Air Enthusiast 1999-11
K.Conboy, J.Morrison - Plausible Deniability
CAL C-46 ‘EM-2’ on contract with SOG photographed at Saigon two months before it crashed in June 1972.
Jet-boosted C-123K Providers were much sought after for SOG-style operations.
ROC personnel pose next to an unmarked C-123B at Long Thanh, March 1964. Left to right: Y L Shu (parachute delivery officer), J P Ou (radio operator), Air America Captain John Lee, Captain H H Chang (first officer), Major T C Ling (ECM operator), Y CKy (navigator), and S Liu (flight engineer).
CAF Lt General Kung with Air America Captain R W Hitchman (right) at the 34th Squadron headquarters, April 1971. Note the mural of C-123 5661 on the wall.
South Vietnamese Air Force Douglas A-1G Skyraider preparing to depart on a mission over North Vietnam with an SOG resupply canister destined for an agent team. Such high-speed resupply methods were developed because of the vulnerability of the C-123 to North Vietnam’s formidable air defence system.
CH-3 from the pony express Detachment of the 20th Helicopter Squadron at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base, 1968. With the arrival of this detachment, the majority of agent teams were inserted into North Vietnam via rotary wing rather than SOG’s more traditional fixed-wing options.
One of Veha Akhat’s two Dragon Rapides sits damaged at a runway north of the Lao capital, early 1961. Veha Akhat provided cover for the CIA’s northern star contract.
Air America Captain R W Hitchman with the first group of helicopter students from the 34th Squadron, spring 1971. In the background is one of the ‘Hueys’ used for their conversion training. Members of the squadron went on to become qualified in the Sikorsky S-58T and Hughes OH-6 Cayuse for CIA covert operations in Laos.
One of the four Fulton-equipped C-130Es that arrived for duty with SOG in 1966. With the arrival of the C-130, CAF C-123 crews saw substantially less use on covert operations.
A Fulton-equipped HC-130P at Tuy Hoa, May 1969.