Air War in Vietnam. US Navy and Marines Corps

This exhibit is the first of two historical displays that chronical the contribution of American air power during the Vietnam War.  Part I provides an overview of US Navy and Marine Corps air operations during this lengthy and costly conflict in Southeast Asia. The exhibit features combat gear and personal memorabilia of the late Lt. Col. Norm Smith, USMC, a Vietnam combat veteran and Lyon Air Museum volunteer until his passing in 2014.  Norm had a distinguished career as a Marine aviator, serving his country for 22 years with three tours of duty as a combat pilot in Vietnam and Thailand between 1963 and 1973.  With more than 6,000 hours of flight time, Lt. Col. Smith’s story provides a unique perspective on the roles of Marine aviation in modern warfare, including helicopter transport, forward observation in light aircraft and jet fighter-bombers engaged in close air support of ground forces.  The remainder of the exhibit describes the broader role of Naval Aviation in the war, through the use of photographs, illustrations, narrative text and skillfully executed scale models of important Navy and Marine aircraft of the era. Topics addressed in the display include air combat, defense suppression, photo reconnaissance, ground attack, forward air control, air mobility and aircraft carrier operations.