The Thud Era: 15 May 1966 to 10 May 1969
The squadron soon entered into combat in Southeast Asia and by 1 July 1966 it was fully manned and equipped. By February 1967 several of the 34th pilots had completed 100 combat missions over North Vietnam.
Pacific Air Forces transferred the 34th on 15 January 1968 to the 347th TFW (at Yokota AB, Japan), but it remained attached to the 388th TFW. Like all other Thunderchief combat squadrons, the 34th flew its share of tough strike missions to North Vietnam.
After 31 March 1968, the authorities restricted air operations to the lower panhandle of North Vietnam (below the 19th parallel). Then, on 1 November 1968, the bombing campaign to North Vietnam was halted entirely and combat missions shifted to intensive operations against the enemy in South Vietnam.
On 9 May 1969, the 34th flew its last F-105 mission then stood down to receive F-4E Phantoms. The squadron remained at Korat until December 1975 when it deployed to Hill AFB, Utah.
The 34th Fighter Squadron flew F-16C Fighting Falcons out of Hill AFB, Utah, until recently and was assigned to the 388th Fighter Wing. The 34th was de-activated on 16 July 2010 due to military restructuring. Wikipedia has a more detailed history.
The 34th Fighter Squadron was reactivated on July 17, 2015, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The 34th will be the first combat squadron to fly the Air Force’s newest fighter aircraft, the F-35A.
During this period only one 34th member completed 200 missions:
William A. Thomas
During this era the 34th had two MiG killers:
Dave Waldrop with two MiG 17's
Ken Blank with one MiG 17
The 34th TFS Thud Era had five Air Force Cross recipients.
Click the name to read their citation.
Howard Plunkett was was an F-105 maintenance officer at McConnell AFB, Kansas; Yokota AB, Japan; and in 1964-66 at Takhli RTAFB, Thailand. He has compiled a comprehensive history of the 34th TFS air operations over the North from 1966 to 1969. Howard spent numerous hours of research at Maxwell AFB and has interviewed many who flew the missions. This 350 page history is a tribute to those who flew the Thud and is a "must have" item for all 34th TFS members. Also included is a selection of 34th pilot F-105 histories (most are on this web site under the individual’s name).
It’s in pdf format on a 600 meg USB flash drive for $10.00 postpaid.
Order your copy directly from Howard at email@example.com.