Dong Ha 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

Dong Ha, the capital of Quang Tri province, is at the junction of Highway 1 (which runs north-south) and Highway 9 (which runs east- west). The latter provides landlocked neighbor Laos with one of its several trade routes to the sea. The base was only a few miles from the DMZ that separated North and South Vietnam. Dong Ha was a permanent helicopter and major logistics base supporting the northern area of South Viet Nam. It was the location of  northernmost aviation unit in Vietnam. Primarily a Marine Corp base, the Air Force had Forward Air Controller assigned and C7a's Caribous flew in & out. A Radar Control Center (Skyspot) supported support of U.S. offensive actions in the DMZ area. The Navy unit at Dong Ha and Cua Viet on the Cua Viet River pushed supplies and ammunition through to the 3d Marine Division on the DMZ and elsewhere in I Corps.

A Security Police unit was assigned to the installation. If you have any knowledge of  Air Force dogs used at Dong Ha please contact the Webmaster by E-Mail .

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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. 

Please read  Death of a Warrior.




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