The History of the Airborne Forward Air Controller in Vietnam
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
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The U.S. Department of Defense predicts that ground forces of the future will wage tomorrows wars by replacing large numbers of personnel and organic firepower with advanced technology and superior maneuverability. Those forces must be prepared to face an unconventional enemy who will operate in small, lethal units interspersed with the civilian population rather than facing coalition forces with massed formations. This scenario of blurred lines of battle and difficulty determining friend from foe resembles very closely what the U.S. military faced in Vietnam. This paper will address the successes and failures of United States airborne forward air controllers FACs, particularly in Vietnam, and whether combat lessons learned were passed from service to service or historically from conflict to conflict. The FAC mission has not significantly changed since the end of the Vietnam War, and a thorough study of operational and tactical lessons learned by those aircrew will significantly enhance todays FACs ability to find and destroy dispersed enemy forces in a wide array of environments.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Military Aircraft Operations
- Humanities and History