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Some background on Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base. . .

This info is only as good as the sources...

Always glad to make changes/improvements.

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Korat Tower & Welcome sign..Col. John Russell - Commander


Korat RTAFB is located 5 miles south of Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand (also known as Korat City). During the Vietnam War, the base served as home to many permanent and transient Air Force squadrons, as well as many other military and civilian forces. Primarily headquarters for the 3rd Helicopter Wing of the Royal Thai Air Force, the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, and 553rd Reconnaissance Wing were chief among other commands that spent time stationed at Korat during the war. The 388th TFW was re-activated 14 March, 1966. It opened for business in April at Korat, taking over the complete assets of the 6234th TFW, which had been at Korat for a year. The 34th TFS and the 469th TFS were the mainstay squadrons for the Wing. The Republic F-105 Thunderchief was the platform of choice for the first few years, until the F4-E Phantom II aircraft arrived in Korat from the 33rd TFW, Eglin AFB, Florida in 1969. F-105G 2-seater Wild Weasel aircraft flew SAM suppression missions as their main focus for a number of years, staffed by a number of different Wings and Squadrons, such as 6010th WWS, 17th WWS, and Detachment A of the 561st TFS. Different tail codes marked these a/c over a short period of time: WW, ZB, MD, and JB. Other units and aircraft types contributed to the mission effort out of Korat, and I hope to be able to account for all of the Air Force units that were "assigned" or deployed to Korat, either directly or indirectly.  I acknowledge that the US Army also had a sizable force at Camp Friendship, and in fact provided the initial "home" for the early USAF arrivals in 1964/65. Plus the early base construction was carried out by the USA.  As time and info permits in the future, I hope to document their involvement also.

The following list contains unit I.D., dates assigned to Korat RTAFB, and other appropriate info.  Click on the unit hyperlink to read more on the individual unit.

7th Airborne Command and Control Squadron: 4/15/1972 (388th Tactical Fighter Wing, 30 Apr 1972 (remained attached to Seventh Air Force to 15 Aug 1973)

12th Tactical Fighter Squadron, multiple deployments: 2/8/1965 - 3/15/1965; 6/15/1965 - 8/25/1965.

13th Tactical Fighter Squadron (attached to 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, 15 May 1966–17 Oct 1967 while under the 18th TFW).

35th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 13 Jun–c. 12 Oct 1972 while assigned to the 3d Tactical Fighter Wing, Kunsan AB, Republic of South Korea.

42nd Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (TEWS) flew variations of the Douglas B-66 Destroyer. The EB-66C and E (JW tail code) flew radar and communications jamming missions to disrupt enemy defenses and early warning capabilities.

44th Tactical Fighter Squadron, multiple deployments:12/18/1964 - 2/25/1965; 4/21/1965 - 6/22/1965; 10/19/1965 - 10/29/1965.

67th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Fighting Cocks" (1) with F-105s: 2/18/1965 - 4/26/1965;  8/16/1965 - 10/23/1965; 

                                                                         (2) TDY 1973 with 12 F-4C Wild Weasels.

68th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Lightning Lancers" : 27 Aug - 6 Dec, 1965 (while assigned to the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, which was attached to the 6234th Tactical Fighter Wing).

80th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Headhunters": 10/30/1964 - 12/29/1964.

357th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Dragons": 12 Jun. - 8 Nov 1965 (attached to the 6234th TFW)

421st Tactical Fighter Squadron flew the F-105 Thunderchief from April 1966 to April 24, 1967 under the 388th TFW.

A detachment of 552nd AEW&CW (Airborne Early Warning & Control Wing) EC-121 Lockheed L-749 Super Constellations (call sign DISCO) flew Airborne Surveillance and Monitoring missions watching enemy aircraft movements and directing MiGCAP intercepts as part of the College Eye program.

Another group of Super Connies, known as "Bat Cats", EC-121Rs of the 553rd Reconnaissance Squadron flew as in Airborne Relay Stations "listening" to specialized sensors dropped along the Ho Chi Minh trail to detect the presence of troops, or vehicles utilizing state-of-the-art electronic technology.

During a period in 1972, some KC-135 Stratotankers were assigned to Korat to supplement Air Refueling operations during Linebacker I. 

Assorted C-130 aircraft were assigned to Korat for various amounts of time, depending on mission requirements.. Some elements of the 7th Airborne Command and Control Squadron, operated C-130E ABCCC aircraft. The 56th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron operated HC-130P Search and Rescue (SAR) aircraft during most of 1972.

72 Corsair II A7-D aircraft of the 354th TFW from Myrtle Beach AFB, SC arrived in October 1972 to support elements of Constant Guard VI during the LINEBACKER campaigns. As well as supporting bombing missions originally supported by 2 squadrons of F4-Es, the A7's also provided "SANDY" close air support in relief of the A-1s from NKP.

Members of the 363 FMS of the 363 TRW (Shaw AFB) were TDY at Korat October 1972 through Feb of 1973 in support of Linebacker I.( Info supplied by Michael Guy - May 2007).

The 347th TFW - Black Knights - F-111's

39th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron - Mar 72: 39 ARRS transferred to Korat RTAFB. 30 Apr 72: 39 ARRS inactivated. (undocumented)



The illustration below shows the location of the various Royal Thai Air Force bases utilized throughout Thailand during the war.


Korat had a single 9,800 + foot runway with a single, full-length parallel taxiway. Various parking areas and aprons alternately held both permanent and TDY/transient aircraft of all types.



Total Base Map

Topographic map of Korat RTAFB - 1972/3 revision.

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Korat RTAFB as seen from the air. Photo from Don Logan..


 Annotated by Otto Uebel and Ron Honig, Wyn Neely, Dan Massola, Jim Traywick,Ken Ebersole, S. Lott, Arthur Knapp, George Applin, John Kell, Tom Pirkle, Bob Freitag and a lady airman whose name I can't recall.

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Korat City with Annotation, as seen from the air


Photo courtesy of Chan Worley; Annotated by Otto Uebel and Ron Honig, Wyn Neely, Dan Massola, Jim Traywick,Ken Ebersole, S. Lott, Arthur Knapp, George Applin, John Kell, Tom Pirkle, Bob Freitag and a lady airman whose name I can't recall.

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Korat RTAFB, with pointers to various locations, as seen from the air. Photo courtesy of Chan Worley.



Korat Region from Topographic chart. Supplied by Otto Uebel



Acknowledgements: Certain historical information courtesy of Don Logan, from his book "The 388th Tactical Fighter Wing At Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base 1972" (see link to his web site on Link page)