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
“From the coming of the first
sentry dog teams in July 1965 until 4 December 1966, no
known penetrations took place in areas patrolled by
dogs. But on the 4th of December, sappers aided by good
weather and the terrain slipped through a sentry dog
post at Tan Son Nhut. The infiltrators were spotted when
they tried to penetrate a second (backup) post. The
alarm voiced by the handler at the second post alerted
the air base, triggering a defense force counterattack
that staved off major damage and wiped out the enemy
raiding party. During the fighting, sentry dog forces in
South Vietnam sustained their first casualties: one
handler and three sentry dogs killed, two handlers and
one sentry dog wounded.
the ensuing years of the war, the sentry dogs saw no
combat of this size. Nevertheless, they quietly showed
their value as sturdy, versatile, detection devices.
Their worth sparkled at Binh Thuy, Phu Cat, Pleiku, and
Phan Rang where again and again they gave warning of
enemy probes and penetrations. The last, sentry dog to
be killed in the war fell during the 29 January 1969
attack on Phan Rang Airbase.”
History of Air
Base Defense of Vietnam 1961-1973
By Roger P. Fox
OFFICE OF AIR FORCE HISTORY UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
WASHINGTON, D.C., 1979
The author, Lt. Col. Roger P. Fox, USAF (Ret.), wrote
this volume while assigned to the Office of Air Force
History. He brings judgments to his research based on
his personal experience as a base security officer
during the conflict. Thus, early on the morning of 4
December 1966, he rallied Air Force and South Vietnamese
security forces to repel an enemy attempt to penetrate
Tan Son Nhut Air Base, the center of Air Force
operations in South Vietnam. For his gallantry in action
on this occasion, he was awarded the Silver Star.
VSPA K-9 Memoriam
Military Dog History
- Stories of SEA
- (Southeast Asia)
Download PDF Files
The Handlers of
South-East Asia (SEA)
worksheet list all Air
Force handlers assigned to Vietnam & Thailand Bases. Also
listed are known US Navy handlers at Naval Support Activities Da Nang AB & Cam Ranh
Bay are listed. Over 4,000+ Tour Assignments for handlers are listed.
The Dogs of SEA Worksheet list all known dogs assigned
to Vietnam & Thailand Air Force/Navy bases and some Army dogs used in
Vietnam and Thailand. The list also specifies the dogs that were returned in
1975-76 to the DOD Dog Center, Lackland AFB, Texas. Over 1,600 + dogs are
listed by name, brand number, and bases assigned.
Army sentry dog handler list in progress.
Both worksheets show
multiple tours/assignments of handlers and dogs. Please
send me any additions to our records. If you
want a copy but do not have Excel, send me a
e-mail and ask for a PDF copy.
Deadly Disease for Military Working Dogs in SEA
The United States employed large numbers of
military working dogs as sentries, scouts,
trackers, and mine detectors in Vietnam. In
mid-1968 an epizootic occurred which threatened
the working dog program and led to 250 canine
deaths. Military veterinarians launched an
extensive effort to control this disease and to
determine its cause. This study, using primary
and secondary sources, describes the epizootic,
the identification and control of the disease,
and its implications for the future use of
military working dogs. Canine ehrlichiosis, a
highly fatal tickborne rickettsiosis caused by
Ehrlichia canis, was identified as the cause of
the epizootic. Clinical and experimental
experience proved that canine ehrlichiosis can
be successfully treated with tetracycline; this
treatment and serologic testing to detect
infected animals brought the epizootic under
control, although ehrlichiosis still remains a
problem among military working dogs. This study
concluded that the future control of canine
ehrlichiosis and related diseases requires:
serologic screening of prospective and active
duty military dogs, rigorous tick control,
evaluation of the disease threat in areas where
military dogs are employed, disease education of
personnel who deal with military dogs, and
additional veterinary research.
Air Base Defense
of Vietnam, including attacks on bases
Complete Lists of
attack dates for RVN & Thailand, needed for VA
Military Working Dogs or Contractor Working Dogs
Supporting Deployed Troops
History of Vietnam
Do you have health problems?
Chemical Exposure or Cancer Risk!
Testicular Cancer Study ?
Agent Orange in Thailand ?
Photos Above: Safe Conduct Passes, Courtesy of Bruce Pritchett
Links of Interest