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VNAF 83rd Special Operations Group Insignia

Date: Mid-1960s.

Description: Handmade (left) and Printed on cotton (right) squadron patches for the Vietnamese Air Force's 83rd Special Operations Group. The 83rd Special Operations Group was formed in 1964, and conducted a number of air missions for the Republic of Vietnam, most notably the reconnaissance and engagment of North Vietnamese air forces. The unit consisted of some of the best pilots in the VNAF at the time, and was regarded as the pride of Nguyen Cao Ky, who concurrently remained as the unit commander while he served as Air Marshall, Prime Minister, and Vice President. However, the unit's close ties to Ky ultimately led to its disbandment in 1967 out of fear the unit may be used as the backbone for a future coup attempt. The patches shown above are two original versions of the patch as worn by VNAF pilots. These patches would have been worn on the chest of flightsuits, jackets, and fatigues. A machine made variant also exists, as does a Japanese made version - though the latter variation would have probably been used by a US advisor.

Pilots of the 83rd Special Operations Group returning from a mission, 1960s.

An A-1H Skyraider of the 83rd Special Operations Group

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