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Histories for 314th OMS @ CCK 1966 - 1973

As the Vietnam War began to intensify, the 315th Air Division was reinforced, first with Tactical Air Command rotational squadrons, and then by the permanent transfer of several TAC squadrons to PACAF and 315th AD control. The 314th Troop Carrier Wing was based at Sewart AFB, Tennessee, where it had been since returning from Japan at the close of the Korean War. In late 1965 the 314th returned to the Far East. Beginning in the fall of 1964, the 314th began sending airplanes and crews to the Pacific. At the time the wing was still flying C-130Bs, but in early 1965 it began the transition to the E-model, to become the third TAC troop carrier wing equipped with the long-range version of the capable C-130. A squadron of Sewart planes rotated to Naha, Okinawa, along with another from Dyess AFB, Texas. A third E-model squadron from Pope AFB, NC flew out of Kadena AB, Okinawa while a fourth operated out of Mactan, a tiny island in the southern Philippines. In late 1965 the Pentagon ordered the transfer of eight TAC C-130 squadrons to PACAF. Three E-model squadrons were included in the transfer, with the 50th coming from the 314th at Sewart, the 345th coming from the 516th TCW at Dyess and the 776th from the 464th TCW at Pope. As a command organization for the three squadrons, the 314th wing headquarters transferred from TAC to PACAF. At first, PACAF had a hard time deciding where to base the 314th wing and its three squadrons. For several weeks the wing was at Tachikawa AB, Japan, along with the 776th TCS which had moved there from Kadena to make room for more SAC tankers. The 50th was at Clark and the 345th was at Naha. But in early 1966 the wing and the three squadrons found a home at Ching Chuan Kang Air Base, at Taichung, Taiwan. In the summer of 1965 the first C-130s began operating in South Vietnam and a detachment was set up at Tan Son Nhut. By the end of the year there were three C-130E operating locations in South Vietnam, one each at Vung Tau, Nha Trang and Cam Rhan Bay. Eventually, the Vung Tau and Nha Trang operations would move to Cam Rhan. On December 29, 1965 a 345th airplane was the first C-130 to be shot down over South Vietnam. Because the C-130E offered greater payloads on longer missions, the 314th operated a number of overwater missions throughout the Western Pacific. One mission came to Vietnam each morning from Japan with a load of Stars and Stripes newspapers for the troops in the field. Other missions brought in supplies for the Marines and paratroopers whose main bases were still on Okinawa. But as the war intensified and the American role grew larger, the 314th became more and more involved with in-country airlift operations. Beginning with the attack on Dak To in November, 1967 when two 314th airplanes were destroyed by rockets and another damaged, the C-130s entered a period when every Viet Cong with a gun in South Vietnam had them as their target. Things got very hot for airlifters and the 314th drew as much as anyone else. Crews from the 314th flew missions into Khe Sanh and over A Luoi, and a 314th pilot, L/Col. William Boyd, got the Air Force Cross at Kham Duc. In 1970 the Air Force began retiring the older A and B-models to the reserves. The 314th designation went back to the States and the CCK wing assumed the 374th designation, as well as the E-Flight mission and the Commando Vault C-130 bombing mission from the 463rd at Clark. In the spring of 1972 the CCK-based 374th was the only C-130 unit still involved in the Vietnam War, and the unit suddenly found itself in the most trying times of the war for airlifters. The North Vietnamese surrounded the town of An Loc, and aerial resupply became the only means of preventing the town's fall. The heaviest antiaircraft guns ever seen in South Vietnam ringed An Loc, and several C-130s were hit by ground fire and three were shot down during the first attempts. Finally, new airdrop techniques allowed the crews to drop from high altitudes. After the American withdrawal from South Vietnam, CCK closed and the 374th moved to Clark. The wing was there when the war ended.

Posted by Richard Pearsall
Apr 18 2001 12:24:14:000AM

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