The 21st Reconnaissance Airplane Company "Black Aces"
The 21st RAC was activated at Fort Lewis, WA for the purpose of equipping and training the unit for overseas movement to Vietnam. The 21st served in Vietnam starting in 1967 ultimately with platoons at the DaNang Air Base and at Chu Lai until 1971 when the base at Chu Lai was devasted by Typhoo Hester. The first major combat operation of the Vietnam war was over the air bases at Chu Lai and DaNang in 1965.
The history of the 21st is interesting and impressive and truly worth knowing. The unit was authorized twenty four O-1 aircraft "Bird Dogs" for performance of its assigned missions of Aerial Surveillance, Radio Relay, Artillery Adjustment and Forward Air Control.
During the course of the Vietnam War, 469 O-1 Bird Dogs were lost to all causes.
The USAF lost 178, the USMC lost seven, and 284 were lost from the U.S. Army, South
Vietnamese Forces, and clandestine operators. Three Bird Dogs were lost to enemy
surface-to-air missiles (SAMs).
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members of the military for their service whenever you can.