Friday, May 21, 2010

FINAL FLIGHT: Air Commando One


Born 1920 - Retired 1 August 1976 - Died 20 May 2010

Brigadier General Harry C. (Heinie) Aderholt was born in Birmingham, Ala., in 1920. He entered active military duty through the aviation cadet program in April 1942 and graduated from pilot training with a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps in May 1943.

During World War II, from October 1943 to August 1945, General Aderholt served in North Africa and Italy as a B-17 and C-47 pilot.

In September 1945 General Aderholt went to Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., assigned as a staff pilot with the Army Air Forces Eastern Flying Training Command. After completion of Air Tactical School at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., in December 1948, General Aderholt returned to Maxwell and served as a flight instructor and flying safety officer with the 3800th Air Base Wing.

During the Korean War, from July 1950 to September 1951, General Aderholt commanded a Special Air Warfare Detachment of the 21st Troop Carrier Squadron. He next was assigned as an operations staff officer with the 1007th Air Intelligence Service Group in Washington, D.C. In June 1953 he was transferred to Donaldson Air Force Base, S.C., where he served with Headquarters Eighteenth Air Force as tactical and operations staff officer in the Directorate of Operations and Training.

In October 1954, General Aderholt was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Wiesbaden Air Base, Germany, and served in the Directorate of Plans as an unconventional warfare planning staff officer.

In September 1957 General Aderholt returned to Washington, D.C., assigned to the 1007th Air Intelligence Service Group as a special warfare staff officer, and in September 1959 joined the 1040th U.S. Air Force Field Activity Squadron in the same capacity.

General Aderholt left for Okinawa in January 1960 where he became commander of the 1095th Operational Evaluation Training Group. During this assignment, he contributed to the pioneering of special air warfare techniques, and was instrumental in developing the Laos airfield complex known as Lima sites. These fields were used throughout Southeast Asia as support sites for special warfare operations and as "Jolly Green" helicopter forward staging bases for rescue and recovery operations in Laos and North Vietnam.

From August 1962 to February 1964, General Aderholt served as special advisor to the commander of the U.S. Air Force Special Air Warfare Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. During this period, he contributed to and participated in RAND Corp. studies which resulted in the publication of the Single Integrated Attack Team Study. He then was transferred to Hurlburt Field, Fla., where he served as vice commander and commander of the famed 1st Air Commando Wing.

General Aderholt left for the Republic of the Philippines in August 1965 where he was assigned as deputy commander for plans and operations with the 6200th Materiel Wing at Clark Air Base. While in this assignment, he joined the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, where he conceived and activated the Joint Personnel Recovery Center in Saigon, and served as chief from July to December 1966. He then was selected by Headquarters Pacific Air Forces to activate the 56th Air Commando Wing at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. This wing, which he organized and commanded from December 1966 to December 1967, conducted low-level night interdiction missions over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos and North Vietnam, using prop-driven aircraft. The efforts of this wing were so successful in slowing infiltration that the enemy reacted by greatly increasing anti-aircraft defenses and committing a large amount of his total assets to keep the trail open.

In January 1968 General Aderholt was reassigned to the U.S. Air Force Special Air Warfare Center, later redesignated U.S. Air Force Special Operations Force, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., to serve as deputy chief of staff for operations.

General Aderholt returned to Thailand in June 1970 for a two-year tour of duty as chief of the Air Force Advisory Group, Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group, in Bangkok. He retired from active military duty in December 1972 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

He was recalled to active duty in October 1973 and assigned as deputy commander, United States Military Assistance Command, Thailand, and deputy chief, Joint United States Military Advisory Group, Thailand, with headquarters at Bangkok.

General Aderholt became Commander, USMACTHAI, and Chief, JUSMAG, Thailand, in May 1975.

His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with eight oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation Emblem, and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon with oak leaf cluster. He is a command pilot and wears the Parachutist Badge.

He was promoted to the grade of Brigadier General effective May 31, 1974, with date of rank May 25, 1974.

Bio of General Aderholt was published in Bangkok in 1975 when he was Commander, U. S. Military Assistance Command, Thailand, and Chief, Joint U. S. Military Advisory Group, Thailand.

Heinie Aderholt was a pioneer of American Joint Special Operations, he was the consummate Clandestine Warrior, and he was an American Hero


More reading: BG Aderholt’s Ho Chi Minh Trail Adventure Diary by Nick Ascot


  1. He was my cousin, age -mate of my dad. Amazing man and a true historic figure.
    Linda Aderholt Harral

  2. If I know Heinie this was Not his final flight.
    If Hero's get wings, I expect Heinie to be watching my back for a few more years until I join him on the other side of The Wall. God Speed Heinie; you are missed and I was truly blessed to be your friend.

    You did so much for your country, troops and the children of Nakhon Phanom and Laos with the Air Commando Association and the Thailand Laos Cambodia Brotherhood.

    John Sweet
    Vice President TLC Brotherhood
    Air Commando Association # 2924
    Nakhon Phanom TUOC 1987th Comm

  3. Regards  for sharing the information with us.
    Interlaken hotels