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 Miss Lynn Anderson and the Marine recruiting campaign based on it saying "We never promised you a Rose Garden", depicting a scary Marine Drill Instructor addressing a mortified recruit.
The squadrons soon in residence 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.
This group soon was 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 force occupying "The Rose Garden" was designated Task Force Delta. The base was made up of marines, sailors (medical and construction staff), air force (mostly cargo handing), a six-man United States Army contingent from the 11th Signal Brigade (United States) (providing specialized communications security to the command from June to December 1972), and Thai military elements. The base was in existence until September 1973 when all the units returned to their home bases.:24
During its operational occupation by U.S. forces the base was used to fly air operations against targets in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. The base was used as a primary divert airbase for battle damaged aircraft and those low on fuel.
Nam Phong is today a Royal Thai Air Force bombing range. However, the World Aeronautical database states that the runway is still in use. There is no ICAO location indicator for this field.
- 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
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