Skyraider Artwork

Coming Home by Vu Khai Co

Minnesota Fats by Ernie Aguilar

Blood, Sweat, and Tears by Joe Mike Pyle

Pleiku Spad art by Gary Sutherland

Combat Rescue : Douglas A-1 Skyraiders by Charles McHugh

Combat Rescue by Philip E. West

Soaring Eagle and The Old Glory by Timothy Pham

Downed, but not Forgotten by Stan Stokes



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Coming Home












 Minnesota Fats

Minnesota Fats
by Ernie Aguilar

One of the most dangerous, yet most heroic, missions flown during the war in Southeast Asia (SEA) was that of the Sandy SAR teams-Search and Rescue- sorties flown in SPADs, SLUFs, and Jolly Greens. No Jolly Green, Sandy Spad, or Sandy SLUF crewmember ever bought a round in any fighter pilot bar any where in SEA. These men "hung it out" time and time again in order to bring back pilots and crews shot down over the North, over Laos, or from any other environment where they were required to go.

Byron Hukee was one of the professionals who flew "Fat Face" Spads (A-lEs) from Nakhon Phanom (NKP) on 140 combat missions from 1971 through 1972. For this issue's Fighter Gallery, Ernie Aguilar, contributing artist, has given us a fine rendering of one of "Hook's'' Sandy operations in Laos. We are not allowed to say what Byron and men of his caliber had, but they were very big and they were brass ............BLAKE

This original artwork first appeared in the centerfold of the Fall '85 issue of the Fighter Weapons Review











 Blood, Sweat, and Tears

 Blood, Sweat, and Tears
by Joe Mike Pyle

The Fighter Gallery shows the venerable A-1 "Skyraider" or "SPAD" as it was known by those who flew it. It was a most effective "air-to-mud" weapons platform. Not only did it haul a tremendous amount of ordnance, as illustrated, it was probably most famous for its role in "Sandy" or rescue/escort missions defending "Jolly Greens" and laying down suppressive fire while the HH-53s plucked downed crew members from enemy infested jungles. ...Blake

This original art by artist Joe Mike Pyle appeared as the center fold illustration of the Winter 1990 issue of the Fighter Weapons Review, the official publication ofthe USAF Weapons School at Nellis AFB, Nevada. At that time, Joe Mike was the art director of the magazine. Joe Mike has since moved up to become editor following the retirement of long-time editor, Blake Morrison.




Gary Sutherland
(Copyright © 1999)

Submitted by: Cliff Larry Sutherland



Over 1000 Skyraiders saw service in and around Viet-Nam with the US Navy, USAF and VNAF; the most famous use perhaps being that of the fire power provider during Search & Rescue, or "Sandy" missions. Depicted here are 2 Skyraiders, the single seat A-1H and the multi seat "Fat Face" A-1E on such a mission. Due to anti-aircraft activity, Fat face is forced to cross behind his single seat partner after a succesfull strike. Somewhere out there is a downed crew member, probably out on the left-hand side, as enemy vehicles cross the bridge in that direction. This painting brought a massive response from the A-1 veterans during the production of the painting, and I am very grateful to each and every one that took time to write. I hope as the finish approaches that you consider the painting a suitable tribute to all Sandy`s, especially those that gave their all. Please take time out to visit the Skyraider site, listen to the combat recordings found there, they are the most haunting sounds I have ever heard. 

Charles McHugh
Global Aviation Art

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 Combat Rescue

Once downed by enemy fire in North Vietnam, surviving US pilots were largely dependent on brave Skyraider, FAC and HH-53 Super Jolly helicopter crews to save them. Missions like this one in North Vietnam were always very dangerous, resulting in the loss of many rescue aircraft and their courageous crews. On this occasion the crewman on the ground has just broken cover and is about to be winched to safety by the Super Jolly helicopter crew under the protective cover of the Douglas A-1 Skyraiders - otherwise known by their call sign 'Sandy.' Keeping watch above is the Bronco spotter plane that first located the pilot on the ground, and then scoured the area ensuring there was no enemy threat to the rescue team.  


Philip E. West
Copyright © 2000

SWA Fine Art



 Old Glory
 Soaring Eagle

"The Old Glory" depicts the AD-5 and the AD-6 Skyraiders of the 1st VNAF Fighter Squadron (circa 1962) and "Soaring Eagle" shows off a lone A-1H in South East Asia camouflage scheme (SEA camouflage colors used in late stage of Vietnam war).

A-1H Skyraiders are the "classic" propeller aircraft of South Vietnam Air Force, famous for its versatility and effectiveness in close air support during the Vietnam war. At that time when electronic gadgets, computer devices, smart bombs and laser-guide bombs didn't exist; then human skills, courage and determination were the main factors for the Skyraider pilots to carry out their missions successfully. There are numerous legends about the Vietnam era Skyraiders, but to sum up one can say: The Skyraider pilots never drop bombs, they just delivered the "packages" right on the Vietcong's address! For example, Lt. Tran The Vinh, a "tank killer" of VNAF 518 FS, with 8 bombs under the wings, he knocked out 6 T-54's. In the morning of April 9,1972, after scoring a total of 21 VietCong T-54's, He and his skyraider had gone forever over the sky of Quang Tri province.

The A-1H Skyraiders served dutifully throughout the Vietnam war to the bitter end. In the morning of April 29, 1975, a Skyraider (serial #137588, commanded by Maj. Truong Phung) had been shot down by a Soviet Strela missile while defending Tan Son Nhut Air Base. Today, Skyraiders have ceased flying combat, a few retires in the aviation museums, but its magnificent images live on forever in the memories of many, who once witnessed the bravery of the unsung heroes over the freedom sky of South Vietnam.



Copyright © 2005

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 Downed, but not Forgotten

Situation: Major Bernard Fisher is depicted in Stan Stokes' painting during a mission in the A Shau Valley on March 10, 1966. A US Special Forces camp had faced several days of heavy attack by a large force of North Vietnamese troops, who had brought in ack-ack guns in anticipation of Air Force support. The monsoon season was still underway, and the North Vietnamese knew that this would also hinder American air support. Jet aircraft were of little use due to the low ceilings, and an AC-47 gunship and helicopter had both been downed while making low passes. A1-E Skyraiders from the 1st Air Commando Squadron at Pleiku were scrambled to support the Special Forces. During the second day in support of the A Shau battle, one Skyraider, piloted by Col. Dafford "Jump" Myers, was severely damaged, and in flames. The only alternative was an emergency landing on the airstrip in the lower-valley camp. Fisher, guided the stricken aircraft in for a belly landing. Failing to jettison his 300 gallon drop tank, Myer's Skyraider landed in a ball of flame as it skidded down the make shift runway. Myers successfully escaped the burning wreckage, but was within yards of enemy ground forces. Fisher and several other Skyraiders made several low passes laying down strafing fire and dropping ordnance. With any chance of helicopter rescue many minutes away, Major Fisher took matters into his own hands and landed his own aircraft on the damaged and refuse-laden landing strip, successfully rescuing his downed comrade. Fisher's Skyraider received 19 bullet holes, and for his heroic efforts Major Fisher became the first USAF officer to receive the Medal of Honor in Southeast Asia. Colonel Fisher now resides in Idaho.

Stan Stokes Art
Copyright © 2007

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