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Udon Thani Air Base and Air America

Other units assigned to Udon were the 4th Special Operations Squadron flying various gun ships and the 421st TFS, Flying F-4Es.

In 1972 several tactical fighter squadrons deployed to Udon (58 TFS/33d TFW - Eglin AFB, 307 & 308 TFS/31 TFW - Homestead AFB, 414th TFS/57FWW - Nellis AFB and 523d TFS/405 FW - Clark AB) flying various versions of the F-4.

The 432nd TRW was the most diversified unit of its size in the Air Force.

In the fall of 1970 Udon was phased down as part of the overall American withdrawal from the Vietnam War.

On 5th November 1970, the 11th TRS was deployed to Shaw AFB, South Carolina ending a distinguished tour of service with the 432nd TRW.

On 29th December 1970 the 4th Special Operations was deactivated, with its aircraft being transferred to the South Vietnamese Air Force.

On 15th April 1972 the 7th Airborne Command and Control Squadron with its C-130's was transferred to Korat RTAFB.

With the end of the war in Southeast Asia in 1973, the 421st TFS deactivated in August and the 555th TFS was transferred to the 58th TFW at Luke Air Force Base Arizona on 5th July 1974.

 

Air America

Udon RTAFB the was Asian Headquarters for Air America. Air America provided essential resources for the Secret War in Laos and elsewhere. Its predecessor, Civil Air Transport (CAT), started operations from Udon on 11 September 1955 with the arrival of Three C-46's delivering food and emergency aid into Indochina.

By  the end of September, CAT had flown more than 200 missions to 25 reception areas, delivering 1,000 tons of emergency food. Conducted smoothly and efficiently, this airdrop relief operation marked the beginning of CAT's-and, later, Air America's-support of US assistance programs in Laos.

Air America Ramp at Udon Royal Thai Air Force Base

Air America's roles supportive of covert and overt situations related to hostilities in Asia and elsewhere worldwide provided buffers and solutions to problems the United States faced in various locations. Operations were focused in Laos as part of the Secret War the United States carried out against the Phatet Lao communist rebels operating in the country. Udon RTAFB also served as the location of - Headquarters 333 -  the Thai organization in charge of their forces in Laos.

During the war in Laos, Air America was called on to perform paramilitary tasks at great risks to the aircrews involved. Although lacking the discipline found in a military organization, the personnel for the air proprietary nonetheless continued to place their lives at hazard for years. Some Air America pilots flew in Laos for more than a decade, braving enemy fire and surmounting challenging operational conditions with rare skill and determination.

On 27 January 1973, the Paris agreement on Vietnam was ended, providing for the withdrawal of American troops. The following month, a cease-fire agreement was signed in Vientiane, leading to the formation of a coalition government for Laos. On 3rd June 1974, the last Air America aircraft crossed the border from Laos into Thailand. The end went well, Air America's operations office in Vientiane informed Washington and the departure of Air America from Laos was without incident. Operations in Vietnam continued until the fall of Saigon in April 1975.

Cont: page 10

Udon Thani Province Page 8, Udon Thani Province, Air base use during the Vietnam war
Udon Thani Province Page 10, Thai Airways flight landing at Udon Thani Airport