Raid on the Thanh Hóa Bridge...

The Aviationist has a nice, but abbreviated article on the initial and follow up raids on the “Dragon’s Jaw” bridge in Vietnam…once you read that article though, you’ll probably want to continue down the rabbit hole and Wikipedia actually has a much more detailed accounting of the action…

“By any measure this is an impressive air armada: Sixty-six advanced supersonic fighters and strike aircraft from America’s “Century Series”. The main strike package is 46 Republic F-105 Thunderchiefs with massive bomb loads. The defensive escort is 21 North American F-100 Super Sabres holstering a covey of air-to-air missiles. The strike and escort fighters are supported by an enormous number of tanker, surveillance, rescue and reconnaissance planes. They all have one objective: to kill “The Dragon”.”


The author’s language was a bit… fanciful, and not sure what’s up with the F-35 mention at the end. But an interesting historical foot note nonetheless.

Dad led a flight of four 336th F-4E’s from Ubon which took out a heavily defended rail yard 3 days before the final USAF strike on the Thanh Hoa bridge. It’s an interesting story, which I’ll post one day.


Awesome citation, your Dad is a true Hero.


I read
a long time ago.
I can only imagine what your Father must have endured.
Thanks for sharing :sunglasses:


The raid (from 1972 as the bridge was repaired many times over) was depicted in one of the missions in Jane’s USNF’97 Vietnam Campaign.

It’s not true recreation mind you. The bridge goes down at 6:47 in the video.


Looking forward to that day!


Nice find Beach! This really makes you appreciate the overwhelming numbers North Vietnam was up against. They definitely put up a valiant fight!

Thanks a bunch Gunny. Dad was like most of his contemporaries, in that they trained hard to stop a perceived spread of communism, honed mostly facing the Soviets up close in Europe. They strongly believed in their mission. He loved flying fighters, and soaked up much along the way from the WW2 vets who were now commanders. Robin Olds, to name one who particularly left an imprint.

Dad survived his first tour with the Gunfighters in Da Nang flying the C and D in '68, hunting trucks at night on the Ho Chi Min trail, supporting the battle of Khe Sanh, survived the Tet Offensive when the bad guys breached the wire at Da Nang as part of the battle on that city, and living through daily rocket attacks.

When he returned in '71 and '72, first as Ops Officer, then CO of the 336th, he was a patch wearer and had been fine tuning his craft for almost two decades. The F-4E was his beloved tool for the mission, and through over 275+ combat missions SE Asia, never lost an aircraft when he was flight lead. I am thankful that he didn’t go earlier when the Air Force had much to learn, and thankful that he didn’t go in the Thud or Hun.

Of interest in the time of the last Thanh Hoa Bride raids in '72 is also raids on the Paul Doumer bridge, crossing the Red River and the main link between Haiphong and Hanoi. A really good book on the subject is One Day in a Long War.