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Военная историяVNAF: South Vietnamese Air Force 1945-1975

VNAF: South Vietnamese Air Force 1945-1975
VNAF: South Vietnamese Air Force 1945-1975 (Vietnam Studies Group 6046)
By Jim Mesko, Don Greer

Publisher: Squadron/Signal Publications 1987 64 Pages
ISBN: 0897471938

The Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) existed for only twenty-four years, from the summer of 1951, when the French began training Vietnamese aircrews, until the spring of 1975 — when Saigon fell. When the end came most, if not all, official records were either des­troyed or captured by the communists and it is unlikely that the com­plete story of the Vietnamese Air Force will ever be told, to the regret of anyone interested in the history of the war in Southeast Asia.
In VNAF 1945-1975 I have tried to trace the history of the Viet­namese Air Force from its inception under the French, through the final days of the South Vietnamese collapse. The account that follows is based on official U.S. government publications, interviews with Vietnamese pilots, interviews with American pilots who were closely associated with the VNAF, and personal observations and notes made while I was assigned to an American-Vietnamese advisory team based near Tan Son Nhut during 1971 and 1972.
The photographs have come from both official and private sour­ces and were chosen to present as complete a coverage as possible of the great variety of aircraft used by the VNAF. Unfortunately there are gaps in this coverage, noteably in both the early period under the French, and during the final days when Vietnam finally succumbed to the communists. While there were supposedly a large number of official U.S. photos taken during the final days just before the com­munist takeover — and afterwards, when some of the former Viet­namese aircraft were returned to the United States, I have been able to locate few photographs dealing with these time frames, even with the help of Defense Department researchers. Perhaps some day these photos will surface and add additional information to the his­tory of the Vietnamese Air Force, but until such time as this occurs the last few months of the VNAF will remain obscure.
On a number of occasions during preparation of this book I was forced to pass judgment on conflicting pieces of information. When such situations arose I consulted a number of knowledgeable people before making a final determination of either the accuracy or authen­ticity of the information. And, while these people proved extremely helpful, the final decision was mine and I must take full respon­sibility for any errors which may have occurred. I encourage anyone who has additional information or photographs on the VNAF to contact me, so that eventually the fullest and most complete record of the South Vietnamese Air Force can be told.

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