The Air National Guard (Jul 1968)
The seizure of the USS Pueblo by North Korean naval vessels on 23 January 1968 resulted in the immediate activation of 11 Air National Guard groups. The Pueblo crisis was resolved without resort to force but in the meantime the Tet Offensive had erupted in South Vietnam. It was decided to send four squadrons of F-100s to bolster the Super Sabre wings in South Vietnam. The first to deploy was the Colorado Air National Guard’s 120th TFS from Denver, which arrived at Phan Rang on 3 May. Next to deploy were the 136th TFS from Niagara Falls, New York; the 174th TFS from Sioux City, Iowa; and the 188th TFS from Albuquerque, New Mexico. The 120th was attached to the 35th TFW at Phan Rang while the 174th was attached to the 37th TFW at Phu Cat and the 136th and 188th to the 31st TFW at Tuy Hoa. In addition ANG personnel predominantly manned the 355th TFS, a regular USAF squadron, soon after it deployed to the 37th TFW at Phu Cat in February. The four Guard squadrons stayed in Southeast Asia for one year before returning to the USA, leaving behind an enviable record and reputation. The average flying time of the ANG F-100 pilots was over 1,000 hours in the aircraft compared to about 150 for regular squadron pilots. The 120th had no less than 21 airline pilots, all of whom had previously flown the F-100 or other types in their regular Air Force service. This higher level of experience resulted in an impressive degree of proficiency in flying and weapons delivery. The Guard squadrons brought their own highly experienced maintenance crews as the F-100C was different in many respects from the F-100D used by the regular Air Force squadrons in South Vietnam.