During America's involvement in the Vietnam War, from the administration of
President Truman to President Ford, a wide variety of aircraft flew the skies
of North and South Vietnam. This page is an attempt to recognize some of
those aircraft that played such a pivotal role in fighting the war. If you
have a picture or a gif of an aircraft that took part in the Vietnam War and
it is not displayed at present, send it to us and we will put it on this
What would the Vietnam War had been like without the ubiquitous UH-1
Iroquois Helicopter, forever known as the Huey, flying the skies of South
Vietnam? Here is an H Model Huey and it has the tailboom markings of a 240th
AHC helicopter when the company was part of the 222nd Aviation Battalion.
When the 240th AHC landed in South Vietnam and flew its first operational
combat mission on 28 June 1967, the company was a part of the 214th Combat
Aviation Battalion, The Cougars. The Huey above has the tailboom markings of
the 240th when it was part of the 214th CAB, a white pentagon with a green
stripe. The 240th remained part of the 214th until early 1969 when the
company became part of the 222nd CAB, The SkyMasters.
The Cessna O-1 "Bird Dog" was a two seater observation aircraft and used in
Vietnam as a forward air controller (FACS). The Bird Dog Pilot would mark
enemy targets on the ground with smoke rockets, mounted under the wings, for
the fighter-bombers of the US Air Force.
The C-130 Hercules of the USAF made it first flight in 1954 and it still
plays an important role in the defense of America today. C-130's were
originally designed for combat troop transport capable of operating from dirt
and hastily constructed airstrips. During Vietnam, some of these C-130's were
converted for use as gunships and carried a multitude of weapons for close
air support of ground troops. Some of the weapons installed were 20 mm
cannons and 7.62 mm mini-guns.
The CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter is used to move cargo and troops. The Navy
uses the CH-46D for delivering cargo and personnel aboard ships. The USMC
uses the CH-46E in the role of an all-weather, day or night assault
helicopter for the transport of troops, equipment and supplies.
The F4 Phantom was retired from the US military forces in 1996. The US Air
Force, Marines and Navy flew this jet for 38 years.
The F4 Phantom was the first fighter to be flown by the Air Force, Navy and
Marines concurrently. This famous aircraft holds the distinction of being the
first and only jet fighter to be used by the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds
at the same time.
These two helicopters, the Hughes H-6 Cayuse and the Bell AH-1 Huey Cobra,
made up the famous and hard fighting Hunter/Killer Teams used by the Air Cav
Units in South Vietnam. The H-6 Cayuse, also known as a "Loach" was a small,
agile chopper which had a distinctive teardrop shape. The "Loach" would skim
the tree tops looking for signs of the enemy while his wingman, the AH-1 Huey
Cobra, would circle above ready to provide heavy firepower if needed. The
Loach crew could consist of a pilot, observer, and doorgunner or a pilot and
observer or doorgunner. The "Loach" is still used on a limited basis today by
special units of the American Military. Developed from the UH-1 Huey, the
Bell HueyCobra was the first helicopter designed especially as an attack
helicopter. The tandem cockpit consisted of an Aircraft Commander in back and
copilot in front. The HueyCobra is still used today as a gunship and remains
a highly effective weapon.
By redesigning the Fairchild C-82, the company produced the C-119 which was
also called the "Flying Boxcar." The C-119 was designed to carry cargo,
mechanized equipment and to drop paratroopers and their equipment ready to
fight. Production of this aircraft started in 1947 and ended in 1955. In the
mid 60's during Vietnam the Air Force started to replace the aging C-47
Spooky Gunship with a modified C-119 to serve as the next generation gunship.
Many of the missions for the C-119 during the Vietnam War was to attack
targets on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The last active duty "Flying Boxcar" was
retired in 1975.
The maiden flight of the first production B52 was in August of 1954. From
1954 to 1964, the B-52 operated in cold weather climates. In 1965, the
Stratofortress was used for the first time in Vietnam in support of American
ground troops. Many credit the B-52 strikes over North Vietnam during
Christmas 1972 with bringing the North Vietnamese to the negotiation table at
the Paris Peace Talks. There were A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H model versions of
the B-52 manufactured. Only the B-52H model remains on active duty today.