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
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.
Hubbard Ken Smerecki
Donald Dinubilo Alexander
Phan Rang AB
Dogs The Handlers
Barracks # 2 Kennels
Obstacle Course One Story
Attack on Phan Rang AB Phan Rang AB Memorial
Gallery Photos #2
Photos # 3
Photos # 4
Photos # 5