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 Vietnam War 1st Marine Aircraft Wing Command Activity Reports

Vietnam War
1st Marine Corp Aircraft Wing
Command Activity Reports

15,823 pages of 1st Marine Aircraft Wing command chronologies (histories), dating from May 1965 to December 1975.


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Vietnam War 1st Marine Corp Aircraft Wing Command Activity Reports SQUARE 300

The 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW) saw service in the Vietnam War, beginning with providing helicopter air support to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) in April 1962, through Operation Frequent Wind, the largest helicopter evacuation in history and the evacuation of the American Embassy in Saigon in April 1975. 

In May 1965, 1St MAW's headquarters were moved to South Vietnam.  The 1st MAW's mission was to provide close support for operational forces, originally mostly Marine, later Marine and Army operations and to interdict and harass Communist forces. The Wing provided close air support, helicopter lift, and fixed wing supply operations that allowed Marine units to operate at greater distances away from their home bases. They also took part in tactical bombing of targets in North Vietnam.

Much of the Wing's activities were dictated by the Air-Ground Team concept.  The 1st MAW participated in the largest heliborne assault in Marine history during Operation Meade River and the subsequent Dewey Canyon Operation in November 1968 and in Ashau Valley during January 1969. The last major operation for the Wing was providing logistical and transport support of RVNAF forces during Operation LAM SON 719, the South Vietnamese incursion into Laos to cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

The 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) Command Histories (called Command Diaries) for May and June 1965 cover the deployment and buildup of the Wing in South Vietnam. The reports have three main parts, Organizational Data Sheet; Narrative Summary of Highlights; and a third part entitled Informational Messages. The Organizational Data Sheet covers primary headquarters, staff, and subordinate commanders and provides strength statistics. The Narrative Summary highlights activities of the 1st MAW's deployment to South Vietnam. These highlights include disposition of forces, establishment of airbases, operational activities, and VIP visits. The third section contains unit situation reports, movements, deployments, and problems.

The report format changed in July 1965. The first of four parts contain the sections Organizational Data. Added was an outline of the activity of the primary headquarters, staff, and subordinate commanders and strength statistics. Part I also included a listing of the VIP visits.

Part II titled Narrative Summary, contains a chronological summary and analysis of the primary activities and operations of the 1st MAW during the reporting period. The summary also contains notations referring to the supporting documents in Part IV.

Part III titled Significant Events, contains summaries referring to specific topics and also highlights ground operations supported by 1st MAW. These topics include the activities of G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, and G-5 staff offices and subordinate command offices; descriptions of programs and plans, including the morale and welfare program; establishment and operation of various other offices, including civil affairs, informational services, and communications-electronics; and discussion of various special topics, including awards, casualties, and major operations.

Part IV titled Supporting Documents, contains a variety of materials, including staff office and subordinate unit command histories, situation reports, operational and wing command orders, command directories, and special topics. Each command history includes a table of contents.

Beginning in 1970 the sections were paired down. The Supporting Documents began almost exclusively consisting of subordinate unit command histories. The Career Planning Newsletter, from the G-1 Command History, is the only supporting document highlighted.

The coverage contained in the reports expanded in February 1971, the 1st MAW Command History's Part IV Supporting Documents returned to highlighting some of the staff offices' command histories. These include G-1, G-2, G-4, the Wing Medical Officer, and the Wing Chaplain. The G-3 Command History is not highlighted, but the supporting documents of the G-3 Command History are attached.

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