Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans

COMBAT STORIES FROM Vietnam

Bill Smith | 23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron - Air Force

6:40   |   Forward Air Controller Bill Smith was part of the covert air war based in Thailand covering Laos and Cambodia. When not being shot at by angry insurgents with AK-47's, he found time to teach classes in a Thai middle school. The toughest job he had was search and rescue missions.

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Videos ( 3 )
Vietnam
  • Bill Smith  |  Vietnam  |  23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron  |  5:11

    Bill Smith always wanted to fly. In fact, when he reported to Air Force pilot training, he already had a private pilot's license. As a Forward Air Controller flying out of Thailand, he patrolled the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos, looking for traffic to disrupt. He flew the OV-10, a turboprop which was one of his favorite aircraft.

  • Bill Smith  |  Vietnam  |  23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron  |  6:04

    It was a cat and mouse game on the Ho Chi Minh trail. The insurgents on the trail were very good at camouflage but the American pilots had high tech imaging to find them. Bill Smith describes the hunt and recalls the blatant queues of vehicles over the border in North Vietnam where the Air Force was not allowed to attack.

  • Bill Smith  |  Vietnam  |  23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron  |  3:15

    Bill Smith reveals the last danger for men from his unit when their Vietnam War tour was finished, getting run over in traffic in Bangkok. A little bitter at the non-pursuit of victory by the policymakers, he nonetheless had a rewarding finish to his career flying scientific research missions.

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