Directive Number 62, 24 November 1962, established operational
on U.S. aircraft to be employed an combat support missions
read, in extract, as follows:
In South Vietnam all operational missions flown by U.S. personnel and/or
aircraft are classified as combat support. As a general policy, no missions will
be undertaken utilizing U.S. personnel and/or aircraft unless it is beyond the
capability of the Vietnamese Air Force (because of lack of training, equipment,
etc.) to perform the mission. Efforts will be intensified to provide the
necessary training for GVN personnel so that the VNAF can perform all required
missions at the earliest possible time.
U.S. aircrew personnel operating under the terms of this
other applicable directives are reminded that nothing shall infringe upon the
inherent right of the individual to protect himself against hostile attack. In
event of such an attack, the individual concerned will take immediate aggressive
action against the attacking force with any means available.
SPECIFIC RESTRICTIONS: The following specific restrictions are applicable
and strict compliance therewith is directed:
Farmgate: Utilization of Farmgate aircraft for operational (combat support)
missions will be only with a combined U.S. and Vietna- mese crew. Farmgate U-10
aircraft will not be employed on armed recon- naissance missions. Farmgate
aircraft will carry VNAF markings.
Waterglass: 2d Air Division will prepare regulations applicable to U.S. aircraft
conducting air defense orientation training under the Waterglass concept.
Waterglass restrictions are not included in this directive due to
Mule Train/Ranch Hand: C-123's will be U.S. marked. They will be manned with a
combined U.S. and Vietnamese crew on applicable combat missions as defined ***
U.S. Army CH-21C's (Shawnee) and USMC UH-34D's (HUS):
may be installed in and utilized from transport helicopters for defensive
purposes only. Armament in such aircraft will not be utilized to initiate fires
upon any target; however, if the aircraft is fired upon, it may return the fire.
Aircraft will be U.S. marked and manned.
U.S. Army UH-l's (Iroquois): The U.S. Army armed UH-1 may be used defensively
only. It may not be utilized to initiate fires upon any target; however, if the
aircraft or any aircraft which it is escorting is fire upon, it may return the
fire. Such aircraft, when employed on combat support missions, will be U.S.
marked and manned with a combined U.S. and Vietnamese crew.
U.S. Army OV-1ís (Mohawk): The OV-l's may be utilized in an armed
configuration (only as specifically directed by COMUSMACV) for
support missions, however. such armament will be utilized only defensively.
These aircraft will not be utilized as strike aircraft. When utilized in a
combat support role, they will be U.S. marked and manned with a combined U.S.
and Vietnamese crew.
MACV Letter, subject: Air Operations, dated 23 October 1962, applies to
operations of all U.S. aircraft. However, the general content of this letter is
repeated in this directive and is applicable to all U.S. aircraft operating in
SVN. Day: Normally no U'.S. aircraft will operate closer than three miles to the
Cambodian border and then only when the ceiling is atleast 1500 feet and
visibility is three miles or better. When the border is clearly defined by
physical landmarks, operational missions may be conducted to a point no closer
than one mile to the border; non-operational flights are restricted to five
miles from the border and at least 2000 feet altitude. Night: No U.S. aircraft
will operate closer than three miles to the Cambodian border during periods of
reduced visibility and only then when under positive radar control. Unless
specifically authorized by this headquarters, no U.S. aircraft will conduct
combat missions more than two miles off the coast of Vietnam. Waivers to these
border restrictions (paragraph 3c, above cited letter) will be granted with the
utmost discretion and then only when the border can be unmistakably defined by
there were aircraft operating within the Republic of Vietnam which had VNAF
markings and Vietnamese crews: VNAF markings and U.S.- Vietnamese crews; U.S.
markings and U.S.-Vietnamese crews; and U.S. markings with U.S. crews.
Felt pointed out to General Harkins that JCS message Number
5972 of 6
September 1962 had authorized the initiation of fires by armed aircraft engaged
definition (JCS 5972) suppressive fires resulting from escort missions are
considered defensive fire. You should amend paragraphs 5D and
of (MACV Directive 62) in such manner as to indicate armament on UH-l's and
CH-21's/UH-34's may be used to initiate fire provided enemy target is clearly
identified and is threat to the safety of the helicopter and passengers.
JCS message 8678 of 16 February 1963 had authorized an amendment to the rules of
engagement, pertaining specifically to U.S.A helicopters in the RVN, to allow
them to engage clearly identified Viet Cong forces considered a threat to the
safety of the aircraft and their passengers. JCS stated that, during a visit of
their team to the RVN,
it was found that
the JCS message of September 1962 concerning rules of engagement for armed Army
helicopters had been erroneously interpreted
mean that the helicopter must wait to be fired upon before initiating
fire i8/ "Such interpretation is more restrictive than was the
intent ..." COMUSMACV
amended his rules of engagement accordingly.