I arrived at Korat Air Base in Thailand on the 6th of May, 1966. The new signs weren't all up yet. Effective on the first day of that month the temporary nature of the wing at Korat became permanent. What had been the 6234th Tac Ftr Wg (provisional), was now officially the 388th TFW. The 388th had been around for a long time and is still active today at Hill AFB UT.
We had two squadrons of F-105s in place. Both of them were fairly new in terms of the modern Air Force, but both numbers had previously been active in WW II. We were the 421st Tac Ftr Sqdn known as the "Fighting Cavaliers" with a red patch depicting a plumed cavalier hat with a vertical sword surrounded by seven white stars grouped four, two and one.
History was writ large by those squadrons who carried the brunt of the load of Rolling Thunder to North Vietnam. Losses were huge among the crews, but valor was expected and courage was commonplace.
The 469th became the first squadron in Southeast Asia to convert to the gun-equipped F-4E. The F-105Ds had been lost in large numbers and fewer squadrons could be sustained. The 469th flew the F-4E when I arrived back at Korat in June of 1972. I was privileged to be assigned to the organization and proudly led flights that called for taxi instructions with the slogan from the unit patch, "World's Finest". "Taxi four of the Finest" was a great transmission.
The Bulls killed MiGs and SAM sites. We destroyed trucks and railroad bridges, and the history continued until one afternoon in mid-August the commander called us in and read a classified message to the unit. With Operation Linebacker still raging, the squadron was to be de-activated by 30 September--the end of the fiscal year. All artifacts, memorabilia, files and official records were to be crated up and shipped to the archives in St. Louis. Most of that, I imagine, was lost in the fire that swept through the warehouses fifteen years later. The heroic 469th was simply packed up and disappeared. So much for tradition and heritage.