Republic Aviation Ad about the F-105 Thunderchief.

HGU-2A/P  469th TFS THAILAND 1965

This helmet belonged to Capt Willard F. “Bud” Millner of the 469th TFS in december 1965.

This Republic F-105D Thunderchief squadron was one of the first units to be deployed to Thailand as early as 1964 under the provisional 6234th TFW, and to be later transferred to the 388th TFW at Korat RTAFB in november 1965, thus becoming the first squadrond to be assigned PCS (Permanent Change of Station) in Thailand.

During the initial phase of SEA deployment 469th TFS flew mostly escort or top cover missions for recon aircrafts  and strikes against supply routes in Laos and North Vietnam. By early 1966 the type of missions changed gradually and the squadron was more and more tasked with strikes directed to destroy industrial and transportation targets deep in North Vietnam.

During the first nine months with the 388th TFW, the squadron lost 15 F-105Ds.

 

 

 

The 469th TFS patch depicts a black bull facing left. When the squadron exchanged the single seat F-105D for the Mc Donnell F-4E Phantom at the end of 1968, the bull position was changed in order to see both eyes, a way to mark the transition from single-seater to double-seater fighter.  

 469th TFS F-105 Ds taking off from Korat RTAFB in 1965.

 A F-105D of 469th TFS in late 1966. By this time all squadron F-105s were camo painted.

The 469th TFS rooster at Korat in december 1965. Capt Millner is standing at left. Note the newly camouflaged F-105D in background and the early survival vests worn by the crews (see detail pictures in the gallery below).

.....plastic baby bottles to be used for carrying drinking  water in case of a shoot down. One of the things we learned from those who were shot down and rescued was that one became  very thirsty following a shoot down and the desire for water was overhelming. The shock of being shot down, in addition to all the seating one did during the entire mission was enormous.......

FROM "MAGIC 100" by Al Lenski, Brigadier General USAF (Ret.) - Turner Publishing Co, 1997

During the early Laos and Vietnam missions, F-105 pilots could rely mostly on their ejection seat survival kit for survival material. But in many cases the seat kit bacame separated or lost during  action, leaving the pilot with only the survival vest limited contains. The drinking water problem was partially solved at unit level by purchasing commercial plastic baby bottles in the U.S. At the time plastic baby bottles were still a novelty and one of the main manufacturers of these was the brand EVENFLO. These bottles were carried in additional sewed-on pockets on the G-suit legs.

"None of us was superstitious, you understand, but it doesn't make sense to tempt fate.

We wore Buddah pins, curious Thai butterfly buttons, shark's teeth, and any other thing that might help. I had a gold coin that I was sure was the reason for my exemption from being hit."

FROM  "PAK SIX - A TRUE STORY"  from Gene I. Basel, Morris Publishing, 2002