20th Tactical Air Support Sq.
Danang AB, RVN
The 20th TASS was activated as part of the
Tactical Control Group on 8 Nov 1965 and was only a part of the Group for
10 when it was attached to 6250th Tactical Air Support Group Provisional on 1-8 Sep 1966.
Eventually, the 20th TASS became a part of the 504th Tactical Air Support Group
(8 Dec 66). During it's time with the 505th TCG, the unit was
commanded by Lt
Col Sam Pool, (by Dec) 1965 and Lt
Col Elvadore Ritter, (by Jun) 1966.
While a part of the 505th TCG, the 20th TASS earned a Presidential
Unit Citation and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Citation with Combat
"V" Device as well as the
of Vietnam Gallantry Crosses with Palm.
This information is taken from a transcript
of the Official USAF History of the 20th TASS.
regarding the 20th TASS in the 505th TCG History
A true story written by an Army helicopter door gunner about the
consequences of messing
USAF UNIT LINEAGE AND HISTORY
- Constituted 20th Transport
Squadron on 22 Nov 1940.
- Activated on 15 Dec 1940.
- Redesignated: 20th Troop
Carrier Squadron on 5 Jul 1942;
- 20th Troop Carrier Squadron
(Special) on 13 Nov 1943;
- 20th Troop Carrier Squadron
on 12 Apr 1944;
- 20th Troop Carrier Squadron,
Heavy, on 17 Jun 1948;
- 20th Troop Carrier Squadron,
Medium, on 4 Oct 1948.
- Inactivated on 20 Oct 1949.
- Consolidated (19 Sep 1985)
with the unit constituted 20th Tactical Air
Support Squadron (Light), and activated, on 26 Apr 1965.
- Organized on 8 May 1965.
- Inactivated on 1 Apr 1973.
- Redesignated 20th Tactical
Air Support Squadron, and activated, on 1 Oct
1973. Inactivated on 30 Sep 1984.
- Activated on 1 Apr 1990.
Supersedes entry contained in Maurer Maurer (ed.),
Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World
War II (1969; reprint edition, Washington:USGPO, 1982), pp. 109-110, and all
Click on the decoration above to see 20th TASS Awards & Decorations
- Panama Canal Department, 15
- Panama Air Depot, 1 Feb 1941;
- 6th Air Force Base (later,
6th Air Force Service; VI Air Force Service)
Command, 5 Jun 1942;
- Panama Air Depot, 1 Dec 1944;
- Sixth Air Force (later,
Caribbean Air Command) , 5 May 1945 (attached to 314th Troop
Carrier Group [later, 314th Troop Carrier Group,
- 314th Troop Carrier Group, Medium], c.
Nov 1946-16 Jun 1948);
- 314th Troop Carrier Group,
Medium, 17 Jun 1948-20 Oct 1949 (detachment attached to
United States Air Forces in Europe, 1-29 Jul
1948, and to Airlift Task Force [Provisional], 29
Jul-19 Oct 1948)
- Pacific Air Forces, 26 Apr
- 2d Air Division, 8 May 1965
(attached to Tactical Air Support Group
Provisional, 6250th, 1 Aug-7 Nov 1965);
- 505th Tactical Control Group,
8 Nov 1965 (attached to Tactical Air Support
Group Provisional, 6250th, 1-8 Sep 1966 and to
Tactical Air Support Group Provisional, 6253rd, 9
Sep - 7 Dec1966);
- 504th Tactical Air Support
Group, 8 Dec 1966;
- 366th Tactical Fighter Wing,
15 Mar 1972;
- 6498th Air Base Wing, 27 Jun
- 71st Tactical Air Support
Group, 15 Jan-1 Apr 1973.
- 601st Tactical Air Support
Group, 1 Oct 1973;
- 601st Tactical Control Wing,
1 Nov 1975;
- 601st Tactical Air Support
Group, 1 May 1977-30 Sep 1984.
- 507th Tactical Air Control
Wing, 1 Apr 1990-.
- France Field, Canal Zone, 15
- Howard Field, Canal Zone, 19
- Albrook Field (later, Albrook
AFB) Canal Zone, 9 Jun 1943-20 Sep 1948;
- Bergstrom AFB, Texas, 4 Oct
- Smyrna AFB, Tenn, 27 Jan-20
- Da Nang AB, South Vietnam, 8
May 1965-15 Jan 1973;
- George AFB, Calif, 15 Jan-1
- Wiesbaden AB, West Germany, 1
- Sembach AB, West Germany, 8
Jan 1976-30 Sep 1984.
- Shaw AFB, SC, 1 Apr 1990-.
- lst Lt (later, Maj) Harry C
Morrison, 15 Dec 1940,-
- Capt Donald K Mumma, 3 Sep
- Capt (later, Maj) James W
Guthrie, 18 Oct 1942;
- Capt (later, Maj) Raynold A
Berg, 8 Oct 1943;
- Maj Frederick A Sanders,
- Capt (later, Maj) Gerald
Linscheid, 9 Dec 1944;
- Maj Sidney E Cleveland, 14
- Maj Irving R Perkin, May
- Maj William H Beale Jr, (by
Jan 1949) ;
- Lt Col Elmer C Blaha, (by
Jul)-20 Oct 1949.
- 1st Lt Frederick A Reiling,
(by Jun) 1965;
- Lt Col Sam Pool, (by Dec)
- Lt Col Elvadore Ritter, (by
- Lt Col Paul V Greenwade Jr,
(by Oct 1967);
- Lt Col Herbert W McQuown, 7
- Lt Col Benjamin F Starr Jr,
10 Sep 1968;
- Lt Col Alvin M Welbes, 24 Jan
- Lt Col Laurence W Lackey, 24
- Lt Col Hyrum G Keeler, 1 Jun
- Lt Col Colvin L Sammons, 15
- Lt Col Ralph W Haymaker, 28
- Lt Col Lawton C Brown, 25 Oct
- Lt Col Gabriel A Kardong, 25
- Lt Col Richard E Leal, 10 Nov
1972-15 Jan 1973;
- None (not manned), 16 Jan-1
- Lt Col George W Grill Jr, 1
- Lt Col Robert B Clayton Sr,
20 Jan 1975;
- Maj (later, Lt Col) Robert E
Riggs, 20 May 1977;
- Lt Col Robert M Staples, 6
- Lt Col Dennis C Torrez, 26
- Lt Col Thomas M Power, 13 Dec
- Maj Andrew E Dohany, 15
Apr-30 Sep 1984.
- C-33, 1941;
- C-39, 1941-1944;
- C-49, 1941-1944;
- C-47, 1942-1948, 1949;
- OA-10, 1942-1943, 1943-1945;
- UC-91, 19421943;
- C-79, 1942-1943;
- UC-89, 1942-1943;
- C-38, 1942-1943;
- XB-15 (later, XC-105),
- L-1, 1943-1945;
- BC-1, 1943-1944;
- L-4, 1943-1944;
- UC-61, 1943-1945;
- C-45, 1944-1945;
- C-46, 1945-1947;
- C54, 1946-1948;
- C-82, 1948-1949;
- CG-15, 1949;
- 0-1, 1965-1969;
- 02, 1967-1973;
- OV-10, 1969-1973.;
- 0-2, 1973-1974;
- OV-10, 1974-1984.
The 20th Transport Squadron activated at France Field, Panama
Canal Zone, on 15 Dec 1940, but had only one officer and no airplanes until Feb
1941. The squadron became operational by Mar 1941, hauling cargo on local
flights with C-33s. In Apr 1941 the 20th received C-39 aircraft, and on 11 May
made its first out-of-country flight, to Managua, Nicaragua. Before the end of
the year, the squadron was flying to destinations throughout the Caribbean area,
Central America, South America, and sometimes to the United States, transporting
passengers, mail, and supplies in support of U.S. forces.
In Nov 1941, the squadron established a flight at Howard Field to handle local
missions and a month later, another flight at Waller Field, Trinidad. The Howard
Field flight ceased operations when the squadron moved from France Field to
Howard Field in Feb 1942, but the Trinidad detachment operated, as did a third
detachment established in Puerto Rico in Jun 1942, until Dec 1943. Redesignated
20th Troop Carrier Squadron in Jul 1942. Moved again in Jun 1943, this time to
The 20th TCS flew many different types of aircraft between 1941 and 1949,
several being one of a kind, such as the XC-105, the only four-engined aircraft
that it possessed during World War II. It also flew, except for the first half
of 1943, OA-10s in emergency rescue missions over the Pacific Ocean and
Caribbean Sea from Jun 1942-Aug 1945. In May 1946 the squadron received C-54
aircraft. The 20th TCS moved in Sep 1948 from Panama to Bergstrom AFB, Texas. It
left all aircraft and equipment at Albrook, except for a detachment of C-54s
that had left Albrook in Jul 1948 to participate in the Berlin Airlift. At
Bergstrom, the 20th TCS received C-82 aircraft in Nov 1948 and began transition
training. In early Jan 1949, the squadron's air echelon deployed seven C-82s on
temporary duty to Kearney AFB, Nebraska, to transport supplies to snowbound
ranchers and farmers, while the rest of the squadron moved at the end of Jan to
Smyrna AFB, Tenn. The C-82s and aircrews arrived at Smyrna in late Feb 1949.
While at Smyrna, the 20th trained with U.S. Army paratroopers in airborne
tactics and carried cargo about the United States. The squadron inactivated on
20 Oct 1949.
The 20th Tactical Ai-r Support Squadron organized on 8 May 1965 at Da Nang AB,
Republic of Vietnam. It received its first O-lF aircraft in late May and began
operations in Aug 1965. Provided visual reconnaissance and airborne forward air
control for tactical offensive operations, and also gave theater indoctrination
flight checkouts in assigned aircraft for newly assigned aircrews in Southeast
Asia. As the squadron expanded its operations, it established several
detachments at forward locations throughout South Vietnam. In Jan 1969, received
first OV-10A, and in July transferred its last 0-1. By Oct 1969, the 20th
operated from Da Nang and eleven forward locations, supporting five U.S. Army
and six South Vietnamese Army forces locations.
The U.S. Armed Forces gradually withdrew from South Vietnam in 1970-1972, and
the 20th discontinued its forward operating locations in 1971 and early 1972.
Then, after the North Vietnamese invaded the south in Apr 1972, the 20th again
set up forward operating locations. In Jun 1972, it flew three times the
missions it had in mar, prior to the invasion. In addition to FAC, liaison,
observation, and reconnaissance missions, the 20th, in response to enemy rocket
attacks on Da Nang AB during 1972, provided base defense with the OV-10A
aircraft equipped with small bombs, 2.75 inch rockets, and 7.62 mm guns. In Jan
1973, the squadron discontinued its last forward operating location, flew its
last mission, turned its 0-2As over to the Vietnamese Air Force and its OV-lOAs
to other USAF squadrons in Southeast Asia. On 15 Jan 1973 the squadron moved,
without personnel or equipment, to George AFB, Calif, where it remained unmanned
until it inactivated on 1 Apr 1973 .
On 1 Oct 1973 the 20th TASS activated at Wiesbaden AB, West Germany, to provide
forward tactical air control for U.S. Army, Europe, and Seventh Army operations.
The squadron had only three 0-2A aircraft available until Jul 1974, when it
began flying OV-10A aircraft. Engaged in close air support training during
USAFE, NATO, and U.S. Army exercises, its pilots served as both ground and
airborne forward air controllers. During training exercises, the 20th deployed
to and flew from bases in Italy, Spain, Denmark, Turkey, England, Belgium, West
Germany, and The Netherlands. In Jan 1976, the squadron moved with the 601st
Tactical control Wing to Sembach AB, West Germany. In May 1981, it added search
and rescue missions to its tasks. In 1984, lost all OV-10 aircraft, squadron
aircrews ferrying them to George AFB, Calif, Jun-Aug 1984. squadron inactivated
on 30 Sep 1984.
Activated on 1 Apr 1990 at Shaw AFB, SC, as part of the 507th
Tactical Air Control Wing.
Description: On a disc divided fesswise nebuly of two,
azure (ultramarine) and gules (pimento), the partition line fimbriated argent,
overall palewise a flight symbol or, encircled by 20 mullets of the third, all
within a diminished bordure of the second fimbriated of the third. Above and
below the disc two scrolls edged gules, the one below inscribed with the words
FIRST ON TARGET in letters gules. Significance Ultramarine blue and golden
yellow are the official Air Force colors. The blue sky and the color red
representing the embattled ground forces protected by the gold flight symbol,
all refer to the tactical squadron's mission to provide Air Force-Army interface
and close control of tactical air with accurate placement of air delivered
ordnance. The 20 stars symbolize the 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron's
excellence of performance.
FIRST ON TARGET
Approved on 25 Jun 1974.
Photographic negative number: KE30690.
For those of you who knew him, I found this on the net.
Colonel Gabriel Kardong
25 Mar 1933 - 21 Jul 1996
|Gabriel "Abe" Kardong,
aviator, died Sunday after a year long bout with leukemia. He made Spokane his home after
a 26 year Air Force career which spanned the globe.
A "Mustang" (non-degreed
former enlisted man), he flew the best and the fastest the Air Force had to offer
including the B-58 and the SR-71. He also flew 145 forward air controller missions in
Vietnam while commanding the 20th TASS at DaNang. He received 2 Distinguished Flying
Crosses and 20 other decorations. He retired as a Colonel.
After his Air Force retirement, Kardong flew for corporate aviation, wrote aviation
articles and lectured. He is survived by his children Suzan Kardong-Edgren of Flower
Mound, TX, Greg Kardong of Moses Lake, WA, Christine Ruperto of Sewickley, PA, and 4
Webmaster note: Col. Kardong was commanding officer of the 20th TASS from Feb.
1972 to Nov. 1972.
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