3rd RRU 509th Radio Research Group Lineage & Honors
Courtesy of Dennis Buley
The 400th USASA Operations Unit (Provisional) was activated in Saigon,
Republic of Vietnam on 23 May 1961 to oversee all USASA operations in
Vietnam. Its "cover" designation was the 3rd Radio Research Unit (3rd RRU).
The 3rd RRU was located at Tan Son Nhut Airbase. On 20 Sep 1961, the 400th
USASA Operations Unit (Provisional) was discontinued and the 82nd
USASA Special Operations Unit was created. The "cover" name, 3rd RRU was
In January 1962, the facility occupied by the 3rd RRU was named "Davis
Station" in honor of SP4 James T. Davis who had been killed in Vietnam on
22 Dec 1961.
The first ARDF aircraft sent to Vietnam were three RU-6As that were
assigned to the Aviation Section of the 3rd RRU beginning in March 1962.
These were followed by seven more RU-6As in 1963. These aircraft were
called SEVEN ROSES. Also joining the 3rd RRU in 1963 were the first two
RU-8D aircraft and one U-8F (this aircraft may or may not have been
designated as an RU-8F). In any event, DF performance in the U-8F was
unsatisfactory and the DF gear was removed from the aircraft and the
aircraft was retained for liason duties. This group was followed by the
seven RU-6A and ten RU-8D CHECKMATE aircraft. Aircraft from the 3rd RRU
were forward deployed to Da Nang, Phu Bai and Can Tho. The last group of
RU-6A and RU-8D were called WINEBOTTLE or CEFISH PERSON and consisted of a
total of twenty-seven RU-6A and RU-8D. Also in use was the one-of-a-kind
PATHFINDER RCV-2B Caribou 62-4147.
On 1 Nov 1964, the 82nd USASA Operations Unit was redesignated as the 53rd
USASA Special Operations Command. This designation remained until 1 Jun
1966 when the 509th USASA Group was organized. The "cover" designation was
then changed from the 3rd RRU to the 509th Radio Research Group.