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
483rd SPS By Steve Janeke
The 483rd Security Police Squadron at Cam Ranh Bay AB Air Base provided security
for the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing and the 483rd Troop
Carrier Wing (latter renamed the 483 Tactical Airlift Wing). The base was
located on South Vietnams East coast, approximately 180 miles Northeast of
Saigon. The base was primarily used as a cargo/airlift base. It was one of three
air bases where military entered or departed the country for their 12 month tour
Of the 500 officer and airmen assigned to the squadron during my tour of duty
(1970-71) about 55-60 were assigned to the K-9 Division. The division had two
kennels. One kennel was for law enforcement and customs. That kennel had drug
detector dogs to search baggage, mail, aircraft, and people for narcotics. The
kennel also had a 135 pound dog named King that worked with air police patrols
to stop bar fights and other disturbances. The majority of the dogs were in a
kennel located on a small hill overlooking the runway. The hill was
appropriately called K-9 Hill.
The American and allied soldiers in the field had the added fire support
provided by the fighter and the fighter-bomber aircraft of the 12th
Tactical Fighter Wing from 1965 to 1970. The 483rd Tactical Airlift
Wing provided support from 1966 to 1972.
Air Force dog teams (Kilo Teams) might not be well known outside of Air Force
circles, but these dogs and handlers were an important part of America's
fighting forces in Vietnam. We have currently located over 30 handlers from the
483rd and are looking for the rest.
This article was first printed in the Vietnam Dog Handlers
Association Publication “Dogman”, Volume 6, Number 1, February 1999.
Steve Janeke & Sentry Dog Kobuc X448
Cam Ranh Bay AB Dogs
of CRB Handlers of CRB
Photo Gallery 1
Photo Gallery 2