During the Vietnam War, the defense of
Air Bases mirrored the conflict itself: There was no rear echelon once
the entire country became a battlefield. Air 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 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
Ban Me Thout (later known as Camp Coryell by the Army),
was located about 70 nautical miles North East of Cam Ranh Bay AB.
It is midway between the coast and the Cambodia border and between the tip
of the Mekong Delta and the Demilitarized Zone, just south of the infamous
La Drang Valley in the Central Highlands. Ban Me Thuot also was the focus
of an NVA attack which began on March 10, 1975 by three NVA divisions
which marked the beginning of the final NVA offensive which culminated in
the fall of South Vietnam on April 30, 1975. The Army had a Special Forces Camp, helicopter company, and the
headquarters of an artillery regiment. The 212 Military Police
Company had sentry dogs assigned.
Forward Air Controllers (detached from the 19th
Tactical Support Sq. assigned to the 23rd ARVN Division) were assigned here, with their own aircraft ground crews.
The 19th TASS was a unit of the 505th TCG
till about 1968, when it became part of the 504th TCCG. Combat Control Teams (Coordinated gunship air strikes and
other air support) was also assigned.
In 1962, Ban Me Thout was the scene
of an infamous attack on a civilian hospital. This hospital treated
Vietnamese infected with leprosy. The missionary doctors and nurses were
massacred. Their remains of most, were found. However, several members of
the medical staff were captured and were never seen again. Their remain
MIA to this date. The NVA and VC denied any knowledge of this. Actress
Jane Fonda, "AKA Hanoi Jane" never mentioned this while supporting North
Attack on Ban Me Thout Leprosarium
Links of Interest To Non-VSPA Internet Pages
Army 155th Aviation Company 505th
At the end of the American cavalry era, the Army disposed of its
horses by machine gunning them to death. In our war, the dogs were treated the
same way. Only it was done in a more “humane” manner. Some excess dogs were
reassigned to other bases in the Pacific but most were killed. The US Military
has pledged not to dispose of military working dogs in such a manner again.
Death of a Warrior.