history of the Skyraider began during WW II when Douglas submitted a design
to the U.S. Navy for the XBT2D-1 as a replacement for the famous SBD
dive-bomber. The result was a new airplane designated as the "AD"
which made its first flight on March 18, 1945. For the next 12 years
there was constant improvement in the airplane up through the AD-7, and
3,180 Skyraiders were delivered to the Navy, many of which were used during
the Korean War.
In 1963, the U.S. Air Force began a program to modify the AD-5 Skyraider for
service in Vietnam and redesignated it the A-1E. Because of its ability to
carry large bomb loads, absorb heavy ground fire, and fly for long periods
at low altitude, the A-1E was particularly suited for close-support
The A-1E on shown here was the airplane flown by Major Bernard Fisher on
March 10, 1966 when he rescued a fellow pilot shot down over South Vietnam
in the midst of enemy troops, a deed for which he was awarded the Medal of
Honor. The airplane, severely damaged in combat in South Vietnam, was
returned in 1967 for preservation by the U.S. Air Force Museum. (NMUSAF)
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