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APH-6  VMFA-531 VN 1966


This APH-6 belonged to CWO C.C. Taylor, a Radar Intercept Officer (RIO) of VMFA-531 “Grey Ghosts” based at Da Nang RVN in 1965 and led by USMC Lt. Col. McGraw. The squadron operated within MARINE AIR GROUP 11.

VMFA-531 was the first USMC F-4B squadron to deploy to Vietnam. After an 8 months West Pac activity, in April 1965 the Grey Ghosts were ordered to fly from Atsugi AB in Japan directly to Da Nang RVN with the primary mission to protect the 1st Corps Tactical Zone area from possible North Vietnamese air force incursions.  Tail code was EC.

Due to the rapid escalation of the ground war in 1st Tactical Corps, VMFA-531 was asked to provide daily close air support to USMC infantry units, a task that the squadron would successfully provide until June 1965, when the Ghosts left Vietnam and were recalled to their home base in Cherry Point NC via Atsugi. In total, the squadron flew 970 combat sorties during their stay at Da Nang.

Another F-4B unit, VMFA-513 (see VMFA-513 APH-5), replaced  VMFA-531 in June 1965.


VMFA-531 Alert Crew at Da Nang in 1965. Note the mixture of tan OG5390 and custom-made Tiger Stripes flight suits, and Mk3C and Mk.IV Life preservers as well. Note also how basic were the early facilities at Da Nang AB in 1965.

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