|Grumman JRF-5s Nos. 4 and 7 of 8S Squadron probably somewhere in Vietnam |
in the early to mid 1950s.
The Grumman G-21 Goose was first conceived of in 1936 as a private flying yacht, but the relatively powerful, roomy and rugged aircraft soon caught the attention of the U.S. Navy. A number of military variants were developed, but by far the most widely produced was the JRF-5.
In 1952, twelve JRF-5 Gooses were bought by the French Navy and sent to Indochina, where things were heating up for them. The aircraft were assigned to 8S Squadron and stationed at Cat Lai, near Saigon, where they served in transport, liaison and medevac roles. Since they were equipped with a pair of guns as well as bomb racks, they were also used for close air support. Later, some were sent to New Caledonia, while others were sent to Algeria in 1956 (some of these JRF-5s were assigned to 27F Squadron - I've no idea if 8S served, as a squadron, anywhere but French Indochina...readers are invited to educate me!).
On January 27, 1961, the crash of a French JRF-5 with the loss Vice Admiral Pierre Ponchardier and five others at Tambacounda, Senegal led the French Navy to retire all their Gooses.