Hoi Ba Tran

In 1953, Hoi was drafted into the Nationalist Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) to fight against the communist Viet Minh led by Ho Chi Minh. In 1954, Hoi moved to South Viet Nam with the VNAF and was sent to the United States for training with the US Air Force in 1955, first as aircraft mechanic and then in 1958 as pilot.

While in the VNAF, Hoi was a flight instructor at the Air Training Center in 1959, Flight Leader of the 2nd Fighter Squadron in 1961, Flight Leader of the 83rd Special Air Group in 1964, Commander of the 74thCombat Group in 1966, Commander of the Political Warfare Division of the 33rd Tactical Wing in 1967.

In early 1968, the VNAF had to deploy some pilots to fly the Boeing 707 and 727 for Air Viet Nam, the flag carrier of South Viet Nam. Hoi was one among the VNAF pilots chosen to become an airline pilot and he was one of the pilots who flew Vice President Nguyen Cao Ky to France for the Paris Peace Negotiation.

In the mid-sixties Hoi frequently met Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan at Gen. Nguyen Cao Ky’s residence when Gen. Ky was Prime Minister and Gen. Loan was Chief of Military Security and concurrently Chief of National Police.