Tuy Hoa Air Base
- For the civil use of the facility during
after 1975, see ńź√īng T√°c Airport
was built in 1966, and was one of
several South Vietnamese Air
air bases built and used by the United States Air Force
during the Vietnam War
Phu Cat was one of several air bases in the former South Vietnam
built by United States Air Force
RED HORSE civil engineering
squadrons in 1966. An advance construction party of the 820th Civil
Engineering Squadron (Heavy repair) arrived in June. Within six
months, with the completion of interim airfield facilities, the
base was in operation. This unit completed nearly 50 percent of all
construction completed at Tuy Hoa, including: 170 aircraft
protective revetments, of wooden buildings, and 175,000 square
yards of AM-2 matting. In addition, the 820th CES operated a rock
crusher 9.5 miles from the base and hauled aggregate through
enemy-held territory to the base.
Tuy Hoa was originally envisioned as a Strategic Air Command B-52
base. However, security concerns of basing SAC's
bombers directly in South Vietnam resulted in the assignment of
B-52s to U-Tapao Air Base in neighboring Thailand.
Hoa was given a tactical air support mission instead.
The APO for Tuy Hoa Air Base was APO San Francisco 96316
31st Tactical Fighter Wing
31st Tactical Fighter
Wing was deployed from Homestead Air
Force Base Florida to Tuy Hoa
in late 1966.
Its attached squadrons were:
- 308 Tactical Fighter 15 Nov 1966 - 8 Sep 1970 (F-100D/F Tail
Code: SD) Was assigned to Bien Hoa and after flying missions from
Bien Hoa on 15 November recovered at Tuy Hoa.
- 308 Tactical Fighter 6
Dec 1966 - 8 Sep 1970 (F-100D/F Tail Code: SM)
- 309 Tactical Fighter 6
Dec 1966 - 8 Sep 1970 (F-100D/F Tail Code: SS)
The first squadron of F-100s (the 308th) actually touched down on
1966, forty-five days ahead
of schedule. Within a month, it was joined by two others (the 306th
and 309th); and on 6 December
Tactical Fighter Wing became combat ready at Tuy Hoa.
The mission of the 31st TFW was twofold.
- Prevent the movement of hostile troops and supplies into the
theater of operations or within the theater.
- Assist ground forces in the battle area.
During its time at Tuy Hoa, the 31st conducted combat interdiction
strikes, conducted visual and photo reconnaissance, rescue combat
air patrols, and suppressed enemy antiaircraft artillery.
1968 Tet Offensive, aircraft from the
31st conducted air operations against enemy forces and during the
Siege of Khe
Sanh, Feb‚ÄďApr 1968.
Other missions flown from Tuy
Hoa consisted of close air support missions during the extraction
of friendly troops from Kham Duc on 12 May 1968.
In June 1967, federalized Air
squadrons were deployed from the United States
to supplement the 31st TFW. These were:
when the National Guard units returned to the United States after
their one-year active duty was ended, F-100 squadrons from the 37th
TFW at Phu Cat Air
Base, which was converting to F-4Ds were deployed as
- 136 Tactical Fighter 14 Jun 1968 - 25 May 1969 (New York ANG)
(F-100C Tail Code: SG)
- 188 Tactical Fighter 7 Jun 1968 - 18 May 1969 (New Mexico ANG)
(F-100C/F Tail Code: SK)
- 355 Tactical Fighter 15 May 1969 - 30 Sep 1970 (F-100D/F Tail
- 416 Tactical Fighter 28 May 1969 - 5 Sep 1970 (F-100D/F Tail
Having five F-100 squadrons, the 31st TFW was the most important
F-100 wing in South Vietnam.
In May 1968, the 31st gained a forward air control mission as well
as continued other combat operations.
The 31st TFW was deactivated in Southeat Asia on 15 October 1970 as
part of the general US withdrawal from South Vietnam
. On 16 October it
was reactivated without personnel or equipment at Homestead Air
Force Base, Florida.
the American withdrawal from Tuy Hoa, the 308th TFS was deactivated
in place on 5 October
and 309th TFS were deactivated, then reassigned without personnel
or equipment on 8 September 1970 and
initially assigned to the 4403d TFW at England AFB Louisiana.
The 306th and 309th TFS were returned to
the 31st TFW at Homestead AFB, Florida on 30
TFS was deactivated in place and reassigned to 354th TFW at Myrtle
Beach on 1 November 1970, and the 416th
TFS was deactivated in place and reassigned to 4403d TFW at
AFB on 28 September
USAF Aircraft Based At Tuy Hoa Air Base
Image:309tfs-tuyhoa1.jpg|North American F-100D-60-NA Super
Sabres Serials 56-2927 (Front) and 56-2952 of the 309th TFS on the
ramp at Tuy Hoa, April 1970.Image:F-100d-308TFS-tuyhoa.jpg|North
American F-100D-25-NA Super Sabre Serial 55-3642 of the 308th
Tactical Fighter Squadron.Image:306tfs-tuyhoa1.jpg|North American
F-100D-90-NA Super Sabre Serial 56-3311 of the 306th Tactical
Fighter Squadron.Image:Nmang-tuyhoa-1968.jpg|North American
F-100C-25-NA Super Sabres on the flightline from the Federalized
188th Tactical Fighter Squadron, New Mexico Air National Guard,
1968. Serial 54-2045 is in foreground.
USAF Emblem Gallery
Image:31sttfw.gif|31st Tactical Fighter Wing
Image:Pacific Air Forces.png|USAF Pacific Air Forces
Image:7th Air Force.png|USAF 7th Air Force
SVNAF Use of Tuy Hoa Air Base
After the American withdrawal, Tuy Hoa was used for flyable storage
of South Vietnamese Air Force propeller-driven aircraft (A-1, T-28)
and helicopters. After the 1973 Paris Peace Accords
, United States
Congressional cuts in military aid to South Vietnam forced the
SVNAF to abandon use of the base with no permanent personnel or
active aircraft assigned. By 1975, the base showed lack of signs of
maintenance and being abandoned, with little or no activities
taking place on the facility.
Capture Of Tuy Hoa Air Base
In early 1975 North Vietnam
the time was right to achieve its goal of re-uniting Vietnam under
communist rule, launched a series of small ground attacks to test
On 8 January
the North Vietnamese
Politburo ordered a major People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) offensive
to "liberate" South Vietnam by NVA cross-border invasion. The NVA
general staff plan for the invasion of South Vietnam called for 20
divisions, because, by 1975, the Soviet-supplied North Vietnamese
Army was the fifth largest in the world. It anticipated a two year
struggle for victory.
By 14 March
, South Vietnamese President
Nguyen Van Thieu decided to abandon the Central Highlands region
and two northern provinces of South Vietnam and ordered a general
withdrawal of ARVN forces from those areas. Instead of an orderly
withdrawal, it turned into a general retreat, with masses of
military and civilians fleeing, clogging roads and creating
The first convoys left Pleiku on 16 March
and continued to depart unhindered for three days. But no
provisions had been made for the civilian populace, and the
military convoys were pursued by a panic-stricken civilian mob in
vehicles and on foot. Surprised at first, the PAVN reacted quickly
and by 18 March
portions of the evacuation
route were under artillery fire. Worse, necessary bridging material
was delayed. and a mass of vehicles and humanity backed up at each
river crossing in turn.
Panic mounted and observers overhead watched in horror as survivors
plodded south suffering terrible heat and thirst. Communist forces
finally cut the road just short of Tuy Hoa on 22 March
. Desperate attacks by ARVN Rangers
eventually reopened the way, and, during the evening of 27 March
, the first vehicles began to roll into Tuy
Of those who started the trek, only a minority completed it. They
included some 60,000 civilian refugees, perhaps a third of the
total who started, and some 20,000 support troops, only a quarter
of those who departed Pleiku. Of the elite Rangers who covered the
withdrawal, only 900 out of 7,000 survived. During the ordeal,
graphic footage of the "Convoy of Tears," as it was called, was
screened on South Vietnamese television, and panic spread to the
Meanwhile, as the ARVN scrambled to salvage something from defeat
the situation in northern South Vietnam fell apart. By 19 March
, Quang Tri
Province had fallen to the communists. Successive attempts to
evacuate the ARVN forces of the strategic reserve southward were
inadequate and poorly planned and served only to amplify the chaos.
Hue fell on 25 March and
Nang on 30 March.
result was the loss not only of northern South Vietnam, but also of
the elite units of the strategic reserve, the 1st Division and the
Marine and Airborne Divisions.
On 1 April
, South Vietnamese forces
abandoned Tuy Hoa.
- Endicott, Judy G. (1999) Active Air Force wings as of 1 October
1995; USAF active flying, space, and missile squadrons as of 1
October 1995. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History.
- Martin, Patrick (1994). Tail Code: The Complete History of USAF
Tactical Aircraft Tail Code Markings. Schiffer Military Aviation
History. ISBN 0887405134.
- Mesco, Jim (1987) VNAF South Vietnamese Air Force 1945-1975
Squadron/Signal Publications. ISBN 0-89747-193-8
- Mikesh, Robert C. (2005) Flying Dragons: The South Vietnamese
Air Force. Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 0764321587
- Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage
and Honors Histories 1947-1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air
Force History. ISBN 0912799129.
- USAF Historical Research Division/Organizational History
Branch - 35th Fighter Wing, 366th Wing
- VNAF - The South
Vietnamese Air Force 1951-1975
- USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial
Numbers--1908 to present