As a young Air Force officer, Major General Paul Landers flew small Cessna O-1 aircrafts, called Bird Dogs, over the trees and rice paddies of the Mekong Delta as a forward air controller (FAC).
His duty was to conduct reconnaissance and direct airstrikes in support of the only large US unit operating there: the Mobile Riverine Force (MRF). The MRF, combining 2d Brigade, 9th Infantry Division and Navy Task Force 117, fought along the many rivers and canals of the Delta, seeking to regain control of that quarter of Vietnam, where over half the population lived.
After Tet 1968, when the MRF had driven the VC out of the major Delta cities, General Westmoreland praised the MRF, saying that “they saved the Delta.” Paul Landers was there. He flew more than 375 combat missions, directed hundreds of airstrikes, and helped rescue downed aircrew and save outposts under attack.
This is his story.