Hensell, Ron, Capt

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Current Service Status
USAF Veteran
Current/Last Rank
Current/Last Primary AFSC/MOS
Current/Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1968-1970, 1535B, 13th Air Force
Previously Held AFSC/MOS
Service Years
1965 - 1971
Officer Collar Insignia

 Official Badges 

Tactical Air Command Pacific Air Forces

 Unofficial Badges 

C-130 Hercules 1000 Hour C-130 Hercules 2000 Hour

 Additional Information
What are you doing now:
Not Specified
Other Comments:
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Vietnam Air/Ground (Tet Counteroffensive) Campaign (1968)
From Month/Year
January / 1968
To Month/Year
July / 1968

This period was from January 22-July 7, 1968.
The air campaign in defense of Khe Sanh, an outpost held by the U.S.
26th Marine Regiment. began on January 22. 1968. For 2 and 1/2
months Allied tactical air forces continuously attacked targets sur-
rounding the base and B-52s dropped bombs near Khe Sanh on an
average of every 90 minutes. At night AC-47 gunships provided
illumination and close air support. Air Force and Marine airlifters.
mostly C-130s. frequently landed under fire at the Khe Sanh airstrip.
bringing in supplies and reinforcements and flying out the wounded
and refugees. When the transports could no longer land because of
intense mortar and artillery fire. their crews used parachutes and
arrester cables to extract cargo from the aircraft as they flew a few
feet above the ground over the airstrip. Beginning on March 6 the
Seventh Air Force provided fighter escorts to suppress enemy fire and
lay down smoke screens until the C-130s dropped their cargoes. Gen.
William C. Westmoreland, MACV Commander, encountered difficul-
ties coordinating the air resources of the USAF and U.S. Marines to
meet both the military demands at Khe Sanh and the requirements
introduced by the Tet Offensive that the North Vietnamese and Viet
Cong launched on January 30, 1968. On March 8 he appointed the
Seventh Air Force Commander. Gen. William W. Momyer, as Deputy
Commander for Air Operations. MACV. to manage all tactical air
resources in South Vietnam.

Late in March 1968 the North Vietnamese surrounding Khe Sanh
withdrew. leaving only a single NVA division to oppose the Allied
advance. On April 1, the 1st Marine regiment and the Army's 1st
Cavalry Division moved along Route 9. relieving Khe Sanh 5 days
later. On April 10. for the first time in 48 days. no shells fell on the

A week later, on April 19. the Allies mounted a helicopter-bome
attack against A Shau Valley on the Laotian border. 30 miles south-
west of Hue. The Viet Cong and NVA had built a vast stores and
logistical base in this area since 1966. Preliminary USAF and Allied
air strikes. including B-52 bombings between April 8 and 13, 1968.
failed to clear the enemy from landing zones. In spite of the heavy
resistance. on April 24, the U.S. Army seized the A Luoi airstrip at the
northwest end of the valley. USAF transports airdropped supplies.
often during bad weather and without tactical air support, because
intense ground fire prevented the landing of C-130s until May 4. The
Viet Cong and North Vietnamese withdrew into Laos in mid-May,
leaving behind large caches of weapons and supplies.

Earlier in the year. on January 30, the Viet Cong and North Vietnam-
ese launched the Tet (Buddhist New Year) Offensive throughout
South Vietnam in an effort to regain the political and military initia-
tive that they had held 2 years previously. At Bien Hoa and Tan Son
Nhut Air Bases. alert base defenders successfully repulsed initial
attacks, but in the next 2 weeks the air bases came under frequent
mortar and rocket attacks; in all, the USAF lost 14 aircraft on the
ground and another 114 damaged. During the Tet Offensive. Seventh
Air Force pilots provided close air support for Allied troops. and C-7s
and C-130s hauled ammunition, supplies, and reinforcements to
isolated areas. Within 2 or 3 days Allied forces cleared the Viet Cong
troops from all cities except Saigon and Hue. By February 5, the
Allies had driven the Viet Cong from Saigon, although a large force
remained in the vicinity. North Vietnamese forces that had taken the
old imperial city of Hue were more difficult to dislodge. The Seventh
Air Force used close air support carefully to avoid indiscriminate and
unwanted damage in Hue; AC-130 gunships that could deliver precise
fire day or night provided the most effective support. On February 25,
Allied forces succeeded in driving the enemy from the city. Although
the Allies successfully and rapidly countered the Tet Offensive. the
Communists gained a significant propaganda victory. Many Ameri-
cans believed that a failure of U.S. military policy had permitted the
Communists to mount so extensive a battle throughout South Vietnam.
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Month/Year
January / 1968
To Month/Year
April / 1968
Last Updated:
Mar 18, 2020
Personal Memories

The last eventful flight I had in B-57s was mundane but yet spectacular.  It was on a normal night schedule on January 31, 1968 which was Tet, the first day of the Vietnamese New Year.  We did not expect anything unusual because normally both the North and South Vietnamese would cease fire for the day.   However, during the day it became clear that there was significant combat going on throughout South Vietnam.  Phan Rang was protected by Republic of Korea troops and, I’ve heard, because of their brutal interrogation methods, enemy activity was minimal near our base but the rest of Vietnam was in chaos.  Our flight was changed from an interdiction mission in Laos to a combat support mission in South Vietnam.  The reason the mission was memorable was the view of South Vietnam as we flew south.  The entire country looked like it was on fire!  I don’t, after 47 years, even recall the rest of the mission but that part was spectacular!

My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  384 Also There at This Battle:
  • Alexander, Herman, MSgt, (1964-1985)
  • Arnold, Michael, SMSgt, (1967-1994)
  • Ashabranner, Wesley, Col, (1966-2006)
  • Barnard, Grant, SSgt, (1966-1969)
  • Barrett, George, CMSgt, (1954-1985)
  • Barrett, Harold, SSgt, (1966-1970)
  • Batchelder, Norman, MSgt, (1963-1989)
  • Bates, Larry, SSgt, (1967-1971)
  • Beldin, Bernie, Maj, (1960-1992)
  • Betts, Chobby, SSgt, (1961-1972)
  • Bopp, Timothy, Sgt, (1966-1970)
  • Boudreaux, Don, CMSgt, (1964-1994)
  • Boyer, Joe, Col, (1954-1975)
  • Bradley, William, SSgt, (1965-1969)
  • Brasfield, Michael, Sgt, (1964-1968)
  • Brewer, Russell, TSgt, (1956-1979)
  • Brosius, James, SSgt, (1964-1968)
  • Brunet, Mark, SSgt, (1966-1970)
  • Burks, Larry, TSgt, (1963-1985)
  • Burns, Alfred, Sgt, (1964-1968)
  • Burns, Ernest, SSgt, (1965-1969)
  • Butler, William, SSgt, (1966-1970)
  • Byrne, Dennis, SMSgt, (1966-1992)
  • Cadwallader, John, Sgt, (1966-1970)
  • Cagle, Dan, Maj, (1966-1972)
  • Calder, John, Sgt, (1966-1970)
  • Caron, Raymond, CMSgt, (1966-1996)
  • Carr, Terry, SSgt, (1966-1971)
  • Ceballos, Peter, Maj, (1945-1970)
  • Churchill, Dennis, Sgt, (1965-1969)
  • Clifton, Craig, MSgt, (1959-1983)
  • Cote, Alan, SSgt, (1965-1976)
  • Cox, Elwin, Sgt, (1964-1968)
  • Craib, Ray, SMSgt, (1963-1991)
  • Creed, Sam, Sgt, (1965-1972)
  • Cromwell, Rollin, Sgt, (1966-1970)
  • Cryan, Lonnie, Sgt, (1966-1970)
  • Davis, LeRoy, Sgt, (1966-1970)
  • Dean, Larry, SMSgt, (1960-1983)
  • Decker, Jay, SSgt, (1966-1970)
  • DeNoi, Anthony G., CMSgt
  • Deptula, Clarence, MSgt, (1955-1977)
  • Dewey, Dennis, SMSgt, (1967-2004)
  • Dewolfe, James, MSgt, (1967-1990)
  • Doane, Jimmie, MSgt, (1956-1974)
  • Dolim, Henry, Lt Col, (1966-1986)
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