An EC-47 aircraft, tail number 43-15112, taxis into position at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Vietnam. The scratchy call from the tower exhoes, "PRONG-33 GULLIBLE, you are cleared for take-off." Holding down on the brakes, the pilot begins to slip the power levels forward, bringing the engines up to speed. Over the headset, the pilot hears, "Crew ready for take-off" and he releases the brakes. Wigh a sudden jolt forward, the aircraft begins its roll down the active "60 knots" and the aircraft lifts-off.
This was the only aircraft assigned to the 6994th Security Squadron June 6, 1966 when they flew their first mission, Combat Cougar. But by the end of the year, the fleet had grown to 25 EC-47s.
The 6994th, born April 15, 1966 in the throws of the growing Vietnam Conflict, had five officers and 52 airmen, although its unit manning document called for 11 officers and 178 airmen. The missions became demanding while the unit continued to grow working side by side with flight crews and navigators from Pacific Air Force's 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. By the summer of 1967, detachments at Nha Trang and Pleiku Airport had organized and a total of 44 EC-47 aircraft were flying missions over Southeast Asia.
The 6994th provided "back-end" crewmember support for the dangerous Combat Cougar missions. The flight crews were assigned to Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadrons at various air bases. However, there were instances where a mission crew consisted entirely of members from the 6994th. (Note: I question the last sentence. J.C.)
The quality and skill of the squadron's members were recognized frequently. The unit received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award on six occassions, one with the device for valor and the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces' Gallantry Cross with the Palm award. Even today, it is one of the most decorated units within the command.
The numerous awards did not come without a price. March 9, 1967, a demorallizing feeling of disbelief flowed through the unit as information came in that an aircraft was lost, the unit's first. Unfortunately, members of the 6994th would have to deal with aircraft lost to hostile fire on several occasions right up to, and even after, the signing of the cease fire agreement.
Eighteen members of the 6994th made the ultimate sacrifice. To this day, these courageous individuals remain in the hearts of the men and women of the 94th Intelligence Squadron and will never be forgotten.
At the end of hostilities, in Vietnam, the 6994th was moved to Thailand, where it spent two years before it was deactivated on June 30, 1974.
The names of those men lost are available on the Memorial Page on this site.
Awards and Decorations
I have been advised that this data is not 100% correct.
(AFOUA) with Valor, 15 April 1966 - 31 May 1967, DAFSO GB-81
15 April 1966 to 28 January 1973 DAF SO GB352 1975