Binh Thuy Air Base
|Binh Thuy Air Base|
Part of Republic of Vietnam Air Force (RVNAF)|
Pacific Air Forces (USAF)
Vietnam People's Air Force (VPAF)
Binh Thuy in 1967
|Type||Air Force Base|
Vietnam People's Air Force|
Republic of Vietnam Air Force
United States Air Force
|Condition||Captured 1975 by PAVN, later used as a military airfield/civil airport|
4th Air Division (RVNAF)|
22nd Tactical Air Support Squadron (USAF)
|Elevation AMSL||3 m / 10 ft|
Binh Thuy Air Base (also known as Can Tho Air Base and Trà Nóc Air Base) was a United States Air Force (USAF), United States Navy, Republic of Vietnam Air Force (RVNAF) and Vietnam People's Air Force (VPAF) (Khong Quan Nhan Dan Viet Nam) military airfield used during the Vietnam War. It is located 7km northwest of Cần Thơ in the Mekong Delta.
In mid-1963 Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) proposed the construction of a 6,000-foot (1,800 m) runway at Cần Thơ to replace the existing 3,000-foot (910 m) runway at Sóc Trăng Airfield which was unsuitable for night and wet weather operations with a projected US$ 4.5 million construction cost and a 2-year construction period.:177
In January 1964 given the need for heavier aircraft to be available for quick reaction air support in the Mekong Delta, CINCPAC approved the construction of a new airfield at Cần Thơ for a cost of US$2.5 million to be ready within one year.:184
Construction of the new airfield began in February 1964. The selected site was low-lying swampland adjacent to the Bassac River and the Seabees operated a dredge on the Bassac 22 hours a day to produce landfill for the site.:64-5 However the quality of the fill produced was poor and when the project passed to construction contractor RMK-BRJ they resorted to bringing in sand from elsewhere, eventually moving over 680,000 cubic yards of fill to create the 6,000ft asphalt runway, taxi ramps and headquarters building.:151
On 20 February 1966 a VC mortar attack on the base was stopped by fire from one of the base's AC-47s as was another mortar attack on 8 July.:41-2
On 14 October 1967 following the activation of the 14th Air Commando Squadron at Nha Trang Air Base the AC-47s of E Flight, 4th Air Commando Squadron were replaced by 5 AC-47s of D Flight 14th Air Commando Squadron.:56
During the Tet Offensive, Viet Cong (VC) forces attacked the base with mortar and rocket fire and on 13 February launched a ground attack on base which was repulsed by USAD Security Police for no US or South Vietnamese losses.
On 20 December 1969 Detachment 10, 38th Aerospace Rescue & Recovery Squadron was disbanded.:113
On 19 April 1969 Light Attack Squadron 4 (VAL-4) began combat operations, flying air support for the Mobile Riverine Force in the Mekong Delta. The missions included patrol, overhead air cover, scramble alert and gunfire/artillery spotting. On 31 March 1972 VAL-4 conducted its last combat mission prior to its disestablishment on 10 April 1972.
In October 1964 the RVNAF 520th Fighter Squadron equipped with A-1Hs was formed at Bien Hoa AB, however due to delays in construction of the base it was only in December that they were able to start deploying a 5 aircraft detachment daily from Bien Hoa AB to Binh Thuy.:237-9
By 1969 with the transfer of AC-47s to the RVNAF, 6 AC-47s of the 817th Combat Squadron were maintained on ground alert at the base.:252-3
Fall of South Vietnam
As the southernmost RVNAF base, Binh Thuy remained operational until the end of the Vietnam War. On the morning of 30 April 1975 Binh Thuy based jets carried out the last known air strike of the war destroying 2 T-54 tanks of the People's Army of Vietnam 10th Division as they attempted to attack Tan Son Nhut Air Base.
Accidents and incidents
- In early 1967 an AC-47 of the 4th Air Commando Squadron crashed on landing and was destroyed.:58
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- Bailey, Carl E. (24 June 2016). "Factsheet 22 Attack Squadron (ACC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
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- Veith, George (2012). Black April The Fall of South Vietnam 1973-75. Encounter Books. p. 489. ISBN 9781594035722.