(received from Dennis via email Feb. 2016 - BF)
I stumbled across you website today after reading a book “Hunter Killers” which included data on F105s operating from Korat during the Vietnam War. I was based in Korat from late 1963 to late 1964 with 41 Sqn RNZAF operating Bristol Freighter aircraft. There is no mention of our involvement on your site and I wonder if you are interested in some input?
(Some background from our communications back and forth. I asked Dennis two questions. - BF)
1/ Posted to RAF Changi Singapore August 1963. Returned to NZ December 1964. During this posting we spent approx half the time on detachment to Korat on a rotational basis every 2-3 weeks.
2/ My trade at that time was Communications Mechanic (Air) and my rank was Leading Aircraftman. My responsibility was for the maintenance of communications equipment as fitted to our aircraft. At that stage in my 8 years of service (I joined in 1960) I had completed the initial 9 months trade training.
For more info on New Zealand's involvement in the Vietnam War, click this link to see the government official website.
41 squadron Royal New Zealand Air Force
“Before 1992 No 41 Sqn at Changi Singapore had been engaged in medium range route transport
operations as part of the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve and under the operational control of
Headquarters FEAF. In May that year a developing threat to Thailand’s borders by pro-communist forces
provoked a SEATO reaction and the squadron was dispatched to Thailand to assist in maintaining
security in that area. The Bristol Freighters were based at Korat, a garrison town for almost 1000 years
of Asian strife. At first the quarters were most primitive but gradually the initiative for which New
Zealanders are renowned, improved their lot. Between May and December the squadron worked closely
with the United States Forces and was controlled operationally by the commander, Joint Task Force 116,
Lieutenant General James Richardson. For this operation, codenamed ‘Scorpion’, the RNZAF detachment
under Sqn Ldr B.A.Wood, was placed on active service.
In December the Squadron was withdrawn to Singapore to assist with Operation Borneo Territories.
In January 1963, 41 Sqn had a detachment of two Freighters back in Korat in response to a request to
the NZ Government for a contribution to the program known as SLAT –Special Logistics Aid to Thailand.
The detachment was to remain at Korat for more than two years on this project. In that time the two
aircraft flew 647 courier flights, carrying 3,500,000lb of freight, 92,000lbs of mail and 15,877 passengers.
In 25 months only five courier flights were uncompleted, two because of weather, two on account of
aircraft mechanical failures and one due to pilot illness. For the detachment, duty in Thailand was
interesting but arduous and made difficult by the fact that Korat was a forward base, far removed from
the squadron’s headquarters at Changi.
(Ref: Portrait of An Air Force by G Bentley & M .Conly)
The freighters consequently saw service in Vietnam, together with other RNZAF units.
Excerpt from "Portrait of an Air Force -The RNZAF 1937-1987" (out of print) by Geoffrey Bentley/Maurice Conly with Graham Stewart. Used by permission