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Three Air Force F-105 Thunderchief aircraft, en route to bomb military targets in Vietnam, "pull up" to a flying Air Force "gas station." The refueling aircraft is an Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker, January, 1966.

The US Air Force was the pre-eminent air force in the Vietnam War. The US Army controlled more aircraft (mainly helicopters) and the Navy and Marine Corps performed many of the same missions, but the US Air Force dropped more destructive energy than all of the others combined. It left its mark on the conflict through the strongly held belief in the strategic decisiveness of centrally controlled air power.

The Air Force combat commitment to Vietnam began in late 1961 when President Kennedy sent air commando units equipped with propeller driven, piston engine A-26 bombers, T-28 ground attack/trainer aircraft and C-123 transports modified to spray defoliants, most notably Agent Orange. The type of aircraft illustrated (F-105 Thunderchief) is creditet scoring the first MiG kill over Vietnam. Later, and after many technical problems, the F-111 was developed and updated versions of this aircraft still served effectively in the 1991 Gulf War.

F-105 Thunderchief