Monday, December 12, 2016
VNAF 1st Helcopter Squadron - KQVNCH
A rare photo of a Vietnamese Air Force H-19 Helicopter during an operation in the early years.
The helicopter is undoubtedly one of the most iconic images of the conflicts in Southeast Asia. The Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) was heavily involved with the helicopter war, and at its height included over twenty helicopter squadrons. The birth of the VNAF's helicopter squadrons coincided with the founding of the Republic of Vietnam. The 1st Helicopter Squadron of the Vietnamese Air Force was established at Tân Sơn Nhứt in April of 1956.
An H-19 Helicopter of the Vietnamese Air Force.
The squadron initially did not have any aircraft. Helicopters had been used in Vietnam during the State of Vietnam period, but by 1956, those that were left were in need of repair and were fastly becoming outdated as innovations in helicopter designs boomed worldwide. The first new helicopter received by the 1st Helicopter Squadron was the updated Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw. These helicopters would be the main operational helicopters of the squadron in its very early years. The men of the 1st Helicopter Squadron were the pioneers for the later helicopter airmen and squadrons of the VNAF. In 1963, the squadron was redesignated the 211th Squadron, and would continue to serve the republic through 1975.