Phan Rang Air Base

Phan Rang Air Base (also called Thành Sơn Air Base) is a Vietnam People's Air Force (VPAF) (Khong Quan Nhan Dan Viet Nam) military airfield in Vietnam. It is located 5.2 miles (8.4 km) north-northwest of Phan Rang – Tháp Chàm in Ninh Thuận Province.

Initially built by the Imperial Japanese Army about 1942, the airfield was also used by the French Air Force (French: Armée de l'Air) during the First Indochina War then abandoned in 1954. The United States rebuilt the airfield in 1965 and it was used by the Republic of Vietnam Air Force (RVNAF) and the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War in the II Corps Tactical Zone of South Vietnam.

It was seized by the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) in April 1975 and has been in use by the VPAF ever since.

Phan Rang Air Base
Vietnam People's Air Force insignia
 
Emblem of the South Vietnamese Air Force
 
Pacific Air Forces
Part of Vietnam People's Air Force (VPAF)
Republic of Vietnam Air Force (RVNAF)
Pacific Air Forces (USAF)
Phanrangab jun68
Phan Rang Air Base, South Vietnam 1967
Coordinates11°38′06″N 108°57′01″E / 11.63500°N 108.95028°E
TypeAir Force Base
Site information
Controlled byRoundel of Vietnam.svg Vietnam People's Air Force

Vietnam Air Force (south) roundel.svg Republic of Vietnam Air Force

Roundel of the USAF.svg  United States Air Force
ConditionSeized 1975 by PAVN, in use as military airfield
Site history
Built1942 (rebuilt 1965)
In use1942–1954; 1965–present
Battles/wars
Vietnam Service Medal ribbon

Vietnam War
Garrison information
Garrison937th Fighter Regiment (VPAF)
92d Tactical Wing (RVNAF)
366th Tactical Fighter Wing (USAF)
35th Tactical Fighter Wing (USAF)
315th Tactical Airlift Wing (USAF)
14th Special Operations Wing (USAF)
Airfield information
Summary
Elevation AMSL32 m / 105 ft
Coordinates11°38′01″N 108°57′07″E / 11.63361°N 108.95194°ECoordinates: 11°38′01″N 108°57′07″E / 11.63361°N 108.95194°E
Map
PHA is located in Vietnam
PHA
PHA
Location of the airport in Vietnam
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
04L/22R 3,200 10,499 Concrete
04L/22C 3,200 10,499 Currently Disused
04L/22L 3,200 10,499 Currently Disused
614th Tactical Fighter Squadron 3 shitp F-100D formation Phan Rhang AB
614th Tactical Fighter Squadron 3 ship F-100D formation

Origins

The airfield at Phan Rang was used by the Japanese during World War II. In the late 1940s and early 1950s the French Air Force used the same 3,500-foot (1,100 m) runway, and abandoned the facility when French control over Indochina ended in 1954.

USAF use during the Vietnam War

1965-6 Reconstruction

In April 1965 CINCPAC instructed an engineering survey for a new airfield at Phan Rang.[1] In July 1965 it was planned that 3 fighter squadrons would be deployed to Phan Rang Air Base once it was completed in October.[1]:64

In late-August 1965 the newly arrived US Army 62nd Engineer Battalion (Construction) was ordered to build a jet-capable airfield at Phan Rang. Commencing construction in September the Army Engineers built a 10,000-foot (3,000 m) AM-2 aluminum matting runway and open aircraft revetments.[2] Bad weather and shortages of concrete, piping and aluminum matting delayed the base construction, with the completion date progressively delayed to December 1965 and then April 1966.[2]:37[1]:87 With the movement of the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division to Phan Rang to provide security for base construction the 62nd Engineer Battalion was also required to construct a base for the 1st Brigade.[2]:59 While the 62nd Engineers constructed the temporary runway, American construction consortium RMK-BRJ was working on a permanent 10,000-foot (3,000 m) concrete runway, taxiways and parking areas.[2]:136 In January 1966 the USAF 554th RED HORSE Squadron arrived at the base to assist with construction.[2]:137

The temporary aluminum runway became operational on 20 February and by mid-March all the interim facilities were operational.[2]:136-7 Heavy rain in May 1966 and rushed construction led to damage to the aluminum runway and taxiways and in June the 62nd Engineers rebuilt the taxiways while the 554th RED HORSE and RMK-BRJ rebuilt the runway, reducing its available length to 6,000-foot (1,800 m).[2]:137[1]:154-5 The 62nd Engineers also built a 46,000-barrel fuel storage area, a six-inch pipeline to the beach and two 8-inch submarine pipelines from the beach to an offshore floating mooring and discharge facility.[2]:137 On 12 October 1966 RMK-BMJ completed the concrete runway and 4 connecting taxiways. By the end of the year the base was fully completed with powerplant, water and sewage system, operations, accommodation and other structures.[2]:138[3]

The USAF forces stationed there were under the command of the United States Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) Seventh Air Force. In addition, the United States Navy, and United States Marine Corps had aviation and other support units stationed at Phan Rang.

366th Tactical Fighter Wing

Due to the delays in completion of the base, the F-4C Phantom II equipped 391st Tactical Fighter Squadron was diverted from Phan Rang to Cam Ranh Air Base and the 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron went to Da Nang Air Base.[1]:113

On 14 March 1966 the F-4C equipped 389th Tactical Fighter Squadron arrived at the base becoming the first USAF squadron to deploy there.[1]:113[4]

On 20 March 1966 the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing was the first permanent USAF organization to be stationed at Phan Rang Air Base.[1]:120[5][6] The rain damage to the base in May 1966 delayed the deployment of the 391st Tactical Fighter Squadron from Cam Ranh AB and the 480th TFS from Da Nang AB.[1]:120 The squadrons assigned to the 366th TFW during this period were:

The US population at the base increased dramatically from 118 in March 1966 to over 4,500 in September 1966. This increase led to pressure on accommodation and maintenance facilities which were still under construction;[1]:172-3 the growth of prostitution in the "sin strip" outside the base; and an increase in employment of Vietnamese on the base, growing to 1000 by the end of 1966.[1]:176

On 10 October 1966, the 366th TFW and the 389th Tactical Fighter Squadron moved to Da Nang AB and the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing at Da Nang AB moved to Phan Rang.[1]:155[6]:195

35th Tactical Fighter Wing

F-100F 352TFS 35TFW PhanRang 1971
F-100F Super Sabre of the 352d Tactical Fighter Squadron at Phan Rang, 1971

On 10 October 1966 the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing took over as the host unit at Phan Rang.[7][6]:62

Units assigned to the 35th TFW were:

  • 120th Tactical Fighter Squadron: 30 April 1968 – 18 April 1969 (F-100C/F Tail Code: VS)[7]
  • 352d Tactical Fighter Squadron: 10 October 1966 – 31 July 1971 (F-100D/F Tail Code: VM)[7]
  • 612th Tactical Fighter Squadron: 10 October 1966 – 8 January 1967 and 14 April 1969 – 15 March 1971 (F-100D/F Tail Code: VS)[7]
  • 614th Tactical Fighter Squadron: 10 October 1966 – 31 July 1971 (F-100D/F Tail Code: VP)[7]
  • 615th Tactical Fighter Squadron: 10 October 1966 – 31 July 1971 (F-100D/F Tail Code: VZ)[7]

Missions included air support of ground forces, interdiction, visual and armed reconnaissance, strike assessment photography, escort, close and direct air support, and rapid reaction alert. It struck enemy bases and supply caches in the Parrot's Beak just inside the Cambodian border, April–May 1970 and provided close air support and interdiction in support of South Vietnamese operations in Laos and Cambodia, January–June 1971.[7]

B-57 Tactical Bombers

Raaf-canberra
Royal Australian Air Force MK-20 Canberra Bomber after return from Phan Rang, 1971
Martin B-57B bombers at Phan Rang AB South Vietnam 1968
Martin B-57B bombers at Phan Rang, 1968

The B-57 Canberra equipped 8th and 13th Bombardment Squadrons relocated to Phan Rang with the 35th TFW.[8][9][6]:62

B-57 units assigned to the 35th TFWA at Phan Rang were as follows:

  • 8th Tactical Bombardment Squadron: 12 October 1966 – 15 November 1969 (B-57B/C/E Tail Code: PQ)[8][6]:60
  • 13th Tactical Bombardment Squadron: 12 October 1966 – 15 January 1968 (B-57B/C/E Tail Code: PV)[9][6]:60
  • 2 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force: 19 April 1967 – 4 June 1971 (Canberra B.20)[6]:60[10]

On 24 December 1966, 3 Operation Tropic Moon II B-57s, experimentally fitted with a low light level television system carried in a pod underneath the port wing arrived at Phan Rang.[1]:227-8

By November 1969 the 8th Bombardment Squadron's strength was down to only 9 aircraft, and it was decided that it was time to retire the B-57B from active service. The surviving aircraft were sent back to the United States in September and October and the 8th Bombardment Squadron was moved to Bien Hoa Air Base and redesignated the 8th Special Operations Squadron.[8]

The RAAF Canberras continued operations from Phan Rang AB until they were withdrawn in June 1971.[10]

Further developments, deployments and attacks

Detachment 1, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron equipped with HH-43 Huskies relocated to the base from Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base.[11]

In November 1967 Phan Rang became a forward operating location for 4 AC-47 Spooky gunships of the newly-activated 14th Air Commando Squadron.[12]

On 31 January 1968 at the start of the Tet Offensive, naval gunfire from USS Mansfield was used to deter a VC attack on the base and gunfire from the USS New Jersey later deterred a similar attack.[13]

On 15 April 1968 the 550-man 821st Combat Security Police Squadron was deployed to the base on temporary duty, they were replaced by the 822nd Combat Security Police Squadron in August 1968. The 822nd was replaced by the 823rd Combat Security Police Squadron in March 1969 and was then replaced by the 821st in August 1969. The 821st remained at Phan Rang until February 1971 when it was inactivated.[13]:110-1

In mid-September 1968 the Federalized Utah National Guard 116th Engineer Combat Battalion deployed to Phan Rang Air Base to begin a ten-month tour of duty.[2]:394

Between 10 August 1968 and 31 May 1969, the 554th Civil Engineering Squadron built an armament and electronics shop, fire station, a concrete access taxiway, 6 troop barracks and 2 officers quarters protecting by a revetment wall, a 49,000-square-yard asphalt hardstand, and a base theater.[2]:451

Commencing in October 1968, USAF engineers built 61 "Wonderarch" aircraft shelters at Phan Rang.[2]:452

On 3 May 1970 VC sappers attacked the base but were repulsed with minor damage and no Allied casualties. On 10 September VC attacked the main gate but were also repulsed with little damage and no Allied casualties.[14]

315th Air Commando Wing/Special Operations Wing

C-123K 54-0696 19ACS PhanRang Apr68
C-123K of the 19th Air Commando Squadron at Phan Rang, April 1968

The 315th Air Commando Wing (Troop Carrier) moved to Phan Rang from Tan Son Nhut Air Base on 15 June 1967 and became a tenant unit supported by the 35th Combat Support Group. [15][6]:164Initially designated as the 315th Air Commando Wing, it was redesignated the 315th Special Operations Wing on 1 August 1968.[6]:163 Squadrons assigned were:

Operations included aerial movement of troops and cargo, flare drops, aeromedical evacuation, and air-drops of critical supplies and paratroops.[15] In 1971–1972 the unit helped to train C-123 aircrews for the RVNAF. The wing was redesignated as the 315th Tactical Airlift Wing on 1 January 1970 and was inactivated on 31 March 1972.[15][6]:165

Counter-insurgency aircraft

A-37b-8sos-phan-rang-1970
A-37B of the 8th Special Operations Squadron, 1970

In 1971 the 315th TAW expanded its mission with the control of the interdiction and the psychological warfare and visual reconnaissance operations of the following counter-insurgency squadrons:[6]:165

On 15 January 1972, the 8th Special Operations Squadron was reassigned to Bien Hoa AB as part of the USAF drawdown at Phan Rang.[8] The 9th SOS was inactivated on 29 February 1972.[19]

14th Special Operations Wing

Ac-119g-53-3178-17sos-nhatrang-1969
AC-119G "Shadow" gunship of the 17th Special Operations Squadron, 1969
AC-47D 4SOS NhaTrang Mar69
AC-47B "Spooky" gunship of the 4th Special Operations Squadron, March 1969

The 14th Special Operations Wing operated from Phan Rang from 15 October 1969, transferring operational squadrons from Nha Trang Air Base and became a tenant unit supported by the 35th Combat Support Group.[20][6]:29

The 14th SOW's operations included close and direct air support, interdiction, unconventional warfare, counter-insurgency operations, psychological warfare (including leaflet dropping and aerial broadcasting) and flare drops. Squadrons assigned were:

Flying from Phan Rang sorties were flown over target areas consisting of the Mekong Delta and the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The aerial gunships destroyed trucks, attacked enemy encampments, ammunition dumps and other ground targets using night vision equipment. It also trained RVNAF personnel in AC-119 operations and maintenance, from February to June 1971.[12]:220 The first crews graduated in April 1971 and with AC-119s transferred to the RVNAF formed the 819th Combat Squadron.[12]:253

USAF withdrawal

The 35th TFW was inactivated on 31 July 1971 as part of the general drawdown of United States forces in South Vietnam with the wing's remaining resources passing to the 315th Tactical Airlift Wing.[7] The 352d TFS and the 615th TFS were inactivated in place along with the 35th TFW, standing down from operations on 26 June 1971. The 612th TFS and 614th TFS were inactivated in place on 31 July 1971.

The 315th TAW inactivated in place on 30 September 1971 as part of the US withdrawal from South Vietnam, and jurisdiction of Phan Rang Air Base was turned over to the South Vietnamese.[6]:165

RVNAF use of Phan Rang Air Base

A-37B-5548FS VNAF PhanRang
A-37B of the RVNAF 548th Fighter Squadron

The base was progressively handed over to the RVNAF in March-May 1972.[2]:573 After the American withdrawal the RVNAF 92d Tactical Wing at Nha Trang AB moved to Phan Rang Air, operating A-37s and UH-1 helicopters.

In addition to the operational missions, the RVNAF 920th Training Squadron operated T-37Bs for initial jet training for its aviation cadets. American policy in Vietnam after 1970 was aimed at self-sufficiency for the RVNAF so the South Vietnamese could maintain the level of security that had been won jointly by the United States and South Vietnam. The United States would continue to provide material support for the defense of South Vietnam, but it was expected that the RVNAF would have the capability to use United States equipment effectively. If that capability could be developed, the RVNAF would be judged self-sufficient.

However, this training had to be halted in June 1974 for lack of logistic support and financial reasons due to United States aid reduction.

Units at Phan Rang Air Base were under the command of the RVNAF 2d Air Division at Nha Trang AB.

92d Tactical Wing

  • 524th/534th/548th Fighter Squadron A-37
  • Det D 259th Helicopter Squadron UH-1H (Medevac)

Capture of Phan Rang Air Base

Following the defeat of Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) forces in the Central Highlands in mid-March 1975, People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) forces pursued the ARVN to the coast, capturing Nha Trang and Nha Trang AB on 2 April, however most of the flyable aircraft of the RVNAF 2nd Air Division had already moved south to Phan Rang AB.[21]

On 1 April crowds of ARVN and civilians began descending on the base from Nha Trang and Cam Ranh seeking evacuation to Saigon. That night the ARVN 3rd Airborne Brigade arrived on trucks at Phan Rang AB having retreated from the M'Đrăk Pass and it proceeded to deploy around the base and clear away VC around the base perimeter.[21]:384-6

On 2 April the 2nd Air Division commander BG Nguyễn Văn Lương left Phan Rang in his C-47 to go for meetings at Tan Son Nhut setting off panic among the RVNAF and ARVN forces at the base who believed he was abandoning them and leading to a chaos as panicked South Vietnamese swarmed aircraft that departed haphazardly for bases further south. Two RAAF C-130s landed at the base to evacuate civilians and were mobbed as they tried to leave. Order was eventually restored by the 3rd Airborne Brigade as the refugees were evacuated.[21]

On the morning of 3 April 1975 the RVNAF at Phan Rang launched a heliborne operation comprising more than 40 UH-1s and 6 Ch-47s escorted by A-37s to rescue the remnants of the ARVN 2nd, 5th and 6th Airborne Battalions that had been cut off at the M'Đrăk Pass successfully evacuating over 800 soldiers.[21]:390-2 That day the PAVN 10th Division captured Cam Ranh Bay and Cam Ranh Air Base north of Phan Rang.[21]:356 The USS Durham approached Phan Rang and over the next 2 days picked up over 3500 South Vietnamese refugees.[21]:388 Also that day 6th Air Division commander BG Pham Ngoc Sang met with the III Corps commander LG Nguyễn Văn Toàn at Phan Thiết and Sang was given responsibility for holding Phan Rang.[21]:388

On 4 April the 2 remaining provinces of II Corps were incorporated into II Corps and LG Nguyễn Vĩnh Nghi arrived at Phan Rang to take over the defense of the area from BG Sang.[21]:390 The Phan Rang A-37s continued to operate under difficult conditions with ground crews being forced to service aircraft in Flak jackets due to rocket and mortar fire on the base and intermittent supplies after Highway 1 was cut off east of Xuân Lộc. Half of the wing was rotated daily to Tan Son Nhut for servicing, resupply and crew rest.[21]:395

From 7 to 8 April the 2nd Airborne Brigade flew into Phan Rang to replace the 3rd Airborne Brigade which moved back to Saigon.[21]:395 On 8 April the 3rd Airborne Battalion cleared Highway 1 and recaptured the villages of Bà Râu (11°43′08″N 109°03′47″E / 11.7188°N 109.063°E) and Ba Thap (11°40′48″N 109°02′17″E / 11.68°N 109.038°E) from the VC and the 11th Airborne Battalion then deployed by helicopters to recapture Du Long town (11°46′52″N 109°04′41″E / 11.781°N 109.078°E) and the Du Long Pass (11°47′35″N 109°05′31″E / 11.793°N 109.092°E), meanwhile the 5th Airborne Battalion secured the area around Phan Rang AB and cleared Route 11.[21]:396

On 10 April the PAVN 10th Division left Cam Ranh and moved along Route 450 to join up with Route 11 to take Dalat, passing within 12 miles (19 km) of Phan Rang AB. When RVNAF reconnaissance aircraft observed the movement of the 10th Division, Phan Rang based A-37s began attacking the column, destroying 6 river-crossing vehicles on 10 April, 5 trucks on 11 April, 7 trucks on 12 April and 9 trucks on 13 April.[21]:371-2

On 11 April the 5th Airborne Battalion was withdrawn to Saigon and on 12 April the rest of the 2nd Airborne Brigade was ordered to withdraw to Saigon. On 13 April the 31st Rangers arrived by air from Bien Hoa while the ARVN 4th and 5th Regiments arrived by road from Phan Thiết to replace the Airborne. The 31st Rangers deployed to Du Long to replace the 11th Airborne Battalion on the evening of 13 April.[21]:410-1

The PAVN meanwhile had decided to eliminate Phan Rang and at 05:30 on 14 April the PAVN 3rd Division began an artillery attack on the 31st Rangers at Du Long Pass and the 3rd Airborne at Bà Râu. At 06:30 PAVN tanks and infantry attacked to 31st Rangers' position but were forced back. At 07:00 2 A-37s accidentally bombed the Rangers. The PAVN then bypassed the Rangers and attacked Du Long Town quickly defeating the Regional Forces there and outflanking the 31st Rangers at the pass. Reinforcements from the 52nd Rangers were sent to support the 31st Rangers but they were unable to break through and at 16:00 the 31st Rangers were ordered to withdraw with only 80 Rangers successfully returning to Phan Rang AB.[21]:411-2

At the same time as the attack on Du Long, the PAVN 25th Regiment infiltrated to attack Phan Rang AB. Despite helicopter gunship fire they successfully penetrated the base and headed for the hangar area where they were met by the 11th Airborne Battalion awaiting transport back to Saigon and 4 M113 armored personnel carriers which together with air support from the helicopter gunships and A-37s forced the PAVN back outside the perimeter, killing over 100 for the loss of 6 ARVN killed and 1 M113 destroyed.[21]:412-3

At dawn on 15 April the PAVN shelled the 3rd Airborne Battalion at Bà Râu and Kien Kien (11°42′14″N 109°03′34″E / 11.704°N 109.0595°E) on Route 1 and then attacked their position. Although outnumbered, the Airborne held back the assault until midday when it blew the highway bridge and then withdrew onto Ca Dau mountain to the east.[21]:413

At 02:00 on 16 April an RVNAF EC-47 intercepted a PAVN radio transmission indicating an armored attack on Phan Rang would start at 05:00. A-37 aircraft were launched to attack PAVN positions along Route 1 and at 03:00 reconnaissance reported a large PAVN force moving through the Du Long Pass. Meanwhile VC forces began attacking the base perimeter and on Ca Dau Mountain.[21]:419-20 At 05:00 the PAVN artillery bombardment commenced and this was soon followed by an armored spearhead of 20 tanks and armored personnel carriers of the 4th Battalion, 203rd Tank Brigade supported by truck mounted infantry of the 101st Regiment and anti-aircraft guns.[21]:416 While the lead tank was destroyed by an ARVN rocket, the PAVN force quickly cut through the 3rd Airborne platoon holding Kien Kien. The RVNAF at the base mounted numerous airstrikes on the armored column destroying vehicles, taking losses from the antiaircraft fire and by 08:00 the armored vehicles were on the outskirts of the city. However the truck-mounted infantry had dispersed to avoid the airstrikes and the anti-aircraft vehicles had not kept up with the advance, leaving the 101st Regiment vulnerable to further air attacks which destroyed or damaged another 16 vehicles and killing numerous PAVN soldiers.[21]:420-1 The PAVN 3rd Division then attacked the Airborne troops on Ca Dau Mountain and allowed the 101st Regiment to resume its advance. After overcoming a Regional Force roadblock on the outskirts of the city for the loss of 2 tanks and many infantry, the PAVN pushed into the city capturing the Provincial Headquarters. By 09:30 the PAVN had captured the port and a bridge on Route 1 south of the city sealing off all sea and land escape routes.[21]:422 At 08:45 a battalion-sized PAVN mechanized force attacked along Route 11 towards the base. While one element attacked the 5th Regiment defending Route 11, the other moved around it to attack the base directly and at the same time the 25th Regiment attacked the north of the base. The 5th Regiment soon broke and ran allowing the PAVN to attack the base's main gate while the 25th Regiment penetrated the north perimeter with explosives and captured the bomb storage area. The Airborne attempted a counterattack against the 25th Regiment but were forced back and then squeezed between the PAVN and by 09:30 the PAVN had captured the base. LG Nghi ordered his remaining forces to retreat from the base to the Ca Na peninsula (11°20′44″N 108°52′37″E / 11.3455°N 108.877°E) 19 miles (31 km) south of the base and after cutting through the perimeter fence a large group of RVNAF, ARVN and South Vietnamese civilians fled the base joining up with the 11th Airborne outside the base. At midnight on 17 April the ARVN Airborne attacked a PAVN force on Route 11, but in the confusion of the attack LG Nghi, his command group and CIA Agent James Lewis became separated and at 02:00 were captured by the PAVN.[21]:423-5

As the base was falling an A-37 braved the PAVN fire and landed rescuing RVNAF 92nd Wing commander Colonel Le Van Thao. Of the Wing's 72 A-37s, only 24 escaped on 16 April with the rest having been shot down or abandoned.[21]:425

Post 1975 VPAF use

With its capture, Phan Rang Air Base became a VPAF base. It is unclear to what extent the former USAF facilities were used, although aerial imagery shows that a large amount of the station was torn down over the years, the large base simply being too big for the VPAF, in addition the 04R/22L runway was inactivated, and today is almost obliterated. A few of the hangars remain standing, others have been torn down. The large aircraft parking ramp and concrete aircraft shelters remain, although the shelters appear to have been left unused. Steel and sand revetments also remain on the ramp.

The captured aircraft at Phan Rang AB were later used by the VPAF in missions during the Cambodian–Vietnamese War. The A-37s flew most of the ground support missions in those conflicts, being more suited to the role than the VPAF's MiG-17s and MiG-21s. Several squadrons of captured UH-1H Hueys were also operated by the VPAF for many years from Phan Rang.

The base is now used by the VPAF 937th Fighter Regiment equipped with Sukhoi Su-30MK2Vs, Sukhoi Su-27SK and Su-27UBK fighters.

See also

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Schlight, John (1999). The United States Air Force in Southeast Asia: The War in South Vietnam The Years of the Offensive 1965–1968 (PDF). Office of Air Force History. p. 28. ISBN 9780912799513.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Trass, Adrian (2000). The United States Army in Vietnam Engineers at War. Center of Military History United States Army. p. 28. ISBN 9781517301965.
  3. ^ Kelley, Michael (2002). Where we were in Vietnam. Hellgate Press. p. 5–391. ISBN 978-1555716257.
  4. ^ Dollman, TSG David (4 October 2016). "Factsheet 389 Fighter Squadron (ACC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  5. ^ "366th Fighter Wing History". Mountain Home Air Force Base. 2 April 2007.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947-1977 (PDF). Office of Air Force History. p. 194. ISBN 0912799129.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Robertson, Patsy (19 June 2017). "35 Fighter Wing (PACAF)". Air Force Historical Research Agency.
  8. ^ a b c d e Dollman, David (1 February 2017). "8 Special Operations Squadron (AFSOC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  9. ^ a b "13 Bomb Squadron (AFGSC)". 30 August 2011.
  10. ^ a b "No. 2 Squadron RAAF". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  11. ^ Tilford, Earl (1980). Search and Rescue in Southeast Asia 1961–1975 (PDF). Office of Air Force History. p. 113. ISBN 9781410222640.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Ballard, Jack (1982). The United States Air Force in Southeast Asia Development and employment of fixed-wing gunships 1962-1972. DIANE Publishing. p. 56. ISBN 9781428993648.
  13. ^ a b Fox, Roger (1979). Air Base Defense in the Republic of Vietnam 1961–1973 (PDF). Office of Air Force History. p. 116. ISBN 9781410222565.
  14. ^ Nalty, Bernard (2000). The United States Air Force in Southeast Asia: The War in South Vietnam Air War over South Vietnam 1968–1975 (PDF). Air Force History and Museums Program. p. 245. ISBN 9781478118640.
  15. ^ a b c "315th Airlift Wing History: Vietnam". 15 June 2006.
  16. ^ Kane, Robert B. (19 March 2012). "Factsheet 12 Airborne Command and Control Squadron (ACC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  17. ^ "19th Special Operations Squadron". Hurlburt Field, USAF. 8 July 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  18. ^ Bailey, Carl E. (10 December 2007). "Factsheet 311 Airlift Squadron (AMC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  19. ^ a b Dollman, David (15 May 2017). "9 Special Operations Squadron (AFSOC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  20. ^ a b c d e Robertson, Patsy (19 June 2017). "Factsheet 14 Flying Training Wing (AETC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Veith, George (2012). Black April The Fall of South Vietnam 1973-75. Encounter Books. p. 386. ISBN 9781594035722.

Bibliography

External links

12th Airborne Command and Control Squadron

The 12th Airborne Command and Control Squadron is a United States Air Force flying unit, assigned to the 461st Air Control Wing, stationed at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. The squadron flies the E-8C Joint STARS, providing airborne battle management, command and control, surveillance, and target acquisition.

14th Flying Training Wing

The 14th Flying Training Wing is a wing of the United States Air Force based out of Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi.

The 14th Operations Group and its six squadrons are responsible for the 52-week Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) mission. The group also performs quality assurance for contract aircraft maintenance.

The 14th Mission Support Group provides essential services with a 5-squadron/2-division, 750+ person work force and $38 million budget. It operates/maintains facilities and infrastructure for a 6,013-acre (24.33 km2) pilot training base and provides contracting, law enforcement, supply, transportation, fire protection, communications, education, recreation and personnel management for 9,500 people. The group is also responsible for wartime preparedness and contingency operations.

14th Weapons Squadron

The 14th Weapons Squadron is a United States Air Force unit. It is assigned to the USAF Weapons School, stationed at Hurlburt Field, Florida.

The squadron is a geographically separated unit of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. The mission of the squadron is to produce weapons officers for the special operations community by providing graduate level instructional flying on Air Force Special Operations Command aircraft through weapons instructor courses. Currently, the squadron produces special operations force weapons officers specializing in Lockheed AC-130, Lockheed MC-130 and Pilatus U-28 aircraft.

The unit traces its lineage back to the 14th Observation Squadron and participated in the landings at Normandy in June 1944. Later, during the Vietnam era, the 14th Air Commando Squadron, flew Douglas AC-47 Spooky gunships between 1967 and 1968. The 14th flew out of Nha Trang Air Base, Phan Rang Air Base, Bien Hoa Air Base, and Binh Thuy Air Base, providing fire support in defense of US air bases, special forces camps, Republic of Vietnam Army outposts, and South Vietnamese hamlets. Decorations of this combat unit include the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device.

These two units were consolidated in 1985.

17th Special Operations Squadron

The 17th Special Operations Squadron (17 SOS) is part of the 353d Special Operations Group at Kadena Air Base, Japan. It operates MC-130J Commando II aircraft providing special operations capability. Air crews are specially trained in day and night, low-level delivery of troops and equipment via airdrop or airland operations and flying using night vision goggles.

The squadron traces its lineage back to the 17th Observation Squadron, constituted and activated in 1942 during World War II. After being redesignated as the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron (Bombardment), the squadron flew North American B-25 Mitchells in the New Guinea campaign, the Philippines Campaign, and over Japan on armed reconnaissance missions. The 17th was inactivated after the end of the war. It was reactivated and inactivated unmanned as the 17th Liaison Squadron in the early 1950s. The 17th Special Operations Squadron was activated in 1969 to provide AC-119G Shadow gunship air support during the Vietnam War. It was inactivated in 1971 with the drawdown of United States forces in Vietnam. During the 1980s the lineages of the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron (Bombardment), 17th Liaison Squadron, and the 17th Special Operations Squadron were consolidated as the 17th Special Operations Squadron, and it was activated in 1989 at Kadena.

18th Flight Test Squadron

The 18th Flight Test Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Florida performs field tests of aircraft for Air Force Special Operations Command located with one detachment at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The 18th FLTS evaluates aircraft, equipment and tactics in realistic battlespace environments to provide decision makers accurate, timely and complete assessments of mission capability. From concept development to system fielding, the unit's mission improves the survivability and combat capability of special operations forces worldwide.

19th Weapons Squadron

The 19th Weapons Squadron is a non-flying United States Air Force unit, assigned to the USAF Weapons School at Nellis AFB, Nevada.

The squadron was first activated as the 19th Observation Squadron in March 1942. The 19th originally flew antisubmarine missions during World War II, then moved to China in 1944 to begin observation missions in support of Chinese ground forces. It later flew resupply missions to resistance forces operating behind enemy lines in French Indochina.

The squadron was redesignated the 19th Tactical Air Support Squadron, then organized in July 1963. From 1963 through 1968 the 19th Tactical Air Support Squadron flew forward air support and observation missions over Vietnam until its mission was transferred to Osan AB, South Korea in 1972, where it provided Eighth US Army and Republic of Korea ground forces with aerial reconnaissance and close air support.

352d Tactical Fighter Squadron

The 352d Tactical Fighter Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force fighter squadron. Its last assignment was with the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing at Phan Rang Air Base, South Vietnam, where it was inactivated on 31 July 1971.

The first predecessor of the squadron was activated in 1943 as the 372d Fighter Squadron, which served as a Lockheed P-38 Lightning Replacement Training Unit until it was disbanded in 1944.

The second predecessor of the squadron was the 652d Bombardment Squadron, which conducted weather reconnaissance in the European Theater of Operations.

The 352d Fighter-Day Squadron was formed during the Cold War, the squadron was attached to NATO, and stood on alert during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Deployed to South Vietnam during the Vietnam War, the squadron fought with distinction. The squadron was inactivated in 1971.

35th Fighter Wing

The 35th Fighter Wing is an air combat unit of the United States Air Force and the host unit at Misawa Air Base, Japan. The wing is part of Pacific Air Forces (PACAF)'s Fifth Air Force.

The wing was first activated in August 1948 at Johnson Air Base, Japan when PACAF implemented the wing base organization. It participated in the Korean War and later served in the air defense of Japan until inactivating in 1957.

In 1966, the wing was again activated and served in combat in the Vietnam War until inactivating in 1972 with the withdrawal of US forces from Southeast Asia. It was soon reactivated at George Air Force Base, California, where it served until inactivating in 1992. It was activated the following year in Iceland as an air defense unit. With the drawdown of US forces in Iceland, it was inactivated the following year, but was activated the same year at Misawa.

366th Fighter Wing

The 366th Fighter Wing (366 FW) is a fighter wing of the United States Air Force Air Combat Command stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.

504th Expeditionary Air Support Operations Group

The 504th Expeditionary Air Support Operations Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was first activated as the 504th Tactical Air Support Group in 1966 for service during the Vietnam War, and was reactivated in 2009 for service in Afghanistan. It was inactivated on 12 May 2016.

In Vietnam the group provided combat ready aircraft and crews in support of air and ground operations in Southeast Asia. It directed ground strikes, conducted visual reconnaissance and convoy escort. It also trained Air Liaison Officers and Forward Air Controllers. The group was thrice awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for its actions during the war. It was inactivated in 1972 when the Vietnamese Air Force assumed its remaining mission.

On reactivation in 2009 it began to provide air support, air liaison, and weather support for ground operations until it was inactivated on 12 May 2016.

615th Tactical Fighter Squadron

The 615th Tactical Fighter Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last was assigned to the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing, stationed at Phan Rang Air Base, South Vietnam. It was inactivated on 15 July 1971.

832nd Air Division

The 832nd Air Division is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with Tactical Air Command, (TAC) assigned to Twelfth Air Force at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, where it was inactivated on 1 October 1991.The division was first activated at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico in October 1957 to command the two North American F-100 Super Sabre wings stationed there and to provide support for them through its 832nd Air Base Group. It deployed all its operational squadrons to Florida during the Cuban Missile Crisis, along with the headquarters of one of its subordinate wings.

In 1964, the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing was activated at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico and assigned to the division. Although initially equipped with Republic F-84F Thunderstreaks reclaimed from the Air National Guard, the 366th re-equipped with the McDonnell F-4 Phantom II, with which it moved to Vietnam in 1966. During the Pueblo Crisis, the division was assigned a wing of the Colorado Air National Guard, whose squadrons also served in Vietnam. Between 1968 and 1970, the 49th Tactical Fighter Wing was assigned to the 832nd. The 49th Wing moved to the United States from Germany, but was "dual based", committed to deploy to Germany to support the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as needed.

The 832nd once again deployed forces to Southeast Asia in 1972, when the General Dynamics F-111 Aardvarks of its 474th Tactical Fighter Wing deployed to Thailand. The division was inactivated in 1975 and its subordinate units assigned directly to Twelfth Air Force.

In 1980, the division was again activated to replace Tactical Training, Luke, whose mission and personnel it absorbed. It continued to train fighter crews from the United States Air Force and allied countries until it was inactivated in 1991 when TAC implemented the Objective Wing organization, which called for all organizations on an installation to be assigned to a single wing. Although the division did not directly participate in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, it deployed support forces and combat elements to the combat theater.

Air Vietnam Flight 706

Air Vietnam Flight 706 was a Boeing 727 that crashed on September 15, 1974, near Phan Rang Air Base in South Vietnam.

Bombing of Tan Son Nhut Air Base

The bombing of Tan Son Nhut Air Base occurred on April 28, 1975, just two days before the Fall of Saigon. The bombing operation was carried out by the Vietnam People's Air Force (VPAF) Quyet Thang Squadron, using captured Republic of Vietnam Air Force (RVNAF) A-37 Dragonfly aircraft flown by VPAF pilots and RVNAF defectors led by Nguyen Thanh Trung who had bombed the Presidential Palace in Saigon, less than one month earlier.

In 1973, by the time the Paris Peace Accords were concluded, South Vietnam possessed the fourth largest air force in the world. Despite their size, however, RVNAF operations were severely curtailed due to cutbacks in U.S. military aid. Furthermore, the RVNAF were prevented from undertaking reconnaissance and ground support missions due to the threat posed by formidable anti-aircraft weapons deployed by North Vietnam. When the North Vietnamese military renewed their offensive early in 1975, the RVNAF was handicapped and many of their aircraft were either lost or captured as formations of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) swept through the Central Highlands of South Vietnam.

In a well-known incident, RVNAF pilot Nguyen Thanh Trung used his F-5E fighter-bomber to attack the Presidential Palace in Saigon instead of PAVN troops. Shortly afterwards, Trung joined the North Vietnamese forces and he was ordered to train a group of VPAF pilots to operate the U.S.-made A-37 fighter-bomber, in order to support the Ho Chi Minh Campaign. On the afternoon of 28 April 1975, Trung led a flight of five A-37 fighter-bombers against Tan Son Nhut Air Base, which temporarily stopped U.S. and South Vietnamese evacuation efforts.

John J. Closner III

John James Closner III (born March 27, 1940) was a major general in the United States Air Force who served as Commander of the United States Air Force Reserve Command, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington D.C., and commander, Headquarters Air Force Reserve, a separate operating agency located at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. As chief of Air Force Reserve, he served as the principal adviser on Reserve matters to the Air Force Chief of Staff. As commander of AFRES, he had full responsibility for the supervision of U.S. Air Force Reserve units around the world.

Closner was born in 1940, in Houston and graduated from Bayside High School, Long Island, New York, in 1958. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Texas A&M University in 1962. The general completed Squadron Officer School in 1971, Air Command and Staff College in 1973, and Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1976.

He was commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Texas A&M University. He received wings after pilot training at Reese Air Force Base, Texas, and then completed F-100 fighter training at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. In August 1964 Closner was assigned to the 494th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Royal Air Force Station Lakenheath, England, where he flew the F-100.

In June 1967 he was assigned to the 615th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Phan Rang Air Base, South Vietnam, as an instructor pilot. He flew 300 combat missions and also had assignments as a standardization and evaluation officer, ground training officer and flying training officer.

Closner separated from active duty in July 1968 and flew for 18 months with Pan American Airlines. In February 1970 he joined the New Jersey Air National Guard as a full-time, civil service employee. He was assigned to the 177th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Atlantic City, where he flew the F-100 and F-105, and was chief of standardization and evaluation.

In January 1973 Closner was assigned to the 507th Tactical Fighter Group, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. He figured prominently in the command's first F-105 fighter conversion and served as chief of standardization and evaluation, and as an operations and training officer. He assumed command of the 465th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Tinker in November 1975.

In May 1978 Closner became commander of the 917th Tactical Fighter Group at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, and flew A-37s. Two years later the unit was the first in the Air Force Reserve to convert to A-1Os. As commander, he also guided the activation of the first A-10 flight training school for the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve. He served as commander of the Air Force Reserve's first F-16 wing, the 419th Tactical Fighter Wing, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, from July 1983 until July 1987, when he became commander of 10th Air Force, Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas. In July 19S9 he was assigned as deputy to the chief of Air Force Reserve, Air Force headquarters, and assumed his present duties in November 1990.

A command pilot with more than 5,000 flying hours, Closner has flown the A-10, A-37, F-16, F-100 and F-105. His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 14 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with three oak leaf clusters.

His civic affiliations include the Air Force Association, Reserve Officers Association, Bergstrom-Austin Community Council and Austin Military Affairs Council.

He was promoted to major general November 1, 1990, with same date of rank. He retired on April 1, 1996.

List of United States Air Force special operations squadrons

This is a list of United States Air Force special operations squadrons. It covers aerial units assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command in the United States Air Force.

Nguyễn Vĩnh Nghi

Lieutenant General Nguyễn Vĩnh Nghi was an officer of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. He served as the commander of IV Corps, which oversaw the Mekong Delta region of the country, from 4 May 1972 until 30 October 1974, when he was replaced by Major General Nguyễn Khoa Nam.

Phan Rang–Tháp Chàm

Phan Rang–Tháp Chàm, also called Panduranga (a Sanskrit word of Hindu origin), is a new city in Vietnam and the capital of Ninh Thuận Province. The community has a population of 161,000 (2004), of which 91,000 (2004) live in the main city. During the Vietnam War, Phan Rang was the site the United States Air Force's Phan Rang Air Base. The airfield had been established by the Japanese in World War II and was later used by the French.

Sơn Tây prison camp

The Son Tay prison camp was a POW camp operated by North Vietnam near Sơn Tây and approximately 23 miles (37 km) west of Hanoi in the late 1960s through late 1970 and again in 1975. About 65 US prisoners of war were held there during the middle of the Vietnam War. It was later used to house foreigners captured in South Vietnam during the 1975 Spring Offensive.

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