Phu Cat AB Air Base,
Republic of Vietnam

During the Vietnam War, the defense of Air Force bases mirrored the conflict itself: There was no rear echelon once the entire country became a battlefield. Air Force 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 Force 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

 

Photos Above Courtesy of Joseph Barbarise

K-9 Patch, Courtesy of Bruce Kinnaird

Contributors

Joseph Barbarise     Gary  Estabrook      Bruce Kinnaird  

Scott Baker      Monty Moore     Bruce Pritchett  

 Tom Taylor     Bill Wagonlander      Nick Wirth 

David Baumgartel    Gary Swanson

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Phu Cat AB Air Base    Dogs of Phu Cat AB    Handlers of Phu Cat AB   The Base

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