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

Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base was the home of the 432nd Tactical Fighter/Reconnaissance Wing, and was the only wing of its kind in Southeast Asia. The 432nd was made up of one RF-4C tactical reconnaissance squadron (14th TRS) and two F-4D tactical fighter squadrons (13th and 555th TFS). The 432nd squadrons worked well together in an integrated search and destroy mission. The reconnaissance squadron found and photographed lucrative targets for the fighter squadrons to neutralize. Udorn was also the headquarters of the Deputy Commander, Seventh Air Force/Thirteenth Air Force. Operational control of Thailand-based USAF units was maintained by- Seventh Air Force, while logistics and administration were handled by Thirteenth Air Force. The Royal Thai Air Force's 223d Tactical Fighter Squadron was the host unit at Udorn. The squadron's T-28 "Trojan" fighters engage in interdiction missions. 

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Tai Guard (K-9)  Kam-Ai Buengchaipoom was KIA during the October 3, 1972 attack on Udorn. He was awarded the Bronze Star with the "V" device for Valor. Tai Guard (K-9) Eiw Intaravichien was WIA during the same attack He was awarded the Bronze Star with the "V" device for valor.

Patch Courtesy of Ernest Childers


Above Photo Courtesy of David Beane


David Beane    Charlie Blood     Ernie Childers    David M. Everett  

Holland Morelock    David VanHoogstrate    Tim O'Toole

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Udorn RTAFB    Dogs of Udorn    Handlers of Udorn    Thai Handlers of Udorn

Barracks    Photo Gallery 1     Photo Gallery 2     Photo Gallery 3     Photo Gallery 4



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