|During the Vietnam war the
505th Tactical Control Group was the organization primarily responsible
for controlling the tactical air resources of the US and it's allies
in South Vietnam, Thailand, and to some extent Cambodia and Laos.
Carrying out the mission of providing tactical air support required
two major components, radar installations and forward air controllers
(FAC's). The radar sites provided flight separation for attack
and transport aircraft which took the form of flight following and,
in some cases control by USAF Weapons Directors. Forward
Air Controllers had the critical job of telling tactical fighters
where to drop their ordinance. FAC's were generally attached
to either US Army or ARVN (Army of Vietnam) units and served both
on the ground and in the air.
As many as
11 different radar sites were set up in Vietnam and 6 in Thailand.
Locations of the radar sites in Vietnam ranged from
Swissboy (Phu Quoc Island) and
Playboy (Ca Mau in the Mekong Delta)
in the south to Waterboy (Dong
Ha) and Pamper (Quang Tri) near the DMZ. Some sites were short
lived, (Playboy, Penthouse, and Swissboy were all shut down by 1968)
while others such as Paris, Panama, and Lion remained in service
virtually from the beginning to the end of the conflict. The
primary radar equipment was generally state of the art, but, especially
in the early years included some of the oldest radar in the USAF
inventory (the primary search radar at Pyramid was a TPS-1D, built
To understand where the radars
sites were located and as an aid to navigating this site, go to
the SEA Map. From
the map, you can click on the radar icon for a site which will take
you to the page for that location. To date, I have been unable
to pinpoint where the FAC detachments were located. Army units
moved, Special Forces camps closed and where the Army went, the
FAC's went. Probably the truest and safest thing to say is
that the FAC's probably flew over every square mile of land in Vietnam
during the 7 years of the war.
for the 505th was located at Tan Son Nhut AB in Saigon.
At various times the 505th TCG was comprised of
three radar squadrons, several Tactical Air Support Squadrons
(TASS)*, and a Maintenance Squadron. These units were:
Tactical Control Squadron with responsibility from the Delta
to Ban Me Thuot in the Central Highlands,
Tactical Control Squadron with responsibility from Pleiku to
the DMZ this varied; (at one time Peacock at Pleiku was part
of the 619th).
621st Tactical Control Squadron which supported tactical
air operations in Thailand).
TASS which operated mainly from the Central Highlands south,
TASS based in Danang
TASS headquarted in Pleiku
TASS based in Binh Thuy
TASS in Thailand.
The TASS units flew either the O-1G Birddog, O-2
Skymaster, or OV-10 Bronco.
support was provided by the
505th Tactical Control Maintenance Squadron first based in Saigon
and later in Bien Hoa. Many of the radio operators for FAC's
in the TASS squadrons were assigned to this unit under the name
* A Note regarding the Tac Air Support Squadrons. At the time this
site was originally built, I was under the impression that all the
TASS's were part of the 505th TCG. I have since learned that
such was not the case. However, because of the close ties
and the fact that I've already got information here, unless someone
screams loud and long, I'm going to leave the TASS squadrons in.
Lineage and Honors
For information on the official U.S. Air Force History
of the 505th Tac Control Group (now the 505th Air Control Group),
click on the AF Outstanding Unit Citation icon below.
Pictures are organized into albums for each unit and/or locations.
So, for example, to see pictures of Ban Me Thuot, go to the 619th
TCS page, select Pyramid, and there will be a link on that page
that will take you to the photo album for that site. If you
don't find a link on a page for pictures, it probably means that
we haven't received any. If you've got pictures to submit,
please be sure to read the guidelines for
submittal before you send them in. We have gotten in excess
of 500 pictures so far, and it's really important to submit using
the guidelines so that I can do a better job of getting them posted.
How come a 505th TCG website?
I was stationed at Ban Me Thuot in the Central Highlands
of Vietnam from August 1965 to August 1966 as a Flight Follow Tech.
Since that time, I've not only lost contact with everyone I was
stationed with there, but I've also wondered about how Pyramid managed
throughout the Tet Offensive and what happened to the Vietnamese
we worked with when the whole thing fell apart in 1972. I expect
that many of the other folks who were stationed at various 619th
detachments have also lost track of their buddies and wondered about
the places they knew. After seeing the success of the
Airborne Early Warning Association's
web site, I was encouraged to start this site. My hope is that this
site will do at least two things:
- provide a means for the people who worked in the tactical
air control business during those years to get back in touch,
- to become a focal point for documenting some of the history
of tactical air control throughout the Vietnam years.
Of course, what will make this thing "fly" will
be your contributions. So keep those "cards and letters",
AKA "no shit stories" and pictures, coming in. Also please
Logbook. It's a great way to let people know where you
are and how to get in touch. In addition, I maintain a mailing
list of people interested in the goings on with this site.
If you want to be kept posted on changes, updates, etc. send me
an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
letting me know that you want to be on the list.
1965 - 1966
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since Dec. 26, 1997.