VMF(AW)-235 arrived in Vietnam on 1 February 1966 and had pilots in the air flying their first combat sortie less that 24 hours later and had flown 603 sorties by the end of the first month. The squadron's working components smoothed out by March and the pilots established a new monthly operational record of 806 sorties and 1,027.8 flight hours. Keeping busy, the Angels flew 696 sorties in April, 663 in May and 678 in June. On 10 June the squadron set a new record of 41 sorties in a 24-hour period.

The squadron's missions on its first tour in Vietnam can be divided into five categories: (1) Flying escort and cover for combat and logistical support helicopters; (2) Providing close air support for Marine infantry units in the field; (3) Providing armed escort for Marine convoys traveling Vietnam roads; (4) Providing fighter escort for Marine aerial refueling aircraft; (5) Day/night all-weather bombing under control of a Marine air support radar team.

The only land-based F8E Crusader-equipped squadron in Vietnam in 1966, the squadron hammered the North Vietnamese heavily, flying over 6,000 sorties and encompassing over 7,000 flying hours in support of 22 special operations.


1 February 1966