Don Muang RTAFB,
Royal Thai Air Base
 

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

An advanced party of the 6010 TAC Group arrived at Don Muang RTAFB at the request of the Royal Thai government to establish an aircraft warning system in April, 1961. Four RF-101C aircraft of the 45th TRS and their photo lab arrived in November of 1961 to fly RECCE flights over Laos.In November of 1962 the 2nd Air Division assumed control of the 6010th TAC Group. In August the group was redesignated the 35TH TAC GROUP. In July 1965 the 35th TAC Group was redesignated the 6236th Combat Support Group and again in April, 1966 was redesignated the 631st CSG. In March of 1965 there were 1342 enlisted men stationed at Don Muang RTAFB. The primary mission of Don Muang was to provide support for all USAF units and detachments assigned to the base or other bases in Thailand.

Don Muang was Thailand's international airport, served by PAA, Swiss Air, Lufthansa among others. Don Muang was also a training base for the RTAF.  More important was Bangkok’s harbor, a deep water SEATO port. Up through 1966 many of the USAF logistics requirements flowed through this port to upcountry bases transported by Don Muang's Transport Units. Most operations moved out of Don Muang in 1970 to other Thailand bases.  

Above from USAF History in Thailand

Contributors

David F. Adams       Bill Cummings      Lt. Col  John Probst      

 Ronald Reid        Terry Stricklan

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