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Daggers in Vietnam

Photo: A 64th FIS F-102 assigned to the defense of Danang in August 1968, seen being readied for missile loading. James Cobb via author

 

Our August issue, now in production, will feature a new article on the F-102 in Vietnam in our Glory Days series.

The Convair F-102 Delta Dagger was one of the first USAF combat aircraft to be deployed to Vietnam, yet its impressive war record is often overlooked, writes Warren E. Thompson, as he charts the type’s service in Southeast Asia, including the use of air-to-air missiles in the ground attack role!

In a letter dated October 6, 1990, Lt Gen (ret’d) Francis C Gideon US Air Force, commanding general of the 13th Air Force during the Vietnam War, said: ‘The exploits of the attack fighter squadrons in the war in Southeast Asia are well-documented, and they are heroic. The F-102 Squadrons [64th and 509th Fighter Interceptor Squadrons, FIS] based at Clark Air Base, quietly and effectively carried out a unique combat mission that was vital to the success of the air war. They provided an air defense shield around the entire battle area by keeping flights deployed around the circle from Southern Tainan, Clark, Da Nang, Bien Hoa, Udorn and Bangkok, while giving excellent protection to the B-52 ‘Arc Light’ missions. We will never know what attacks on our forces and bases were deterred by their presence.’

Don’t miss the August issue for the full version of this fabulous story.

Posted in Features

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