No one ever complained about those burns

Tuesday, December 17th, 2019

The piston-engined Skyraider was designed during World War II to meet United States Navy requirements for a carrier-based, single-seat, long-range, high performance dive/torpedo bomber. The Skyraider wasn’t ready to fight before the end of World War II, but it did see service in Korea and even Vietnam, where it was much appreciated by SOG troops on the ground:

In the northern side of Da Nang, at the joint military/civilian airfield Air Force SPAD pilots who flew the single-wing A-1 Skyraiders received their initial op order for Operation Tailwind. The single engine warplane was loved by American groundpounders and feared by communist troops because of the havoc and death they rained down on enemy troops.

Additionally, through the unique design by Ed Heinemann at Douglas Aircraft Company during World War II, the Skyraider could stay on station over a target longer than any aircraft and it brought bombs, cluster bomb units (CBUs), 2.75 rockets, 20mm cannons and two miniguns to the battlefield.

One of the key reasons this SPAD unit was successful in providing close air support to ground troops was a major tactic used during gun runs: the pilots stayed close to the jungle, thus lowering the old lumbering A-1s profile for enemy gunners, while providing spot on gun runs.

Over the years, several SOG recon and Hatchet Force Green Berets recalled getting showered with shell casings from the A-1 Skyraiders as they flew danger close to the teams they were supporting.

Some later reported receiving burns on the back of their necks from hot shell casings that fell from the war bird and landed on the soldiers’ necks, burning their skin once they lodged in the collar. However, no one ever complained about those burns — burns that were often life saving.


  1. Phil B says:

    A short but good profile of the Skyraider is here:

    The download link is on this page:

    Instead of wasting a shed load of cash on the A10 prop driven replacement, they could do a lot worse than putting the kyraider back into production.

  2. Bruce says:

    Skyraider chassis, modern avionics, works for me.

  3. Lu An Li says:

    Fired off an entire twenty round mag from my M-16 one time and put the shell casings down the neck and back of a Captain. The man turned and glared at me. I did not intend to do so. Honest.

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