C-123K with booster jets to aid in take-offs

 The 315th Air Commando Wing (Troop Carrier) moved to Phan Rang from Tan Son Nhut Air Base on June 15, 1967 and became a tenant unit supported by the 35th Combat Support Group. Initially designated as the 315th Air Commando Wing, it was redesignated the 315th Special Operations Wing on August 1, 1968. The 315th flew the C-123K variant of the Provider, modified with the addition of two J85 jet engines. These jet engines increased the C-123B's payload weight by a third, shortened its takeoff distance, improved its climb rate, and gave a much greater margin of safety should one of the piston engines fail.Operations included aerial movement of troops and cargo, flare drops, aeromedical evacuation, and air-drops of critical supplies and paratroops. The wing expanded its mission with the added responsibility of the control of the interdiction operations being conducted by the 8th Special Operations Squadron (SOS) and the psychological warfare and visual reconnaissance operations of the 9th SOS.  In 1971–1972 the unit helped to train C-123 aircrews for the South Vietnamese Air Force and the Wing gained control over close air support missions flown by A-37 Dragonfly aircrews. The wing was redesignated as the 315th Tactical Airlift Wing on January 1, 1970, and remained that way until the Wing's inactivation on March 31, 1972.

Jackie and orphans at Phan Rang. In his spare time, Jackie helped erect a building to provide housing for the kids

Jackie, preparing for  perimeter duty as a Security Police Augmentee.  Behind him is his Quonset hut living quarters

Jackie served with the served 315th Special Operations Wing at Phan Rang Air Base, Vietnam 1969-70
Jackie in the picnic area outside the Quonset huts.  Here, beer  from the exchange was re-sold to fund their cookouts.

THEN

NOW

Jackie Cooper

It's been decades since we served. But to many of us, it seems like only yesterday.  Today we are old and slow; but once we were young and swift.  For those who never knew us then; and for those who can't remember when, take a look back at​  the way we were:

The Way We Were

Vietnam Veterans of America

Gary Hutchison Memorial Chapter 1028


In the background,  "Spooky" gunships inside their protective revetments at Phan Rang.