II Corps (South Vietnam)
The II Corps was a corps of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, the army of the nation state of South Vietnam that existed from 1955 to 1975. It was one of four corps in the ARVN, it oversaw the region of the central highlands region, north of the capital Saigon, its corps headquarters was in the mountain town of Pleiku. One notable ARVN unit of II Corps, the 3d Armored Cavalry Squadron, earned the Presidential Unit Citation; the 21st Tank Regiment was formed at Pleiku in 1972. The objective of the North Vietnamese forces during the third phase of the Nguyen Hue Offensive was to seize the cities of Kon Tum and Pleiku, thereby overrunning the Central Highlands; this would open the possibility of proceeding east to the coastal plains, splitting South Vietnam in two. The highlands offensive was preceded by NLF diversionary operations that opened on 5 April in coastal Bình Định Province, which aimed at closing Highway 1, seizing several ARVN firebases, diverting South Vietnamese forces from operations further west.
The North Vietnamese were under the command of Lieutenant General Hoang Minh Thao, commander of the B-3 Front. The Front included the 320th and 2nd PAVN Divisions in the highlands and the 3rd PAVN Division in the lowlands – 50,000 men. Arrayed against them in II Corps were the South Vietnamese 22nd and 23rd Divisions, two armored cavalry squadrons, the 2nd Airborne Brigade, all under the command of Lieutenant General Ngo Du, it had become evident as early as January that the North Vietnamese were building up for offensive operations in the tri-border region and numerous B-52 strikes had been conducted in the area in hopes of slowing the build-up. ARVN forces had been deployed forward toward the border in order to slow the PAVN advance and allow the application of airpower to deplete North Vietnamese manpower and logistics; the Bình Định offensive, threw General Du into a panic and convinced him to fall for the North Vietnamese ploy and divert his forces from the highlands. Tucker, Spencer C..
Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. Pp. 526–533. ISBN 1-57607-040-9
December 1964 South Vietnamese coup
The December 1964 South Vietnamese coup took place before dawn on December 19, 1964, when the ruling military junta of South Vietnam led by General Nguyễn Khánh dissolved the High National Council and arrested some of its members. The HNC was an unelected legislative-style civilian advisory body they had created at the request of the United States—South Vietnam's main sponsor—to give a veneer of civilian rule; the dissolution dismayed the Americans the ambassador, Maxwell D. Taylor, who engaged in an angry war of words with various generals including Khánh and threatened aid cuts, they were unable to do anything about the fait accompli, handed to them, because they desired to win the Vietnam War and needed to support the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. Instead, Taylor's searing verbal attacks were counterproductive as they galvanized the Vietnamese officers around the embattled Khánh. At the time, Khánh's leadership was under threat from his fellow generals, as well as Taylor, who had fallen out with him and was seeking his removal.
The genesis of the removal of the HNC was a power struggle within the ruling junta. Khánh, saved from an earlier coup attempt in September 1964 by the intervention of some younger generals dubbed the Young Turks, was indebted to them and needed to satisfy their wishes to stay in power; the Young Turks disliked a group of older officers, in high leadership positions but were now in powerless posts, wanted to sideline them completely. As a result, they decided to hide their political motives by introducing a policy to compulsorily retire all general officers with more than 25 years of service; the chief of state Phan Khắc Sửu, an elderly figure appointed by the military to give a semblance of civilian rule, did not want to sign the decree without the agreement of the HNC, which consisted of old men. The HNC recommended against the new policy, the younger officers, led by I Corps commander General Nguyễn Chánh Thi and Air Marshal Nguyễn Cao Kỳ, disbanded the body and arrested some of its members along with other politicians.
As a result of this event, Taylor summoned Khánh to his office. Khánh sent Thi, Kỳ, the commander of the Republic of Vietnam Navy Admiral Chung Tấn Cang and IV Corps commander General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, after beginning with "Do all of you understand English?", Taylor harshly berated them and threatened cuts in aid. While angered by Taylor's manner, the officers defended themselves in a restrained way; the next day Khánh met Taylor and the Vietnamese leader made oblique accusations that the U. S. wanted a puppet ally. When Taylor told Khánh he had lost confidence in his leadership, Taylor was threatened with expulsion, to which he responded with threats of total aid cuts. However, Khánh said he would leave Vietnam along with some other generals he named, during a phone conversation, asked Taylor to help with travel arrangements, he asked Taylor to repeat the names of the would-be exiles for confirmation, Taylor complied, not knowing that Khánh was taping the dialogue. Khánh showed the tape to his colleagues out of context, misleading them into thinking that Taylor wanted them expelled from their own country to raise the prestige of his embattled leadership.
Over the next few days, Khánh embarked on a media offensive criticizing U. S. policy and decrying what he saw as an undue influence and infringement on Vietnamese sovereignty, explicitly condemning Taylor and declaring the nation's independence from "foreign manipulation". Khánh and the Young Turks began preparations to expel Taylor before changing their minds; the Americans were forced to back down on their insistence that the HNC be restored and did not carry through on Taylor's threats to cut off aid, despite Saigon's defiance. On September 26, 1964, Nguyễn Khánh and the senior officers in his military junta created a semblance of civilian rule by forming the High National Council, an appointed advisory body akin to a legislature; this came after lobbying by American officials—led by Ambassador Maxwell Taylor—in Vietnam, as they placed great value in the appearance of civilian legitimacy, which they saw as vital to building a popular base for any government. Khánh put his rival General Dương Văn Minh—who he had deposed in a January 1964 coup—in charge of picking the 17 members of the HNC, Minh filled it with figures sympathetic to him.
The HNC made a resolution to recommend a political model with a powerful head of state, which would be Minh, given their sympathy towards him. Khánh did not want his rival taking power, so he and the Americans convinced the HNC to dilute the powers of the position to make it unappealing to Minh, sent on an overseas diplomatic goodwill tour to remove him from the political scene. However, Minh was back in South Vietnam after a few months and the power balance in the junta was still fragile; the HNC, which had representatives from a wide range of social groups, selected the aging civilian politician Phan Khắc Sửu as chief of state, Suu chose Trần Văn Hương as prime minister, a position that had greater power. However, Khánh and the senior generals retained the real power. At the same time, a group of Catholic officers were trying to replace Khánh with their co-religionist, General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, the incumbent was under pressure. During 1964, South Vietnam had suffered a succession of setbacks on the battlefield, in part due to disunity in the military and a focus on coup plotting.
In the meantime, both Saigon and Washington were planning a large-scale bombing campaign against North Vietnam in an attempt to det
South Vietnamese Regional Force
During the Vietnam War, the South Vietnamese Regional Forces were Army of the Republic of Vietnam militia. Recruited locally, they fell into two broad groups - Regional Forces and the more local-level Popular Forces. In 1964, the Regional Forces were integrated into the Army of the Republic of Vietnam and placed under the command of the Joint General Staff. Fielded as village-level or province-level defence forces, these units were militia-men while working part or full-time. Given the worse equipment available, they served as a front-line force against armed attacks but were marginalised and demoralised during the American-intervention, as ARVN Regular Forces were relegated to guarding duty. Following Vietnamization these units once again came back to prominence as they became better trained and tasked with carrying out wider area operations despite lacking artillery and air support, they would serve as front-line provincial defence units while Regular Forces were deployed against conventional People's Army of Vietnam forces, grew to number 250,000 by 1974.
The concept of Regional and Popular Forces is in-line with countering the Local Force and Main Force structure of the Viet Cong as they lacked firepower support, while the ARVN Regular Forces fought the PAVN. Local militia came to play a effective role in the war, as the style of small-unit warfare was better suited for guerrilla conflicts with most more familiar with the region and terrain. Despite being poorly paid, these forces were much more capable at detecting infiltration and holding civilian areas. Accounting for an estimated 2-5% of war budget, they were thought to have accounted for 30% of casualties inflicted upon VC/NVA throughout the entire war. Part of this derives in these units being more capable of engaging in small-unit, highly-mobile tactics which proved difficult for slow-moving equipment-heavy units. During the early 1960s the Regional Forces manned the country-wide outpost system and defended critical points, such as bridges and ferries. There were half of them in the Mekong Delta region.
Regional Forces played a key role in regional security in the early phase of the war, while RF/PF members were marginalised and side-lined during the American-intervention as Regular Force Army of the Republic of Vietnam Units were relegated to guarding bases and areas, badly affecting morale and purpose. When U. S. forces began to withdraw from South Vietnam during 1969 and the ARVN began the task of fighting the communist main force units, Regional Forces took on a new importance. For the first time, they were deployed outside their home areas and were sometimes attached to ARVN units. By 1973 the Regional Forces had grown to 1,810 companies, some of which were consolidated into battalions. Charged with local defense under provincial government control, they were too armed and equipped, marginally trained, lacked the unit cohesion to withstand attack by regular People's Army of Vietnam units supported by tanks and artillery. Most forces were subdued, retreated or were destroyed during the Easter Offensive
Đỗ Cao Trí
Lieutenant General Đỗ Cao Trí was a general in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam known for his fighting prowess and flamboyant style. Trí started out in the French Army before transferring to the Vietnamese National Army and the ARVN. Under President Ngô Đình Diệm, Trí was the commander of I Corps where he was noted for harsh crackdowns on Buddhist civil rights demonstrations against the Diệm government. Trí participated in the November 1963 coup which resulted in the assassination of Diệm on 2 November 1963. Years Trí was exiled by Nguyễn Cao Kỳ, the most powerful member of the junta, but when Nguyễn Văn Thiệu came to power, he was called back to command III Corps, he led III Corps during the 1970 Cambodian Campaign, earning the laudatory sobriquet as "the Patton of the Parrot's Beak". In 1971, Trí was ordered north to take command of I Corps in Operation Lam Son 719, an incursion into Laos, which had gone astray, he was aged 41, in a helicopter accident before being able to take control. Trí was born in Biên Hòa, Đồng Nai Province, French Indochina, just northeast of Saigon.
His father was a wealthy landowner and his grandfather served as a Nguyễn Dynasty mandarin during the French colonial era. He earned his baccalaureate from Saigon. After entering the French colonial forces in 1947, he graduated from Do Huu Vi Officer Class and the following year was sent to Auvour, France to attend infantry school. In 1953, while an officer in the Vietnamese National Army, he graduated from General Staff and Command Class in Hanoi, his first command was as a young airborne officer, until his death he survived three attempts on his life, leading him to his belief that he had an "immunity from death on the battlefield". As a young lieutenant colonel, he was made the commander of the Airborne Brigade in 1954 and was based in Saigon. Towards the end of the May 1955 Battle for Saigon, in which Prime Minister Diệm asserted his rule over the State of Vietnam by defeating the Bình Xuyên organised crime syndicate, some of Diệm's supporters tried to move against some generals whom they accused of questionable loyalty.
When he heard that three top generals, including Nguyễn Văn Vy, were being detained in the palace by one of the factions backing Prime Minister Diệm, Trí telephoned and threatened them: "Free the generals in one half-hour or I will destroy the palace and everything inside it."In 1958, he attended the United States Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. That same year he graduated from Air-Ground Operations School at Washington. During the Buddhist crisis of 1963, Trí garnered considerable notoriety for his crackdown on Buddhist protests against the Diệm regime in the central region of Vietnam. In Huế, demonstrations were banned and Trí's forces were ordered to arrest those who engaged in civil disobedience. At 13:00 on 3 June, some 1,500 protestors attempted to march towards the Từ Đàm Pagoda in Huế for a rally, having gathered at Bến Ngự bridge near the Perfume River. A confrontation ensued. Six waves of ARVN tear gas and attack dogs failed to disperse the crowd. At 18:30, military personnel at the scene dispersed the crowd by emptying vials of brownish-red liquid on the heads of praying protestors, resulting in 67 Buddhists being hospitalised for chemical injuries.
The symptoms consisted of severe blistering of the respiratory ailments. By midnight, tensions were high as martial law were enacted. Rumours circulated. Newsweek reported; the incident raised concerns among the Americans that poison gas was used, the U. S. threatened to publicly distance itself from Saigon. An investigation, cleared the troops of using blister or poison gas; the main raids in Saigon were accompanied by attacks across the country. Under Trí, the violence was worse in Huế than in the capital; the approach of Trí's forces was met by the beating of Buddhist drums and cymbals to alert the populace. The townsfolk left their homes in the middle of the night in an attempt to defend the city's pagodas. At the Từ Đàm Pagoda, the base of leading Buddhist activist leader, Thích Trí Quang, Monks tried to cremate as per their custom the coffin of their colleague who had self-immolated. ARVN soldiers, firing M1 rifles, confiscated the coffin, they demolished a statue of Gautama Buddha and looted and vandalized the pagoda before detonating explosives and leveling much of the pagoda.
A number of Buddhists clubbed to death. The most determined resistance occurred outside the Diệu Đế Pagoda in Huế; as troops attempted to erect a barricade across the bridge leading to the pagoda, the crowd fought the armed military personnel with rocks and their bare fists, throwing back the tear gas grenades that were aimed at them. After a five-hour battle, the military took the bridge at dawn by driving armored cars through the angry crowd; the defense of the bridge and Diệu Đế left 200 wounded. Ten truckloads of bridge defenders were taken to jail and an estimated 500 people were arrested in the city. Seventeen of the 47 professors at Huế University, who had resigned earlier in the week in protest after the firing of the school's rector, Father Cao Văn Luân, a Catholic priest and opponent of Diệm's brother Archbishop Pierre Martin Ngô Đình Thục, were arrested. Despite his vigorous application of Diệm's military policies against Buddhists in central Vietnam, where in the words of Ellen Hammer, Trí "ruled...with an iron hand", he was still involved in plotting against the regime before the attacks on the pagodas.
When Trí wa
Bien Hoa Air Base
Bien Hoa Air Base is a Vietnam People's Air Force military airfield located in South-Central southern Vietnam about 25 km from Saigon, across the Dong Nai river in the northern ward of Tân Phong, within the city of Biên Hòa within Đồng Nai Province. The boomburb city is densely populated and rings the base, despite the astronomical level of agent orange toxins left there for decades; the base is scheduled to begin cleanup by 2019. During the Vietnam War the base was used by the Republic of Vietnam Air Force; the United States used it as a major base from 1961 through 1973, stationing Army, Air Force and Marine units there. Bien Hoa is located on flat grounds in a rural area 25 km northeast of Saigon; the French Air Force established an air base, the Base aérienne tactique 192, active during the First Indochina War. On 1 June 1955, Bien Hoa Air Base became the RVNAF's logistics support base when the French evacuated their main depot at Hanoi. At this time the base had a single 5,700-foot by 150-foot PSP runway.
In December 1960, the U. S. Military Assistance Advisory Group Vietnam requested the U. S. Navy, as the designated contract construction agent for the Department of Defense in Southeast Asia, to plan and construct several jet-capable airfields in South Vietnam, including at Bien Hoa. In December 1961, the American construction company RMK-BRJ was directed by the Navy's Officer in Charge of Construction RVN to begin construction of a new concrete runway, the first of many projects built by RMK-BRJ at the Bien Hoa Air Base over the following ten years. With the influx of USAF tactical air units in the early 1960s, Bien Hoa became a joint operating base for both the RVNAF and USAF; the USAF forces stationed. Bien Hoa was the location for TACAN station Channel 73 and was referenced by that identifier in voice communications during air missions, its military mail address was APO San Francisco, 96227. On 11 October 1961, President John F. Kennedy directed, in NSAM 104, that the Defense Secretary "introduce the Air Force'Jungle Jim' Squadron into Vietnam for the initial purpose of training Vietnamese forces."
The 4400th Combat Crew Training Squadron was to proceed as a training mission and not for combat. The unit would be titled Detachment 2 of the 4400th Combat Crew Training Squadron, code named Farm Gate; the unit would operationally belong to the Air Force section of MAAG Vietnam. Detachment 2A would be the B-26 Invader unit. In late October an advance party from the 6009th Tactical Support Group arrived at Bien Hoa to prepare the base for Farm Gate operations and on 15 November they were joined by Detachment 9, 6010th Tactical Support Group responsible for aircraft maintenance. In late December 4 B-26s began operations. Farm Gate would grow to 4 SC-47s, 4 B-26s and 8 T-28s. In June 1962 2 Army of the Republic of Vietnam soldiers guarding the base perimeter were killed by Viet Cong and as a result CINCPAC Admiral Harry D. Felt recommended the defoliation of the jungle area north of the base and this was carried out by RVNAF H-34 helicopters in July. In May 1962 2 RB-26C night photo-reconnaissance aircraft joined the Farm Gate planes at the base.
One of the aircraft was destroyed in a ground accident on 20 October. In July 1963 the 19th Tactical Air Support Squadron was activated at the base, becoming operational on 15 September. Equipped with 4 O-1 Bird Dogs and 20 crews it was tasked with training RVNAF pilots and observers in forward air control and visual reconnaissance. By the end of 1963 it had flown 3862 sorties. By June 1963, the USAF presence in South Vietnam had grown to 5,000 airmen; as the buildup continued, USAF directed the activation of a more permanent organizational structure to properly administer the forces being deployed. On 8 July 1963 the Farm Gate squadrons at Bien Hoa were redesignated the 1st Air Commando Squadron comprising two strike sections, one of 10 B-26s and 2 RB-26s and the other of 13 T-28s, in addition support squadrons operated 6 C-47s and 4 psychological warfare U-10s. On 8 July the 34th Tactical Group was established at the base, taking control of the 19th Tactical Air Support Squadron and the 34th Air Base Squadron.
In December 1963 U-2 reconnaissance aircraft operating from the base conducted surveillance missions over Laos and North Vietnam. In early 1964 the USAF and RVNAF were only able to provide half of all requested air support. On 11 February a B-26 operating from Eglin Air Force Base lost a wing in flight and this led to the grounding of all B-26s in South Vietnam. With the loss of the B-26s CINCPAC and Military Assistance Command, Vietnam proposed that they be replaced by B-57B Canberra tactical bombers operating under Farm Gate procedures with RVNAF markings and joint USAF/RVNAF crews. At the end of March 48 B-57s flew from Yokota Air Base in Japan to Clark Air Base in the Philippines. On 8 April the remaining B-26s at Bien Hoa flew to Clark Air Base for scrapping. On 24 March a T-28 lost a wing during a bombing run near Sóc Trăng Airfield killing both crewmen and on 9 April another T-28 lost a wing during a strafing run and crashed. Two officials from North American Aviation, the manufacturers of the T-28, visited Bien Hoa and reviewed these losses and advised that the T-28 wasn't designed for the stresses it was being subjected to as a close air support aircraft.
As a result, 5 older T-28s were retired and 9 newer aircraft were borrowed by the RVNAF and operational restrictions imposed. Despite this augmentation and aircraft transfers meant th
The Vietnamese Rangers, properly known in Vietnamese as the Biệt Động Quân and known as the ARVN Rangers, were the light infantry of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. Trained and assisted by American Special Forces and Ranger advisers, the Vietnamese Rangers infiltrated beyond enemy lines in daring search and destroy missions. Trained as a counter-insurgency light infantry force by removing the fourth company each of the existing infantry battalions, they expanded into a swing force capable of conventional as well as counter-insurgency operations, were relied on to retake captured regions. During Vietnamization the Civilian Irregular Defense Group program was transferred from MACV and integrated as Border Battalions responsible for manning remote outposts in the Central Highlands. Rangers were regarded as among the most effective units in the war, the most well-led ARVN unit and formed part of the highly-mobile response units operating in key areas. Part of this was due to the specialized role of these units, given that they had their origins in French-raised Commando Units, the GCMA which were drawn from Viet Minh defectors and Tai-Kadai groups, operating in interdiction and counter-intelligence roles, were trained for counter-insurgency and rough-terrain warfare in the region.
Ranger Units had a US Military Adviser attached to these units although operated independently. The foremost counterinsurgency expert Sir Robert Thompson remarked in 1974 that the ARVN as a whole were the third-best trained army in the free-world and second only to the Israelis in counter-insurgency, with the Rangers, ARVN Airborne and Marine Division forming the vanguard. With improvements in the ARVN from 1969 onward and the growing prestige of the Airborne and Marine Division, depredation had caused the Central Highlands-based Rangers to become manned by deserters, released convicts and Montagnards the unit continued to perform critical roles in the Easter Offensive and frontier skirmishes in 1973 and 1974. A total of 11 U. S Presidential Unit Citation were issued to the 22 original Ranger Battalions, including one unit whom earned three total citations from two different presidents. See List of Non-US Presidential Unit Citations in Vietnam; the French established a commando school in Nha Trang in 1951.
After the American Military Assistance Advisory Group took over the military advisory role, the school was converted to a Ranger school in 1956. In 1960, when the Vietnam War began in earnest, the Vietnamese Rangers were formed. Rangers organized into separate companies with U. S. Army Rangers were assigned as advisers as members of the Mobile Training Teams, at Ranger Training Centers, at the unit level as members of the Military Advisory Command Vietnam. A small number of Vietnamese Ranger officers were selected to attend the U. S. Army Ranger School at Ft. Benning. In 1962, BDQ companies were formed into counter-insurgency Special Battalions but by 1963 Ranger units were organized into battalions and their mission evolved from counter-insurgency to light infantry operations. During 1966, the battalions were formed into task forces, five Ranger Group headquarters were created at corps level to provide command and control for tactical operations; the Ranger Group structure was maintained until 1970 as U.
S. force reduction commenced. The Civilian Irregular Defense Group situated along the Laotian and Cambodian borders under control of 5th U. S. Special Forces Group, was integrated into the Ranger command. Thus, the Rangers assumed an expanded role of border defense; the conversion of CIDG camps to 37 combat battalions with 14,534 men, more than doubled the Ranger force size. Within the early 1970s before the fall of Saigon, the rangers lost its appeal. Although many wanted to join the ranks of the Rangers, the popularity of the Airborne and Marine divisions grew at a faster rate. Many Rangers Battalions were decimated during Operation Lam Son 719. Part of the reason for this was orders by Nguyễn Văn Thiệu to halt advances into Laos, just as these units inserted by helicopter had captured the objective, allowing for the newly-armoured 308th Division to move in and surround the outposts. Several Ranger Groups would face well-camouflaged armoured and artillery attacks during the Battle of Kontum and Battle of An Lộc as well as other engagements in the Easter Offensive.
Ordered to defend every inch by Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, the Ranger Group and regular units were deployed across the 1300 km border. This had left the region vulnerable to well-coordinated piercing attacks from Trần Văn Trà and the B2 Front. A series of contradictory orders from Thieu, a strategy known as "Light at the Top, Heavy at the Bottom" in which President Thieu neither consulted with his staff nor advisers had sealed the end of the Rangers; the Central Highlands were to be abandoned held orders to recapture major cities, followed by another order to retreat had created disarray which the armored, heavy artillery and mobile infantry of the PAVN seized upon. In the closing days of the war in 1975 most Ranger units were destroyed. Many fought back independently. In Saigon, Rangers fought until the morning of 30 April when they were ordered to lay down their arms, as their nation-The Republic of Vietnam capitulated to the communist force. Most of the Ranger officers were considered too dangerous by the communist government and sentenced to long periods of incarceration in the "re-education" camps.
There were Ranger liaison platoons of 45 to 52 men assigned to each ARVN Corps/CTZ headquarters. They were supposed to insure the "proper use" of the Rangers. At their height in 1975 there
Binh Thuy Air Base
Binh Thuy Air Base was a United States Air Force, United States Navy, Republic of Vietnam Air Force and Vietnam People's Air Force military airfield used during the Vietnam War. It is located 7km northwest of Cần Thơ in the Mekong Delta. Since June 1962 USAF units had supported RVNAF operations at Cần Thơ Airfield. In mid-1963 Military Assistance Command, Vietnam proposed the construction of a 6,000-foot runway at Cần Thơ to replace the existing 3,000-foot runway at Sóc Trăng Airfield, unsuitable for night and wet weather operations with a projected US$4.5 million construction cost and a 2-year construction period. 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. 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.
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 moving over 680,000 cubic yards of fill to create the 6,000ft asphalt runway, taxi ramps and headquarters building. On 8 May 1965 the 22nd Tactical Air Support Squadron equipped with 30 O-1 Bird Dogs was established at Binh Thuy. In June 1965 the base became a forward operating location for AC-47 Spooky gunships of E Flight of the 4th Air Commando Squadron. On 15 September 1965 Detachment 10, 38th Aerospace Rescue & Recovery Squadron equipped with 2 HH-43F helicopters deployed to the base to support flight operations. 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. 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.
During the Tet Offensive, Viet Cong forces attacked the base with mortar and rocket fire and on 13 February launched a ground attack on base, repulsed by USAF Security Police for no US or South Vietnamese losses. On 26 June 1969, all AC-47s of D Flight, 3rd Special Operations Squadron which had absorbed the assets of 14th Air Commando Squadron, were flown to Nha Trang Air Base for transfer to the RVNAF. On 20 December 1969 Detachment 38th Aerospace Rescue & Recovery Squadron was disbanded. On 15 January 1970 the 22nd Tactical Air Support Squadron left Binh Thuy and moved to Bien Hoa Air Base. In February 1970 as part of the process of Vietnamization the USAF began handing over control of Binh Thuy to the RVNAF 4th Air Division and this was completed by the end of the year. On 19 April 1969 Light Attack Squadron 4 began combat operations, flying air support for the Mobile Riverine Force in the Mekong Delta; the missions included 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. On 7 May 1967 an attack on the base destroyed 2 UH-34s. 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; 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. In early 1967 an AC-47 of the 4th Air Commando Squadron was destroyed; this article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/