The A-1 Skyraider entered service with the US Navy in 1945, and was a typical radial engined aircraft of its period. It remained in service for an impressively long period of time, and was still in use with the VNAF at the fall of South Vietnam in 1975. The USAF adopted it as a counter-insurgency aircraft in 1964 and used it in Vietnam from then until late in 1972 when the last A-1 squadrons converted to newer aircraft.
One nice feature is the timeline of VNAF and USAF squadrons. This is arranged vertically, with 1960 at the top and 1975 at the bottom, and each squadron is given its own line, showing when it was formed, when it stopped flying the A-1 in Vietnam (either disbanded, changed aircraft, withdrawn or lost at the fall of South Vietnam), and any changes of base or title.
The main text is split into four chapters. The first looks at the aircraft itself and the weapons it carried in Vietnam. The remaining three focus on the VNAF and USAF squadrons that flew the aircraft. The squadrons are loosely grouped by when they first entered combat in Vietnam although this is a little arbitrary (and the last squadron looked at in chapter two actually entered combat after the first squadron of chapter three). Each chapter is organised into individual squadron histories, so the entire A-1 service of the 1st Fighter Squadron, VNAF, which fought from 1960 until 1975, is covered in chapter two.
This is the author's first book, although he has written a number of magazine articles. He is a former fighter pilot who actually flew the A-1 in combat in Vietnam, so he took part in some of the events he describes. He has written extensively on the A-1 online, with a website that is roughly the same age as this one! This is an excellent first book, well organised, readable and with some fascinating first-hand accounts from the pilots and observers who flew the A-1 in Vietnam. There are a few acronyms that aren't explained, but other than that this is a good debut.
1 - Skyraider and its Ordnance
2 - Original Skyraider Units
3 - Follow-on Skyraider Units
4 - Final Skyraider Units
Author: Byron E Hukee