U-TAPAO ROYAL THAI NAVY AIR FIELD
U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield is a forward operating base for B-52 Stratofortresses and KC-135 Stratotankers of the Strategic Air Command (SAC). Providing base and logistic support for those long-range bombers and tankers is the 635th Combat Support Group (PACAF), while the flying activities and operations of these aircraft are controlled by the 307th Strategic Wing (SAC). The 307th Strategic Wing is the largest associate unit on base, and it has its own headquarters, avionics, field, munitions and organizational maintenance squadrons. The base supports the 1985th
Communications Squadron, the 11th USAF Hospital, Det. 12, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Det. VP-46, 72.6 U.S. Naval Task Group and a Fleet Air Support Unit. Ten other detachments and operating units provide on-base support for the U S. Air Force mission at
635th Combat Support Group
307th Strategic Wing (SAC)
1985th Communications Squadron
11th USAF Hospital
17th Air Division (Provisional)
310th Strategic Wing (Provisional)
AIRCRAFT ASSIGNED: B-52, KC-135, HH-43 and P-3
RUNWAY LENGTH: 11,500 by 200-foot runway
HOSPITAL FACILITIES: 80-bed, full service hospital
PERSONNEL STRENGTH: Approximately 7,500 U.S. military
MILES FROM BANGKOK: 116 miles south of Bangkok
HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE AT U-TAPAO ROYAL THAI NAVY AIR FIELD:
U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, present home of the 635th Combat Support Group (CSG), is the newest of seven key installations which house United States Air Force personnel in Thailand. Originally designed to support an aerial refueling mission and troop transport squadron, the mission has since been amended to include support for Strategic Air Command B-52 bombers in their daily strikes against enemy targets in Southeast Asia.
Beginning construction in October 1965, the airfield was considered one of the finest in Southeast Asia slightly more than two years later. First on the airfield construction priorities were the aerodrome facilities, including an 11,000-foot runway, which became serviceable on 6 July 1966. On this date, the first landings were made at U-Tapao; first came a Royal Thai Air Force HH-16, then a USAF C-130. Steadily progressing and adding to the mission, U-Tapao welcomed its first complement of KC-135 tankers in August 1966. In September, the base was supporting 15 tankers.
One of the most significant mission changes in the history of the Air Force came about when the Department of Defense chose U-Tapao as a staging base for the SAC B-52 bombers, the giant eight-engine bomber backbone of the USAF. Official approval to use U-Tapao as a B-52 base camp came just three months before the bombers began operations in Thailand. This caused an already tremendous work load to approach the endurability limits of both men and machines, but, in true Air Force fashion, hardships were overcome, progress was made, and all efforts culminated on 10 April 1967, when three B-52 bombers landed at U-Tapao following a bombing mission over Vietnam. The very next day, B-52 operations were initiated at U-Tapao. Presently, the base is supporting these strategic bombers, all participating in daily strikes.
The 4258th Strategic Wing (SAC) was activated in June 1966 at U-Tapao under 3rd Air Division, Anderson AFB, Guam. The wing was charged with the responsibility of supporting refueling requirements of USAF fighter aircraft in Southeast Asia, plus conducting bombing missions on a daily basis.
On 1 April 1970, in conjunction with the redesignation of the 3rd Air Division, Anderson AFB, Guam, as the Eighth Air Force, the 4258th SW was redesignated as the 307th SW.
On 1 June 1972 the 307th SW was reorganized into the 17th Air Division (Provisional), the 310th SW (Provisional) and the 307th SW. U-Tapao Stratofortress force is under the control of the 307th wing, while the, KC-135 tanker force is under the 310th wing. Both wings are under the command of the 17th Air Division. Other missions of the U-Tapao organization include supplying other U.S. occupied Thai installations with equipment and materiel; support of the U.S. Army, Navy and Coast Guard units in the area; and jurisdiction for what has become known as the Sattahip complex. This complex includes a nine-berth deep water port, a Coast Guard LORAN station, three U.S. transportation units, and approximately 10,000 American servicemen and Thai nationals who work and reside in the surrounding hamlets and towns.
Facilities located on U-Tapao include airmen dormitories and officer BOQs for housing of more than 7,000 airfield personnel, three recreation clubs, a beach facility, library, a base exchange, swimming pool, base theater, chapel and hobby shops.
Fun & Recreation was to be had in Bangkok, Sattahip, and Pattaya Beach.
The facility is now known as Rayong-Utapao International Airport, used by Bankok Airways.
Beer Khaopha Red Chilies
Life is GOOD!