If my memory serves me right, I came to Pleiku, Cu Hanh Air Base 32 years ago to report for duty at Thai Duong-Jupiters
530 Fighter Squadron. The 530th Fighter Squadron was activated at Pleiku on December 1970, operating A-1 Skyraiders.
It belonged to the 72nd Tactical Wing, which was part of the 6th Air Division. This tactical wing consisted
of 530th FS, A-1 Skyraiders; 118th OS, O-1, O-2, U-17; 229th HS, UH-1H with detachment B,
259th HS, UH-1H; 235th HS, UH-1H with detachment G, 259th HS, UH-1H. The Sixth Air Divisions
Headquarters was at Pleiku Air Base. It consisted of the 72nd Tactical Wing at PAB and 82nd Tactical
Wing at Phu Cat Air Base (vnaf.net).
I was and still am very proud
to serve at this fighter squadron, which belonged to the Viet Nam Air Force -once was a significant
and colorful fighting force that deserves to be remembered (vnaf.net). This is also the reason
for me to build this site to be a tribute to the Thai Duong-Jupiters 530 Fighter Squadron and to the men that were
part of it. And, I also hope that this site will be a place for our children to come to visit in order to understand more
about their parents who fought for freedom that they are enjoying. So they can recognize the love we have for our country
inside the stories we told them and see the pain that we have felt, having been forced to flee a country we love so dearly.
Of all the generations that have
felt the full tragedy, it is ours. Our parents, at the time of the war have already lived long and fruitful lives in Vietnam;
and the generation to which our children belong, was spared the full trauma of the war. Many of our children cannot imagine
what it was like to live during the war, to see the sky light up with fire or to hear the sounds of battles. It was an experience
that we seldom described to them, and a pain we never showed them.
They, our children and their generation,
grew up so far removed from their roots and from the reality of war that at times, we must wonder if they could ever understand
and appreciate both our sacrifices and our achievements.
The past twenty nine years must
be like a dream for us, a period during which we lived in a world to which we never emotionally belonged, a period during
which we waited to return to our homeland, but never knowing whether it was possible. During this time, we watch our children
grow up deprived of any emotional knowledge of our homeland, relying only on our personal conviction to instill in them whatever
we could so that we could have something Vietnamese inside of them to hold onto, however small. How many times we have felt
the frustrations of watching them grow up as Americans, as the environment has force them to become, and as Vietnamese, out
of the immense love and respect they have for us.
At times, we were hurt because
they let us down by not being Vietnamese enough. But we must understand that our children can never deny the twenty-nine years
of American influence. And we must understand that our children were desperately torn between these two identities. With this
site, I hope all the former Thai Duong 530-Jupiters Fighter Squadron pilots and its other flight squadrons pilots and friends
can join me and welcome our children visiting us and share their thoughts and hope that they can learn how to harmoniously
combine the two identities. We hope that this cultural combination is something we will be able to accept not only in our
children, but also in our grandchildren.
I would like to acknowledge Dustin Pham, who also belonged to VNAF,
stationed at Nha Trang AFB before 1975, for helping me with this website. I also appreciate the supports that I have
from other former ThaiDuong-Jupiters 530 pilots - Vinh Thuan, Tran Van Toan, Nguyen Thanh Trung, Pham Huu Loc, Truong Minh
An, Dang Ngoc Do, Nguyen Tai Co, Bach Dien Son, Vu Cong Hiep, Pham Nghi Luan...and from BD. Vo Y (118th OS).
Please join me
to further promote the interests of our Thai Duong-Jupiters 530 family to the community. We strive
to make a difference by educating our children and expanding our reach.