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
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
Phan Rang AB
The Dogs The Handlers
Barracks # 2
Kennels # 2
Obstacle Course One
Attack on Phan Rang AB Phan
Rang AB Memorial
Photos # 3
Photos # 4
Photos # 5