Royal Thai Air Base Nam Phong
|Nam Phong Royal Thai Air Force Base|
|Part of Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF)|
Nam Phong in 1973
|Type||Air Force Base|
|Condition||Military Air Force Base|
|Occupants||Marine Aircraft Group 15|
|Elevation AMSL||750 ft / 227 m|
The Royal Thai Air Base Nam Phong in Nam Phong District, Khon Kaen Province, Thailand in June 1972 became a base of operations for United States Marine Corps air operations by Marine Aircraft Group 15, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
Elements of squadrons that had previously been located at Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam were moved to Nam Phong starting in June 1972. The advance party that first arrived landed to find basically an airfield in the middle of the jungle. At that time the base consisted of a runway, parking apron, and a few wooden buildings. A United States Navy Seabee battalion (MCB 5) was soon clearing the jungle and some 10 man tents were hastily erected to sleep and work in. Since the conditions were rugged, the base soon came to be called "The Rose Garden" after the song by Lynn Anderson and the Marine recruiting campaign based on it, saying "We never promised you a Rose Garden" and depicting a Marine Drill Instructor addressing a terrified recruit.
The squadrons in residence soon included H&MS-15, MABS-15, VMFA-115 and VMFA-232 with F-4 Phantom IIs, VMA(AW)-533 with A-6 Intruders, VMGR-152 with KC-130 Hercules, and H&MS-36, Det "D" with CH-46 Sea Knights.
These were soon joined by 3rd Battalion 9th Marines. who served as the security element. Marine Air Traffic Control Unit 62 (MATCU 62) handled the airport traffic control operations, including the airport tower and GCA radar (Ground Controlled Approach). The military occupying "The Rose Garden" was designated Task Force Delta. The base included Marines, Navy medical and construction staff, some airmen (mostly cargo handers), and a six-man United States Army detachment from the 11th Signal Brigade (United States), which provided specialized communications security to the command from June to December 1972. There were also Thai military elements. The Rose Garden was active until September 1973, when all the military units returned to their home bases.:24
During its operational occupation by U.S. forces, Nam Phong was used for air operations against targets in North Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. It was also a primary divert airbase for battle damaged aircraft and those low on fuel.
Nam Phong today is a Royal Thai Air Force bombing range. Nevertheless, the World Aeronautical database states that the runway is still in use. There is no ICAO location indicator for the airfield.
- Dunham, George R (1990). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: The Bitter End, 1973–1975 (Marine Corps Vietnam Operational Historical Series). History and Museums Division Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. p. 23. ISBN 9780160264559.
- The Ravens by Chris Robbens
|This Thailand-related article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|
|This Asian military article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|