The United States Air Force
553rd Reconnaissance Wing
at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base
and their EC-121R and other aircraft

193rd TWS Pennsylvania Air National Guard EC-121S
Task Force Commando Buzz at Korat RTAFB

The 193rd Tactical Warfare Squadron, Pennsylvania Air National Guard flew their Lockheed EC-121S aircraft from Korat RTAFB during the Task Force Commando Buzz operation. Page added 04/11/15, Last updated 07/26/15.

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Task Force Commando Buzz Overview

The 193rd Tactical Warfare Squadron (TWS), Pennsylvania Air National Guard, was tasked to operate Task Force Commando Buzz operation from Korat RTAFB. Purpose of Commando Buzz was to receive the Radio Cambodia programming then rebroadcast those radio programs from altitude so all of Cambodia, especially those in fringe areas, could receive the Radio Cambodia programing. Initially classified secret, the Commando Buzz operation was changed to Top Secret in July 1970. Task Force Commando Buzz was declassified in 2002.

To accomplish the Commando Buzz mission the 193rd TWS arrived at Korat RTAFB on July 31, 1970 with their Lockheed EC-121S aircraft. Fifty eight members of the 193rd TWS came to Korat RTAFB including 11 officers and 47 enlisted airmen. Of the 58 members of the 193rd TWS twenty were aircrew, 38 support personnel. Sources vary on the number of EC-121S aircraft, some say at least 5 aircraft were converted to EC-121S radio relay configuration. Other sources indicate that as many as 12 aircraft were converted to EC-121S configuration.

Upon departure from the U.S. CONUS the plan was for Task Force Commando Buzz to operate for 179 days. The 193rd TWS arrived at Korat RTAFB on July 31, 1970. Korat RTAFB was selected because of the presence of the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing with their Lockheed EC-121R aircraft. While the 193rd TWS was mostly self sufficient, the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing provided the parts supply, as well as ground equipment and personnel from the 553rd AMS, 553rd FMS and 553rd OMS as needed. These maintenance technicians were very familiar with the EC-121 and had shop and test equipment to support Task Force Commando Buzz.

First Commando Buzz mission was flown on August 6, 1970. The radio relay Task Force Commando Buzz missions were flown until December 23, 1970. By late December 1970 the Cambodian government had installed additional ground transmitters so the fringe areas of Cambodia were now covered adequately by the ground transmitters. The 193rd TWS along with their Lockheed EC-121S aircraft returned to the CONUS on January 3, 1971.

Source of the above information is from the official history, 4th quarter 1970, of the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing history, declassified by the Air Force Historical Research Agency in 2002.

193rd CAMS Provided Task Force Commando Buzz
Maintenance Support at Korat RTAFB

This is an image of the 193rd Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard. The CAMS provided maintenance techinicians to support the Lockheed EC-121S operations at Korat RTAFB. Not sure who added the two red tennis balls to the sign, however they are not standard.My thanks to Phillip Cameron for sending this image. Color, about 168K, added 07/26/15.

193rd TWS Task Force Commando Buzz
Lockheed EC-121S Images at Korat RTAFB

The images below are also shown on the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing Maintenance Tehnician page. Note that upper dome on the EC-121S, it is an unique size and shape. This is not the same upper dome which the Task Force College Eye Lockheed EC-121D, EC-121T (or the EC-121H) used. The EC-121S flew without tip tanks.

For a 6 month period in 1970 the Pennsylvania Air National Guard flew the Lockheed EC-121S out of Korat. One book I have on the Lockheed Constellation, "Lockheed Constellation," by Peter M. Bowers and Curtis K. Stringfellow, indicates only 5 aircraft were modified to this standard. The EC-121S aircraft were flown and maintained by the Pennsylvania Air National Guard. While at Korat the 553rd Recconaissance Wing provided service facilities. Shown here is a photo of an EC-121S in the hangar undergoing maintenance. Here is another view of an EC-121S on the flight line. Note the unusal antenna, this is not the same as the height finder antenna found on the EC-121D and EC-121H, and also note that no tip tanks are fitted. Both images provided by Greg Krzyzak. These EC-121S images added 09/05/01, updated 07/07/03.

This image shows two EC-121S aircraft on the flight line at Korat RTAFB. This image was taken from the window of a 2 baht bus going into Korat city. The EC-121S aircraft are on the right with the white tops. My thanks to John Tomany for sending this image. Color, about 29K, added 06/29/99, updated 12/12/14.

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