Another vehicle used in Vietnam by USAF Security Police was the M-113 / M-113A1 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) , or "track" in our slang at the time. This was a valuable addition to the air base defense inventory.  I don't think the M113 was ever an "official" USAF vehicle, and it is certainly not mentioned on the USAF museum list of vehicles while the M706 is.  We probably just gobbled up as many of these as we could on the sly  to supplement the "official" vehicle. 

The usual variant  encountered was the Armored Cavalry Assault Vehicle (ACAV) modification which added a gun shield, and cupola to the commanders station's M-2 Browning .50 caliber  machinegun; and two pintle mounts for M-60 machineguns; one one  either side of the roof cargo hatch. This was originally a "field" modification, later turned into the standard type of M113 used in Vietnam.  It increased firepower, protection, and allowed the vehicle to be used as an armored fighting vehicle instead of just a transport to an from the battlefield. Experiences in the field also resulted in "bolt on" supplemental armor modifications to increase crew protection from mines and RPG's (rocket propelled grenades).  Early M-113's were gasoline powered, with the attendant higher risk of fire and explosion, while later units were M-113A1's which were diesel powered.

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Quick Reaction Teams (QRT) M-113a1 Armored Cavalry Assault Vehicle (ACAV) sweeping a bomb dump  DaNang Air Base in 1972.

Figures on foot ahead of lead vehicle are K-9 handlers. 

Riding on the top was commonplace because of 1) the heat and 2) mines. An M-113 hitting a mine was a disaster for anyone riding inside.  So crews, especially Army crews, often sat on the top and packed the floor with sandbags to lessen the risk of injury from a mine strike.




   Vietnam Era M-113

   M113  M113A1
 1960 1972
Curb Weight (lbs)  20,310  21,474
 Combat Weight (lbs)  23,520  24,594
 Top Speed (mph)  37 41
Water Speed (mph)              3.6
 Cruising Range (miles)  200 300
 Engine Type  Gasoline Diesel
 Engine HP   209  212
 HP/Ton  17.8 17.2
Length 191.5"


Height 86.5"
Ground Clearance 16"




Drawing (unknown)

M-113 drawing in stock format. Side skirts and unprotected commanders position.  Standard original "Battlefield Taxi" configuration.


Image:Armored cavalry assault vehicle.jpg   M113A1 ACAV

Unknown Unit

Good view of top with commanders cupola, and two side mounted M-60's with shields. 

M113 ACAV tracks of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Vietnam.







Vietnam Era QC (South Vietnamese Military Police) emblem on vehicle near Mike Kennedy's hand; which was worn by USAF Security Police to identify them as military police to the Vietnamese.  Mike is wearing jungle fatigues, jungle boots, and subdued black and green chevrons, name and service tapes as authorized in the combat zone.

Side skirts, used for vehicle swimming/fording,  have been removed from the track which was common in Vietnam M-11'3s to reduce fouling from debris, and additional plate style appliqué armor has been bolted on sides of hull.  

The ACAV commanders position gun shield is evident, as is a mounted and covered, M-2 .50 Caliber machinegun.  Most ACAV's also mounted two M-60 7.62 machineguns, one on either side of the cargo hatch on the roof,  with their own smaller armored shields.

These guns were later pulled off active use at DaNang  by Pacific Air Force (PACAF) about 1972 as being unsuitable for the USAF ground combat role.  This was reportedly due to claims it was an anti-armor/anti-aircraft weapon not to be used in an anti-personnel role.  Go figure.  

Mike says:

"The picture was taken at the 3rd SPS vehicle compound adjacent to our hooch (living quarters) area sometime in mid-1969 shortly before Fluffy was given to an Army unit. Unfortunately, as I understand, Fluffy was destroyed by an RPG not long after being transferred to the Army. Fluffy was a gasoline powered (M-113)  APC and was replaced by four new more reliable [and safer] diesel (M113A1) powered models".


"FLUFFY?" I don't think so...

USAF Security Police M-113 ACAV "FLUFFY"

Bien Hoa Air Base - 3rd Security Police Squadron - 1969  (Photo: Mike Kennedy)

Home Up M-706 M-113
Last updated: 09/20/2013 00:36:59              © Copyright 1998 William L. Liddell