34th TFS
34th Tactical Fighter Squadron - Thud Era
Korat RTAFB, Thailand - May 1966 to May 1969
34th Tactical Fighter Squadron History
The Thud Era: 15 May 1966 to 10 May 1969
The 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron patch
On 15 May 1966 the 34th TFS was organized at Korat RTAFB, assigned to the 41st Air Division (located at Yokota AB, Japan) but attached for all practical purposes to the resident 388th Tactical Fighter Wing. All equipment, including F-105s, and all personnel came from resources of the 41st Air Division, especially the 36th TFS.

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.

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 produced five Air Force Cross recipients.
Click the name to read their citation.

Air Force Cross
Citation: The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Wayne N. Whatley, Major, U.S. Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as Pilot of an F- 105 aircraft, in action in Southeast Asia on 30 June 1966. On that date, Major Whatley led a flight of four F-105 aircraft against an extremely heavily defended petroleum, oil, and lubricant storage complex in North Vietnam. By exhibiting extraordinary flying ability, leadership qualities, and personal bravery in the face of intense hostile fire, Major Whatley successfully struck the assigned target, thus contributing greatly to the objectives of his country. Although sustaining hits on his aircraft, Major Whatley, disregarding his personal safety, stayed with his downed wingman and directed a successful rescue operation. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Major Whatley reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Citation: The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Paul F. Koeltzow, Major, U.S. Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as an F-105 pilot in action over North Vietnam on 12 August 1967. On that date, Major Koeltzow led his force of twenty aircraft against the most heavily defended target complex in North Vietnam. Hampered by marginal weather, mechanical failures, and heavy and accurate hostile fire, Major Koeltzow led his force to the target, and although his aircraft was damaged by flak at the start of his bomb run, he overcame tremendous obstacles and continued his attack, destroying the target. Despite extensive damage to his aircraft, he engaged a flight of hostile aircraft and thwarted their impending attack on a crippled F-105. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Major Koeltzow reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Citation: The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Nicholas J. Donelson, Captain, U.S. Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as an F-105 pilot over North Vietnam on 23 August 1967. On that date, Captain Donelson was the mission commander for a force of thirty-two aircraft attacking a heavily defended rail yard in the vicinity of Hanoi. Repeated attacks against his force by hostile aircraft destroyed two friendly aircraft, and the intense barrage of anti-aircraft fire downed a third and severely damaged a fourth. In spite of this intense opposition, Captain Donelson, at great personal risk, led his force to the target and pressed the attack, inflicting severe damage to the rail yard and destroying a large amount of rolling stock. Captain Donelson's firm leadership, timely decisions, and professional competence in the face of intense opposition resulted in the successful accomplishment of this extremely hazardous mission. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Captain Donelson reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Citation: The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Major General [then Colonel] John Peter Flynn United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam from 27 October 1967 to 10 November 1967. Captured at the height of the air war, General Flynn, the most senior officer in captivity, was exposed to forceful interrogation, intimidation, and brutal treatment because the enemy believe he was withholding valuable tactical information. Although suffering severe injuries, he was beaten and tortured for military information which, if obtained by the Vietnamese, would clearly have jeopardized the lives of those still flying. By his display of heroic resistance through this ordeal of extreme cruelties, General Flynn reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Citation: The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Robert W. Smith, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force while serving as an F- 105 Pilot of the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 388 Tactical Fighter Wing, Korat Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, 7th Air Force, in action in Southeast Asia on 19 November 1967. On that date, Colonel Smith led a strike force of twenty F-105 and four F-4 aircraft to the vicinity of Hanoi for the initial strike on an important military target. Colonel Smith gallantly led his force through a hostile aircraft attack, an awesome and extended attack by missiles which downed two aircraft, and into the heavy antiaircraft defenses to strike crippling blows to the assigned target and to a large active surface-to-air missile site. Colonel Smith never wavered from his goal, and with complete disregard for his life, displayed great courage and determined leadership to accomplish an extremely hazardous and difficult mission. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Lieutenant Colonel Smith reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

More History

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 plunkett-abq@att.net.