Phan Rang 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

Phan Rang AB was located 3 miles inland from the South China Sea and  35 miles south of Cam Ranh Bay. The base took over a year to complete . It's runway was suitable for Australian Canberra bombers. 

Over it's lifetime, Various Security Police units were assigned to Phan Rang AB. Usually when these changes occurred, all personnel remained, just the unit name (or number) was changed. Sometimes special units were assigned to provide special capabilities. It's a military thing!  Phan Rang AB was the home of the  35th,  315th, 366th, 821st, 822nd, and 823rd. 

Photo Above: Sign was located at K-9 Graveyard. Photo Courtesy of Alexander Zion; Circa April 1966-April 1967



Duke 759E was one of the first dogs in Vietnam. He was brought to Nam by John Merstock, 1966-67 to the 633rd at Pleiku AB Air Base. He was handled at Pleiku AB by Ken Smerecki (Circa . 68-69). He was transferred to the 35th SPS at Phan Rang AB Air Base. His last handler was Bob Hubbard, 1970-71.  He was euthanized two months after Hubbard left Vietnam. He was donated to the military by Floyd Campbell, Winston-Salem, NC  in 1966.

 Photo and caption information provided by Robert Hubbard and Ken Smerecki.


Robert (Bob) Hubbard       Ken Smerecki      

Donald Dinubilo         Alexander Zion

Dave Pierce

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    VSPA  is an association for USAF Vietnam War Veterans who  served  in Vietnam or Thailand from  1960-1975, as  Air Police / Security  Police or as an Augmentee.  Visit the main pages for information on joining.


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