The Convair F-102 Delta Dagger was one of the first USAF combat aircraft to be deployed to Vietnam, yet its impressive war record is often overlooked. Combat Aircraft charts the type’s service in South-east Asia, including the use of airto- air missiles in the ground attack role!

A 64th FIS F-102 assigned to the defense of Da Nang in August 1968, being readied for missile loading. James Cobb via author

IN A LETTER dated October 6, 1990, Lt Gen (ret) Francis C. Gideon, US Air Force, commanding general of the 13th Air Force during the Vietnam War, said, ‘The exploits of the attack fighter squadrons in the war in South-east Asia are well-documented, and they are heroic. The F-102 squadrons [the 64th and 509th Fighter Interceptor Squadrons, FIS] based at Clark Air Base quietly and effectively carried out a unique combat mission that was vital to the success of the air war. They provided an air defense shield around the entire battle area by keeping fights deployed around the circle from southern Tainan, Clark, Da Nang, Biên Hòa, Udorn and Bangkok, while giving excellent protection to the B-52 ‘Arc Light’ missions. We will never know what attacks on our forces and bases were deterred by their presence.’

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