Air Defense Artillery during the Vietnam War 

“We were the most highly decorated army artillery outfit in Vietnam. The only A.D.A. unit with a  Medal of Honor recipient, Sergeant Mitchell Stout, C-1/44th Dusters as well as a Distinguished Service Cross recipient, Staff Sergeant Jeffery Jarman, Quad-50 Squad Leader, Delta 71st ADA.

 We were awarded Presidential and Meritorious Unit citations, Silver Stars, Bronze stars, and over 1,000 Purple Hearts.

“We were in demand, ‘Fire Power for Hire’. Over four million 40 MM rounds, ten million .50 cal. rounds, and a million miles of illumination from the D.M.Z. to the Delta.

This website is dedicated to preserving their stories and heritage.

For the semi-official version read this extracted 15 page article from the Air Defense Artillery Journal fall 1983.  

Mowing the Grass-ADA in Vietnam_ADA Journal 1983 fall-C3mb
Mowing the Grass: ADA in Vietnam
by Blair Case, Editor of the ADA Journal
Air Defense Artillery Journal fall 1983

Vietnam remains, for better or worse, very much a part of the national consciousness.  The names of air defense artillery men who died in Vietnam are etched in the black granite of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, but the exploits of ADA units which fought in Southeast Asia have gone largely unrecorded.

This is their story.
Air Defense Artillery was designated a branch in the midst of a war in which the air threat it was to defend against never put in an appearance. The sort of war ADA units fought in Vietnam’s rain forests wasn’t the sort of war they had trained for on the desert ranges of the U.S. Army Air Defense Center at Fort Bliss, Texas. They called it “mowing grass.”

Air Defense Artillery was created as a separate branch in the midst of the Vietnam War. Hanoi never risked sending the MiGs south of the demilitarized zone during America’s long involvement in Southeast Asia, but air defenders served in a variety of ground support roles. This issue of Air Defense Artillery contains a special section dedicated to the air defense artillerymen who distinguished themselves and the new branch in the rice paddies and jungles of America’s most unpopular war.

About the Cover
Artist John Paul Jones’ cover illustration shows an M-42 “Duster” arriving at a newly constructed firebase in Vietnam.  Dusters, denied airborne targets, were mainstays of perimeter defenses.

ADA Happy Birthday video 2024

To celebrate the 2024 Air Defense Artillery birthday, the ADA branch revamped a video about a letter written by Joseph "Joe" Belardo, Vietnam Vet, ADA Soldier. It is read by David Christensen the ADA Branch Historian and is dedicated to the trials of those who served before us and the ones who will serve beyond us. Happy Birthday ADA!
#ADABirthday #ADABDay #USAADASCH #FirstToFire #ThisWellDefend


Order of Battle of ADA Units in Vietnam


1st Battalion, 44th Artillery
4th Battalion, 60th Artillery
5th Battalion, 2nd Artillery

Quad 50’s

Battery E, 41st Artillery
Battery G, 55th Artillery
Battery G, 65th Artillery
Battery D, 71st Artillery


Battery B, 29th Artillery
Battery G, 29th Artillery
Battery H, 29th Artillery
Battery I, 29th Artillery


6th Battalion 56th Artillery
6th Battalion 71st Artillery
5th Battalion, 2nd Artillery

Vulcan 20mm Combat Team

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