South Vietnam Air Force
The South Vietnam Air Force the Republic of Vietnam Air Force was the aerial branch of the Republic of Vietnam Military Forces, the official military of the Republic of Vietnam from 1955 to 1975. The VNAF began with a few hand-picked men chosen to fly alongside French pilots during the State of Vietnam era, it grew into the world's sixth largest air force at the height of its power, in 1974. It is an neglected chapter of the history of the Vietnam War as they operated in the shadow of the United States Air Force, it was dissolved in 1975 after the Fall of Saigon. In March 1949, Emperor Bảo Đại requested that the French help set up a Vietnamese military air arm. Pressure was maintained with the assistance of Lt. Col. Nguyễn Văn Hinh, who had flown the B-26 Marauder with the French Air Force during the Second World War. In March 1952, a training school was set up at Nha Trang, the following year two army co-operation squadrons began missions flying the Morane-Saulnier MS.500 Criquet light aircraft.
In 1954, the French allocated a number of Dassault MD.315 Flamant armed light transports to the inventory of this Vietnamese air arm. Vietnamese pilot trainees began to be sent to France for more advanced training. In May 1954, with the fall of Dien Bien Phu, the position of France changed, on January 31, 1955, the Vietnam Air Force was inaugurated; the RVNAF consisted of 58 aircraft and about 1,300 personnel. Aircraft consisted of C-47 Skytrains, Grumman F8F Bearcats. French instructors for pilots and mechanics remained until late 1956, transferred 69 F8F Bearcat aircraft to the VNAF, which throughout the late 1950s were the main strike aircraft. In May 1956, by agreement with the South Vietnamese government, the United States Air Force assumed some training and administrative roles of the RVNAF. Teams from Clark Air Force Base began in 1957 to organize the RVNAF into a model of the USAF when the French training contracts expired. Unlike the ARVN, the VNAF was an all-volunteer service, remaining so until its demise in 1975.
The VNAF recruiting center was located at Tan Son Nhut Air Base. Recruits were given a screening test, followed by a physical examination. Basic requirements for service in the VNAF was to be a Vietnamese citizen. S. 9th grade education for airmen. If a volunteer met all the qualifications, the recruit was sent to basic training at the ARVN training base at Lam Song. Non-commissioned officer training was held at Bien Hoa Air Base. After two months of training, or four months for aviation cadets, the recruit was given an aptitude test and progressed to specialized technical training. From there, he was sent to one of the ARVN wings for journeymen training. Aviation cadets pursued three additional months of specialized training after completing their initial four-month training course; some were sent to the United States for advanced pilot training while non-rated officers pursued training in South Vietnam for their non-flying assignments. This training lasted about nine months, whereupon a cadet served in an operational unit for about a year before receiving a commission as a second lieutenant.
Women served in the VNAF. The Women's Armed Forces Corps was formed to fill non-combat duties beginning in December 1965. Women were assigned to VNAF wings, the Air Logistics Wing, performing duties as personnel specialists and other administrative roles. During the final 1975 offensive, it was not a case of a massive collapse; the ARVN forces in Long Khánh were fighting to the death. A cooperative effort between the ARVN and the VNAF enabled ARVN troops there to hold on. CH-47 helicopters brought in 193 tons of artillery ammunition over two days. A-1 Skyraiders flew in and C-130 Hercules transports dropped massive 15,000-pound daisy cutter bombs on enemy positions. Flying against intense antiaircraft fire, they took a heavy toll on the NVA divisions around Xuân Lộc. On 28 April at 18:06 three A-37 Dragonflys piloted by former VNAF pilots who had defected to the Vietnamese People's Air Force at the fall of Danang, dropped 6 Mk81 250 lb bombs on the VNAF flightline at Tan Son Nhut Air Base destroying several aircraft.
VNAF Northrop F-5s were unable to intercept the A-37s. At dawn on 29 April the VNAF began to haphazardly depart Tan Son Nhut Air Base as A-37s, F-5s, C-7s, C-119s and C-130s departed for Thailand while UH-1s took off in search of the ships of the U. S. Task Force 76 offshore. At 08:00 Lieutenant General Trần Văn Minh, commander of the VNAF, 30 of his staff arrived at the American DAO Compound, demanding evacuation; this signified the complete loss of command and control of the VNAF. Some VNAF aircraft did stay to continue to fight the advancing NVA however. One AC-119K gunship from the 821st Attack Squadron had spent the night of 28/29 April dropping flares and firing on the approaching NVA. At dawn on 29 April two A-1 Skyraiders began patrolling the perimeter of Tan Son Nhut at 2500 feet until Maj. Trương Phùng, one of the two Skyraider pilots was shot down by an SA-7. At 07:00 the AC-119K "Tinh Long" flew by Lt. Trang van Thanh was firing on NVA to the east of Tan Son Nhut when it was hit by a SA-7 missile, fell in flames to the ground.
Sgt. Son, one of the AC-119K gunners tried to escape but his chute tangled in the tail of the airplane. Despite sporadic artillery and rocket fire, Binh Thuy Air Base remained operational throughout 29 April and on the morning of
I Corps (South Vietnam)
The I Corps Tactical Zone was a corps of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, the army of the nation state of South Vietnam that existed from 1955 to 1975. It was one of four corps of the ARVN; this was the northernmost region of South Vietnam, bordering North Vietnam. These five provinces are Quảng Trị Province, Thừa Thiên-Huế Province, Quảng Nam Province, Quảng Tín Province, Quảng Ngãi Province; the region included the DMZ area where 3rd Marine Division intelligence estimated the combat strength of NVA and VC forces in January 1968 was 40,943 troops. Among its formations and units were the 1st Division; the I CTZ Military Region 1, was partnered with the U. S. III Marine Expeditionary Force and the XXIV Corps. General Hoàng Xuân Lãm was given responsibility for the I Corps Tactical Zone in 1967, he coordinated the South Vietnamese Operation Lam Sơn 719 offensive which aimed at striking the North Vietnamese logistical corridor known as the Ho Chi Minh trail in southeastern Laos during 1971. Due to his political connections with President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, he was still serving as I Corps commander when the North Vietnamese launched the Nguyên Huế Offensive in 1972.
Lãm was recalled to Saigon on 2 May 1972 by Thiệu, who relieved him of his command, due to complaints regarding Lãm's fitness and competency as a general. He was succeeded as commander by Ngô Quang Trưởng. 20th Tank Regiment, the first tank regiment in the ARVN, was formed at Quảng Trị in 1971. It was equipped with the M48 Patton. I Corps disintegrated during the 1975 Spring Offensive; the situation for the South Vietnamese in the I Corps Tactical Zone had regained some stability after the defeat of a three-division PAVN push during late 1974. By early the following year, I Corps fielded three infantry divisions, the elite Airborne and Marine Divisions, four Ranger Groups and the 1st Armored Brigade; until mid-March, the North Vietnamese had limited their offensive operations to attempts to cut Highway 1, the main north/south line of communication, between Huế and Da Nang and between Da Nang and Chu Lai. To confront the South Vietnamese, PAVN Brigadier General Lê Trọng Tấn had amassed a force of the crack 2nd, 304th, 324B, 325C, 711th PAVN Divisions and nine independent infantry regiments, three sapper regiments, three armored regiments, twelve anti-aircraft and eight artillery regiments.
At a meeting in Saigon on 13 March President Thiệu was briefed on the military situation by Trưởng and another corps commander. Thiệu laid out his plan for national consolidation; as Trưởng understood it, he was free to redeploy his forces to hold the Da Nang area. Trưởng was shocked to discover, that the Airborne Division was to be removed to III Corps. General Trưởng was recalled to Saigon on 19 March to brief Thiệu on his withdrawal plan; the general had developed two contingency plans: The first was predicated on government control of Highway 1, which would be utilized for two simultaneous withdrawals from Huế and Chu Lai to Da Nang. This was to be only an interim measure, since the forces that withdrew to Huế and Chu Lai would be sea-lifted to Da Nang by the navy; the president stunned the general by announcing that he had misinterpreted his previous orders: The old imperial capital of Huế was not to be abandoned. Making matters worse, Trưởng discovered that his force was to be reduced by the removal of the Airborne Division.
Dougan, David Fulghum, et al. The Fall of the South. Boston: Boston Publishing Company, 1985. Tucker, Spencer C.. Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. Pp. 526–533. ISBN 1-57607-040-9
South Vietnam the Republic of Vietnam, was a country that existed from 1955 to 1975, the period when the southern portion of Vietnam was a member of the Western Bloc during part of the Cold War. It received international recognition in 1949 as the "State of Vietnam", a constitutional monarchy; this became the "Republic of Vietnam" in 1955. Its capital was Saigon. South Vietnam was bordered by North Vietnam to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, Thailand across the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia across the South China Sea to the east and southeast; the Republic of Vietnam was proclaimed on 26 October 1955, with Ngô Đình Diệm as its first president, after having served as premier under Emperor Bao Dai, exiled. Its sovereignty was recognized by the United States and 87 other nations, it had membership in several special committees of the United Nations, but its application for full membership was rejected in 1957 because of a Soviet veto.
South Vietnam's origins can be traced to the French colony of Cochinchina, which consisted of the southern third of Vietnam, Cochinchina, a subdivision of French Indochina, the southern half of Central Vietnam or Annam, a French protectorate. After the Second World War, the anti-Japanese Viet Minh guerrilla forces, led by Ho Chi Minh, proclaimed the establishment of a Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi in September 1945, issuing a Declaration of Independence modeled on the U. S. one from 1776. In 1949, anti-communist Vietnamese politicians formed a rival government in Saigon led by former emperor Bảo Đại. Bảo Đại was deposed by Prime Minister Ngô Đình Diệm in 1955, who proclaimed himself president after a referendum. Diệm was killed in a military coup led by general Dương Văn Minh in 1963, a series of short-lived military governments followed. General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu led the country after a U. S.-encouraged civilian presidential election from 1967 until 1975. The beginnings of the Vietnam War occurred in 1959 with an uprising by the newly organized National Liberation Front for South Vietnam and supported by the northern Democratic Republic of Vietnam, with other assistance rendered by the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact communist satellites, along with neighboring People's Republic of China and North Korea.
Larger escalation of the insurgency occurred in 1965 with the landing of United States regular forces of Marines, followed by Army units to supplement the cadre of military advisors guiding ARVN southern forces. A regular bombing campaign over North Vietnam was conducted by offshore U. S. Navy airplanes and aircraft carriers joined by Air Force squadrons through 1966 and 1967. Fighting peaked up to that point during the Tet Offensive of February 1968, when there were over a million South Vietnamese soldiers and 500,000 U. S. soldiers in South Vietnam. On the war turned into a more conventional fight as the balance of power became equalized. An larger, armored invasion commenced during the Easter Offensive following US ground-forces withdrawal, had nearly overran some major northern cities until beaten back. Despite a truce agreement under the Paris Peace Accords, concluded in January 1973, after a torturous five years of on and off negotiations, fighting continued immediately afterwards; the North Vietnamese regular army and Viet Cong launched a major second combined-arms invasion in 1975, termed the Spring Offensive.
Communist forces overran Saigon on 30 April 1975. On the day President Duong Van Minh declared RVN cease to exist, five ARVN generals, one Saigon police chief, numbers of ARVN soldiers and officers commit suicide to avoid being humiliated surrender. On July 2, 1976, the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam merged to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; the official name of the South Vietnamese state was Việt Nam Cộng hòa and the French name was referred to as République du Viêt Nam. The North was known as the "Democratic Republic of Vietnam". Việt Nam was the name adopted by Emperor Gia Long in 1804, it is a name used in ancient times. In 1839, Emperor Minh Mạng renamed the country Đại Nam. In 1945, the nation's official name was changed back to "Vietnam"; the name is sometimes rendered as "Viet Nam" in English. The term "South Vietnam" became common usage in 1954, when the Geneva Conference provisionally partitioned Vietnam into communist and non-communist parts.
Other names of this state were used during its existence such as Free Vietnam and the Government of Viet Nam. Before World War II, the southern third of Vietnam was the concession of Cochinchina, administered as part of French Indochina. A French governor-general in Hanoi administered all the five parts of Indochina while Cochinchina was under a French governor, but the difference from the other parts was that most indigenous intellensia and wealthy were naturalized French The northern third of Vietnam (then the colony of Tonkin was under
Combined Action Program
The Combined Action Program was a United States Marine Corps operational initiative implemented in the Vietnam War and proved to be one of the most effective counterinsurgency tools developed during that conflict. Operating from 1965 to 1971, this program was characterized by the placement of a thirteen-member Marine rifle squad, augmented by a U. S. Navy Corpsman and strengthened by a Vietnamese militia platoon of older youth and elderly men, in or adjacent to a rural Vietnamese hamlet. In most cases, the Popular Forces militia members were residents of the hamlet who were either too young or too old to be drafted into the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam or the Regional Forces; the entire unit of American Marines and Popular Forces militia members together was designated as a Combined Action Platoon. The program was said to have originated as a solution to one Marine infantry battalion's problem of an expanding Tactical Area of Responsibility; the concept of combining a squad of Marines with local and assigning them a village to protect proved to be a force multiplier.
While the exact implementation varied with the stage of the war and local command variations, the basic model was to combine a Marine squad with local forces to form a village defense platoon. It was effective in denying the enemy a sanctuary at the local village level; the pacification campaign seemed to work under the CAP concept, the Marines embraced it. Objectively, there is no solid proof. "Counterinsurgency operations and, in particular, the establishment of a foreign internal defense lends itself for the greatest utility of employing a CAP-style organization. Recent operations in Somalia and Bosnia suggest a CAP-style organization could accomplish the assigned mission." In Iraq and Afghanistan, the Marines reinstituted a variant of the CAP. The CAP concept seems to have been at least based on Marine pacification programs in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, elsewhere, during the Banana Wars in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In these programs, Marine units would pacify and administer regions, while providing training and security for local forces and villages.
There are connections to other pacification programs, such as the Philippine Insurrection."CAP came for the Marine Corps because counterguerrilla warfare was part of the USMC heritage. From 1915 to 1934, the Corps had a wealth of experience in foreign interventions fighting guerrillas in Nicaragua and Santo Domingo. For example, the Marines organized and trained the Gendarmerie d'Haiti and the Nacional Dominicana in Haiti and Santo Domingo from 1915 to 1934. In Nicaragua, the Marines organized and commanded the Guardia Nacional de Nicaragua; these organizations were nonpartisan, native constabularies the Marines commanded until host-nation forces could competently assume command." "The historical background of Army and Marine counter-insurgency operations, the perceived enemy center of gravity in Vietnam, the strategic aim, identified critical enemy factors are key to understanding Marine versus Army operational differences on conducting the "Other War." It was these differences and past Marine experience that contributed to the creation of the U.
S. Marines' Combined Action Platoon. Opinions differ about how and where Combined Action originated, but it seems to have started in August 1965 as a unit drawn from 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, under LtCol William W. Taylor in the Phu Bai area. 3/4's TAOR included an airfield in a ten square mile area. The unit was overextended, Taylor's executive officer, suggested that they incorporate local militia units into 3/4's operations. Taylor sent the plan to COL E. B. Wheeler, Commanding Officer of the 4th Marine Regiment, who forwarded it to the III Marine Amphibious Force and Fleet Marine Forces Pacific. Major General Lew Walt and Lieutenant General Victor Krulak, both of whom had fought in the Banana War, saw the potential value and agreed to the proposal. GEN Nguyễn Văn Chuân, the local Army of the Republic of Vietnam CO, gave Walt control of the Vietnamese platoons near Phu Bai. Taylor integrated four squads with the local PF units in August 1965. 1stLt Paul Ek was designated as unit commander.
The Marines were handpicked volunteers from 3/4 screened by the executive officer, Maj Zimmerman. "Zimmerman drew upon his knowledge of the British Army's experiences in 19th Century India. While studying British procedures of that era, Zimmerman had developed an appreciation for the British propensity towards "Brigading." He knew that by combining a British unit with one or more native units, the British were not only able to increase the size of their army for a comparatively small investment of British troops, but succeeded in increasing the quality of the native units. This was in Zimmerman's mind when he developed the plan that called for combining a U. S. Marine rifle squad with a PF platoon to form an integrated self-defense force, able to protect the village from low level Viet Cong threats; the combining of the Marines and the PFs was seen as optimal since both brought unique qualities to the union. The PFs, a poorly trained and neglected home guard, brought knowledge of people and terrain.
They brought the emotional benefits associated with defending their homes. The Marines brought the benefits of trained, well led, aggressive combat troops." MG Walt formalized the program in February 1967, appointing LtCol William R. Co
Army of the Republic of Vietnam Special Forces
The Army of the Republic of Vietnam Special Forces were the elite military units of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. Following the establishment of the Republic of Vietnam in October 1955, the Special Forces were formed at Nha Trang in February 1956. During the rule of Ngô Đình Diệm, the Special Forces were run by his brother, until both were assassinated in November 1963 in a coup; the Special Forces were disbanded in 1975 when South Vietnam ceased to exist after the Fall of Saigon. The Special Forces came into being at Nha Trang in February 1956 under the designation of the First Observation Battalion/Group. By 1960, most Special Forces units were involved in the FOG program. At Long Thành, they were trained in intelligence gathering and psychological operations; the main duties of the Special Forces entailed the recruitment and training of one-to-four man teams in intelligence and psychological warfare missions. The success of these missions was poor. Although minor sabotage and unrest was fomented, Hanoi declared that all agents were to be killed or captured.
Those who were captured were executed. In 1961, the Special Forces and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam 1st Infantry Division, based in the northernmost area of South Vietnam, conducted a joint operation against Communist infiltrators in northern Quảng Trị Province. In the autumn of 1961, Special Forces units began Operation Eagle at Bình Hưng with a night parachute assault. In September 1962, United States Special Forces personnel assumed responsibility of the CIA's border surveillance and Civilian Irregular Defense Group programs and began working with the ARVN Special Forces; the Special Forces continued to expand and began to operate with the CIDG. During the rule of President Ngô Đình Diệm, the Special Forces were used for repressing dissidents. Despite the fact that South Vietnam was struggling against the communist insurgency of the Viet Cong in the rural areas, the Special Forces were kept in the capital Saigon, where they were used to prevent coups or harass regime opponents. Under Diệm, the Special Forces were headed by Colonel Lê Quang Tung, trained by the Central Intelligence Agency in the United States and commanded some 1,840 men under the direction of Nhu.
Tung's most notable military activity was leading a group run by the CIA, in which ARVN personnel of northern origin were sent into North Vietnam, posing as locals, in order to gather intelligence as well as sabotaging communist infrastructure and communications. They were trained in bases at Nha Trang, Đà Nẵng and sometimes offshore in Taiwan and Okinawa. Of the eighty groups of operatives, numbering six or seven per group, that were deployed in 1963 via parachute drops or night time sampan journeys, nearly all were captured or killed; those who were captured were used for propaganda by the Communists. Tung was criticised for his management of the operations. In 1963, South Vietnam faced civil unrest in the face of Buddhist protests against discrimination by the Catholic-oriented Diệm regime. In the wake of the shootings of nine Buddhist protesters on the birthday of Gautama Buddha for defying a ban on the Buddhist flag, mass protests calling for religious equality erupted around the country.
With opposition to Diệm growing, Nhu plotted an attack against Xá Lợi Pagoda, the largest Buddhist centre in Saigon, where the movement was organizing its activities. Tung's special forces under Nhu's orders were responsible for the raid on 21 August 1963, in which 1,400 monks were arrested and hundreds were estimated to have been killed, as well as extensive property damage; these attacks were replicated across the country in a synchronised manner. Following the attacks, U. S. officials threatened to withhold aid to the Special Forces unless they were used in fighting communists, rather than attacking dissidents. Another infamous religious assault on the Buddhist community was carried out by Tung's men in 1963. In a small pond near Đà Nẵng, a hugely oversized carp was found swimming. Local Buddhists began to believe; as pilgrimages to the pond grew larger and more frequent, so did disquiet among the district chief and his officials, who answered to Ngô Đình Cẩn, another younger brother of Diệm.
The pond was mined. After raking the pond with machine gun fire, the fish still lived. To deal with the problem, Tung's forces were called in; the pond was grenaded. The incident generated more publicity as newspapers across the world ran stories about the miraculous fish. South Vietnamese army helicopters began landing at the site, with ARVN paratroopers filling their bottles with water which they believed had magical powers. Tung was reported to have been planning an operation at the request of Nhu to stage a government organised student demonstration outside the US Embassy, Saigon. In this plan and his operatives would assassinate U. S. ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. other key officials and Buddhist leader Thích Trí Quang, given asylum after being targeted in the pagoda raids. On 1 November 1963, a coup was launched by the ARVN against Diệm. Knowing Tung was a loyalist who would order his Special Forces to defend Diệm, the generals invited him to ARVN Joint General Staff headquarters on the pretext of a routine meeting.
He was arrested and executed along with his deputy and younger brother, Lê Quang Triệu. Diệm and Nhu were executed after being captured at the end of the successful coup and the ARVN's leadership changed. In 1964, the U. S. Army's 5th Special Forces Group was assigne
Presidential Unit Citation (United States)
The Presidential Unit Citation called the Distinguished Unit Citation, is awarded to units of the Uniformed services of the United States, those of allied countries, for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy on or after 7 December 1941. The unit must display such gallantry and esprit de corps in accomplishing its mission under difficult and hazardous conditions so as to set it apart from and above other units participating in the same campaign. Since its inception by Executive Order on 26 February 1942, retroactive to 7 December 1941, to 2008, the Presidential Unit Citation has been awarded in conflicts such as World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Iraq War, the War in Afghanistan; the collective degree of valor against an armed enemy by the unit nominated for the PUC is the same as that which would warrant award of the individual award of the Distinguished Service Cross, Air Force Cross or Navy Cross. In some cases, one or more individuals within the unit may have been awarded individual awards for their contribution to the actions for which their entire unit was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation.
The unit with the most Presidential Unit Citations is the USS Parche with 9 citations. The Army citation was established by Executive Order 9075 on 26 February 1942, superseded by Executive Order 9396 on Dec. 2, 1943, which authorized the Distinguished Unit Citation. As with other Army unit citations, the PUC is in a larger frame than other ribbons, is worn above the right pocket. All members of the unit may wear the decoration, whether or not they participated in the acts for which the unit was cited. Only those assigned to the unit at the time of the action cited may wear the decoration as a permanent award. For both the Army and Air Force, the emblem is a solid blue ribbon enclosed in a gold frame; the Air Force PUC was adopted from the Army Distinguished Unit Citation after the Air Force became a separate military branch in 1947. By Executive Order 10694, dated Jan. 10, 1957 the Air Force redesignated the Distinguished Unit Citation as the Presidential Unit Citation. The Air Force PUC is the same color and design as the Army PUC but smaller, so that it can be worn in alignment with other Air Force ribbons on the left pocket following personal awards.
As with the Army, all members of a receiving unit may wear the decoration while assigned to it, but only those assigned to the unit at the time of the action cited may wear the decoration as a permanent award or if any member of a receiving unit had it their last duty station prior to being either discharged or retired they may continue to wear the decoration as prescribed. The Citation is carried on the receiving unit's colors in the form of a blue streamer, 4 ft long and 2.75 in wide. For the Army, only on rare occasions will a unit larger than battalion qualify for award of this decoration. Citations "to Naval and Marine Corps Units for Outstanding Performance in Action" was established by Executive Order 9050 on 6 February 1942; the Navy version has navy blue and red horizontal stripes, is the only Navy ribbon having horizontal stripes. To distinguish between the two versions of the Presidential Unit Citation, the Navy version, more referred to as the Presidential Unit Citation, is referred to as the Navy Presidential Unit Citation and sometimes as the "Navy and Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation", the Army and Air Force version is referred to by the Army and Air Force as the Army Presidential Unit Citation and Air Force Presidential Unit Citation.
The ribbon is worn by only by those Navy and Marine service members who were assigned to the unit for the "award period" of the award. In the Army, those who join the unit after the "award period" may wear it while assigned to the unit. ALNan 137-43 states that the first award has a blue enameled star on the ribbon and additional stars for subsequent awards. In 1949, the award changed with no star for bronze stars for subsequent awards. To commemorate the first submerged voyage under the North Pole by the nuclear-powered submarine USS Nautilus in 1958, all members of her crew who made that voyage were authorized to wear their Presidential Unit Citation ribbon with a special clasp in the form of a gold block letter N. Currently, US Navy sailors assigned to the USS Nautilus memorial at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton, are permitted to wear the Navy Presidential Unit Citation; as of 2014, the same device may be awarded for the Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal for those personnel who work in direct support of ICBM operations who serve 179 non-consecutive days dispatched to a missile complex.
To commemorate the first submerged circumnavigation of the world by the nuclear-powered submarine Triton during its shakedown cruise in 1960, all members of her crew who made that voyage were authorized to wear their Presidential Unit Citation ribbon with a special clasp in the form of a golden replica of the globe. United States Coast Guard units may be awarded either the Navy or Coast Guard version of the Presidential Unit Citation, depending on which service the Coast Guard was supporting when the citation action was performed; the current decoration is known as the "Department of Homeland Security Presidential Unit Citation". The original Coast Guard Presidential Unit Citation was established under the authority of Executive Order 10694, amended by Section 74 of Executive Order 13286 to transfer the award of the USCG PUC to the Secr
Tan Son Nhut Air Base
Tan Son Nhut Air Base was a Republic of Vietnam Air Force facility. It was located near the city of Saigon in southern Vietnam; the United States used it as a major base during the Vietnam War, stationing Army, Air Force and Marine units there. Following the Fall of Saigon, it was taken over as a Vietnam People's Air Force facility and remains in use today. Tan Son Nhat International Airport, has been a major Vietnamese civil airport since the 1920s. Tan Son Nhat Airport was built by the French in the 1920s when the French Colonial government of Indochina constructed a small unpaved airport, known as Tan Son Nhat Airfield, in the village of Tan Son Nhat to serve as Saigon's commercial airport. Flights to and from France, as well as within Southeast Asia were available prior to World War II. During World War II, the Imperial Japanese Army used Tan Son Nhat as a transport base; when Japan surrendered in August 1945, the French Air Force flew a contingent of 150 troops into Tan Son Nhat. After World War II, Tân Sơn Nhất served domestic as well as international flights from Saigon.
In mid-1956 construction of a 7,200-foot runway was completed and the International Cooperation Administration soon started work on a 10,000-foot concrete runway. The airfield was run by the South Vietnamese Department of Civil Aviation with the RVNAF as a tenant located on the southwest of the airfield. In 1961, the government of the Republic of Vietnam requested the U. S. Military Assistance Advisory Group to plan for expansion of the Tan Son Nhut airport. A taxiway parallel to the original runway had just been completed by the E. V. Lane company for the U. S. Operations Mission, but parking aprons and connections to the taxiways were required. Under the direction of the U. S. Navy Officer in Charge of Construction RVN, these items were constructed by the American construction company RMK-BRJ in 1962. RMK-BRJ constructed an air-control radar station in 1962, the passenger and freight terminals in 1963. In 1967, RMK-BRJ constructed the second 10,000-foot concrete runway. In late 1951, the French Air Force established the RVNAF 312th Special Mission Squadron at Tan Son Nhat Airfield equipped with Morane 500 Criquet liaison aircraft.
In 1952 a heliport was constructed at the base for use by French Air Force medical evacuation helicopters. In 1953, Tan Son Nhut started being used as a military air base for the fledgling RVNAF, in 1956 the headquarters were moved from the center of Saigon to Tan Son Nhut, but before that time and Vietnamese military aircraft were in evidence at Tan Son Nhut. On 1 July 1955, the RVNAF 1st Transport Squadron equipped with C-47 Skytrains was established at the base; the RVNAF had a special missions squadron at the base equipped with 3 C-47s, 3 C-45s and 1 L-26. The 1st Transport Squadron would be renamed the 413rd Air Transport Squadron in January 1963. In June 1956 the 2nd Transport Squadron equipped with C-47s was established at the base and the RVNAF established its headquarters there, it would be renamed the 415th Air Transport Squadron in January 1963. In November 1956, by agreement with the South Vietnamese government, the USAF assumed some training and administrative roles of the RVNAF. A full handover of training responsibility took place on 1 June 1957 when the French training contracts expired.
On 1 June 1957 the RVNAF 1st Helicopter Squadron was established at the base without equipment. It operated with the French Air Force unit serving the International Control Commission and in April 1958 with the departure of the French it inherited its 10 H-19 helicopters. In October 1959 the 2nd Liaison Squadron equipped with L-19 Bird Dogs moved to the base from Nha Trang. In mid-December 1961 the USAF began delivery of 30 T-28 Trojans to the RVNAF at Tan Son Nhut. In December 1962 the 293rd Helicopter Squadron was activated at the base, it was inactivated in August 1964. In late 1962 the RVNAF formed the 716th Composite Reconnaissance Squadron equipped with 2 C-45 photo-reconnaissance aircraft. In January 1963 the USAF opened an H-19 pilot training facility at the base and by June the first RVNAF helicopter pilots had graduated. In January 1963 the 211th Helicopter Squadron equipped with UH-34s replaced the 1st Helicopter Squadron. In December 1963 the 716th Composite Reconnaissance Squadron was activated at the base, equipped with C-47s and T-28s.
The squadron would be inactivated in June 1964 and its mission assumed by the 2nd Air Division, while its pilots formed the 520th Fighter Squadron at Bien Hoa Air Base. In January 1964 all RVNAF units at the base came under the control of the newly established 33rd Tactical Wing. By midyear, the RVNAF had grown to thirteen squadrons; the RVNAF followed the practice of the U. S. Air Force, organizing the squadrons into wings, with one wing located in each of the four corps tactical zones at Cần Thơ Air Base, Tan Son Nhut AB, Pleiku Air Base and Da Nang Air Base. In May 1965 the Douglas A-1 Skyraider equipped; as the headquarters for the RVNAF, Tan Son Nhut was a command base, with most operational units using nearby Biên Hòa Air Base. At Tan Son Nhut, the RVNAF's system of command and control was developed over the years with assistance from the USAF; the system handled the flow of aircraft from take-off to target area, return to the base it was launched from. This was known as the Tactical Air Control System, it assured positive control of all areas where significant combat operations were performed.
Without this system, it would not have been possible for the RVNAF to deploy its forces where needed. The TACS was in close p