T-28 Trojan Foundation


The Kingdom of Laos received its first 6 T-28s in August 1963. At the same time, the US Government provided a USAF Mobile Training Team (MMT) for initial instruction and maintenance at Vientiane’s Wattay Airport.  The US allowed the T-28s to be used to attempt intercept and down any North Vietnamese illegal supply flights, but did not allow the T-28s to drop bombs for cratering routes, because that would have been a violation of the Geneva Agreements. As there were not enough pilots, on 13 March 64, 38 USAF officers and soldiers of Detachment 6, 1st Air Commando Wing – code-named Water Pump – departed Hurlburt, arriving at Saigon a couple of days later.  Half of them assembled 4 crated T-28s, the others flew to Udorn, where the detachment established a T-28 maintenance facility using Air America equipment, and immediately began a T-28 ground-and-flight school for Thai and Lao pilots.  By mid-May 64 additional T-28s arrived from South Vietnam, former MACV aircraft which had been phased out.  Now, more than a dozen graduates flew daily bombing and reconnaissance missions over Laos.
 
American flyers – mostly Air America pilots – were called the “A Team”, the Thai flyers were the “B Team”, and the Lao were the “C Team”.  Since June 64, B-Team and since August 64, A-Team T-28s were sent to fly cover to rescue downed American airmen. This was the main activity of A-Team pilots, while B-Team and C-Team pilots primarily flew attack missions against trucks and other slow vehicles on the ground as well as strategic targets like enemy gun positions or bridges. Most of these T-28s flew in RLAF colors, some of them flew without any insignia, and in spite of the colors all of them belonged to the USAF’s 56th Air Commando Wing, Udorn, Thailand and its predecessors. When enough Laotian and Thai pilots were available in the late 60ies, Air America pilots did no longer fly the T-28, but from the very beginning, Air America’s Udorn base was the place where all those T-28s were maintained. New groups to fly in T-28s in Laos since the late 60ies were the Hmong (as part of the RLAF pilots) and the Ravens. 
 
An inventory of all T-28s known to have been flown by Air America pilots in Laos can be found at:
http://www.utdallas.edu/library/specialcollections/hac/cataam/Leeker/aircraft/t28.pdf
 
An inventory of all RLAF and Raven T-28s known to have been used in Laos can be found at:
http://www.utdallas.edu/library/specialcollections/hac/cataam/Leeker/aircraft/RLAF_T28s.pdf
 
Details about the T-28 missions flown by Air America pilots can be found in my file Air America in Laos I
http://www.utdallas.edu/library/specialcollections/hac/cataam/Leeker/history/Laos1Part1.pdf
 
Details about RLAF combat missions flown with T-28s in Laos can be found in my file Air America in Laos III 
http://www.utdallas.edu/library/specialcollections/hac/cataam/Leeker/history/Laos3.pdf
 
Cambodia also received some T-28s in 1963, but when Prince Sihanouk expelled the US MAAG advisory mission in early 1964, all technical support for US delivered aircraft ceased. This political situation remained more or less the same, until Prince Sihanouk lost his power in March 1970 and the pro-Western General Lon Nol seized power in Cambodia. Lon Nol immediately ordered all North Vietnamese troops to leave Cambodia within 72 hours. When
they failed to comply, he allowed US and South Vietnamese forces to attack the Ho Chi Minh Trail and North Vietnamese sanctuaries in Cambodia. On 9 October 1970, Cambodia changed its name to become the Khmer Republic. On 21/2 January 1971, a Communist sapper attack on Phnom Penh’s airport destroyed some 30 aircraft, including nine tenth of Cambodia’s air force. But on 31 January 1971, the United States activated MEDTC (Military Equipment Delivery Team –Cambodia), and it was thru this organization that the Khmer Air Force received a lot of T-28s between 1971 and 1975. 

 
For US support to the Khmer Air Force see my file Air America in Cambodia – LMAT and the Khmer Air Force
http://www.utdallas.edu/library/specialcollections/hac/cataam/Leeker/history/Cambodia.pdf
 
A detailed inventory of all known T-28s operated by the Khmer Air Force can be found at
http://www.utdallas.edu/library/specialcollections/hac/cataam/Leeker/aircraft/kt28.pdf
 
 (1) For details see Vietnam War Resources at http://www.cc.gatech.edu/fac/Thomas.Pilsch/Vietnam.html.

Photos of T-28s in VNAF colors can be found at http://www.vnafmamn.com/vnaf_aircraft.html 
 




(Article reprinted with the permission of Professor Joe Leeker with the cooperation of Paul Oelkrug, CA, Coordinator for Special Collections, 
The University of Texas at Dallas, McDermott Library, The History of Aviation Collection)
 
This material is copyrighted and can not be reproduced in any manner without the express written permission of the University of Texas at Dallas
 
It is a great honor to present Dr. Joe Leeker's articles on the T-28 history during the Vietnam War.    I extend a warm "Thank You" to Dr. Leeker and
Paul Oelkrug of the University of Texas for their kind cooperation.
Helen Murphy © 2009-2017   All Rights Reserved

VIETNAM

Photo provided by Raven William E. Platt Collection

Even before the beginning of the Vietnam Conflict, North American T-28s were flown in South East Asia. In October 1961, US President Kennedy authorized the deployment of a detachment of Air Commandos to South Vietnam. The 4400th CCTS (Combat Crew Training Squadron) code named "Jungle Jim" headed from their home at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida to Southeast Asia. Their mission was to train the Vietnamese Air Force using older aircraft in support of the type of conflict they were facing, i.e. for counter guerilla warfare. Crews were trained to fly the T-28, the C-47 transport and the B-26 bomber.  The squadron
specialized in tactics used to support friendly ground forces in small, brush fire conflicts.The code name for the unit and its mission was Farm Gate. After the escalation of the war as a result of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the Farm Gate detachment was no longer required to fly under South Vietnamese colors. Their aircraft began carrying full US markings and the detachment became known as the 1st Air Commando Squadron. (1)

T-28's in Laos and Cambodia

Dr. Joe Leeker