Biên Hòa AB Attack: 1 Aug 1972
Biên Hòa 1972-1973
3rd SPS / 6251st SPS
by, Paul Huff
© 2000

 


Photo by A1C Wilson, 1972: Paul Huff with QC Patrol at check point south of Biên Hòa's Main Gate.

Photo by A1C Wilson, 1972: Paul Huff with QC Patrol at check point south of Bien Hoas Main Gate.

During 1972-1973, the 3rd SPS (collectively) received the AFOUS citation with a "V" for valor... also a Presidential Unit Citation (I have morning reports of the actions at those times). We also received two of the heaviest Rocket (122's) attacks ever on an Air Base. Those attacks took place on: August 1,1972 and the second was on August 31,1972. I feel a lot of important info about that time period is unknown.

I was with the QC patrol stopped at the checkpoint as the SP attachment, just south of the main gate.

Photo Right, by Paul Huff, 6251st SPS:122mm crater, taken AUG 1 '72, 150 feet or so behind Bullseye-7 in Bomb Alley (north perimeter), just missing a revetment full of 500 pounders.

On Sept. 10,1972, sappers blew the bomb dump: one fourth of the Air Base, 60 helicopters completely destroyed, and one C-141. Six sappers were KIA, on the U.S. and Viet sections of the flight line (I have documentation and also newspaper reports).

Photo Right, by Paul Huff.,
6251st SPS: 122mm crater, taken AUG 1 1972, 150 feet or so behind Bullseye-7
in Bomb Alley (north perimeter), just missing a revetment full of 500 pounders.

Photo by Paul Huff, Sep 10, 1972: I took this photo while on SAT patrol while searching for sappers. Bullsyes-9, north perimeter.
It was a bad morning. 11 Rounds of 122 Rockets helped the sappers do their job. They had apparently been in place and this was a WELL thought out assault. In the newspapers at home (which I researched a couple of years ago) stated, "Three-fourths of the Viet Air Force was damaged or destroyed in that one attack alone... also the bomb dump blew and unknown [number of] SPS [are] missing and South Viets [are] also missing."

Photo Left by Paul Huff., Sep 10, 1972: I took this photo while on SAT patrol while searching for sappers. Bullsyes-9, north perimeter.

 


Photo by Paul Huff, Oct 22, 1972:Sandbag post position, between flight line and Baker II area Bomb Dump. We were hit by Rockets and Sappers. These posts were new after the attack. My M-16 was #057.


Photo by Paul Huff., Oct 22, 1972 (sunrise): Sandbag post position, between flight line and Baker-2, in the Bomb Dump area. We were hit by Rockets and Sappers. These posts were new dye ti ab ubcrease ub ebent activity and after the attack. My M16 was #057.




Photo by Danny Wilson, Aug 1,1972:
Paul Huff standing in front of his shrapnel peppered locker. Flak vest has four shrapnel strikes on it, at the bottom right and left. I received lacerations on my leg and forearm, but did not go to the medics (so, no purple heart... I didn't care about decorations).

Photo by Danny Wilson, 1972-73 :Paul Huff waiting for a pass to Saigon. Road leads to the Bien Hoa's Main Gate. Village in the background. I am pretty sure there were a few V.C. living there who worked for us during the day, and were out for blood at night.

I was with the 3rd SPS (Security Specialist 81150). We had B-52's hitting right on the North perimeter. We later found out the bombing had stopped a huge ground assault right in front of the bullseye towers, right in front of the bomb storage revetments. We were lucky, if you want to call it that. This was called the 72 Easter Offensive, and Bro our intelligence reports were that we were surrounded. We had evacuation plans in place. (Sgt Eaton) was my supervisor, and he told us like it was. I hope this adds a little unwritten history to the Biên Hòa link. I am a new member of the VSPA, in the Guardmount section.

Photo Right by Danny Wilson, 1972-1973:
Paul Huff waiting for a pass to Saigon. Road leads to the Biên Hòa's Main Gate.
Village in the background. I am pretty sure there were a few V.C. living there
who worked for us during the day, and were out for blood at night.

 

From: tiffany -Paul H.
To: Don Poss
Cc: tiffany -Paul H.
Subject: Damage report info

Don, Hello. Yes, I wrote and asked what you will be posting on the September 10, 1972 day. I will be sending declassified info, info from the book "Snakes In The Eagles Nest". The report presented in the afore mentioned book is and I quote: Page 152: Objective: Destroy aircraft... Standoff attack(1 rd.) ac losses 3 aircraft destroyed 95 damaged. Evidence suggests that one mortar round landed in Vietnamese Air force munitions storage area. (which was the bomb dump, used by all air forces, where baker area is (or was). And bullseye towers.) "continue quote here... causing massive explosions and fires. Also possible that it was caused by sabotage or an accident in munitions handling." end quote. Don, I was there. The dump was hit about two hours before dawn. The dump went up in a series of sparking explosions. It was at night and trust me , no one in there right mind was out there playing with munitions, nor was there an accident. And from recounting the event after the attack and talks we received from are NCOIC etc., we were told it was a sapper attack. A well planned hit It occurred just a number of days after the two big rocket attacks that hit Bein Hoa in August of 1972. During August of !972, I have newspaper and published accounts that Bein Hoa was hit doing both attacks in August by " a series of scattered hit and run terror and sabotage attacks". Now, before a sapper team hit a target they would, and did probe the area a month or a little less in advance ( as you are aware of.) The attack wounded 50 air force personnel, how many Viets, I do not know. It was a terrible night ( or morning)..it blew and burned for three days... The Red Horse Team was called in as they were to Đà Nàng that eventful year and (years)In The August 1st attack we took 86 confirmed rockets, unknown amount of mortars ( many missed and hit Bein Hoa city) One KIA and about ( I will have to reread my materials), 14 wounded. Bein Hoa and Đà Nàng were head in head for the number of stand off attacks. And in the sapper attack category, Cam Ranh Bay AB took the most. Đà Nàng was the Base that took the most enemy attacks. Anyway, as you know so much goes unmentioned for us air force vets and the type and content of enemy attacks.( So many other vets think that all we air force types did was drink booze and type up papers.) As ( SP's and K-9 Handlers etc.) WE paved the way for the present security forces. And you all who were in the Tet, raised enough hell with the brass that we got more training and better fire power to defend the Air Bases. I will be snail-mailing as much info to you about these attacks. If that is O.K. with you. (you were in Đà Nàng during the hell days of Tet weren't you?). Take Care, and keep up the good work. Your site has brought many vets home, I am one, thank you all at VSPA.

Paul Huff
3rd and 6251st SPS
Det. 1 377th ABW
Bein Hoa Air Base
June 1972- February 1973.


From: Jim Riley
To: teh1589@mindspring.com

Subject: Biên Hòa in 72
Hi Paul, My name is Jim "Radar" Riley, I was with 554 Red Horse Sq. RVN 71-72. We did a lot of repair work out in Biên Hòa August of 72. That's thirty years now, yikes!! We had to convoy up from T S N every day. Our main gun truck at the time was a 4 wheel drive international 6 pack truck. I rode in the back with my M 16 and flack vest. Heck if the truck got hit I was heading for the ditches along highway 1. That was one scary time during the Easter Offensive of 72. We had to go up to Đà Nàng to also do repair work. They got hit one time the base BX took a direct hit. Red Horse to the rescue. I lived out of my duffle bag there for awhile. To change the subject Paul there having a Vietnam Vet reunion this week end 40 miles from my house. Freehold N.Y. its about 30 miles from Albany capital of New York. This is there third year. They had about 300 campout last year. This is my first year attending it. My friend John Russ from VT also a Red Horse vet is coming down, along with a Marine vet. Remember the Marine Sq. that came in from Japan in August of 72 to help out?? Heck the SP's showed them a thing or two on base perimeter defense!!! The VSPA has a great website!! bye for now Jim "Radar" Riley

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