361st TACTICAL ELECTRONICS WARFARE SQUADRON
The 361st Reconnaissance Squadron was activated at Nha Trang Air Base on 8 April
1966. The first squadron commander, Lt Colonel Ralph L. Stapper, arrived from the
United States to assume command on 24 July 1966. In August 1966, Detachment One of
the 361st was activated at Pleiku Air Base in the Central Highlands with Lt.
Colonel Jack A. Crook as commander. The Detachment received their first airplane
on 8 September 1966, almost a month before the arrival of the first airplanes at
Nha Trang. However, once it begun, the buildup at Nha Trang was more rapid with
aerial operations reaching sixty percent of current capability by the end of 1966,
while the Detachment's first mission was flown from Pleiku on 15 December 1966.
Detachment One became our sister squadron, the 362nd, on 31 Janurary 1967. In
both cases, the rapid development of operational capability required herculean
efforts and much self-help construction. Then, as now, hard-working dedicated
people made the differnece in making the 361st an effective combat squadron.
NHA TRANG AIR BASE, REPUBLIC OF VIET NAM
The mission of the 361st has always been, to paraphrase the remark of a famous
general, "to fly and help fight, and don't you ever forget it!" In spite of early
problems such as pilots attempting to control the venerable "Gooneybird" while
wearing survival "chaps" and a requirement to perform compass swings at Tan Son
Nhut, the mission was performed superlatively -- thanks to skill, cunning and
The Nha Trang environment contributed greatly to the ever-high morale of the
squadron. For example, the official squadron history reports: "On 27 November a
squadron party was held at a nearby beach. Steaks, liquid refreshment and
involuntary swimming were featured." On the other hand, the shortage of billeting
space for airmen was a continuing problem. The squadron has had three commanders
during its history. Lt Colonel Paul A. Davis relieved the original commander on
12 May 1967 and Lt Colonel Bruce E. Hunt assumed command on 12 September, 1967.
Each of these officers have since been promoted to the grade of colonel. Colonel
Henry R. Briarton assumes command of the squadron in late June 1968.
Early in 1967 the squadron was redesignated the 361st Tactical Electronics Warfare
Squadron. Throughout its history it has been a component squadron of the 460th
Tactical Reconnaissance Wing presently commanded by Brigadier General Robert J. Holbury.
In accomplishing its mission the 361st has continuously enjoyed outstanding support
from the 14th Air Commando Wing, the 66th Tactical Wing, the 66th Tactical Wing
(VNAF) and several other exceptionally fine organizations which will not be
enumerated. The men of the 361st have played a major role in base life at Nha Trang,
consistently fielding fine athletic teams and placed first in the 14th ACW
Commanders Trophy competition for February 1968.
The 361st Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron has played a highly significant
role in the Southeast Asian conflict, achieving its mission with gallantry and
high spirits. Its contribution to the defense of the Republic of Viet Nam and the
region have been remarkable.