US Air Force Birthday

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Happy Birthday
United States Air Force!!

On September 18, 1947 the US Air Force was officially created, and today the Air Force turns 65. The Vietnam Center & Archive would like to wish the Air Force a very Happy Birthday, and to thank all the service men and women past and present for their service and sacrifice.

In honor of the Air Force's 64th birthday, please enjoy a few Air Force items from the Vietnam Archive's collections.

Oral Histories

Air Force styled cigarette lighter purchased at the Pleiku Air Force Base PX
(Jerry L. Harlowe Collection [2117museum3223])

OH0067 - John Spey

(USAF) John "Jack" Spey served with the United States Air Force in Vietnam and Laos from 1962 to 1966 and from 1971 to 1974, respectfully. During his first tour he flew defoliation missions as a part of Operation RANCH HAND. During his second tour he served as the senior USAF Advisor to the Royal Lao Air Force and Chief of Combat Operations, US Air Attaches Office in Vientiane, Laos, and included Project 404 operations.

OH0122 - Calvin Chapman

(USAF) Dr. Calvin Chapman served with the United States Air Force in Vietnam from 1965 to 1966. He served as a Flight Surgeon and Commander of the 3rd Tactical Dispensary at Bien Hoa Air Base.

OH0433 - John Yuill

(USAF) John Yuill was born in Boswell IN in 1934, and enlisted in the Air Force at the age of 19. After Basic Training at Lackland AFB TX and Advanced Training at the Navigation School, Harlingen AFB TX, John was commissioned in 1955. He served with the Ferry Command until 1958, when he undertook pilot training at Bainbridge GA and Enid OK, and advanced pilot training at Perrin AFB TX. In 1960 he joined the Strategic Air Command as a bomber pilot, flying all SAC aircraft including the B-58 and B-52. John flew from SAC bases at Altus AFB OK and Grissom AFB IN before his two Vietnam tours: 1970-71 flying C-130 aircraft from Ton Son Nhut, and 1972 flying B-52 aircraft from Guam and Utapao, Thailand. John's B-52 was shot down over North Vietnam during Linebacker II, and he was held as a POW in Hanoi until his release in March 1973. John retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, and remains active with POW and USAF veterans' organizations.

Moving Images

038VI0254 - Jungle Doctor (United States Air Force Film)

Unofficial USAF MEDCAP operations conducted out of Bien Hoa by Dr. Calvin Chapman. [Calvin Chapman Collection]


Fourteenth Air Force Patch
(Farley E. Peebles Collection [2263museum3648])
Metal Air Force Advisory Group Placard
(Bill McCarron Collection [762museum4120])


The 12th Special Operations Squadron is the first Military aerial defoliation squadron of thte U.S. Air Force. In 1966 the unit extensively sprayed War Zone D which was being used as a major base camp area by the enemy. Above photo depicts a typical spray run in the III Corps area.
(Ranch Hand Association Vietnam Collection [VA013735])
CV-2 aircraft. U.S. Air Force 537th Tactical Airlift Sqaudron at LZ Two Bits, 1st Air Cavalry Division. Location: Bong Son, Vietnam
(U.S. Army Aviation Museum Volunteer Archivists Collection [VA058690])
BASE GUARDS: Air Force guards stand night watch in sand bag bunkers at Air Bases to protect tactical fighter-bombers used in support of the Vietnam government's fight against Viet Cong Forces.
(George H. Kelling Collection [VA061417])
TACTICAL AIR POWER: On the flight line, U.S. Air Force technicians prepare a McDonald RF-101 Voodoo for a photo reconnaissance mission. Overhead, a Fairchild C-123 Provider takes off on another assault airlift sortie, providing an air bridge to an outpost in South Vietnam. High above, a Cessna O-1E Bird-Dog returns after pointing out Viet Cong targets to pilots of strike aircraft.
(George H. Kelling Collection [VA061442])
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