft painted Night Black during the Fall of 1951. (Tom Brewer)

The B-29 units seemed to have some of the best nose art in Korea. DESTINATION KNOWN was a B-29A of the 98th Bomb Group (M) based at Yokota, Japan. (AFM)

MULE TRAIN was a 22nd Bomb Group (M) B-29A Superfortress based at

image90 image91

Kadena, Okinawa while on temporary assignment with the 19th Bomb LADY IN DIS-DRESS was a 98th Bomb Group (M) B-29A stationed at Group during the Summer of 1950. (Dick Oakley) Yokota AB, Japan during 1951. (AFM)

This B-29A of the 93rd Bomb Squadron/19th Bomb Group, parked near the bomb assembly area at Kadena Air Base during 1952 was named DIXIE BABE. (John Shipley)

In 1955, Dennis The Menace was a relatively new but very popular car­toon character and the pilot of this 97th Fighter Interceptor Squadron F-86D based at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio, must have really liked the comic strip. (AFM)


TWEETY was an F-86D Sabre Dog of the 25th Fighter Interceptor Squad – ron/51st Fighter Interceptor Wing based at Naha, Okinawa during 1955. The name and trim on the nose and fin was in Red. (Jack Engle – wright)

Ml ASSAM DRAGON was carried on the side of an F-86A Sabre from the 194th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, California Air National Guard. (Jim Farmer)

This 97th Fighter Interceptor Squadron F-86D Sabre Dog, based at

New Castle County Airport Air Force Base, Delaware, carried the name First Lady Of Glasgow was a B-52D Stratofortress on display on the

Joan Of Arc and a mounted Knight during 1956. (AFM) ramp at Edwards Air Force Base in May of 1962. That is a sailor in Dress

Blues peeking into the cockpit. (Norm Taylor)



The Flying Yankees was not the personal name for this Lockheed F-94A Starfire, but rather the nickname for the Connecticut Air National Guard’s 118th Fighter Interceptor Squadron based at Bradley Field. (R. W. Harrison)


The Kentucky Rifle, an F-86D Sabre Dog serving with the Western Air Defense Force Team at the 1956 Yuma Rocket Meet. The aircraft carries five “kill” markings for victories over the target sleeve. (NAA)

Strategic Air Command crews were rarely allowed to name their air­craft, much less put nose art on them. City Of Winter Park was the win­ner at the 1957 SAC Bombing Competition. (USAF)

Womp Bird II was an F-86D from the 39th Fighter Interceptor Squad – ron/51st Fighter Interceptor Wing based at Komacki Air Base, Japan during 1957. The aircraft has had a major engine overhaul and portions of the tail pipe are missing. (Merle Olmsted)

Another of Karl Dittmer’s 4th Fighter Interceptor Squadron F-86 Sabre One of the better artists in Korea was Karl Dittmer who painted F-86

works of art was LT Martin Bambrick’sWHAM BAM. (Karl Dittmer) Sabres of the 4th Fighter Interceptor Group. One of his aircraft was

GOPHER PATROL. (Karl Dittmer)


Toni СII, was an overall Black B-26C Invader of the 34th Bomb Squadron/ 17th Bomb Wing (L) at Pusan during 1952. (Robert C. Mikesh)

Cartoon characters were still among some of the favorites for nose art subjects on fighter aircraft. Mighty Mouse was an F-86E-6, one of the Canadair-built Sabres assigned to the 39th Fighter Interceptor Squadron/ 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing at Suwon. (Earl Shutt)



MY BABY, a B-26B from the 728th Bomb Squadron/452nd Bomb Group carries a full load of rockets and napalm on the ramp at Miho Air Base, Japan during 1951. (Robert Jackson)




The REAM SUPREME summed up the general attitude of every Gl in a combat zone. This C-119C was from the 314th TCG. (via Warren Thompson)

/ HAVE RETURNED was a B-26B from the 452nd Bomb Group at Miho Air Base, Japan. Besides the name it carried the General’s famous corncob pipe. (David DeHaven)

Every theater in World War 2 had a TOP OF THE MARK, named after the famous San Francisco restaurant and so did Korea. This “MARK” was from the 28th Bomb Squadron/19th Bomb Group based at Kadena in 1951. (John Shipley)

SCREAM’N REBEL was an LT-6G Texan flown by CAPT Sid McNeil of the 6148th TCS at K-47, Chunchon, Korea, during 1953. (Mosquito Assn.)



The L иску Lady was an F-86A Sabre flown by the “legendary” CAPT Jim Herlihy, an ace with seven kills, in one of Hollywood’s “reel war” epics, “Bombers B-52.” (John Campbell)

Miss Megook was another of CAPT Dick Thompson’s B-29A Superfor­tress works of art that was later ordered clothed by the base commander at Kadena. (Dick Oakley)

Members of the flight crew of Spittin Kitten, a 98th Bomb Group B-29A Superfortress, go over the preflight checklist prior to another mission against the North Koreans during 1952. (USAF)

When the order to cloth her came down from the base commander, the crew of Miss Megook followed that order — well almost! It is unknown what reaction the commander had to the somewhat clothed painting. (Dick Oakley)



Come On ’A My House/Our Baby was a 98th Bomb Group B-29A Super­fortress based at Yokota, Japan during 1951. The name was based on a popular song of the period. (Dick Starinchak)

The DRAGON LADY was a character in the comic strip “Terry And The Pirates” and one of the most popular names for any Far East-based air­craft in both the Second World War and Korea. This “Lady” was a 19th Bomb Group B-29A which was credited with downing five MiG-15s. (Dick Oakley)



CAPT Dick Thompson has just put the finishing touches on Target For Tonite, another 19th Bomb Group B-29 based at Kadena, Okinawa. Or so he thought! (Dick Oakley)

Once again, the base commander’s wife objected to the nudity on the aircraft, and CAPT Thompson returned to paint clothes on his work of art. (Dick Oakley)

FOUR-A-BREAST was a B-29A Superfortress that flew with the 30th Bomb Squadron/19th Bomb Group out of Kadena, Okinawa during late 1950. (Hill)

NO SWEAT was another clothed nude from the 19th Bomb Group. The name was in Blue with Black shadow shading and the bra and panties were White. (Dick Oakley)


NO SWEAT flies formation with another 19th Bomb Group Superfor­tress, FOUR-A-BREAST, over North Korea. The name on FOUR-A-BREAST was in Red outlined in Black. Both bombers are equipped with blind bombing radomes on the fuselage underside. (Dick Oakley)

NOSE FOR NEWS was a Fairchild C-82 Packet used as a flying press room for reporters during the 1948 Presidential campaign. The name was in Black while the Nose was Red. (USAF)





An unnamed lady adorns the gun bay door on this 39th Fighter Inter­ceptor Squadron F-86F Sabre at Suwon, Korea in June of 1953. (Bob Groszer)

Jo-Jo, a C-119C from the 314th TCG flew ninety-eight supply missions in Korea and was involved in all four major paratroop drops during the war. (Paul Vercammen)


Horizontal Dream was flown by CAPT John Robertson of the 80th Fighter Bomber Squadron/8th Fighter Bomber Group based at Itazuke Air Base, Japan in the Summer of 1950. (John Robertson)

What Shebolians is an unknown slang term for a well-known portion of the female anatomy, as portrayed on this B-26C from the 34th Bomb Squadron/17th Bomb Wing (L) at Pusan during 1952. (Robert C. Mikesh)


Dina Might, was an F-94B Starfire of the 4th Fighter (All Weather) Squadron based at Naha Air Base, Okinawa during 1952. Nose art on F-94s was rare. (Gerry Margraf)


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MAJ T. P. Ingrassia was THE NEW ORLEANS KID. He flew this F-84G Thunderjet while assigned to the 111 th Fighter Bomber Squadron at K – 2 (Taegu) in 1951. (MAJ T. P. Ingrassia)

LT James Thompson flew THE HUFF and had the dragon also painted on his helmet. The dragon motif symbolized the MiG-15 that Thompson shot down on 18 May 1953, which had a large dragon painted on the fuselage. (Dean Abbott)

This unnamed lady on the side of a 314th Troop Carrier Group C-119C served in both Korea and Indochina during the French-lndochina War.

Karl Dittmer puts the finishing touches on ROSIE, an F-86E Sabre of the 335th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at K-14 during 1952. (Karl Dittmer)


One of the gaudiest Sabres in the Korean War was LT James Thompson’s THE HUFF, of the 39th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Suwon. The dragon was only carried on the port fuselage side. Bill’s Baby was the marking carried on the starboard gun bay door. (D. N. Drew)




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This С-119C Flying Boxcar had the enviable task of delivering Marilyn Monroe to Korea during the Winter of 1952/53 and was promptly adorned with her portrait and the name Marilyn Monroe Special.

(Richard Behilo)

NEVA HOPPEN was a B-26C Invader assigned to the 452nd Bomb Wing (Light) based at Taegu, Korea during 1951. She carries at least thirty – seven mission marks on the fuselage side. (AFM)

Betty Toot was a Meteor F8 of No 77 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force based at K-14 (Kimpo) during 1952. Although primarily a ground attack unit, No 77 Squadron Meteors scored three confirmed MiG kills. (AWM)

The Spirit Of HOBO flew the 50,000th combat sortie of the Korean War. The Shooting Star was assigned to the 80th Fighter Bomber Squadron at Suwon when she set the record in October of 1952. (Zlindra via Olmsted)


PEEPER was an RF-80A Shooting Star of the 15th Tactical Recon­naissance Squadron/67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. The RF-80A carried equipment similar to an F-80C with upgraded radios and engine. (Bill Coffey)




image137NIGHT TRAIN was an LT-6G Texan of the 6147th TCG based at Chunchon, Korea during 1953. The 6147th TCG flew Forward Air Control missions over Korea and were known as the Mosquito Squadron. (Mosquito


Raz’NHell was a 28th Bomb Squadron B-29A that was specially equipped to drop radio-guided RAZON bombs. These bombs were used against the Yalu River bridges near Antung in the Winter of 1950. (Dick Oakley)


The Stinger was flown by LT Bednar of the 12th Fighter Bomber Squad – ron/18th Fighter Bomber Wing at Osan, Korea during 1953. MAJ Howard Ebersole is the pilot kneeling by the nose. (Howard Ebersole)


Sexual innuendo regarding the Japanese was still quite prevalent during the Korean War. NIP ON NEES was a 98th Bomb Group B-29A Superfor­tress based at Yokota, Japan. (AFM)


MISS “BB” III (BB stood for Big Boobs) was an F-86F Sabre fighter – bomber from the 36th Fighter Bomber Squadron/8th Fighter Bomber Wing based at Suwon during 1953. (Warren Thompson)






CREAM OF THE CROP was a 30th Bomb Squadron/19th Bomb Group B – 29A based at Kadena during 1951. The aircraft was later “censored” by the base commander for being in bad taste! (Dick Oakley)

That’s ‘It’ was one of LT Dick Thompson’s best looking “pieces” of art carried by a Superfortress of the 28th Bomb Squadron/19th Bomb Group at Kadena. (Dick Oakley)

MY LOG was an AD-2 Skyraider of Marine Attack Squadron 121 (VMA – 121) based at K-3 (Polang) Airfield duing 1952. The aircraft is armed with twelve 250 pound bombs and napalm tanks. (Derrickson)


SAD SACK was a B-29A from the 22nd Bomb Group (M) that spent the Summer and Fall of 1950 on Temporary Duty (TDY) at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. (Dick Oakley)

HOT ТА GO was an overall Black RB-26C Invader from the 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron/67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing based at Kimpo during 1952. (Dick Starinchak)



Mickey’s dog Pluto has his sights set on a MiG-15 as his next meal. Pluto was an F-86E Sabre of the 25th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at K-13 during 1953. (Dick Geiger)

Now that’s real “nose’1 art. This F-86E Sabre was from the 16th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, based at Suwon, Korea during 1953. (Frank Tomlinson)

DENNIS the MENACE asks the Chinese Reds if they Wanna Play?. LT L. R. Ivins flew this F-86F fighter-bomber while attached to the 67th Fighter Bomber Squadron based at K-55 (Osan) in November of 1953. (Bernard Kibort)

KIMPO KAT was a C-119C of the 314th TCG that participated in all the major parachute operations in the Korean War, including the 187th REGIMENTAL COMBAT TEAM drop into Sunchon on 30 December 1950. (Paul Vercammen)


Beetle Bum was a T-6D Texan that ran into accurate flak over North Korea. The “Bum” flew with the famous Mosquito Squadron, the 6147th Tactical Air Control Group during 1950. (Mosquito Assn.)

BUZZY McGOO II, an F-84G assigned to the 7th Fighter Bomber Squadron/ 49th Fighter Bomber Group at K-2, also had two LADIES WILD on the fuselage. (Thomas Washburn)



CHIEF MAC’S 10 LITTLE INDIANS was carried on a B-29A Superfortress CREAM OF THE CROP shows how some of the crews felt about their art

of the 98th Bomb Group based at Yokota during 1950. (AFM) work being censored. When ordered to cover up, they just slapped a

sign over her offending areas. (Dick Oakley)

This B-29A Superfortress named BABY SAN was also known as Phippen’s Pippens when she flew with the 98th Bomb Group at Yokota, Japan during 1952. (Dick Starinchak)

This B-29A Superfortress named THE WILD GOOSE flew with the 92nd Bomb Group out of Yokota in the Fall of 1950. (AFM)


Toddlin’ Turtle flew with the 22nd Bomb Group at Kadena in the Fall of 1950. The 22nd Bomb Group was one of the B-29s units rushed to the Korean Theater in the Summer of 1950. (Dick Oakley)

WHERE NEXT?, a 98th Bomb Group B-29A Superfortress, has had a long and distinguished career and she seems ready for more. The aircraft and crew served in both Europe and the Pacific. (AFM)



This B-29A Superfortress, named Myasis Dragon, was transferred from the 92nd Bomb Group at Yokota, Japan to the “censored” 19th Bomb Group at Kadena, Okinawa. (Dick Oakley)

On arrival in Kadena, Myasis Dragon promptly had the name altered to meet the rules set up by the base commander at Kadena. The crew simply overpainted the offending word with White paint. (Dick Oakley)

This B-29A named DOUBLE OR NUTHIN’flew with the 19th Bomb Group at Kadena. The painted on window behind the name holds the face of a crewman who hasn’t seen many women lately. (Hill)

B-29A side number 6361 was a LONELY LADY. She flew with the 98th Bomb Group at Yokota, Japan during 1951. (AFM)



The LAKE SUCCESS EXPRESS, A B-29A of the 92nd Bomb Group during the Summer of 1950 had the names of the crews girl friends/wives painted by the crewman’s position. The 92nd Bomb Group had been based at Spokane Field before being sent to Korea. (AFM)


Miss Jackie The Rebel was still another prime example of CAPT Dick Thompson’s gorgeous ladies being forced to dress before going off to war. The rebel lady was given a rebel flag bathing suit top to please the CO’s wife. (Hill)



BATTY BETTY II was a modified Lockheed F-5G Lightning flown by Jack Hardwick (also known as “the Madman Muntz Of The Air”) at the 1948 National Air Race held at Cleveland Municipal Airport. (Charles Trask via Dave McLaren)


ACE IN THE HOLE was an F-94B Starfire of the 319th F(AW)S that was based at K-13. The unit had detachments throughout South Korea for night air defense. The ‘Ace’ was parked on the ramp at Taegu during June 1953. (Alan Fine)

SWEET MUDDER was an F-86L Sabre of the 329th Fighter Interceptor Squadron based at George Air Force Base, California during 1958. (Marty Isham)


Personalized aircraft were rare in the Strategic Air Command, and even fewer carried nose art. Old Blue, was a B-47E Stratojet of the 310th Bomb Wing based at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. (USAF)

The nose art predates the cartoon character, but it shows how the crews felt about the performance of the F-86D Sabre. RoadRunner was from the 97th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Wright Patterson AFB during the late 1950s. (D. N. Drew)



End Of The Trail indicated that this F-86A Sabre of the 194th Fighter Interceptor Squadron/California Air National Guard was probably the last stop before the bone yard. (Jim Farmer)

Ground crews perform maintenance on one of the engines of the LUCKY LADYII. This 8th Air Force B-50A made an around the world record flight during 1950. (AFM)

image169Boards shares the ramp with other F-86As of the 194th Fighter Inter­ceptor Squadron at Fresno, California in 1953. Most of California Air National Guard F-86As carried nose art in one form or another during this period. (Jim Farmer)


This F-80C Shooting Star, named RAMBLIN-RECK-TEW, was flown by LT Robert Dewald when he shot down a North Korean IL-10 during July of 1950. The aircraft carried a small North Korean star under the cockpit. (Robert Dewald)




This unnamed nude was painted on the side of an F-84G Thunderjet Bugs’ (ball) Buster conveyed the attitude of the Superfortress crews

from the 58th Fighter Bomber Group at Taegu, Korea during 1952. that flew the missions into MiG Alley. These were “ball buster missions”

(David W. Menard) that cost a lot of B-29s. Bugs flew with the 28th Bomb Squadron.

(Dick Oakley)

THE WILD MOOOSE was a C-119C Flying Boxcar of the 61 st Troop Car­rier Squadron, known as The Green Hornets. The squadron was based at Taegu during the Summer of 1951. (Paul Vercammen)

OVER EXPOSED was a 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron RB – 29A based at Yokota. The 91st SRS was responsible for all Air Force long range reconnaissance missions flown during the Korean War. (Dick Oakley)


"JOHNS OTHER WIFE” was his B-29A. The Superfortress was assigned to the 19th Bomb Group in 1952. Quite a difference between this “lady” and those done by CAPT Dick Thompson. (John Shipley)




COMMAND DECISION is easily the most famous B-29 from the Korean War. The crew of this 28th Bomb Squadron B-29 shot down five MiG-15 jet fighters in 1950/51. Its fuselage has been preserved and exhibited at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. (USAF)

DOWN’S CLOWNS was a 92nd Bomb Group B-29A Superfortress that was later shot down by North Korean MiG-15 fighters during 1951. (John Rusch)


THE OUTLAW was a 28th Bomb Squadron B-29A named for the Howard Hughes movie. The likeness of Jane Russell, who starred in the movie, was taken from the movie posters that came out with the film. (Dick Oakley)

LI’L DOTTIE was flown by LT Roy Marsh while assigned to the 80th Fighter Bomber Squadron/8th Fighter Bomber Group when he shot down a North Korean 11-10 on 29 June 1950. (Warren Thompson)



image180The JOLLEY ROGER was the personal aircraft of CAPT Clifford Jolley, one of the “MiG Hunters” of the 4th Fighter Interceptor Wing at Kimpo. Jolley shot down seven MiGs during 1952. (Clifford Jolley)

KTTV CHANNEL 11 was one of the radar-busting B-26Bs from the 452nd Bomb Group at Taegu. It was named after a Los Angeles television station that went to Korea to cover the California Reserve unit. (David Dehaven)

Dorothy L/PANTHER QUEEN was an F-80C of the 16th Fighter Interceptor Squadron/51st Fighter Interceptor Group based at K-13 (Suwon) in 1951. The Shooting Star was equipped with long range “Misawa” drop tanks specially designed for combat in Korea. (R. F. Wehr)

image182HONEYBUCKET was one of eleven F-86A Sabres that were converted to RF-86A under Project ASHTRAY. The “Bucket” was assigned to the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron/67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Kimpo during 1952. This was the only RF-86A lost in Korea. (Robert Lamprecht)

SQUEEZE PLAY was a B-29A Superfortress assigned to the 92nd Bomb Group in the Fall of 1950. It was a play on an old military saying for being in BIG trouble — “catching your tit in a wringer.” (AFM)

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The 452nd Bomb Group was a California Air Force Reserve unit that was activated for the Korean War. Many of their aircraft had names relating to their home state. Hollywood HANGOVER was from the 728th Bomb Squadron. (Robert Jackson)

Dagmar and Muchie were a pair of VF-54 AD-4 Skyraiders aboard USS ESSEX during the Fall of 1951. Dagmar was a very voluptuous blonde television personality in the early 1950s. (V. A. Fleming)

BUBBA BOY, a B-47E Stratojet of the 4925th Test Group (Atomic) following one of the Atomic missions against Enewetok during 1956. (AFM)

THE TURTLE was also known as Truculent Turtle. The P2V-1 Neptune flew non-stop from Perth, Australia to Columbus, Ohio setting a new distance record. The aircraft visited the Cleveland National Air Show during November 1946. (Ron Picciani)


Mechanics conduct a complete overhaul of this 1st Marine Air Wing F9F-2 Panther at Pohang, Korea during June of 1951. The Panther has a panther “face” and claws in White on the nose. (USMC)


FATHER DAN was a sharkmouthed F-86E Sabre of the 25th Fighter Inter­ceptor Squadron that was named after the Chaplin of the 51 st Fighter Interceptor Group at K-13. (George Howell)

Miss Тепа was flown by COL Woodrow Wilmot when he commanded the 8th Fighter Bomber Wing at Suwon in 1953. The tail and nose command stripes on the F-86F-30 fighter-bomber are Blue, Yellow and Red. (Don Garrett, Jr.)






LT Harvey Brown flew this F-86F Sabre fighter-bomber with the 67th Fighter Bomber Squadron at Osan, Korea during the Summer of 1953. The artwork was painted on by his crew chief. (Harvey Brown)

Evil Eye Fleegle was one of Al Capp’s famous cartoon characters from the “L’il Abner” strip that graced many aircraft in both the Second World War and Korea, including this F-80C Shooting Star. (USAF)


My Mimi, was an RF-51D Mustang of the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (known as the Polka Dot Squadron). The unit flew recon mis­sions over the front and along the North Korean road net during 1951. (USAF)

Marine MAJ John Glenn (later Astronaut and Congressman) was the MiG Mad Marine. He shot down three MiG-15s during 1953 while on temporary assignment with the 25th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Suwon. (COL Robert Baldwin)

BROWN NOSE was a 452nd Bomb Wing (Light) B-26B Invader. The air­craft flew the unit’s 10,000th sortie in December of 1951. The ground crew, SGT Raymond Severy, SGT Raymond Lowther and SGT Thomas Meer were congratulated on the occasion by MAJ Gilbert Nevling. (USAF)

Betty Jane was a gunfighting “lady” with the 45th Tactical Recon­naissance Squadron at K-14 during 1952. The polka dot prop spinner was a symbol of the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. The name was in Red with a White outline. (Dave Colbert)



After a complaint from the base commander’s wife at Kadena Air Base, all the 19th Bomb Group B-29As were forced to put clothes on all the nude art work. Southern Comfort from the 30th Bomb Squadron was given a two piece swim suit. (Dick Oakley)

This 98th Bomb Group (Medium) B-29A Superfortress carried a slightly different variation on the “Terry And The Pirates” Dragon Lady character during 1951. (AFM)

Cat Girl, a 28th Bomb Squadron B-29A at Kadena during late 1952. She had started out nude on a Natural Metal B-29; now she has had both the night camouflage and clothes added to the original art. (AFM)

Armament specialists work on the upper turret of TO EACH HIS OWN, a B-29A Superfortress that flew with the 98th Bomb Group out of Yokota, Japan during 1951. (AFM)


This B-29A, named LUCKY DOG, flew missions out of Kadena with 93rd Bomb Squadron during 1950. (Dick Oakley)

Dead Jug was a 93rd Bomb Squadron B-29A. The name was in reference the to the trouble-plagued Pratt and Whitney R-3350 power plants used on the Boeing Superfortress. (Dick Oakley)




НОТ ТО GO was the attitude that most of the 98th Bomb Group (Medium) crews had during that first Summer of 1950. At that time everyone had the feeling that the war would be over by Christmas. (AFM)

NO SWEAT has had a pair of strategically placed “ear muffs” painted on BIG SHMOO was a 93rd Bomb Squadron/19th Bomb Group B-29A after the censorship edict went into effect at Kadena. (Hill) based at Kadena. The Shmoo was another one of the characters in Al Capp’s cartoon strip “L’il Abner.” The band around the nose and the nosewheel door are Red. (Dick Oakley)



Star Duster was another Black-bellied 30th Bomb Squadron B-29A Superfortress on the ramp at Kadena during 1952. The nosewheel has a painted on whitewall tire. (John Shipley)


Peacemaker, was a B-29A Superfortress of the 22nd Bomb Group, which shared the field at Kadena with the 19th Bomb Group. (Dick Oakley)


OUR GAL was one of LT Dick Thompson’s best pieces of art. He added a polka dot bathing suit when the word was passed down to clothe the girls. The nose band was in Red. (Dick Oakley)


The Old Man was the F-86F Sabre flown by the commander of the 8th Fighter Bomber Group at K-13 in the Summer of 1953. The various types of weapons that the F-86F was capable of carrying were laid out in front of the aircraft for a press display. (NAA)

Подпись: CAPT Richard Chandler scratches the tail of Sylvester, an RF-86A ASHTRAY aircraft. Sylvester is reading the instructions on How To Use Your Brownie, which referred to the cameras installed in the RF-86A at K-14 in 1952. (USAF) Подпись:


Bills Baby/Miss Jerry was the artwork carried on the opposite side of LT James Thompson’s The Huff. T/SGT Bill Manney was the crew chief on The Huff and his personal markings were carried on the starboard gun bay door. (Bill Manney)

Art on the Sabres in Korea ran from gorgeous nudes to ridiculous car­toons like MIKE’S BIRD, an F-86F Sabre with the 39th Fighter Intercep­tor Squadron at K-13 during 1953. (Bob Groszer)



image213The Fickle Finger, a 136th Fighter Bomber Group F-84G Thunderjet, was typical of the attitude of the crews and GIs in Korea as the war dragged on with no end, let alone victory, in sight.

Vendetta carried the smiling sharkmouth found on the F-51D Mustangs attached to the 12th Fighter Bomber Squadron. The unit was based at Chinhae during 1952. The spinner was in Yellow. (Dick Kempthorne)


MIDNITE SINNER was a 68th Fighter (All Weather) Squadron F-82G based at Itazuke AB, Japan. The 68th had detachments throughout Japan and South Korea and were responsible for intercepting the North Korean PO-2 Bedcheck Charlies that harassed UN bases every night. (Don Garrett, Jr.)


The famous Monie was Robert Mikesh’s B-26C Invader when he flew with the 37th Bomb Squadron/17th Bomb Wing (Light Night Attack) based at Pusan in the Fall of 1952. (Robert C. Mikesh)


THE THING, a 61 st Troop Carrier Squadron (Green Hornets) C-119C Flying

Boxcar based at Taegu in 1951, was named for the classic horror movie, BUGS II, a 17th Bomb Wing (Light) B-26C Invader based at K-3 (Pusan)

“The Thing.” (Paul Vercammen) during 1952, used the famous rabbit as its mascot. (AFM)




SHOOT YOU’RE FADED, the venerable crapshooter’s term was carried over from the Second World War and painted on this 36th Fighter Bomber Squadron/8th Fighter Bomber Group F-80C based at K-2 during 1951. (USAF)

SGT Harry Hanst and CPL Peter Grant install a loaded K-24 camera into the camera bay of Red-On-Th’-Head, an RF-80A Shooting Star of the 8th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron based at Yokota during the Summer of 1950. (USAF)

PUDDY TAT was a fighter-bomber F-86F Sabre with the 12th Fighter Bomber Squadron/18th Fighter Bomber Wing based at K-55 in 1953. The 18th Fighter Bomber Group transitioned from F-51 Ds to F-86FS in the Spring of 1953. (Dick Kempthorne)






LT Dick Thompson starts filling in the body on That’s ‘It’, a Red banded 93rd Bomb Squadron B-29A at Kadena, Okinawa. The original artwork on the Superfortress was nude. (Tom Brewer)

Miss Spokane, a 92nd Bomb Group B-29A on temporary duty to Yokota, carried ten mission markings under the cockpit. The artwork was copied from a photo of the real Miss Spokane of 1950 that had been sent to the group from the Spokane Chamber of Commerce. (Boeing)


STOVE PIPE SUE was one of the armed T-33A Shooting Stars assigned to the 51 st Fighter Interceptor Group at K-13 in 1952. Every jet group in Korea had several armed T-33As that were used as hack aircraft and airborne command posts. (Oscar Lind)

Later That’s ‘It’ had a flimsy nightgown added to the painting. The artist’s signature is visible just to the right of the figure. (Dick Oakley)

Soft Touch was another B-29A Superfortress from the 28th Bomb Squadron/19th Bomb Group at Kadena. (Hill)


“Run ’em back north over the 38th Parallel” was the typical sentiment of the bomber crews at Kadena during 1950. MISSION INN flew with the 22nd Bomb Group. (USAF)

Some Superforts carried art in other locations than the nose. This is an example of “tail art.” HOLTON’S BAR’L was a description of the tail gunner’s “office” on this 92nd Bomb Group B-29A at Yokota. (Wayne)


ISLAND QUEEN was another example of Dick Thompson’s art work on a 28th Bomb Squadron B-29A. The nose band and nosewheel door were in Dark Green. (Dick Oakley)



ROUGH ROMAN was a 28th Bomb Squadron B-29A Superfortress at Kadena during 1951. (Tom Brewer)



SHEEZA GOER flew with the 30th Bomb Squadron at Kadena. The 19th Bomb Group based at Kadena, Okinawa flew combat missions over the course of the entire Korean War. (Dick Oakley)


Mac’s Effort, a 92nd Bomb Group(M) B-29A Superfortress, carried a double entendre name derived from the Air Force term for an all-out attack. (AFM)


image232 image233

LUCIFER was one of the specially modified 19th Bomb Group B-29As that carried the radio-guided 12,000 pound TARZON bomb against the Yalu River bridges. (AFM)

JITA stood for “Jab In The Ass.” The Black bellied B-29A Superfortress flew with the 30th Bomb Squadron/19th Bomb Group during 1951. (Dick Oakley)


The Bluetailfly flew with the Blue-tailed 30th Bomb Squadron at Kadena Sure Thing was a 19th Bomb Group B-29A that had a very low cut blouse

during 1950. The B-29s of the 30th BS carried a Blue band on the nose and hiked up skirt painted over her original nude art. (Hill)

and across the vertical fin. (Dick Oakley)

ROCK HAPPY was a 93rd Bomb Squadron B-29A named for the Gl slang reference for Okinawa – The Rock. This B-29 flew over seventy-five combat missions over Korea. (USAF)
“Stateside Reject” from the 19th Bomb Group in 1951. Throughout the war, the 19th Bomb Group had fine artists for their B-29 “canvas.” (Dick Oakley)




TARHEEL STATE, a 22nd Troop Carrier Squadron C-54, delivered bombs and fuzes to the fighter units at Kimpo after the base was recaptured in September of 1950. (USAF)

Sweet Miss Lillian, a 37th Bomb Squadron B-26C Invader based at K-1 (Pusan) in the Fall of 1952. The art was based on a Vargas girl seen on a 1952 Esquire calendar. (Robert C. Mikesh)

The Golden Bear, a 17th Bomb Wing(LNA) B-26C on the Pusan ramp in June of 1953. The all-Black B-26s of the 17th and 3rd Bomb Wing flew night intruder missions along the North Korean road net, usually in Hunter-Killer teams with another B-26. (USAF)




DOT and Mary Lou sit in one of the sandbag revetments used by 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron RF-80s at K-14 during 1952. Mary Lou, an RF-80A, has over 100 photo missions, while DOT was one of the newer RF-80Cs. (George McKay)

OLIE was the personal F-84G Thunderjet of COL Joe Davis, Jr., Com­mander of the 58th Fighter Bomber Group at K-8 in 1953. The buzz number on the aircraft’s side had Red shadow shading. (Don Garrett, Jr.)

Ricki-Ticki sits on the Taegu ramp with other 314th Troop Carrier Group C-119C Flying Boxcars loaded with supplies for the troops along the front in August of 1951. (USAF)



MAJ Elbert Kerstetter leans on the drop tank of HONEST JOHN, an F – 86E Sabre with the 336th Fighter Interceptor Squadron/4th Fighter Interceptor Wing at K-14 during September of 1952. (USAF)

SGT George Hale of the Royal Australian Air Force touches the map of home on ‘Halestorm, ’ a Meteor Mk 8 of No 77 Squadron, RAAF at K-14. The words “MiG Killer” were written in the gun dust — a very rare occurrence for the Meteors. (AWM)

KIPED/COCHISE was an F-86E Sabre of the 335th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at K-14 during 1952. KIPED has a train with twelve rail cars, six trucks and one MiG to its credit. (Ken Buchanen)

DAIJOBU was previously named Moon’s Moonbeam. She was a RB-29A Superfortress assigned to the 91 st SRS at Yokota, Japan during 1952. (Dick Starinchak)




Big Mike and Bears Bite share the ramp at Larson Air Force Base with other F-104A Starfighters from the 538th Fighter Interceptor Squadron in 1957. They are armed with Sidewinder air-to-air missiles on the wingtip rails. (Marty Isham)

Tail art was rare at any time, but even more so on post Second World War aircraft. This tiger was all saddled up and ready to go on this 26th Fighter Interceptor Squadron F-86D based at Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines. (Merle Olmsted)

Most people generally associate Playboy magazine nose art with the Vietnam era but it actually got started in the early 1950s. This 4th Fighter Interceptor Squadron F-86D had the Playboy Bunny emblem painted on the nose when it was based at Misawa Air Base, Japan during 1959. (Tom Brewer)




Ole 1404 was certainly not a turtle of any kind, since it set the World Absolute Speed Record at 1404 mph while assigned to the 538th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Larson AFB, Washington. (Don Dickman)

CAPT Howard Curran flew 105 missions in his F-80C Shooting Star which was named Kansas Tornado. CAPT Curran was attached to the 16th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at K-13 in July of 1951. (USAF)

Dream Girl, a 17th Bomb Wing (Light Night Attack) B-26C based at K-2 (Pusan) during 1952. These markings are preserved on the B-26C that is on display at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. (Robert C. Mikesh)



CPL James Hantelman wipes off the gun dust residue from the nose of SEDUCTIVE SHIRLEY, an F-80C Shooting Star of the 25th Fighter Inter­ceptor Squadron at Suwon in December of 1950. Most of the nose ‘art’ on fighter aircraft in Korea was simply a name. (USAF)

LT Simon Anderson stands next to Hot To Trot, an F-86E Sabre of the 25th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at K-13. LT Anderson shot down two MiG-15s in September 1952 and his kill markings were painted on the side of the Sabre next to the name. (Simon K. Anderson)

The Saggin’ Dragon was an F-80C of the 16th Fighter Interceptor Squad­ron that came to grief when it made a wheels-up landing at K-13 during 1951. (David W. Menard)

Wini was a Cessna L-19 Bird Dog from 8th U. S. Army Corps Headquarters at Seoul City in 1951. The nose is Red and White and an 8th Corps patch was carried on the vertical fin. (Robert Esposito)

T Simon К Anderson DanaRLaycock



The old crap-shooting expression, SHOOT YOU’RE FADED, was used as often in the Korean War as it was in the Second World War. This time it was on an F-51D Mustang from the 35th Fighter Interceptor Group based at Pusan during December 1950. (USAF)



The growling tiger was typical of the attitude of 5th Fighter Command pilots in Korea. This was especially true in Tiger Flight of the 25th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Suwon in the Spring of 1951, in spite of the fact that they were at a distinct disadvantage with the MiGs.

(Tom Foote)

As in the Second World War, Walt Disney characters were often used as nose art during the Korean War. L 41 Bambi was flown by LT George Dean of the 68th F(AW)S based at Itazuke, Japan during July of 1950. (George Dean)

A fitting conclusion to this volume has to be this B-29A Superfortress named Fujigmo, which meant (cleaned up) “Forget You Jack, I Got My Orders.” This was the magic saying that meant it was time to go home and start living again. (Dick Oakley)

O’L ANCHOR ASS was flown by MAJ William O’Donnell when he was the commander of the 36th Fighter Bomber Squadron flying out of Kimpo in the Summer of 1951. (William O’Donnell)

Although artwork on C-119s was very plentiful and quite colorful, nose art on other cargo types was usually a simple name. HONEYMOONEffS’ SPECIAL was a C-46 that got stuck in the mud at K-13 and to be pushed out manually by Korean laborers! (USAF)




CAPT Henry Crescibene flew the NEWARK FIREBALL, an F-86E Sabre of the 335th Fighter Interceptor Squadron based at K-14 during 1952. (Karl Dittmer)


Nose art made a resurgence on aircraft flown during the Korean War. ACE in the HOLE was a B-29 of the 98th Bomb Group (M) which made a HeartBreaking Kasha was a B-26C Invader of the 17th Bomb Wing forced landing at Kimpo during 1952.

(Light) at Pusan during 1952. (Robert Mikesh)

ISBN 0-89747-291-8

The Commander of the 58th Fighter Bomber Wing flew an F-84G Thunder – jet called Night Take Off during 1953. (COL R. Merritt)

The Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar was a natural for the nose artist with its large slab sided fuselage. Carolina Baby was a C-119C of the 61st Troop Carrier Squadron, 314th TCG. (Bob Veazey)


F-105 GUN

The General Electric T171 cannon fitted in the nose of the F-105 revived a late 19th century design which added an electric motor to a “Gatling” rotary, multi-barrel gun. It entered production as the M61A1 in 1957, and its compactness, light weight and firing rate of up to 6,000 rounds per minute made it ideal for the F-104 Starfighter, F-105 Thunderchief and later fighters. In the F-105D, F and G, its 1,028 rounds of linkless 20 mm ammunition (allowing about ten seconds of firing) were stored in a drum that also collected empty shell cases. The hydraulically-powered gun weighed 275lbs – little more than half the weight of a full ammunition load.


Up to four Texas Instruments AGM-45 Shrikes could be carried by the F-105, although the usual load was two.

The ten-foot long, 390lb AGM-45A/B – the world’s first dedicated anti-radiation missile – was produced in 21 sub-variants, distinguished mainly by minor changes in their guidance sections and seeker heads. Its 147lb warhead and 18-mile effective range were limiting factors. Nevertheless, more than 18,500 were produced between 1963 and 1982. The appreciably larger General Dynamics AGM-78 Standard ARM was manufactured for the US Navy and USAF from 1967 through to 1978, the 15ft-long weapon boasting a 215lb warhead. A shortage of AGM-78s and the F-105’s high fuel consumption when carrying the bulky weapon resulted in typical ordnance loads of a single Standard and two Shrikes per jet, with a 450-gallon fuel tank “balancing” the AGM-78 on the opposite wing pylon. Although more effective than the Shrike, the Standard’s overall success rate was still only around the 20 per cent mark.

image29Between April 1 and September 30, 1972, F-105Gs launched 230 AGM-78s, although there was a failure rate of more than 25 per cent in the first two months that led to a temporary “grounding” of the missile. Rocket motors were also sometimes cracked in transit, causing premature detonation – motors were x-rayed on delivery thereafter. The smaller AGM-45 proved to be quite difficult to discard in an emergency, as it lacked an explosive jettison system for either the missile or its pylon. (USAF)

displays and controls for the AN/APR-35, AN/APR-36 and AN/ALR-31, while the introduction of the AGM-78 missile required the installation of another control panel and 14-channel tape recorder. Key components were the IR-133 display that provided indications of “Fan Song” activity.

The AN/APR-25/26 sensors “read” the SA-2’s signals, enabling the pilot to home onto “Fan Song” emissions. The system’s cockpit display included a yellow “launch” light to show that an SA-2 was headed towards the F-105. Within the correct range and with the aircraft pointed at the threat emitter, an AGM-45 Shrike could pick up

image30Подпись: 29The standard bomb-load for F-105D/Fs throughout much of the war was six or eight 750lb M117 bombs, although CBU or “slick” Mk 82 bombs were often more effective against SAM sites. This 469th TFS/ 388th TFW flight is bombing “straight and level” above clouds early in 1967 – one of the most likely ways to attract a SAM that allowed insufficient time for the F-105s to avoid it. 62-4325 crashed near Korat when the flight control system failed during a test flight on March 14, 1967. (Lt Col Jack Spillers via Norman Taylor)

the radar signal, lock onto it with its own seeker and home onto the target when launched. With the definitive F-105G and its QRC-380 and AN/ALQ-105 jamming systems, a further panel was added. Both cockpits had similar control columns, but ordnance delivery was usually the responsibility of the front seat occupant, leaving the rear seat “Bear” to monitor the various ECM displays and keep the pilot informed on threats from radars, missiles or MiGs.


F-105G Thunderchief Wild Weasel Specification


Pratt & Whitney J75-P-19W rated at 24,500lb st (afterburner only)

34ft 9in.

67 ft 0in.

20ft 5in.

385 sq ft



1,390mph at 36,000ft

391 miles in combat configuration

43,900ft at combat weight

28 minutes to 30,000ft at combat weight, maximum military power (this compares with a time of 11.6 minutes for a bombed-up F-105B!)

One M61A1 20mm cannon

Two AGM-78 Standard anti-radiation missiles




Wingspan Length Height Wing area Weight Empty Loaded


Max speed Range

Service ceiling Time-to-climb





Designated the V-750 (sometimes V-75) Dvina in the Soviet Union, the missile is better known in the West as the S-75 or by its NATO name, SA-2 “Guideline” Mod 0. Evolved from the 1944 German Wasserfall missile concept, the weapon was designed to protect the strategic and population centers of Russia, but it soon became the primary and longest-serving air defense missile offered to the Soviet Union’s allies too. Several variants were developed, including the short-lived experimental V-753 that was to be fired from an eight-round magazine aboard Sverdlov Class cruisers. Developed quickly in the mid-1950s, the missile was designed to intercept targets at medium to high altitude. Its performance against aircraft below 3,000ft was poor.

The two-stage SA-2 had a Kartukov PRD-18 booster section with 14 tubes of NMF-2 solid chemical propellant (more in later versions) and large fins to impart




stable flight on launch. This burned for four to five seconds and then fell away, leaving the Isayev S2.711 sustainer motor to maintain flight at Mach 3. The latter burned hypergolic liquid propellant comprising TG-02 (50 per cent isomeric xylidine, 48.5 per cent triethylamine and 1.5 per cent diethylamine), with AK-20 fuming nitric acid as the oxidizer. This specification was derived from the Wasserfall.

A turbo-pump was required to supply the motor with OT-155 Isonite (isopropyl nitrate) liquid fuel sufficient for a 22-second engine burn. The later Item 20D Volkhov development of the S-75 used a different fuel comprising 56 per cent kerosene and 40 per cent Trikresol, with a TG-02 “starter fuel” supply to ignite the mixture. This was much safer to handle and store than the volatile mix used in the Dvina or Desna (“Guideline Mod 1”) models. For the North Vietnamese, a shortage of technicians qualified to perform these tasks meant that fewer than 40 missiles could be assembled and filled with fuel, oxidizer and compressed air daily.


Подпись: The rocket exhaust deflector at the rear of the SM-63-1 launcher reduced ground erosion when a SAM's booster motor was ignited. Stabilizing outrigger “arms” on the main unit folded for transportation. When SA-2s first appeared in North Vietnam in 1965, Assistant Secretary of Defense John T. McNaughton told Gens William Westmoreland and Joseph Moore, who were in charge of the US war effort and wanted to attack the sites, “You don't think the North Vietnamese are going to use them? Putting them there is just a political ploy by the Russians to appease Hanoi”. (via Dr Istvan Toperczer) Подпись: 31

The majority of the system’s low-cost electronic elements were housed in its ground – based support vehicles. Within the missile’s 35.1ft body was the 5E11 Schmel or 5E29 radio proximity fuze, using either “strip” antennas on the external skin or a dielectric radome. Theoretically, the missile was accurate to within about 210ft, and the proximity fuze would be armed and programmed within that range via two waveforms within the command uplink channel. Alternatively, there was a simple impact fuze and a command fuze that could be used to detonate the warhead from the ground. The warhead itself was comparatively large to increase the chance of a kill from a “near miss” position. In its V-88 version the warhead weighed 420lbs and contained 8,000 metal fragments that would be ejected at a rate of 7,000ft per minute over a lethal diameter that could vary between 200ft at lower altitude and 800ft above 35,000ft.


Подпись:A hit by only a handful of these on an F-105’s hydraulic or fuel systems could cripple the aircraft.

The guidance system relied on three components — a command link receiver, an autopilot and a radar beacon at the rear of the missile to provide a tracking signal to the “Fan Song” guidance radar. The command link receiver operated with four pulse – modulated waveforms. Two of them supplied climb or dive and left/right turn commands to the missile’s powered steering fins after the booster was ejected. The other two provided programming and arming signals to the radio proximity fuze.

Missiles were transported on purpose-built, two-wheeled “transloader” semi-trailers pulled by a ZIL-157 tractor unit. An SA-2 could be transferred from the transport rail on the trailer to its SM-63-1 launcher by five men without additional lifting equipment. The launch rail of the SM-63-1 was lowered to the horizontal position and the missile on its transport rail was swung out at 90 degrees to the trailer. When the two rails were positioned end-on to each other the 5,042lbs SA-2 was simply slid backwards from one to the other by basic manpower and the relevant electrical connections were made, all within 10—15 minutes.

The SM-63-1 launch rail could be elevated up to 80 degrees and rotated through 360 degrees on a turntable — both the launch rail and the turntable were powered by electric motors housed in the launcher’s base unit. The “transloader” could be fitted with four wheels for quick transfer to another site. In launch position the rail rested on a foldable cruciform base with a movable blast deflector that would be lowered just before firing to reduce ground erosion from the exhaust.









7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15



1. Radio proximity fuze transmit antenna

2. FR-15 Shmel radio proximity fuze

3. V-88 high-explosive fragmentation warhead

4. Radio proximity fuze receive antenna

5. AK-20F oxidizer melange tank

6. TG-02 propellant tank

13. OT-155 Isonate turbopump gas-generator propellant tank

14. Isayev S2.711V rocket engine

15. Adapter fairing

16. PRD-18 boost powerplant with 14 tubes of NMF-2 propellant

The launch process began with early warning of an incoming raid from high – powered, low-frequency radars such as the massive A-band P-14 “Tall King”. An SA-2 battalion’s own search radar was the P-12 Yenisei (“Spoon Rest”), although the P-15 (“Flat Face”) search and track set and PRV-11 (“Side Net”) height-finding radar were also available.

Development of the VHF P-12 was commenced in 1954 by the SKB Bureau and culminated in the P-12NP in the 1970s. It could be retuned quickly to four pre-set frequencies and detect targets at 100—150 miles using 12 Yagi antenna elements that displayed their information on two scopes — an “E-scope”, showing the target’s height, and a plan position indicator.

Resistance to jamming and interference was steadily improved throughout the 1960s. “Spoon Rest-A” used two adjacent ZIL trucks, with the antenna array mounted on one and the radar indicators in another. Later versions such as the P-12NP separated the antenna into a remote trailer that could be located at a safe distance of up to 1,600ft from the operating unit. ARMs then homed on the antenna rather than the radar cabin.

Having acquired a target, “Spoon Rest” passed its range, bearing and altitude data to the RSN-75 “Fan Song” radar vans via land lines. Four vehicles were required for most versions. The radar antennas were mounted on the “PV” van, which also housed the transmitters. The battery commander and up to five operators with their command consoles were housed in the “UV” van. An “AV” cabin contained other tracking and transmitter equipment, while electrical power was generated by diesel motors in the “RV” van.

“Fan Song” had two functions — target acquisition of up to six targets and missile guidance of up to three SA-2s against a single target. Its operators refined the battalion “Spoon Rest’s” data to establish the exact position and flightpath of the target aircraft,

as well as calculating an impact point ahead of the target or as close as possible to it. 33

Members of a missile regiment run to their operational positions past spare rounds that are ready on their trans­loaders for each launcher. Assembling and fueling an SA-2 took several hours’ work, personnel having to handle hazardous substances in urban warehouse depots that were eventually targeted in the latter stages of Linebacker II. Camouflaging the missiles (as seen here) caused them to absorb heat, which could in turn damage the weapons’ internal electronics.

image34"(Author’s collection)

After launching, they then tracked both the target and the missiles’ transponder beacons — three SA-2s could be launched at a single target at six-second intervals. In automatic mode the radar computer calculated course corrections once the missile had been “captured” in the “Fan Song’s” narrow guidance beam and its spent booster had dropped away. This capture had to happen within about six seconds of launching otherwise the missile went ballistic and self-detonated after 60 seconds.

Подпись: 34 Подпись: Almaz SA-2/S-75M “Guideline” Specifications Dimensions Length 35.1ft Diameter (widest) 2.1ft Span (widest fins) 8.2ft Weight 5,040lbs Engine thrust (sustainer motor) 6,834lbs Booster rocket thrust up to 110,000lbs Performance Max speed Mach 3 Max/min lethal range 18 miles/5 miles Max/min lethal altitude 85,000ft/1,500ft

Detonation near a target via the proximity fuze was indicated by a light on the “Fan Song” consoles. The narrow radar beam (only 7.5 degrees wide and 1.5 degrees in the scanning direction even in the upgraded “Fan Song E”) also limited the extent of maneuvering commands via the radio uplink in case the missile strayed beyond the bounds of the “Fan Song’s” guidance emissions. This gave US pilots their best chance of evading a missile, if they saw it in time. However, the computer could rapidly generate and transmit new steering commands if the target turned to a new course. To counteract jamming or the threat of anti-radiation missiles, the SA-2 crew could resort to manual modes without using the “Fan Song’s” guidance. Although this increased the missile’s reaction time for maneuvering, it required considerable skill to be effective.



Подпись: 35

In 1964, with American involvement in Vietnam escalating into direct rather than covert military intervention, the USAF’s primary doctrine of strategic bombing remained much the same as it had been in 1945. President Lyndon B. Johnson’s request for plans to attack North Vietnam produced an air force list of 94 targets for strategic bombing attacks that would have quickly removed that country’s limited industrial, transportation and military structures had they all been attacked. It was assumed that this in turn would negate the North Vietnamese desire to take control of South Vietnam and neighboring countries.

Originally, the attacks were to have been delivered by the B-52s of SAC, which, under Gen Curtis E. LeMay, had sustained the concept of massive atomic retaliation as the USAF’s raison d’etre. The strike fighters ofTAC (led by Gen Otto Weyland) had also assumed a nuclear role since the mid-1950s.

Подпись: 36Подпись: Wild Weasels served with the 355th TFW at Takhli RTAFB, in Thailand, from mid-1966, although its F-105s moved to Korat RTAFB in September 1970. Here, they joined other Thunderchiefs that had flown from Korat with the 388th TFW since April 1967.
The politicians insisted on very limited, conventional warfare responses instead, so B-52s were held back from North Vietnam for seven years. The attack task instead fell to strike fighters such as the F-100 Super Sabre and F-105 Thunderchief, which were generally unsuited and unprepared for World War Il-style “iron bomb” raids. As Gen John Vogt (deputy commander for air operations, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam) commented in 1972, “The USAF did not have an all-weather bombing


capability. This was a nemesis in the Rolling Thunder campaign”. During the monsoon season, from November to March, “the enemy had almost a sanctuary”. Nevertheless, from February 24, 1965 to October 31, 1968, the USAF flew more than a million sorties and dropped 750,000 tons of bombs in its longest-ever bombing campaign, Operation Rolling Thunder.


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Rather than intervening directly, as many feared they would, the Soviet Union and China agreed to North Vietnamese Premier Pham Van Dong’s 1964 requests for MiG fighters, SAMs and anti-aircraft artillery, together with the radar and technical expertise to operate them. In March 1965 the Pentagon anticipated the imminent delivery of SA-2s as a response to Rolling Thunder attacks and the possibility of B-52 strikes — the missile had of course been designed specifically to oppose the latter. By mid-1966 North Vietnam had a full, Soviet-style, integrated air defense system centered on Hanoi, which soon boasted the most heavily defended airspace in the history of aerial warfare.


New Yorkers Majs John Revak and Stan Goldstein reckoned they were among the last Wild Weasel crews during the Rolling Thunder period to complete 100 missions. Seen here with CBU-armed F-105F Dragon III, their assigned aircraft in 1968 was actually

62- image394424 Crown 7 of the 44th TFS. Revak and Goldstein flew their 100th mission – an Iron Hand for a RESCAP operation over North Vietnam – in

63- Подпись: An SA-2 explosion hangs in the air behind a speeding F-105, which appears to have sustained damage from the proximity-fuzed missile. The introduction of QRC-160 ECM pods cut the losses to SA-2s and radar-directed AAA dramatically. Carrying pods limited F-105 four-ship flights to 15 degrees of bank and around 2,000ft spacing between element members, however. Although this protected Thunderchiefs against SA-2s, the rigid formations made them tempting targets for MiGs. “Fan Song” operators would hope to engage aircraft that had been separated from the pod formation, or during their individual dive attacks on the target. Fortunately for the USAF the North Vietnamese were not given the SA-2E version of the “Guideline”, which was far more resistant 38 to pod jamming. (USAF)

Подпись: And there was no shortage of personnel to man the missile sites and AAA batteries, as around 100,000 men reached military service age annually. At its peak during the 1972 Linebacker raids, the SA-2 element of the North Vietnamese integrated air defense system numbered 36 missile battalions and nine technical battalions split between nine Air Defense Missile Regiments. American pilots faced both 85mm and 100mm heavy AAA at altitudes up to 39,000ft, 37 mm and 57mm guns at medium altitude and almost “wall-to-wall” 23mm and small-arms fire below 5,000ft (where most losses to AAA occurred). More than half of the 2,300 heavier caliber AAA weapons were located within 30 miles of central Hanoi. Many were radar-directed and could be moved fast to guard almost any potential target.

8306 Bad SAM. Assigned to Majs Dornberger and Carver at the time, this aircraft later participated in the Son Tay rescue mission. (USAF)

Ironically, far more US tactical aircraft were shot down by AAA guns protecting SAM sites than by the missiles themselves, small-caliber AAA accounting for around 85 per cent of the US aircraft losses during Rolling Thunder. However, the threat of SAM hits at altitudes above 1,500ft forced aircraft to enter the lethal range of most AAA, while the need to evade an oncoming SAM usually forced a pilot to jettison his ordnance load, effectively aborting his mission.

Despite the Cuban experience, the USAF was comparatively ill-prepared in 1965 to tackle SAM and radar-directed AAA threats, and it did not expect to face them over North Vietnam. The basic technology was well understood, thanks in part to a copy of the SA-2 manual obtained through the spy Oleg Penkovsky in 1960 and via electronic intelligence of SA-2s in Cuba. Development work had begun on the QRC-160 jamming pod for tactical aircraft to carry externally, the EB/RB-66 detection/jamming aircraft and SAM launch-warning devices, the first of which were installed in Trojan Horse U-2s overflying Hanoi in 1965. However, many in Washington, DC and the Pentagon assumed that the threat of US air power would be enough to deter Vietnamese insurgency. Indeed, the appearance of SAM sites did not at first convince President Johnson’s civilian advisors, including Robert McNamara, that the Russians would actually allow them to be used against US aircraft. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the other hand, unanimously advocated immediate destruction of the first sites.

Подпись: 39

Подпись: An impressive pre-deployment line-up photograph of 2061st Missile Regiment SA-2s on their trans-loaders near Hanoi. This unit claimed the destruction of F-4E 68-0314 from the 308th TFS/31stTFW on June 27, 1972 as it flew a straight-and-level chaff bombing mission near Gia Lam airport in Hanoi. (via Dr Istvan Toperczer)

In fact, the SA-2 represented the most important advance in the establishment of a comprehensive North Vietnamese air defense system, a process that had begun in October 1963 with the merger of the VPAF with radar and AAA batteries under the overall command of Col Gen Phung The Tai. When US air attacks began, Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin visited Hanoi, and thereafter Pham Van Dong proved adept at making the Russians and Chinese vie with each other in supplying modern air

Подпись:defense equipment, in particular SAMs and MiG-21s from the USSR and MiG-17 and MiG-19 copies made by Shenyang in China, totaling 65 fighters by August 1966.

The appearance of SAM sites prompted demands from the Joint Chiefs of Staff for decisive retaliation against them, including a B-52 night attack and the bombing of MiG airfields. Opinion was divided over whether the Soviet Union and China would respond in kind to this action. On one hand the State Department believed that Chinese fighters might even intercept US jets over Hanoi, while the CIA felt that there would be no risk of this kind of intervention. President Johnson delayed, fearing casualties to Russian and Chinese advisors at the sites, but accepted foreign policy advisor William Bundy’s proposal that they should be bombed “if they are used to inflict significant losses on us”.

The North Vietnamese relied heavily on Soviet personnel providing them with technical expertise for the operation of their missile batteries. Almost 17,000 of them worked at SAM sites and other defense installations from April 1965 onwards, and four were killed in action.

Подпись: 40

Initially, North Vietnamese SAM crews were trained in the Soviet Union, and subsequently at ten centers in Vietnam, but the first operational SA-2s were manned by PVO-Strany personnel from Russia commanded by Gen G. A. Belov and Col G. Lubinitsky. Col Tsyganov had the first operational regiment, the 236th, in place near Hanoi by July 1965, and three other regiments, manned largely by Russians, were in service by the end of 1966. Each regiment commanded four launch batteries, with six launchers per battery. When Lubinitsky’s site fired on an F-105 escort flight of four “Leopard” F-4C Phantom Ils from the 47 th TFS on July 24, 1965, one was destroyed. Capt Roscoe Fobair was killed and Capt Richard “Pop” Keirn, a former Eighth Air Force B-17 pilot and World War II PoW, entered captivity once again. SAM warnings from a nearby RB-66 had not been received by the crew in time to take evasive action. Two other aircraft were downed by the same site later that month.


This loss resolved the Johnson administration’s doubts about Soviet policy in deploying the missiles, and it also prompted urgent redress to protect American aircrews. With 16 squadrons of tactical fighters, five tactical reconnaissance units and 21 EB/RB-66 electronic warfare aircraft scheduled to deploy to Southeast Asia by the end of 1966, the potential losses to SAMs could easily be foreseen. This was particularly true of the two F-105D/F Thunderchief tactical fighter wings based at Takhli and Korat RTAFBs in Thailand, which were responsible for the majority of the Rolling Thunder bombing missions over North Vietnam.

A solution for their self-protection was soon available through Project Problem Child at Eglin AFB, where Lt Col Ingwald Haugen devised a four-ship “pod formation” for tactical aircraft. In October 1965 tests, each F-105 carried a pair of General Electric QRC-160-1 D/E band jamming pods tuned to defeat the “Fan Song’s” track-while-scan emissions. Their combined jamming power protected the formation from a missile lock-on apart from a brief period when it was directly over the site.

Sadly, Pacific Air Force policy-shapers regarded the pods as unreliable and a wasteful use of two of the F-105’s five weapons/fuel pylons, so a delivery of QRC-160-1s was soon returned to the USA. After very heavy losses of F-105s in the summer of 1966, further combat trials were ordered, and by October the pods became an essential, highly effective addition for all F-105 missions to North Vietnam. Thunderchief losses to radar-directed AAA and SAMs fell from 72 in the “pre-pod” six months to 23 in the six months following their introduction.

The second potential remedy proved far more difficult to implement. Following the July 24, 1965 Phantom II shoot-down, SAM site attacks were finally allowed, but such strikes in the first three days after the incident cost no fewer than six F-105s. It was in inauspicious beginning for a seven-year, cat-and-mouse war between the Thunderchief and the SA-2.


While the first North Vietnamese SAM troops were training in the USSR in 1965, Soviet PVO-Strany crews established and operated the country’s missile batteries. Having also formed ten training units around Hanoi, Soviet supervisors controlled the battalions for at least two years, causing some resentment among Vietnamese troops.

Battalions honed their skills on Firebee drones and later, at very much higher altitudes and unsuccessfully, on the A-12 and SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft that identified around 150 SA-2 sites soon after they began over-flights in November 1967. U-2 missions over North Vietnam were discontinued when the SA-2 regiments became operational.

North Vietnamese Dvina trainees in the USSR found difficulty with both the language and the heavy emphasis on ideology and inflexible discipline. Instructors insisted on the “three missile salvo” tactic — the first to make the target aircraft maneuver and thereby lose energy, making it an easier target for the second or third SA-2. Soviet advisors continued to refine their techniques throughout the war. For example, new anti-Shrike tactics included activating two “Fan Songs” briefly so that the missile would pass between them, while for the AGM-78, several “Fan Songs” were turned on and then simultaneously switched off, confusing the missile.

For Linebacker II, the nine SA-2 regiments and others recalled from the south were concentrated in Hanoi’s 361st Air Defense Division and around Haiphong. Their effort was directed in 1972 by Soviet Col-Gen Anotoliy Khyupenen. Faced with the B-52’s formidable jamming power, operators were told to use multiple launches at single targets so that the bombers’ EWOs, jamming each threat individually, were overwhelmed. Crews were also trained to launch SA-2s manually, only engaging “Fan Song” guidance in the final 15 to 20 seconds of the missile’s flight.

Подпись: 42Khyupenen conceded that, “The missile crews were inadequately trained to fight when jammed and under aerial attack. Fearing anti-radar missile strikes, the launch


SA-2 batteries usually worked in coordination with MiGs and AAA, but there were some inadvertent MiG casualties. Brig Gen Robin Olds, flying MiGCAP for an F-105 strike on the Canal des Rapides Bridge in August 19 67, saw a SAM hit a MiG-21 over Phuc Yen airfield. The strip antennas for the missile’s FR-15 Shmel radio proximity fuze can be seen on the nose of this SA-2 in its North Vietnam revetment. (via Dr Istvan Toperczer)

crews tried to fire at the B-52s without turning on their radars at all, which prevented them from detecting targets under jamming and switching to manual guidance”. He reported that only three B-52s were hit by missiles that had been actively guided — the norm was manual guidance, with automatic tracking for the last few seconds. In his estimation 64 SA-2s detonated too far from their targets, some on the metallic chaff used to mask the bomber formations. Most successful firings used at least two missiles. Several B-52s were hit as they made their post-bombing turn away from the target. As they banked, the intensity of their jamming was reduced, allowing canny “Fan Song” operators a rapid lock-on.

Подпись: 43F-105Gs were vulnerable too. The last Weasel loss (63-8359) of the war, on November 16, 1972, was escorting B-52s near Thanh Hoa when a SAM site fired. Maj


Like fellow Wild Weasel Medal of Honor winner Merle Dethlefsen, Leo Thorsness was born a Mid-West “farm – boy” in the early 1930s and chose to fly fighters after receiving his pilot’s wings. Both men flew the F-100 Super Sabre before transitioning to the F-105 and being posted to Takhli RTAFB in 1966. As Col Jack Broughton, Vice Wing Commander of the 355th TFW told the author, “At Takhli I had a super-smart, aggressive good guy Weasel leader in Leo Thorsness. We were almost always short on Weasel aircraft and crews. I wanted one Weasel guy to manage the assets and call the shots”.

Thorsness arrived at Takhli in the second batch of Weasel crews soon after the first five F-105Fs had been lost in just 45 days in July-August 1966. He was determined to try new tactics, which included flying the Weasel missions at higher altitudes – around 18,000­20,000ft – in order to reduce the loss rate. With his regular “Bear”, ex-B-52 EWO Capt Harold E. Johnson, Thorsness also pioneered the idea of splitting the Weasel flight into two elements, with an F-105F and an F-105D in each pair, as a way of doubling the potential SAM-site attacks.

On April 19, 1967, Thorsness and Johnson, in F-105F 63-8301, were lead “Kingfish” Weasels for an attack on the Xuan Mai barracks near Hanoi. The second “Kingfish” element was jumped by MiG-17s, and Majs Thomas Madison and Thomas Sterling were forced to eject from F-105F 63-8341 – Dethlefsen’s Medal of Honor mission aircraft. “Kingfish 1” completed its bomb-run and set off to cover the Weasel crew as they parachuted down. Both “Kingfish” F-105Ds were also damaged and had to withdraw, leaving Thorsness’s F-105F as the only

American aircraft in the area. Noticing a MiG-17 that was about to make a strafing run on Madison and Sterling,

Maj Thorsness shot it down and then out-ran a second MiG-17.

Low on fuel, he headed for a tanker, called in a RESCAP team for the downed Weasels and briefed them on the situation, and on SAM evasion tactics as they were dangerously near Hanoi. After a brief discussion with his “Bear”, Thorsness then returned to provide solo cover for his wingman. En route they encountered a “wagon wheel” formation of five MiG-17s, and Thorsness fired out his last 500 rounds at one, scoring a probable kill. The other four immediately pursued him, and he dived in afterburner to weave through several valleys, sometimes flying below 50ft as he shook off the VPAF fighters.

Meanwhile, another MiG-17 flight had shot down the lead RESCAP A-1E “Sandy” aircraft (flown by Maj John Hamilton) and Thorsness returned to the fight once again, advising Hamilton’s wingman to turn hard just above the forest to evade the MiGs. Although out of ammunition, the F-105F crew turned hard into the MiG-17s, denying them a target and allowing “Sandy 02” to escape. Low-altitude maneuvers in afterburner had run the F-105F low on fuel again and Thorsness sought another tanker, feeling that the rescue had failed since contact with the downed crew was impossible.

In his brief absence the “Brigham Control” rescue coordinator had directed “Panda” (a post-strike F-105 flight) into the rescue area, where its leader, Capt William Eskew, had shot down a MiG-17 – two other VPAF fighters had also been seriously damaged. A third F-105 strike

Peter Giroux in the B-52 cell saw the first missile just miss the leading bomber, but “a second or two later I saw a second SAM light up the overcast almost directly below the F-105. It popped through the clouds and almost immediately struck the underside of the ‘Thud’. The ejection seats went out seconds later, and I was surprised that I could see them fire at this distance”. Maj Norbert Maier and Capt Kenneth Theate ejected and were recovered after a hair-raising duel between rescue forces and North Vietnamese Army (NVA) troops.

In 1966—68 the Weasels’ primary weapon was the Shrike, and with Soviet guidance 44 the SA-2 operators learned to defeat it. Their primary defense was simply to turn off


persuaded a tanker pilot to come north and meet up with Bodenhammer, rather than see him eject. A quick calculation convinced the Weasel crew that they could just get to Udorn RTAFB, and they effectively glided the F-105F for 70 miles, landing with a zero reading on the fuel gauge. For a mission that Harry Johnson described as “a full day’s work”, Maj Thorsness was later awarded the Medal of Honor and Capt Johnson the Air Force Cross.

Eleven days later, on the 93rd mission for Maj Thorsness and his second that day, things went very wrong for his “Carbine” flight. With communications drowned out by a malfunctioning emergency beeper in an F-105’s ejection seat, his element was jumped from below by a 921st Fighter Regiment MiG-21 flight led by VPAF ace Nguyen Van Coc. Thorsness’ wingman, 1Lt Robert Abbott, was shot down in F-105D 59-1726 and Thorsness’ F-105F (62-4447) took an “Atoll” missile, fired by Le Trong Huyen, in its tailpipe. Badly injured in an ejection at almost 600 knots, and filled with a sense of failure, Thorsness landed hard with a damaged parachute. He and Johnson were soon captured. Thus began an agonizing, but heroic, six – year prison sentence in Hanoi.

Finally released in March 1973, Thorsness received his Medal of Honor from President Richard Nixon on October 15, 1973 – his receipt of this award was kept secret while he was a PoW as there were concerns that the North

flight ("Nitro”) was vectored in to provide further cover, Vietnamese would use this against him. Unable to return

and Majs Jack Hunt and Ted Tolman each shot down a MiG. to fighters because of the back injuries he suffered in his

However, “Panda 03” (Capt Howard Bodenhammer) ejection, Thorsness retired from the USAF with the rank of became separated in the dogfight and had only 600lbs of colonel. He subsequently served as director of civic fuel remaining. Despite his own fuel shortage Thorsness affairs for Litton Industries, prior to taking full retirement.

the “Fan Song”, denying the Shrike its target. Missile crews also realised that they could track incoming Weasels on radar, watching for one to pull up into a climb to “loft” a Shrike at them and then turn off the radar. They realised too that the Shrike’s exhaust gases contained tiny metal fragments from its solid rocket fuel. These gave a strong enough radar trace to provide warning of an incoming missile. Combined with the “dummy load” power switch described earlier, these techniques severely reduced the Shrike’s chances of a kill, particularly from long range. They also frustrated dummy attacks on sites by Weasel crews who were attempting to force the

radar off the air through the threat of a Shrike launch. 45


It was also clear that multiple Shrike launches did not improve the missile’s success rate either. However, as a 1973 USAF Security Report concluded, “By their very presence, these aircraft reduced SAM firing rates considerably, and sometimes by as much as 90 per cent”. Col James McCarthy, leading a wave of Linebacker IIB-52s, reported “About ten seconds prior to bombs away we observed a Shrike being fired, low and forward of our nose. Five seconds later several SAM signals dropped off the air and the EW (ECM operator) reported they were no longer a threat to our aircraft”. By Night 4 of the campaign, most SA-2s were manually guided, sometimes with range information from I-band signals from “Fire Can” radars, and most missiles were fired at bombers within ten miles of the sites, at two – to three-second intervals. New consignments of ARMs were tuned to operate in I-band.

Training for the early Wild Weasel crews was minimal. Capt Ed Sandelius was the only TAC EWO in the pioneering 469th TFS at first:

SAC had about 85 per cent of the EWOs and electronic warfare equipment. We were all trained EWOs, so the receivers were a piece of cake. The AN/APR-25/26 provided relative bearing. With practice you could interpret relative signal amplitude and get quite
good at estimating range. When you flew over a site, the signal’s amplitude would get extremely long and switch from 360 to 180 degrees. At this time you would try to pick up the site visually.

WildWeasell pilot Capt Allen Lamb added:

There was no training to speak of for Wild Weasel I. We did run against the SADS-1 “Fan Song” simulator at Eglin AFB to check the accuracy of the equipment. Then we went to war to see if it would really work.

The length of the strobe indication on the RWR scope showed how close the “Fan Song” was. If it reached the first or second concentric ring there was little immediate danger, but a “three ringer”, reaching the outer ring, represented a real threat.

The learning curve was still rising when Dan Barry began F-105F/G missions in 1970:

On my first tour at Takhli with the 44th TFS we had a “combat tips book” full of various combat lessons learned by “Thud” pilots ahead of us. One had to do with evading a SAM at night, and the author had written, “Imagine yourself in a huge parking lot in the dark of night and a motorcycle is coming at you at maximum speed. Because there is only a single headlight you have no gauge for distance or closure rate to know when to jump out of the way. You just have to guts it out because if you move too soon he corrects and nails you. If you jump too late he’s tracked you all the way to the kill. You only have one chance and you have to do it right”.

In Capt Terry Gelonick’s experience, “Even though they zigzagged on their upward flight, we had been briefed that if a SAM was tracking our aircraft it would maintain its same relative position on the cockpit window”.

Wild Weasel crews had to face a multitude of threats, including MiGs that were usually coordinated with AAA and SA-2s. Of the 23 F-105s shot down by VPAF pilots, with the loss of ten USAF aircrew, six were Iron Hand or Weasel two-seaters. Only one was an F-105G, lost on May 11, 1972 during an Iron Hand mission near Hanoi. Two SA-2 batteries were ordered to fire six missiles at the flight as it moved in on a third site. While the F-105G crew (Majs Bill Talley and Jim Padgett) were fully occupied in defeating the SAMs, they did not see a MiG-21 flight closing in behind them. Their aircraft, 62-4424 Tyler Rose of the 17th Wild Weasel Squadron (WWS), was hit by an “Atoll” missile from Ngo Duy Thu’s MiG-21.

Maj Talley, on his 183rd mission and third combat tour, had made an emergency landing at Da Nang after a compressor fire ten days previously and thought that he had another failed turbine. He slowed to 350 knots and ejected with Padgett (on his 13th mission) at 1,000ft. “I landed on the side of a mountain and climbed to the top to await rescue”, Talley explained. “However, the rescue attempt was not made until mid-morning of the following day. I was captured just as the rescuers flew into the area where I was hiding. They tried to rescue my back-seater but were driven away by MiGs”.


Подпись:image49Подпись: While Weasel crews fought in Vietnam, the training and development programs continued at “Wild Weasel College” with the 66th FWS/ 57th FWW at Nellis AFB. This unit replaced the 4537th FWS in October 1969, which in turn replaced the USAF Fighter Weapons School from September 1, 1966. F-105F 62-4438 (unofficially dubbed an “EF-105F”) performed both training and test and evaluation functions with all these units, remaining in USAF 48 service until mid-1983. (USAF)
Engine failure was another occupational hazard for Thunderchief crews as their J75s struggled with frequent over-work. Engine fires were common. Indeed, 31 aircraft — half of the wartime non-combat casualties — were lost to engine or oil system problems, including eight Weasels. Fortunately, all were over Thai territory, although five pilots died in these accidents. Above all, Weasel crews learned to cope with the unexpected.

For example, after knocking out several “Fan Songs” on July 29, 1972, an Iron Hand flight on its way home was caught by a MiG-21. As they turned to avoid its “Atoll” missile, Majs T. J. Coady and H. F. Murphy jettisoned their centerline tank, which wrapped itself around the F-105G’s wing, shorted wires in the AGM-78 pylon and fired the missile towards US Navy ships off-shore! As the vessels closed down their radars, the F-105G (62-4443) refueled in afterburner and headed for Da Nang. Sadly, the errant tank prevented the main landing gear from extending and the crew had to eject.

The complexity and physical duress of the F-105G’s cockpit in the days before automation could also be daunting. Dan Barry recalled:



In the summer of 1972 I was flying a night B-52 support mission at the western end of the DMZ with my “Bear”, John Forrester. Just about the B-52s’ time-on-target, without any RHAW signals, three SAMs started coming off the launchers about ten miles in front of us. In the blackness I immediately picked them up visually and we simultaneously started receiving their guidance signals. John started calling, “Give me the big one!” I had a Shrike selected since I usually preferred to monitor its audio signal, so I had to start switching to the AGM-78 instead while maneuvering to get the SAMs out at “two o’clock” and pushing the nose down to get our Mach up for evasive maneuvering.


Officially recognized by the NVA as a hero following his service with the 61st Battalion, 236th Missile Regiment, Nguyen Xuan Dai operated the range tracking controls of a “Fan Song” at Hai Duong, Ha Noi and Ninh Binh.

The soldiers on his course were ready to start missile training as early as May 11, 1965, but they had to curtail their tuition on the SA-2 after only two months, rather than completing the normal nine-month course, because of increased US air attacks. The NVA crews effectively learned to operate the SAM systems in practice “on the job”, studying the technical aspects of the equipment at a later date. On their first day in action – July 24, 1965 – Nguyen Xuan Dai’s team shot down F-4C Phantom II 63-7599 of the 15th TFW (the first American SA-2 casualty), and later also claimed to have destroyed the 400th US aircraft credited to North Vietnam’s militia.

After each SA-2 engagement, Nguyen Xuan Dai and his team would quickly take cover under nearby trees just in case their battery had been targeted by an ARM. Once the all clear had been given, they would move with the battalion to another site. The SM-63 launchers themselves would only be moved under the cover of darkness, a tractor being used to pull the 12-wheeled vehicle. Travel time depended on the distance to the next site. For example, it took soldiers two days to move the missiles from Ninh Binh to Ha Tay.

Like other types of missile, when the SA-2 was activated the first stage of the rocket propellant created a huge cloud of dust and smoke and a large explosion to thrust the missile into the sky.

Personnel manning the SA-2 sites were always prepared for action. Fortifications for the weapons were dug deep into the ground, and the transporters, computing van and other vehicles, including the radar vans, were hidden. Initially, the Soviet SAMs were supplied in an overall white finish, but during the war they were resprayed in dark green paint and camouflaged with leaves that matched the battlefield terrain. Personnel even planted trees around the more permanent fortifications to deceive the USAF

Each launcher had five to six people on duty as loaders, while the “Fan Song” team had three troops – one operator to monitor target altitude, another tracking the position and a third monitoring range. A control officer observed when the target was first detected and then turned the “Fan Song” antenna to locate the target.

Soldiers like Nguyen Xuan Dai always felt nervous before combat, but they never thought about matters of life and death. They just tried to hit the targets, although the SA-2’s most effective interception method was impeded by US jamming. American aircraft, particularly the B-52, had 15 different types of jammer they could employ, while the EW-dedicated EB-66 also restricted the capability of the SA-2. Moreover, the Americans understood how the SA-2, and its radar, worked, so many early sites were heavily damaged.

Nevertheless, the NVA was quick to find new and creative ways to attack US aircraft, using manual tracking and the three-point method. Nguyen Xuan Dai recalled that after one particular engagement his regiment hid their weapons and erected fake missiles made of bamboo framework that had been painted green to resemble a real SA-2. These attracted US aircraft and enabled the AAA units around the site to find targets easily. Five American fighters were duly shot down by AAA while attacking these fake sites.

Meanwhile, I tried to get the ’78 to fire, with no luck. In the blackness I immediately picked them up visually and we simultaneously started receiving their guidance signals. John started calling, “Give me the big one!” While the first two SAMs went well below us, the third looked like it had our names on it, and for the only time in two Weasel tours I told John to turn on the jammers. As the missile zeroed in on us I remember gritting my teeth ’til I couldn’t stand it anymore, and then pulling all the gs I had speed for and rolling into it because I knew the SAM fragmentation pattern exploded in a forward-oriented cone. I was sure it was so close it was going to detonate. When it roared past us the rocket


Pham Truong Huy recalled that in late March 1972 his 62nd Battalion moved to Quang Tri during the Spring Invasion, and it was credited with the first shoot-downs of that campaign – EB-66C 54-0466 “Bat 21” on April 2 and OV-10A 68-3820 five days later. In fact, the People’s Army of Vietnam newspaper for April 5, 1972 described how an “intensely burning B-52 had fallen, broken pieces of it falling to the ground”. The EB-66 pilot, Lt Col Iceal Hambleton, was recovered after one of the most extensive and costly SAR efforts of the Vietnam War, but the jet’s remaining five crewmembers were killed when the EB-66 crashed near Quang Tri. Pham Truong Huy recounted with pride that he had controlled the missiles that claimed three aircraft from the same battery, which few soldiers could do well. Aside from the EB-66 and OV-10, Pham Truong Huy’s battery also claimed a B-52 in the Cam Lo-Quang Tri area.

Due to the topography of the hilly areas near the demilitarized zone (DMZ), batteries could only deploy three missile launchers rather than six, and they had to be set up on land that was both partly soft and partly hard as there was insufficient time to build a firmer base. This in turn meant that when missiles were fired the launchers were unstable, leaving them damaged. With no spares available, crews had to effect running repairs on the launchers as best they could.

Although they enjoyed considerable success in 1972, missile crews also suffered painful losses when the USAF attacked their sites. One night in September 1972 Pham Truong Huy was just minutes away from intercepting a B-52 when USAF fighters located his site. Kham, one of his comrades, died in the heavy attack that followed, being struck in the head with shrapnel before he had time to
don his steel helmet. He died at his position at the “Fan Song” command computer.

A missile soldier lived and fought with his unit for a long time. Indeed, they could be separated from their families for up to seven years. They had to be very resilient and endure hardships, particularly when they moved south “into the field” in 1972. They ate on the site and often had to source water from local villages, travelling up to two kilometers just to bathe.

Ultimately, the efforts of the SA-2 batteries were duly recognized on Reunification Day (April 30, 1975), when the missile soldiers were present in force at the victory parade held in Hanoi.

SA-2 Air Defense veteran Nguyen Hong Mai (left), Professor Pham Cao Thang, USAF F-4 Phantom II ace Brig Gen Steve Ritchie and Nguyen Vinh Tuyen view We and MiG-17, a study of North Vietnam’s air defenses by Vietnamese author Thuy Huong Duong (second from right). No photos exist of Nguyen Xuan Dai or Pham Truong Huy.

(Thuy Huong Duong)

motor lit up the cockpit and the shockwave gave us such a severe jolt I thought we’d been hit. Fortunately, it had gone under us and exploded 10,000 ft above us at 20,000 ft.

As we headed back to the tanker we tried to figure out what saved us. I couldn’t confirm whether I made the correct switch selections to get the AGM-78 launched, and in hindsight I should have pickled a Shrike and then changed weapon selection.

We wondered if the jammer had “blossomed” the SAM radar at just the right point to confuse them, or maybe they had bad fuzing. All this happened in less than 15

seconds, and I’ve always felt fortunate I didn’t have to rethink it in a cell in Hanoi. 51


Following deliveries of SA-2s from May 1965, the Soviet Union formed North Vietnam’s first missile units. Their organization was based on existing Soviet SAM regiments, and they were located around Hanoi at short notice from June onwards after the training of local operators was abruptly curtailed in response to increased US air strikes. Sites were rapidly prepared, with 64 established by December 1965.

This tally also included a number of fake sites that had been built by the North Vietnamese so that battalions could rapidly move from location to location in a “shell





game” to escape attack. A pattern was evolved in which, as Capt Ashmore of the USAF described it, “Immediate steps were taken to establish a minimum of three alternative sites — each defended by three AAA batteries — for each firing battalion, and any of these sites could be abandoned should they become compromised”.

Although this constant cycle of movement degraded readiness, it reduced the battalion’s vulnerability — and clearing a site for an SA-2 battery only took four hours. The Johnson administration, alarmed at the rapid spread of SAM batteries around Hanoi and beyond, concluded from reconnaissance overflights that sites could be fully set up in only 48 hours. On September 9, 1965, F-105s flying just 12 miles from Laos and 62 miles from Hanoi were fired on by SAMs, thought at the time to be low – altitude SA-3 “Goas”. They were of course SA-2s

Early SAM successes drastically influenced US planning. From late August 1965 strike packages were not allowed within range of sites without Iron Hand support, and for another month SA-2 batteries avoided detection from the air thanks to their mobility.

Nguyen Van Dinh, who was only 18 when he joined the 275th Regiment at the height of the air war in 1967, served alongside early SA-2 crews:

I worked with missile troops who had trained in 1965—66 at the Baku Air Defense District in Georgia. Each regiment had trained there for at least six months. I helped the troops use and maintain the SA-2 systems and assist with weekly, monthly and quarterly checks. I was on sites when they shot down US aeroplanes and when they were attacked. Our soldiers recognized the dangers of the Shrike and could move the missiles to another site to avoid attack, although by the end of 1967 the Americans had indeed destroyed some of our equipment.


The cramped, poorly ventilated interior of the “Fan Song” UV van contained the range tracker at the far end, with two other officers tracking elevation and azimuth. All had control wheels and display screens in front of them, and their roles were interchangeable.

A fire control officer sat on the right side of the van and the missile technical officer and plotter managed the tracking and launch of the SA-2s. The battalion commander monitored the “Spoon Rest” radar screen and relayed instructions from Air Defense Headquarters by telephone or radio. He received target details that were transferred to a plotting board while the “Fan Song” was warmed up – it was put on “standby” when the target was within range. Automatic tracking (possible only against non-jamming targets) could be engaged sparingly using the two trough-shaped antennas, followed by missile guidance mode along the antennas’ narrow beams, but at the risk of attracting countermeasures activity. The SM-63 launchers were
turned and angled to the right position ready for launch. “Ready” lights illuminated when the missiles were prepared, and when the target was in optimum missile range the SA-2s were fired at six – second intervals. In “three point” mode the tracking officers operated their control wheels to keep the target, or jamming strobe image from aircraft with ECM transmitters engaged, in the center of their individual vertical displays. Guidance information from the “Fan Song” computer was sent to the missile via its uplink antenna (exposed at the rear of the main missile body once the booster rocket was jettisoned) to keep the SA-2 within the “Fan Song’s” narrow beam. Considerable skill was needed to keep the Mach 3 missile on target in the last stages of its flight, and greater accuracy could be gained from the “half correction” mode in which the missile was aimed with allowance for lead angle on the target, reducing the need for abrupt course corrections.


Подпись: 10. Azimuth tracking control wheel 11. Fire control officer's position 12. Range/elevation/azimuth control wheels 13. Panel with automatic tracking and range mode switches 14. Missile firing buttons and launch lights 15. Radar azimuth dial 16. Missile guidance mode switches 17. Radar elevation dial 18. Radar tracking screen (elevation) 19. Radar tracking screen (azimuth) 20. Missile guidance radio channel switch

1. Battalion commander’s position

2. P-12/P-18 “Spoon Rest” radar controls and goniometer

3. RH-1 scope and Plan Position Indicator (PPI) screen

4. Range tracker’s console (NCO position)

5. Range tracking control wheel

6. Range tracking displays and controls

7. Elevation tracker’s console (NCO position)

8. Elevation tracking control wheel

9. Azimuth tracker’s console (NCO position)

21. Missile fuze setting selectors

22. Missile guidance control channel selectors

23. Radar mode selectors (wide angle/pencil beam/narrow beam)

24. Live fire button

25. Missile gyro controls

26. Radar antenna deploy switch

27. Radar power button

28. Generator power button

29. Target height/distance/velocity indicators

30. Power indicator lights



As the target was approached the back-seat “Bear” monitored his ER-142 (AN/APR-35) panoramic attack indicator’s three-band displays for signal activity, using his panoramic scope and attack indicator and his AN/APR-26/-36 azimuth indicator and threat lights. His view from the cockpit was extremely limited, so the pilot’s vision ahead was crucial. The Shrike’s nose-mounted seeker also provided the pilot with an effective radar-receiving device. Both men would listen for the high – pitched, rattlesnake-like sound – the “song” of an active “Fan Song” – from 100 miles out. Closer in, if the red azimuth sector SAM launch light came on, the pilot immediately initiated evasive maneuvers.

AGM-78s were launched as soon as there was a valid hostile radar return in order to use the missile’s maximum range, as well as to lighten the aircraft. The pilot climbed in afterburner while the missile warmed up, the round then being “lofted” from a distance of between 25 and 45 miles. A green “missile acquisition” light showed that the weapon had locked onto a radar, and it was launched using the red firing button on the control column. The AGM-78’s motor was ignited via a lanyard coupling, and the missile made a 5g climb before heading for the target. The crew timed its flight against the time a “Fan Song” took to go off the air, thus suggesting a successful hit.

Eleven aircraft had fallen to SA-2s by the end of 1965. A Russian technician reported that, “The most impressive moment was when the aeroplanes were downed.

All of a sudden through this dark shroud an object you couldn’t even see before came down in a blaze of shattered pieces”.

Normally, battery commanders adhered to the Soviet rapid three-missile salvo method that was specifically created to tackle maneuvering targets. However, most of 55


Подпись: 56Подпись: A typical F-105F Wild Weasel war-load is carried by F-105F 63-8277. Element lead F-105Fs (Nos 1 and 3 in the flight) usually carried two CBU-24 canisters on their inboard pylons to destroy radar and support vehicles, while wingmen often had 750lb GP bombs. F-105D wingmen usually had the standard centerline pylon load of six Mk 82 500lb “Lady Fingers” (extended fuze) bombs to hit guns and missile launchers. This aircraft was an SA-2 victim during the Thai Nguyen mission on April 26, 1967. Hit at 6,000ft by the third missile of a salvo, it exploded, killing Maj John Dudash and consigning EWO Capt Alton Meyer to a prison camp. (Capt Paul Chesley via James Rotramel) the early kills were against targets flying straight and level at between 18,000ft and 35,000ft. Two of the SA-2 victims in 1965 were Iron HandF-105s flying at relatively low altitudes while searching for SAM batteries. Lt Col George McCleary, CO of the 357th TFS, was killed when his jet (62-4342) was hit by a missile that unexpectedly emerged from the cloud-base near Nam Dinh on November 5. Eleven days later, Capt Donald Green’s Iron Hand flight was on the look out for SAM sites near Haiphong when a quick thinking battery commander detonated an SA-2 close to his Thunderchief (62-4332). Green, from the 469th TFS, managed to nurse his crippled jet out to sea, but he perished when the fighter crashed before he could eject.

These losses prompted new guidance to Korat F-105 crews:

Never fly below 4,500ft AGL, except when evading SA-2s. Turn into the missile and descend. “Fan Songs” take up to 40—45 seconds to re-acquire an aircraft after the lock is broken, giving the F-105 time to escape. Never fly over an undercast (cloud-base) in a known SAM threat area.

Seeing the cloud of orange-brown smoke and dust kicked out by a SAM on launch was often a pilot’s best warning, but a Mach 3 SA-2 emerging from cloud after shedding its booster had a less visible smoke trail, allowing only seconds for evasion.

The extremely hazardous anti-SAM strategy known as Iron Hand, which was officially initiated on August 16, 1965 with F-105s, demanded the employment of new tactics. The initial response, however, was conventional. Following the F-4C shoot-down on July 24, 1965, the US government sanctioned retaliation with the commencement of Operation Spring High three days later. Some 54 F-105s from the 18 th, 23rd and 355th TFWs, supported by a further 58 aircraft, struck SAM Sites 6 and 7, and their barracks areas, using bombs, rockets and napalm, but with disastrous

results. Capt “Chuck” Horner was flying an 18th TFW F-105D when he saw “Bob Purcell’s F-105 (62-4252 Viet Nam ANG) rise up out of a cloud of dust with its entire underside on fire, roll over and go straight in. We were doing 650 knots, carrying cans of napalm that were limited to 375 knots! I looked out to the left and saw anti­aircraft artillery lined up in rows with their barrels depressed, fire belching forth”.

Capt Purcell’s was one of six F-105Ds lost on that mission. Four fell to the 120 anti-aircraft guns in the area and the remaining pair crashed after Capt William Barthelmas’ damaged “Thud” (61-0177) became uncontrollable near his Thai base (Ubon) and collided with an escorting F-105D (62-4298) flown by Maj Jack Farr.

Both men were killed. More bad news followed, as reconnaissance photographs showed that Site 7 — manned by the 236th Missile Regiment — had been evacuated, while the “missiles” at Site 6 were fakes. Both “batteries” had been set up as flak traps in what was to become a familiar North Vietnamese tactic.

As previously mentioned, the USAF’s first official Iron Hand strike was flown on August 16, 1965, although Maj William Hosmer had led a dozen 12th TFS F-105s against SAM Site 8 three days previously. There were no losses on this occasion, but again the site was empty. This attack preceded a short period when Iron HandF-105s were placed on ground alert to respond quickly to SA-2 threats. An attack on September 16, led by Lt Col Robinson Risner, on a site near Thanh Hoa used two Iron Hand flights, with the lead F-105s loaded with napalm and the wingmen carrying 750lb bombs. Risner usually dropped napalm on the “Fan Song” vans while his wingman climbed in afterburner and then dive-bombed the missile batteries. On that raid two 67 th TFS F-105Ds, including Risner’s 61-0217, were shot down.

Iron Hand flights were soon attached to all strike missions in high-threat areas from Rolling Thunder28/29 (August 20) onwards as North Vietnam’s SAM network rapidly expanded. From November 1965 F-105s made low-level approaches to SAM sites with a “pop-up” climb to 4,000ft to launch 2.75in. high-velocity aerial rockets.

The first Wild Weasel III-1 F-105Fs arrived at Korat RTAFB in great secrecy in May 1966. As a 13th TFS flight within the 388th TFW, the Weasels accompanied all the wing’s important strike packages in hunter-killer teams (F-105Fs paired up with F-105Ds) against SA-2 sites around petrol-oil-lubricant and transportation targets.

Of the flight’s 12 assigned F-105Fs, only one (63-8286) was lost when Maj Roosevelt Hestle and Capt Charles Morgan (“Pepper 01”) were hit by 57mm AAA during an Iron Hand attack on a site near Thai Nguyen on July 6. The blazing aircraft flew into a hillside, killing both crewmen — Capt Morgan duly became the first F-105F EWO casualty of the conflict.

In January 1967, the 13th TFS flew Iron Hand alongside 354th TFS Weasels in support of Operation Bolo (an elaborate combat “sting” that saw F-4 fighters of the 8 th TFW concealed within a radiated image that simulated bomb-laden F-105s in an effort to trick VPAF MiGs into combat) and the ongoing heavy strikes on North Vietnam’s industrial facilities.

Eight months later, on August 11, 13th TFS commander Lt Col James McInerney and his EWO Capt Fred Shannon were awarded the Air Force Cross for their actions

during a mission against the Paul Doumer Bridge. Braving extremely heavy AAA and 5 7


three SA-2s, they successfully eliminated three SAM sites without loss. This crew pioneered the Weasel tactic called “trolling” in which the F-105 flight flew about ten minutes ahead of the main force to search for missile sites without interference from airborne jammers. This tactic evolved into a pattern of two elements flying “figure – of-eight” orbits near a known site, with one pair of F-105s always heading towards the missile battery to threaten it with Shrikes.

The 13th TFS was a casualty when the 388 th TFW shrunk to three squadrons in October 1967 due to attrition, its assets being passed to the 44th TFS, which continued the Korat Weasel duty until October 10, 1969.

At Takhli RTAFB, F-105F Weasels had initially arrived for the 354th TFS in early 58 July 1966. Whereas Korat aircraft were assigned only to the 13th TFS, the 355th

Подпись: 1. Standby compass 26. Cockpit lighting 50. Electric power supply control panel 2. AN/APR-36 threat display unit/controls 27. Landing gear position indicator 51. Flap lever 3. Reflector gunsight 28. Bomb NAV switch 52. R-14 radar control panel 4. AN/ALR-31 threat light display 29. Antenna tilt indicator 53. Pilot's seat 5. AN/APR-36 azimuth indicator 30. Fuel flow indicator 54. Control transfer system panel 6. Drag chute handle 31. Electric power supply panel 55. Flight controls panel ?. Remote channel indicator 32. Bomb arming switch 56. Command radio and AN/ARC-70 UHF 8. Standby altimeter 33. Clearance plane indicator short range radio control panel 9. Vertical airspeed mach indicator 34. Radar scope 57. R-14 radar control panel 10. Attitude direction indicator 35. Fuel quantity indicator 58. Canopy lock lever 11. Vertical attitude velocity indicator 36. Fuel quantity selector switch 59. Circuit breaker panels 12. Ground speed and drift indicator 37. Hydraulic pressure gauge (PRI one) 60. Fuel system control panel 13. Standby airspeed indicator 38. Hydraulic pressure gauge (PRI two) 61. Automatic Flight Control System panel 14. Standby attitude indicator 39. Hydraulic pressure gauge (utility) 62. AN/APN-131 Doppler navigation radar 15. Horizontal situation indicator 40. Flap position indicator control panel 16. Pressure ratio gauge 41. Emergency landing gear extension 63. IFF/SIF control panel 17. Tachometer handle 64. Auxiliary canopy jettison handle 18. Landing gear lever 42. Rudder pedals 65. AN/ARN-61 Instrument Landing Set 19. Weapon selection switch 43. Emergency brake handle control panel 20. Bomb mode selector switch 44. Throttle control 66. Emergency pitch and roll control panel 21. Instrument selector switch 45. Air refuel handle 67. AN/ARN-62 TACAN control panel 22. Clock 46. Auxiliary special weapon release handle 68. Interior lights control panel 23. Exhaust gas temperature gauge 47. Control column 69. Exterior lights control panel 24. Oil pressure gauge 48. Weapons control panel 70. SST-181 X-band transponder control box 25. Caution light panel 49. Oxygen regulator control panel
TFW planned a Weasel flight of up to six aircraft for each of its squadrons, beginning with the 354thTFS on July 4, 1966. The latter unit’s Takhli Weasel cadre had lost all four of its original F-105F complement within a month of commencing operations. Two of these fell to SA-2s, Majs Gene Pemberton and Ben Newsom being the first 355 th Weasel loss when F-105F 63-8338 was hit at high altitude on July 23.

image58“Lincoln” Wild Weasel flight maintain close formation for the benefit of the photographer during Capt Merlyn Dethlefsen’s March 10, 1967 Medal of Honor mission. Capt Gilroy’s name appears on the aircraft’s rear canopy rail, but the pilot’s “name-plate” is incorrectly spelt CAPT M H DETHLESSEN! (Paul

Chesley/USAF) 59


Two were shot down on August 7, as were three F-105Ds. Capts Ed Larson and Mike Gilroy fired a Shrike from F-105F 63-8358 that probably knocked out a “Fan Song”, but they were then tracked by a second site, which they also fired at. Seconds after the Shrike left their aircraft they had to evade an SA-2, but a second “Guideline” suddenly emerged from cloud in front of them and detonated. Usually, successful evasion required 6,000—8,000ft of altitude above the height at which an oncoming missile had first been sighted.

The F-105’s 20mm ammunition drum exploded, filling the cockpit with smoke. Unable to see the canopy jettison handle, Capt Gilroy initiated ejection but stopped the sequence after the canopy had been jettisoned. He could then see a large hole in the wing, and also noted the absence of the top of the tail fin and the aircraft’s nose, but the wounded “Thud” continued to head for the coast at 500 knots. A final flak burst severed a hydraulic line, forcing the crew to eject into the sea for recovery by an HU-16 amphibian. Minutes later a second 354th TFS Weasel (63-8361) was hit by 85mm AAA as it took on a SAM site near Kep airfield, forcing Capts Bob Sandvick and Thomas Pyle to eject into captivity in Hanoi. This left only one Weasel F-105F at Takhli until replacement aircraft arrived. The 355th TFW destroyed several SA-2 sites during the rest of the year.

On December 19, 1967 a 333rd TFS Weasel crew added half a MiG-17 to the two already downed by Weasel F-105s. Majs William Dalton and James Graham (flying F-105F 63-8329 The Protestor’s Protector) used 20mm gunfire to finish off the VPAF fighter after an 8th TFW F-4D crew had damaged it. Dalton reported that he “observed impacts on the left wing and fuselage under the cockpit” before the MiG broke away. This Thunderchief, upgraded to F-105G configuration, was lost on January 28, 1970 during an escort for an RF-4C Phantom II photographing a SAM site. At that time, “protective reaction” missions allowed escorting fighters to retaliate to ground fire. When Capts Richard Mallon and Robert Panek dived to strafe an aggressive AAA site their F-105G was shot down, and an HH-53 helicopter that tried
to rescue them was destroyed by a MiG-21. Both F-105G crewmen and six rescuers were killed, the former reportedly being executed after their capture by North Vietnamese militiamen.

The AGM-45 was vital to the F-105F’s SEAD mission from the outset, although crews quickly discovered that the weapon’s small warhead was effective only against the radar antennas it homed onto. Lt Col Robert Belli recalled, “When we fired at ‘Fire Can’ radars or a SAM site we found that within 24 hours the same site was ‘up’ once again in the general area. We figured all they did was change the antenna”.

Iron Hand jets usually flew about seven minutes (later down to just one to two minutes) ahead of the main strike package in the hope of “bringing up” hostile radar emitters and destroying them before they could threaten the strikers. A four-aircraft flight approached the target at 6,000—9,000ft and around 500 knots, dividing into two elements nearer the target — one monitored potential threat radars while the other suppressed known threats. Weasels tried to be unpredictable in order to outwit the SA-2 batteries, although missile crews could adapt their rigid Soviet training to keep pace with the Weasels moves. Having protected the strike, Weasel crews waited to cover the fighters’ exit, thus living up to their “first in – last out” motto.

Among the early F-105F Weasel pilots was Capt Mike Gilroy, who reported that SAM sites were “extremely difficult to acquire visually and looked just like the villages or jungle close by”. Those pilots with luck on their side might catch sight of a dust cloud as an SA-2 was launched, thus giving them a few precious seconds to take appropriate evasive action before attacking the site.

As the CO of the 469th TFS, Maj Bob Krone played an important role in the early operational integration of the Weasels within the 388th TFW:

As the Weasel aircraft had no range estimation capability, the searching was haphazard and

could not be carefully pre-planned. The SA-2 sites were invariably in heavily defended

areas protecting the “hard” targets. In many areas there was more than one site within range of the Iron Hand flight. This forced the Iron Hand crews to expose themselves to the heaviest concentration of enemy anti-aircraft fire in North Vietnam, in addition to the SAM threat. The use of free-fall bombs or unguided rockets by the strike aircraft necessitated visual acquisition of the site before destruction could be expected. The necessary maneuveres to deliver these weapons also required considerable exposure to enemy defenses.

It was the consensus of pilots of the 469th TFS that the early concept of operations should have been the protection of the strike force through detection and avoidance of SA-2 sites, rather than search and destroy. With the acquisition of the AGM-45A Shrike, there was no longer the requirement for visual acquisition of the target, and the same harassment could be effected without the high degree of risk to the attacking flight. However, the weapon’s small warhead, the inability of the early Shrike to discriminate and track one radar signal and the lack of an adequate tracking flare and spotting charge were limitations to effective Shrike employment.

Подпись:Подпись: 61The last two shortcomings detailed by Maj Krone meant that pilots could not use an AGM-45A Shrike to mark a target effectively, as its flight could not be followed

© Osprey Publishing • www. ospreypublishing. com


visually by either the launch jet or other aircraft in the immediate area. Both areas were eventually addressed with the AGM-45A-2, which boasted a tail-mounted flare and a white phosphorus target marker within the warhead of the weapon.

When attacking a “Fan Song”, the pilot had to fly directly towards the target emitter, using azimuth and elevation indicators and visual clues to identify the radar’s location. Calculating altitude, speed and estimated distance from the target, he could then work out the optimum “loft angle” for the missile by using a kneepad graph. “Lofting” the missile from a 30- to 45-degree climb significantly increased the Shrike’s range and dive impact, and kept the F-105 further from the SAM site. Even so, as F-100F EWO Capt Jack Donovan observed, the Shrike’s range, speed and guidance limitations compared with the SA-2 made the contest “like fighting a long sword with a pen-knife in an elephant stampede”! Donovan was also credited with originating the Wild Weasels long-standing motto, “YGBSM — you gotta be shitt’n me”.

The 1967 Korat Tactics Manual advised that “unless the flight leader knows exactly where the SAM/Tire Can’ is located and can plan a surprise attack, it is generally good practice to initiate an attack with a Shrike to place a tracking radar site on the defensive and buy time for the flight to penetrate the critical zone between the enemy’s maximum and minimum effective range”.

Подпись:Weasels also flew hunter-killer missions in allocated “free-fire” zones, where they could find targets of opportunity. Some of these were performed at night, often as elements divided into single-aircraft SAM hunts.

After an uncertain start (there was an outbreak of booing from 355 th TFW pilots when it was first announced that pods would replace some of their bombs), all Thunderchiefs were QRC-160-1 pod-equipped by November 1966. The disastrous




defending Hanoi
















• SA-2 site

Ф MiG airfield (attacked by F-111s prior to B-52 arrivals) <— B-52 routes with F-4 escort flights and chaff flights

0 20 miles







• Haiphong

Gulf of Tonkin

A-6B jamming aircraft from Seventh fleet


20 km



losses (72 F-105s in the period April-September 1966 prior to adoption of the pods) over Route Pack 6 were reduced by two-thirds — North Vietnam was divided up into areas of responsibility, or “Route Packages”, by the USAF and US Navy, and their strike aircraft stuck religiously to their assigned “packs”. Col Bill Chairsell, commanding Korat’s 388th TFW, observed, “The introduction of the QRC-160-1 (AN/ALQ-71) pod to the F-105 represents one of the most effective operational innovations I have ever encountered. Seldom has a technological advance of this nature so degraded an enemy’s defensive posture”.

Although most of the 72 losses were caused by AAA, the pods restricted F-105D/F SAM shootdowns to just three between October 1966 and March 1967 — 18 aircraft of other types were downed by the missiles during the same period. One of the three “Thuds” lost was Iron Hand F-105F 63-8262 “Magnum 03”, which was trying to lure an SA-2 site into firing at it on February 18, 1967. The jet took a hit seconds after launching a Shrike from just above a 10,000ft cloud base, Capts David Duart and Jay Jensen (on their 13th mission) becoming PoWs for the next six years.

As ECM pod technology advanced, the effect on SAMs was dramatic. During August 1967 in excess of 65 per cent of the SA-2s launched lost control soon after being fired, and several crashed into Hanoi, causing substantial casualties. In mid – December 1967 the introduction of the QRC-160-8 pod, tuned to the SA-2’s weak

Подпись: 66image63Подпись:20 MHz downlink beacon signal from a small spiral antenna at the missile’s rear, caused virtually all the SA-2s launched during a five-day period to lose control. And of the 247 missiles fired between December 14, 1967 and March 31, 1968, only three destroyed USAF jets. One of these was 44 th TFS F-105F 63-8312 Midnight Sun, flown by Maj C. J. Fitton and Capt C. S. Harris, who were both killed. Weasel aircraft could not usually carry QRC-160 pods, as they interfered with the aircraft’s other unique ECM systems. 63-8312 was hit by an SA-2 in its starboard wing, the jet disintegrating ten miles from Hanoi as its Weasel flight ran in towards the city.

Soviet technicians responded to the new jamming threat in two ways. Firstly, they advised the batteries to “track on jam”, homing their missiles at the “cloud” of jamming surrounding the enemy formation. The second tactic was to use lesser-known frequencies available for the “Fan Song”, knowing that Shrikes would thereby probably be tuned to the wrong frequency. US Navy cryptological officer Lt Cdr John Arnold, aboard the guided missile cruiser USS Long Beach (CGN-9) sailing in the Gulf of Tonkin, quickly “cracked” the new command codes and frequencies, however, turning the tables in the Weasels’ favour once again.

As well as suppressing SAM sites via EW jamming, the F-105 Weasel flights could adopt their second, more offensive, role. As the 388 th TFW Tactics Manual described it, this allowed “the Weasel flight to direct its entire efforts to seeking out and destroying SA-2 sites or “Firecan” AAA radars”, rather than just protecting the strike force. This technique was first practiced in southern North Vietnam in 1967, but it was also used in Route Pack 6, particularly during Operation Linebacker II.

Takhli’s first Standard ARM-capable F-105Fs went to the 357th TFS in February 1968, and the squadron made the first combat firing of an AGM-78A (Mod 0) on March 10, destroying a “Fan Song”. Three of the five missiles fired on this occasion failed to guide, however. AGM-78B Mod 1 F-105Gs followed early in 1969, and they continued to support post-Rolling Thunder missions in Laos until the 355th TFW ceased combat operations in October 1970. The Weasels then moved to Korat as Det 1 of the 12th TFS, where they combined with survivors from Takhli’s 44th, 333rd and 354th TFSs. Flying a mixed fleet of F – and G-models, Det 1 subsequently became the 6010th WWS, before being redesignated the 17th WWS on December 1, 1971.

The squadron participated in Operation Kingpin on November 20—21, 1970, when the USAF supported US Army Special Forces in an unsuccessful attempt to rescue PoWs (including 47 EWOs) from Son Tay prison. Five Weasels destroyed four SAM sites in the area, with a fifth one being left in a damaged state. During a later
“protective reaction” strike, F-105Gs used AGM-78s to destroy the Moc Chau radar station that was directing MiG activity over Laos.

When the bombing of North Vietnam re-commenced in April 1972, the 17th WWS was reinforced by Det 1 of the 561stTFS/23rd TFW, which flew in from McConnell AFB, Wichita. The North Vietnamese had massively increased their defenses since Rolling Thunder had ended in November 1968, with the Weasels now facing more than 300 SA-2 sites. An April 16 B-52 mission attracted 250 SAMs, and F-105G 63-8342 was lost as it attacked a missile supply depot. Seven F-105Gs were shot down in 1971—72, six of them by SA-2s as Operation Linebacker took USAF strike packages back to the Hanoi-Haiphong area. In several cases the Weasel crews were just about to fire at “Fan Songs” that were tracking them when SA-2s got them first, two losses arising from missiles suddenly emerging from cloud.

However, the destruction was mutual. During Operation Proud Deep Alpha (December 26—30, 1971) Weasels fired 50 Shrikes and ten AGM-78s, knocking out five “Fan Songs” and at least three early warning radar installations.

Not all ARM launches went according to plan, as Maj Murray B. Denton recalled:

Myself and my “Bear”, Russ Ober, were on a night multi-drop B-52 mission. We had gone to the tanker and were orbiting Nakhon Phanom, waiting for our next time-on – target (TOT). Russ was monitoring the AGM-78. As our TOT approached, I started to accelerate to attack speed, and selected my AGM-45 to monitor it inbound to the target. However, when the Shrike was selected the AGM-78 jettisoned from its rack! We finished the mission and returned to Korat, reporting the lost missile. Base personnel at Nakhon Phanom searched their area for two days and finally found the AGM-78 about eight to ten yards from the wing commander’s accommodation trailer. On inspection, a shorted


image64Подпись: 67A camouflaged SA-2 trails its distinctively-shaped tail of fire at dangerously close quarters to this gun-camera “automatic photographer”. During Operation Linebacker II six B-52s were claimed by two sites managed by the 57th and 77th Battalions. Some sites salvoed unguided missiles in the hope of achieving a hit. (USAF)

Strike packages in 1972 used chaff flights to defeat enemy radars and F-4 MiGCAP flights to beat the MiG fighter threat ahead of the main Phantom II strike force. Hunter-killer flights, each with two missile­armed F-105Gs and a pair of F-4Es with bombs and CBUs, flanked the strikers, moving out to take on any SAM sites that posed a threat.



F-4 Chaff flight

^ ^ ^ ^








F-4 Chaff flight escort





Hunter-killer flight


F-4 Escort flight



F-4 Escort flight



EB-66 ECM jamming (2-3 aircraft)



EC-121T ‘disco’ MiG watch———– ►


RF-4C Post-strike BDA recce



F-4 Escort for RF-4 recce



<——– KC-135 tankers





image76F-105G 63-8266 White Lightning of the 17th WWS/ 388th TFW is prepared for its next mission at Korat RTAFB in August 1972. This unit replaced the 6010th WWS from December 1, 1971, and continued flying combat operations until October 1974, when the survivors returned to the USA under Operation Coronet Exxon. 63-8266 completed another six years with the 35th TFW (visiting Germany in 1976) prior to retiring to the Mid-America Air Museum in Liberal, Kansas, in 1992. (Larsen/Remington)

and corroded connection was found on the AGM-78 pylon. Needless to say, the entire fleet was checked.

As the North Vietnamese moved south, preparing to invade South Vietnam, their SA-2 batteries followed. They shot down a 17 th WWS F-105G (63-8333) from a position just north of the DMZ on February 17, 1972 and an 8 th TFW AC-130A gunship from a SAM site in southern Laos on March 28. Their main objective was to bring down a B-52, and much Weasel time was devoted to four-hour missions protecting the bombers. “Ambush” sites were cleared in difficult terrain under Soviet direction, and batteries would fire a few SA-2s before hiding in the jungle and moving



on to escape detection. After many attempts the SA-2 finally got lucky on November 22, 1972 when B-52D 55-0110 was hit near Vinh. Dan Barry was leading the Weasel flight of four F-105Gs that night:

The B-52 cell was supposed to ingress from the south-southwest, and we put the 17th WWS element on the right side of its ingress track and the 651st element on the left. Since we were usually down at 15,000ft (about 20,000—25,000ft below the “BUFFs”), we never had a visual on the bombers. We operated individually in an orbit to give optimum positioning for coverage based on the B-52s’ TOT. Unfortunately, they were never on our frequency, so we never received any change in TOT or ingress track, nor could they receive any advisory we’d transmit on SAM signals received.

Although at least one 17th WWS crew fired a pre-emptive Shrike, I don’t believe any of us received a “Fan Song” signal. I recall only one SAM being fired, and it seems to go nearly vertical before exploding at altitude. A short time later we began to hear calls on Guard frequency, with “BUFF” crews trying to make contact with one of the jets in their cell. I remember finally turning towards our egress heading and seeing an explosion at altitude and the flaming wreckage falling nearly 100 miles away.

The B-52D had managed to struggle across the border into Thailand before breaking up. All six crewmen were recovered.

As this incident graphically proved, SA-2 crews had learned how to “burn through” the B-52’s considerable jamming power (particularly the less-protected B-52G) by firing in “track-on-jam” mode when the intensity of the jammers was reduced while bombers were directly above the target, or banking away just after releasing their ordnance. This technique helped them to shoot down no fewer than 16 B-52s and damage nine others during the 11-day Linebacker IIoffensive at year-end.

During this intense period of operations the Weasels used their missiles mainly for suppression as they orbited below the bombers. On the first night of Linebacker II, 47 Shrikes and 12 Standard ARMs were launched at some of the 32 operational SAM sites in the Hanoi/Haiphong area, thus keeping B-52 losses to three jets. Nevertheless, 567 SA-2s were fired during the first three nights as the B-52s flew their predictable routes across Hanoi, exposed to SAMs for a full 20 minutes. The first casualty was hit by two SA-2s fired from Nguyen Thang’s 59th SAM battalion. By the fifth night missile stocks had run very low, and the 36-hour “Christmas truce” was the SA-2 assembly centers’ only chance to replenish sites with more than 100 missiles.

Although only three ARMs definitely “killed” radars during the 11-day onslaught, there were 160 occasions on which radars closed down, probably due to Weasel suppression by F-105Gs (with F-4E Phantom II “hunter-killer” support for some missions) flying race-track patterns on either side of the bomber stream. Five sites were seriously damaged by bombs from designated B-52 or F-111A attacks, with another 15 being knocked out by F-105G/F-4E hunter-killer teams. By the last night of the campaign (December 29/30) hardly any SAM radar emissions were detected. Six more sites were hit by F-111s and two by B-52s, including SA-2 assembly facilities 70 near Phuc Yen and Trai Cam.