BZs Nellis 2010 - Vietnam Era CSAR

Photo Gallery

The Vintage Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) demo was something I had never seen before. It consisted of a F-4 Phantom, A-1 Skyraider, UH-1 Huey, and O-2 Skymaster coordinating a simulated rescue of a downed flyer during the Vietnam War.
- Bernard Zee

It's a great thrill to see the F-4 Phantom flying. Though still in active service elsewhere, the U.S. military only uses them as target drones nowadays. The Air Force has recently cleaned up a few QF-4 phantoms, and begun flying them at select air shows. Many people are very nostalgic about the Phantom, and the plane remains a crowd favorite wherever it flies!

The A-1 Skyraider was a staple of close air support in Vietnam. Nicknamed 'Sandy', the A-1 was famous for its toughness, loiter time, and ability to put ordnance on target when called.

The O-2 Skymaster was used as a Forward Air Control (FAC) aircraft during Vietnam. It was also called "Oscar Deuce" or "The Duck".

The classic lines of the F-4 can be seen here as it banks during a pass.

As impressive looking (and sounding) now as it was when it was first introduced, it's hard to believe that the Phantom is an obsolete fighter design by today's standards.

The pair of A-1 Skyraiders fly in formation overhead to assess the scene.

The old warrior was a force to be reckoned with during its time though. It was so successful a design that it was flown by the Air Force, Navy, and Marines. For a while there, the Phantom was also flown by both the Navy Blue Angels, and Air Force Thunderbirds as their demonstration aircraft. Now, that would have been all kinds of awesome to see!

For the demo, the Phantom makes several passes to clear the skies of enemy Migs.

The Sandys come in guns a blazing to keep enemy troops away from the downed airman.

The A-1 is the biggest single piston engined plane ever built. It was like a bomb truck, and the pre-cursor to the A-10.

Another icon of the Vietnam war is the Bell UH-1 Iroquois, nicknamed Huey.

Vietnam was the first time that helicopters were utlized so heavily for transport, attack, and medivac. The concept of air mobility relied on helicopters (mostly UH-1s) to move troops into and out of battle.

In this CSAR demonstration, the Huey has landed and retrieved the wayward pilot. It's now back up in the air on the way home.

Here's the Skymaster making a close pass overhead.

Veteran to both the Korean and Vietnam conflict, A-1 Skyraiders were as loved by friendly troops as they were feared by the enemy. It is one intimidating warbird!

Though mainly used for troop transport, Hueys were often fitted with rockets and machine guns. This provided the Air Calvary much needed firepower during insertions and extractions. So ubiquitious and successful was the Huey helicopter that it would go on to become the icon of the Vietnam war.

BZ Nellis 2010 Gallery Index