9-8-1966 Operation Hawthorne

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    DECLASSIFIED BY AF/HDHlAW E.0.12958 (AMENDED)AIE z 20080718

    APPROVED FO RPUBLIC RELEASE

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    * SOUTHEAST ASIA

    EXCLUDED FROM AUTOMATIC REGRADINDOD DIR 5200.10 DOES NOT APPLY

    K717.0413-9 20080910302_.

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    REPORT DOCUMENTATION PAGE Form ApprovedOMB No. 0704-0188The public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources,gathering and maintaining the data needed, end completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collectionof Information, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to Department of Defense, Washington Headquarters Services, Directorate for Information Operations and Reports(0704-0188), 1215 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 1204, Arlington, VA 22202-4302. Respondents should be aware that notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person shall besubject to any penalty for failing to comply with e collection of information if It does not display a currently valid OMB control number.PLEASE DO NOT RETURN YOUR FORM TO THE ABOVE ADDRESS.1. REPORT DATE (DD-MM-YYYY) 12. REPORT TYPE 3. DATES COVERED (From - To)

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    7. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES) 8. PERFORMING ORGANIZATIONREPORT NUMBERDepartment of the Air ForceHeadquarters Pacific Air Forces, CHECO DivisionHickam AFB, HI9. SPONSORING/MONITORING AGENCY NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES) 10. SPONSOR/MONITOR'S ACRONYM(S)

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    12. DISTRIBUTION/AVAILABILITY STATEMENTA -- Approved for Public Release

    13. SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES

    14. ABSTRACTProject CHECO was established in 1962 to document and analyze air operations in Southeast Asia. Over the years the meaning ofthe acronym changed several times to reflect the escalation of operations: Current Historical Evaluation of CounterinsurgencyOperations, Contemporary Historical Evaluation of Combat Operations an d Contemporary Historical Examination of CurrentOperations. Project CHECO and other U. S. Air Force Historical study programs provided the Air Force with timely and lastingcorporate insights into operational, conceptual and doctrinal lessons from the war in SEA.

    15. SUBJECT TERMSCHECO reports, Vietnam War, War in Southeast Asia, Vietnam War- Aerial Operations, American

    16. SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF: 17. LIMITATION OF 18. NUMBER 19a. NAME OF RESPONSIBLE PERSONa. REPORT b. ABSTRACT c. THIS PAGE ABSTRACT OFPAGES 19b. TELEPHONE NUMBER (Include area code)

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    *\,Co ntemnpora ryMOatMWnIMW

    IMMWI HWTHRER

    * 8SEPTEMBER 1966

    I HQ PACAFDirectorate, Tactical Evaluation

    CHECO DivisionPrepared by: Mr. Kenneth SamsI S.E. Asia Team

    DOPEC-66-03510K7701I

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    -mSECURITY INFORMATION

    This document is classified SECRET in accordance with AFR 205-1.

    WARNING

    This document contains information affecting the security ofthe United States within the meaning of the Espionage Laws, Title18, U.S. Code 793 and 794. Transmission or revelation of its con-tents in any manner to an unauthorized person is prohibited by law.

    The material within this report is to be treated with theutmost discretion. Under no circumstances shall possessionthereof, or the information contained therein, be given to anypersonnel other than those whose duties specifically requireknowledge thereof. Information imparted to any individual willbe the minimum required in the performance of his duties.

    Retain or destroy in accordance with AFR 205-1. Do not return.

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    MAJCOMTAC (DPL). .... . 10Cys SAC (DPL)...... . . 1CyMAC (MAXDC)o o 1iCy USAFE (OPQ) ... 5 sAFSC (SCL) . o 1iCy USAFSO (SFOCEX) . 5 CysAFLC (MCF) . . . . 1 Cy USAFSAWC......... cyATC (ATXDC) . . . . 1iCy

    HQ PACAFc .. .......... cy IG. .. ......... Cy1DOP ......... Cy DOM .......... cyDP. .. ........ Cy 5AF (DOP). .. ...... CyDI. .. ........ Cy 13AF (DPL)........CyDO.o...........Cy 7AF (CHECO) . . .. 7 CysDM. .. ........ Cy DOPEC.........3 CysDPL .. ......... Cy

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    FOREWORD

    The following Special Report, Operation HAWTHORNE, describesa significant air-ground operation in the Vietnam conflict. Theresults of this action demonstrate the effectiveness of tacticalair power in providing immediate air sorties on an unplanned basiswhen an emergency arises. The report also provides a significantevaluation of the effectiveness of a B-52 mission as reflected ininterviews, official correspondence, and reports.

    iv

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    OPERATION HAWTHORNE

    Operation HAWTHORNE was conducted in Kontum Province, RVN (Republicof Vietnam), between 2-21 June 1966 by three battalions of the 101stAirborne Division, a battalion of the 1st Air Cav Div, a battalion ofthe 42d ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) Regiment and two CIDG(Civilian Irregular Defense Corps) companies. The initial objectiveof the operation was the relief of elements of the 42d ARVN Regimentat Toumorong where intelligence indicated at least an enemy regiment.Before the operation ended, major contact was established with thisViet Cong regiment and tactical air played a key role in handing theenemy a major defeat. In Operation HAWTHORNE there were 250 immedi-ate air sorties flown, compared to only 185 preplanned, a reversalof the usual pattern and an indication of the flexibility of tacticalair as organized in RVN under the Tactical Air Control System. Whenmajor contact was made on 7 June 1966, air strikes were being deliveredin less than 30 minutes. There was so much continuous air power avail-able during the period of contact that some aircraft had to be turnedback.

    When the operation ended, the enemy had lost 479 killed by bodycount, an additional 506 probably killed in action, plus 209 killedby air (52 counted). Twenty-one Viet Cong cadre, 88 weapons, and24 crew-served weapons were captured. U.S. losses were 48 killed,239 wounded, while ARVN losses were ten killed and 29 wounded. Theoperation was supported by 445 tactical air sorties which dropped

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    338.3 tons of ordnance and 39 B-52 sorties which dropped 702 tonsof bombs.

    Significantly, nearly 70 percent of all the tactical air sortieswere flown in the seven-day period between 7 June and 13 June 1966,when air was really needed, while the remaining 30 percent flew duringthe 13-daylight contact period preceding and following the phase ofmajor contact. The B-52 strike made on 13 June 1966 came at a critical1/time and was credited with "crumbling" the enemy resistance. Also,in Operation HAWTHORNE, around-the-clock air strikes were conductedat night and in poor weather through the use of "Sky Spot" radarbombing system. Ground commanders were highly appreciative of theoutstanding air support received during HAWTHORNE, particularlyCaptain Bill Carpenter, Commander "C" Company, 1/502, who, on 9 June1966, requested and received an air strike on his enemy-overrrun2/position.

    There were several important lessons learned in HAWTHORNE.Coordination of air and artillery strikes in certain instancespermitted a lull in artillery support prior to and after closeair support missions. The problem has been identified as one ofcommunications requiring closer liaison between the FAC and theartillery liaison officer, utilizing appropriate communicationsequipment. HAWTHORNE reemphasized the importance of having anairborne FAC to coordinate and place air strikes on appropriatetargets. Perhaps the greatest lesson learned in HAWTHORNE was the

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    effectiveness of the B-52 in a direct support role when usedagainst targets that have been identified by accurate intelligenceand when the area is immediately exploited by ground forces afterthe strike. The B-52 strike of 13 June 1966 was credited withbreaking the hard core of the enemy resistance.

    During the first five days of HAWTHORNE (2-6 June 1966), only34 strike sorties were employed as the operation proceeded smoothlyaccording to plan. An F-4C was downed on 2 June 1966 the first dayof