27 Jan 1973: The Vietnam cease-fire, announced four days earlier, came into effect and the carriers Oriskany, America, Enterprise and Ranger, on Yankee Station, cancelled all combat sorties into North and South Vietnam.

The cost of this endeavor in terms of lives and treasure was indeed dear.  From 1961 t0 1973 the Navy lost 896 aircraft in theater during this time — 523 fixed-wing aircraft and 8 helicopters to hostile action:

Operation Homecoming, the repatriation of U.S. POWs between 27 January and 1 April, began and NVN and the Viet Cong released 591 POWs. Of the 591 POWs released during Operation Homecoming, there were 566 military personnel and 145 were Navy personnel. Naval Aviation personnel accounted for 144 of the 145 Navy personnel.

Aircraft Total Losses Combat Losses
A-1 Skyraider 65 48
A-3 Skywarrior 7 2
A-4 Skyhawk 282 195
A-6 Intruder 62 51
A-7 Corsair II 100 55
C-1 Trader 4 0
C-2 Greyhound 1 0
E-1 Tracer 3 0
E-2 Hawkeye 2 0
EKA-3 Skywarrior 2 0
EA-1 Skyraider 4 1
F-4 Phantom II 138 75
F-8 Crusader 118 57
KA-3 Skywarrior 2 0
RA-5C Vigilante 27 18
RF-8 Crusader 29 19
S-2 Tracker 4 2
C-47 Skytrain 1
OV-10 Bronco 7
P-2 Neptune 4
P-3 Orion 2
SH-2/UH-2 Sea Sprite 12 0
SH-3 Sea King 20 8


  1. Hey..any explanation for the high loss rate for the A-4’s? It’s loss rate is double that of other aircraft that were flying against the North.

  2. Re. the A-4 loss rate – most likely a reflection of the fact that the A-4 bore the brunt of missions over the North early in the war, until the A-6 and A-7 arrived on station. Environment was just too hostile for the A-1. Additionally, the early A-4s were woefully underequipped with ECM gear to counter the radar directed AAA and SAM threats encountered over the North. When looking at the aggregate (all services) the F-4 actually ended up with the hghest loss rate of the war. Also, looking at the shore-based fixed wing, I’m pretty sure at least one of the P-2 losses was over lao or Cambodia stemming from the special ops ISR missions flown along the Ho Chi Minh trail at night.
    – SJS

  3. Andy (JADAA)

    I’d like to cross-post the loss table to a couple of bulletin boards (AAHS & AVSIG) but can’t seem to break it out. Can you post a link to it?


  4. Andy:

    Check your email…
    w/r, SJS

  5. Andy (JADAA)

    Check yours, too! 🙂


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