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602d Special Operations Squadron
602nd Special Operations Squadron USAF badge.PNG
Active 1944-1945; 1963-1970
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Role Close air support and search and rescue (SAR) escort duty
Nickname(s) Firefly
Decorations Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg PUC
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with V.jpg AFOUA w/V Device
Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d.svg RVGC w/ Palm

The 602d Special Operations Squadron was a United States Air Force squadron that operated in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.

History[edit | edit source]

A Douglas A-1H Skyraider (s/n 52-139778) of the 602d Special Operations Squadron over Vietnam in June 1970.

The 602d Fighter Squadron (Commando) was activated in May 1964, and along with the 1st Air Commando Squadron, was a part of the 34th Tactical Group. The squadron became operational at Bien Hoa on 15 October 1964. By 1966 the squadron had been renamed the 602d Air Commando Squadron and moved, first to Nha Trang AB in South Vietnam, and then to Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base. In March 1968 it moved again to Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base. On 1 August 1968 it was redesignated the 602d Special Operations Squadron, and was disbanded on 31 December 1970 at Nakhon Phanom.

Lineage[edit | edit source]

Constituted 2d Fighter Reconnaissance Squadron on 11 Apr 1944. Activated on 20 Apr 1944. Redesignated 2d Fighter Squadron, Commando on 2 Jun 1944. Inactivated on 12 Nov 1945. Disbanded on 8 Oct 1948. Reconstituted, redesignated 602d Fighter Squadron, Commando, and activated, on 15 Apr 1963. Organized on 1 May 1963. Redesignated 602d Special Operations Squadron on 1 Aug 1968. Inactivated on 31 Dec 1970. The original Squadron patch was drawn by Walt Disney in 1944. The sky was blue with a wisp of cloud behind the left wing of the eagle. No call sign was mounted above the patch.

Assignments[edit | edit source]

Douglas A-1E and A-1H/J Skyraiders of the 1st and 602d Special Operations Squadrons at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base.

Third Air Force, 20 Apr 1944; 2d Air Commando Group, 22 Apr 1944-12 Nov 1945. 1st Air Command Group (later 1st Air Commando Wing), 1 May 1963; Pacific Air Forces, 1 Oct 1964; 34th Tactical Group, 18 Oct 1964; 6251st Tactical Fighter Wing, 8 Jul 1965; 3d Tactical Fighter Wing, 21 Nov 1965; 14th Air Commando Wing, 8 Mar 1966; 56th Air Commando (later, Special Operations) Wing, 8 Apr 1967-31 Dec 1970.

Stations[edit | edit source]

Aircraft[edit | edit source]

Operations[edit | edit source]

  • Combat in CBI Theater, 14 Feb-9 May 1945
  • Combat in SEA, 1964-1970

Campaign Streamers[edit | edit source]

World War II: Central Burma. Vietnam: Vietnam Advisory; Vietnam Defense; Vietnam Air; Vietnam Air Offensive; Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase II; Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase III; Vietnam Air/Ground; Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase IV; Tet 69/Counteroffensive; Vietnam Summer-Fall 1969; Vietnam Winter-Spring 1970; Sanctuary Counteroffensive; Southwest Monsoon; Commando Hunt V.

Decorations[edit | edit source]

Distinguished Unit Citation: Bangkok, Thailand, 15 Mar 1945. Presidential Unit Citations: Vietnam: 1 Jul 1965-30 Jun 1966; 1 Jul 1966-7 Mar 1967; 12 Apr-30 Jun 1967; 1 Nov 1968-1 May 1969; 1 Oct 1969-30 Apr 1970. Air Force Outstanding Unit Award With Combat “V” Device: 1-31 Dec 1970. Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, 1 Apr 1966-31 Dec 1970.

References[edit | edit source]

Lineage and Honors History of the 602 Special Operations Squadron USAF Official History; Prepared by Carl E. Bailey; Reviewed by A. Timothy Warnock; USAF Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, Alabama 2005.

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