More About FACs
A Shau Valley
A Shau SF Camp
Hué Cit Airfield
Battle of Hué (Tet 1968)
Close Air Support
Rules of Engagement
Battle at Hua Cu
Trail Dust Mission
Hammer 51 Rescue
Search for Jolly 23
Search Area Map
Link to Past
That Others May Live
Motto of the USAF Aerospace Rescue & Recovery Service
Probably the most satisfying mission to a FAC -- or any flyer -- was
to assist in the rescue of a brother airman.
The Air Force had a dedicated search and rescue (SAR) force in
Southeast Asia consisting initially of short-ranged
HH-43 Huskie helicopters (call sign Pedro).
These later were replaced by specially equipped
HH-3 Jolly Green Giant and
HH-53 Super Jolly Green Giant helicopters. Rescue
helicopters were escorted by specially-trained pilots flying
A-1 Skyraiders (call sign Sandy). The A-1 was chosen for
this mission because of its ruggedness, long endurance,
heavy payload (equivalent to a World War II B-17) and ability to stay
with the slower helicopters. As the threat increased later in the war, this escort role was taken over by
A-7D Corsair II jets.
When an aircraft was shot down during a close air support mission in South Vietnam, a FAC was usually on scene within a short time. He relieved
the orbiting wingmen of the downed crew when they ran low on fuel and had to return to base or look for a tanker. The FAC would
maintain visual and radio contact with the survivor(s) and act as a relay to the mobilizing SAR effort. Depending on the location,
alert SAR forces could be overhead in as little as 30 minutes.
Time was critical in affecting a successful rescue to deny the enemy a chance to organize their resistance.
When the Jolly Green helicopters and escorting Sandys arrived on scene, the FAC briefed the SAR on-scene commander (Sandy 01) on the
situation and then got out of the way. The Sandy pilots were FACs in their own right, well versed in the coordination of air
assets in supporting the rescue effort.
Combat SAR Missions
Click on either photo below to link to a narrative and photographs
of a combat rescue mission in the A Shau Valley of South Vietnam.
Link to overview of Combat Rescue in
Link to Pararescuemen (PJs or Pararescue
More on PJs
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