During the Vietnam War, the defense of
Air Force bases mirrored the conflict itself: There was no rear echelon once
the entire country became a battlefield. Air Force bases relatively,
unaffected by ground forces in past wars, were no longer considered safe
havens. They, too, suffered from costly ground assaults and mortar shelling.
Within easy reach of North Vietnamese troops, Air Force bases in Vietnam and
Thailand were attacked 478 times from 1964 to 1973. One hundred and
fifty-five Americans were killed and 1,702 wounded, along with 375 allied
aircraft being destroyed and 1,203 damaged. In fact, more U.S. planes were
lost in ground action (101) than in dogfights with MIGs (62).
Bien Hoa Air Base, located 15 miles north of Saigon, was the first U.S. air
base in Vietnam to taste the damage a small, well-trained force can inflict.
A hit-and-run mortar attack destroyed five B-57 bombers and damaged 15
others. The Viet Cong, in less than five minutes, wiped out an entire
The attack hammered home a hard message. To fight in the air, the Air Force
had to be able to fight on the ground."
Above Published in AF Times
Bien Hoa Air
Base was located 20 mi (30 km) NE of Saigon and near the infamous
LBJ (Long Bien jail), which was the in-country military prison compound.
Bien Hoa was also a huge munitions storage area. The base itself was
upgraded from an old French post, and still had many of the old French
buildings and small concrete bunkers scattered around the perimeter.
(Photo Above Courtesy of Bill
Bien Hoa AB Dogs of Bien Hoa
Handlers of Bien Hoa
Attack on Bien Hoa
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Top Dog at Bien Hoa