More About FACs
The AO
  A Shau Valley
    • MACV Compound
    • LCU Ramp
    • Hué Goose
  Tet 1968
    • Trail FACs
The Missions
  Visual Recon
    • Sunken Sampan
  Close Air Support
    • Rules of Engagement
    • TACS
    • Battle at Hua Cu
Ranch Hand
  Trail Dust Mission
Arc Light
  Hammer 51 Rescue
  Search for Jolly 23
  Jungle Penetrator



O-2 over Vinh Loc Island
  O-2A on a VR mission over Vinh Loc Island,
Thua Thien Province, 1968   (© Tom Pilsch)

Visual reconnaissance (VR) was a core mission of the forward air controller in SEA.   Whether serving as the airborne eyes for the ground maneuver commander, searching for hidden transportation and supply targets or gathering routine intelligence information, the basic VR process -- look, identify, report -- became the core around which all other missions revolved.

A primary responsibility of the Trail FACs in northern I Corps was to provide information to local military commanders, district and province security forces, and the theater intelligence system.   This required hours and hours over the varied terrain of the AO -- coastal lowlands, rivers and sea coast, rice paddies, multiple-canopy mountain forest -- looking for changes in the normal patterns of activity.   These variations could include indications of new or heavier foot or vehicular traffic, changes in local activity patterns, or evidence of new construction, digging or attempts at camouflage.   The biggest challenge in the information gathering process was separating the unusual from the routine.

  Click on image at left for a narrative and photos on how a sharp eyed FAC ruined Charlie's night.  

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