by John T. Correll
Air Force Magazine
September 2004

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.

The almanac has all major facts about the air war in Vietnam.  Here’s a list of some of the facts in the almanac:

  • maps
  • personnel strengths over the years
  • organizational charts
  • USAF commanders
  • order of battle (355 F-4 in SEA 1972 the most ever by 67 aircraft)
  • attack aircraft by type
  • attack sorties by military branch by year
  • map of the route packs
  • break down of USAF sorties
  • air ops in Laos
  • MiG engagements
  • battle damage assessments
  • ordinance dropped
  • enemy order of battle
  • casualties & losses (personnel & aircraft)
  • sortie loss rates vs. WWII & Korea
  • aces
  • Medal of Honor winners
  • chronology