Stories from Vietnam

Air & Space Forces Magazine Coverage Through the Years

From the 1960s during the Vietnam War to the present time, Air & Space Forces Magazine’s coverage of the war has ranged from contemporaneous accounts to histories. We’ve curated a collection of some of the best of those historic pieces from the decades past to now.

From the Archive

In remembrance of those who served in Vietnam between 1955 and 1973, we’re looking back at some of coverage during the war published in Air & Space Forces Magazine (then called the Air Force and Space Digest), plus some records of the war in the years that followed.

The Air War in Vietnam

May 1963

In an age of intercontinental missiles and space shots, the air war in Vietnam is a throwback to a strange and ancient era. There is no enemy air resist­ance. But at the low levels at which Vietnamese and US aircrews operate, even small arms fire can be deadly, and sabotage by Viet Cong infiltrators is an ever-present danger.

Seeking out the elusive enemy, pinpointing targets hidden under dense jungle canopy, flying fighter escort for helicopters, or clearing the way for airborne as­saults calls for aircraft with a variety of weapons and the ability to fly fast or slow. Here the World War II B-26 Invader, the A-1H Skyraider (formerly AD-6), and the T-28B trainer have proved well adapted to the job. The versatile C-123 (see front cover) drops paratroops, hauls food and weapons to remote forti­fied outposts, and evacuates the sick and wounded. Full Story →

The Forgotten Americans of the Vietnam War

October 1969 | By Louis R. Stockstill

Once a month, from her living room high up in an Arlington, Va., apartment building, removed from most brutalities of life except her own thoughts, Gloria Netherland walks a long hallway to the mail chute and deposits a letter.

She watches it drop from sight on the first leg of a journey into an unknown void halfway around the world. The letter begins “Dear Dutch.” But whether Dutch will read it, or someone else will read it, or whether it will go unopened is impossible to say. Gloria and Dutch have been married eighteen years, but she doesn’t know—hasn’t known for a long time now—if he is alive or dead. And if alive, she doesn’t know where he is or how he is. Full Story →

Valor: USAF’s Most Decorated PJ

March 1989 | By John L. Frisbee

In June 1965, Duane Hackney graduated from high school at Flint, Mich., president of the student council and the recipient of an athletic scholarship offer. Clearly, great things lay ahead, but no one could have foreseen that he would become one of the most honored heroes of the Vietnam War, the recipient of 28 decorations for valor in combat (more than 70 awards and decorations in all), and winner of the Cheney Award for 1967. (The Cheney award is given annually to a member of USAF for an act of valor, extreme fortitude, or self-sacrifice in a humanitarian interest performed in conjunction with aircraft.”) Full Story →

The Vietnam War Scrapbook

October 1996 | Compiled by AFA Members

These snapshots from the albums of AFA members recall faces and places from the long conflict in Southeast Asia. Full Story →

The Vietnam War Almanac

September 2004 | By John T. Correll

To those who fought there, it seems like yesterday, but it was 40 years ago this August that the US Air Force deployed in fighting strength to Southeast Asia. The Air Force and the Navy flew their initial combat missions in late 1964 and early 1965.

The Vietnam War began in earnest in March 1965 with Operation Rolling Thunder, which sent US aircraft on strikes against targets in North Vietnam. Soon, our ground forces were engaged as well. Eight years would pass before US forces withdrew from the war, which had by then claimed 47,378 American lives.

It was a war we didn’t win but one in which the US armed forces performed with honor, courage, dedication, and capability. On the 40th anniversary of its beginning, this almanac collects the numbers, the dates, and the key facts of the US Air Force experience in that war. Full Story →