VA-152. A SPAD SQUADRON IN VIETNAM
Prepared by LT J. M. Watson
closes Attack Squadron ONE FIFTY-TWO is completing its third and final combat cruise with Carrier Air Wing Sixteen aboard the USSORISKANY (CVA-34). It will also be the squadron's
cruise flying the A-1 Skyraider, as the aircraft is being phased out of the Navy'sinventory after twenty-one years of service. This narrative will sum- marize VA-152 operations in the
conflict. At the onset of the war A-1's participated in strikes against majortargets. The aircraft proved too vulnerable to concentrated antiaircraftfire and during
1965 and 1966 cruises it was utilized for armed reconnaissance over North Vietnam.
emphasis had shifted from armed reconnaissance in the southern route packages (Nam Dinh and southward) to major strikes in the Northeast Triangle (Hanoi, Haiphong and the northeast rail line). Air defenses in the latter environment precluded A-1 operations overland and only coastal armed reconnaissance wasconducted in
By far the most important role
emerge for the A-1 in Vietnam,however, was in Search and Rescue (SAR) operations. The Spads missionwas called Rescue Combat Air Patrol (RESCAP) and consisted of locatingdowned pilots, thwarting
capture attempts, suppressing ground fire
and escorting pickup helicopters to and from the rescue scene. Assistance ofjet aircraft overland was necessary in the more heavily defended areas.