US planes hit in south, destroy 530 buildings

Planes and helicopters land and take off during Operation Masher at Bong Son, Vietnam. Here, they refuel and change pilots on Jan. 29, 1966.


By GARY COOPER | Stars and Stripes | Published: January 29, 1966

SAIGON—Air Force, Navy and Marine planes blasted Viet Cong positions in the republic Wednesday - flying 450 combat missions.

Pilots unloaded their ordnance in all four areas. Fighter pilots and their forward air controllers claimed 530 buildings destroyed and more than 400 others damaged. Breaking down the action by corps, strikes looked like this: In the I Corps, 197 sorties were flown, mostly by Marines in support of ground operations in the vicinity.

Two Marine A-4's accounted for 11 buildings wiped out and nine others damaged in one mission 30 miles west of Tarn Ky. The bulk of the strikes in the II Corps were flown in support of Operation Van Buren, the U.S.- Republic of Korea action southwest of Tuy Hoa. Aircraft there accounted for an estimated seven VC killed and five buildings leveled.

Operation Masher, the 1st Air Cavalry operation in the Bong Son area, was supported by 10 A-1E Sky raider strikes. The aircraft flew cover and pre-strike sorties and reported destroying 30 buildings and killing eight Viet Cong.

Enemy positions in the IV Corps were hit by 116 missions; 63 Air Force and 53 Navy. More than 260 buildings were destroyed and an additional 350 damaged.

Nine enemy were believed killed when pilots hit a VC camp about 80 miles southwest of Saigon. Three large secondary explosions, believed to be caused from a fuel storage area, were seen in another strike southwest of Can Tho.

Pilots reported that the explosion sent black smoke billowing into the air hundreds of feet. Seventy-four strikes in the III Corps claimed nearly 50 buildings destroyed. Navy and Air Force pilots reported sinking seven sampans, causing five secondary explosions and killing an estimated 16 VC.

Scout H-13 helicopters land and take off during Operation Masher at Bong Son, Vietnam. Here they refuel, change pilots and get briefed on Jan. 29, 1966.

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