Binh Thuy Air Base,
Republic of Vietnam

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 squadron.    

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

Binh Thuy Air Base, located in the Mekong delta, was the most southern air base in South Vietnam. It was located approximately seventy (70) miles southwest of Saigon. In 1965 Air Force units moved a few miles, from the US Army's Can Thou Air Field, to their new air base.  The air base was located up river from the city. The city of Can Tho (200,000 Population), was approximately three (3) miles to the east of the base.  The terrain of the delta was at sea level and was penetrated with many rivers, canals, streams, and marshes. A Naval Support Activity was located next to Bien Thuy Air Base. Air Force resources included gunships, transport aircraft, and other close air support aircraft.

Over it's lifetime, two Security Police units were assigned to Bien Thuy. Usually when these changes occurred, all personnel remained, just the unit name (or number) was changed. It's a military thing!  Bien Thuy was the home of the  632nd and 633rd.

Photos Above: The Kennels, Circa 1968-1969
Photos Courtesy of JD Hays

Binh Thuy  Dogs of Binh Thuy   Handlers of Binh Thuy

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