The 83rd Special Operations Group of the VNAF (sometimes referred to as the 83rd Special Air Group) was formed in the mid-1960s to act as an elite air combat unit. The unit most famously flew Douglas A-1 Skyraiders. The pilots of the 83rd were highly skilled, and came to have a reputation as an effective fighting force. The unit was closely linked with Nguyễn Cao Kỳ with many pilots being personally selected for the unit by him.
Pilots of the 83rd were well known for wearing black flight suits. Former member Hoi Ba Tran, states the change to black flight suits was done in 1965 at the bequest of the unit's new commander Lưu Kim Cương. Black flight suits were also worn by individual VNAF personnel in other units throughout the war, and period photographs also show some members of the 83rd in standard olive-drab suits after the 1965 change.