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Davis-Monthan AFB Memories

Home-> Squadron Memories-> Davis-Monthan AFB->

100th Airborne Missile Maintenance Squadron

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100th AMMS

Squadron History
 


Time Line                     Factoid  

July 1964               4080th Deployed to Ben Hoa

Aug 20 1964           1st Drone Flight

Jun 25 1966           100th AMMS activated

Jan 1970                Deployed to Osan AB Korea

July 11 1970          DC130/Drone deployed to U Tapoa

Nov 1972               Deployed to NKP

Apr 30 1975            Last Drone Flight

May 1975               Depart SE Asia

Jun 1975                Depart South Korea

Jun 30 1976            100th AMMS deactivated

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100th AMMS
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100th SRW
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4080 SRW

History Revisited

By: David Matthews
Fairborn, OH
Email: dronedoc@cs.com 
 


The 100th AMMS began in 1962 when a small cadre of personnel with drone experience was assigned to the 4080th  Strategic Wing at Davis-Monthan AFB. The wing designation changed shortly after to the 100th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, and the reconnaissance drone detachment became the 100th AMMS. The 100th SRW operated the U-2 aircraft in several locations worldwide, and the addition of the AMMS` reconnaissance drones fit the wing`s mission. The AMMS was manned from other AMMS units, taking advantage of the fact that the number of Hounddog squadrons was being reduced. At the same time, 'orphans` from Mace, Atlas, and other SAC programs were also brought on board. After a very short training period, the 100th set up operating locations at Kadena AFB, Okinawa,  Bien Hoa AB, SVN, and Danang AB, SVN. The Kadena operation only lasted a few months in 1963/4. The first operational mission out of Bien Hoa took place on 20 August 1964. The facilities at Bien Hoa included hangar space for checkout and refurbishment of the drones after each flight, as well as space for build-up of replacements (that`s why we didn`t put a man in it, right?). The Bien Hoa operation included two DC-130A (later DC-130E) aircraft, each capable of carrying two drones, and usually eight or ten built-up drones. The operation at Danang was the recovery center after flight, and was the home of the ground-based command guidance trailer as well as the two CH-3 mid-air recovery helicopters. The drones were brought into Danang after recovery, post-flighted and rehung on the DC-130 for return to Bien Hoa. After several rocket hits on the DC-130s and the U-2s, the 100th moved the main operating base to U Tapao AB, Thailand in July of 1970. Not long afterward, the recovery operation moved from Danang to Nakon Phanom (NKP) Thailand. Operations continued at these sites until peace broke out, with the last operational flight taking place on 30 April, 1975. Missions flown in Viet Nam were under the nickname Buffalo Hunter, and included photo intelligence, electronic intelligence, and even, during Linebacker II, leaflet dropping. Over 3000 operational sorties were flown over the combat area, with about 500 losses (251 confirmed "killed"). 

After the USS Pueblo incident, and the shooting down of a US Navy EC-121 electronic intelligence aircraft, the 100th was tasked to set up an operating location at Osan AB, Republic of South Korea. This mission, called Combat Dawn, lasted from Feb, 1970 to June, 1975, and was entirely devoted to electronic intelligence activities. 

In 1976, the manned reconnaissance mission was consolidated by moving the U-2 aircraft to Beale AFB, CA. SAC disbanded the 100th AMMS, and the reconnaissance drones, now called RPVs, were turned over to TAC. Most of the SAC personnel were retained by SAC, either at  D-M in the Titan wing, or by reassignment to SRAM or Minuteman units. 

NOTE: Several members of the 100th AMMS accumulated more than 1600 days of TDY in Viet Nam during the 64-70 time frame!

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A photo of a AQM34R off of Korea
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A DC-130E with 2 AQM-34L's
Taking off from U-Tapao, Thailand
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A Tiger by the Tail
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DC-130
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BQM-34
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RPV's of the 100th AMMS

Drones of the 100th AMMS

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A DC-130E at Edwards AFB with the Drone models
maintained by the 100th AMMS.
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AQM-34M
This model was an upgrade to the 34L. It added LORAN guidance and a radar altimeter, both of which added to much better low altitude photography.   It carried a camera that was loaded with 6400 feet of 70MM film. The M flew 304 missions over NVN, with only 16 losses from all causes,
AQM-34L
AQM-34L
This was our low altitude workhorse. This model flew 1651 missions over North Viet Nam, we lost 211 of them to all causes.
AQM-34Q

AQM-34Q
This version had a wet wing, external fuel tanks, a larger engine, and a signal intelligence package in place of cameras. It was used to gather communications signals beyond the horizon of ground stations. The Q and R models combined for over 480 sorties with a total of 30 losses to all causes.
AQM-34M Drone with a Sparrow Missile-T

AQM-34M Drone with a Sparrow Missile
Photograph courtesy of Ray Nairn

Drones Test But Later Cancelled

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AQM-91A
This was the first true stealth aircraft ever built (the SR-71 was very visible in infrared). Very high altitude photo. Even though it has a 52 foot wingspan, it was airlaunch (DC-130E) only. 
SAC possessed them, but never deployed overseas.

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BGM-34A
This model could be air or ground-launched, and could carry Maverick, Stubby HOBO, or Shrike, as well as 500 LB bombs. Never left test stage.
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BGM-34A's with it's potential ordinance
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AQM-34F
This was a supersonic target. Even though it carries the Firebee (34) number, it was all new.
Not in SAC.

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This photo shows a BQM-34 Firebee II drone being carried aloft under the wing of NASA’s B-52 mothership during a 1977 research flight. The Firebee/DAST research program ran from 1977 to 1983 at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California.

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Hootch at Ton Son Nhut after being hit by a 122mm rocket.  Photo courtesy of Jim Benjamin

Click here for a article on "Drones in Southeast Asia”

Click on the link below to visit  the new website dedicated to the troops that served in the 100th AMMS.

Past Our Prime

 

100th AMMS Troops Today

 

 

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Last updated on:  Tuesday, January 06, 2015, Number of pages:  165.

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