Da Nang Air Base (1957–1975) was a Republic of Vietnam Air Force (VNAF) facility. The United States used it as a major base during the Vietnam War (1959–1975), stationing Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine units there. The APO for Da Nang Air Base was APO San Francisco, 96337.
It is now known as the Da Nang International Airport
Known as Tourane when it was under French influence, Da Nang Air Base was the most northerly major air base in the Republic of Vietnam.
The base was located in the northeast coastal area, 85 miles (137 km) south of the Demilitarized Zone where the 17th parallel separated the two Vietnams. It is best remembered by the Vietnamese as the strike base from which the Vietnam Air Force (VNAF) made its first strike into North Vietnam, on February 8, 1965, with a squadron of Douglas A-1 Skyraiders.
The air base began in November 1957 as Air Force Support Base 4, providing logistics support for that remote part of the country 400 miles (644 km) north of Saigon.
Situated on flat, sandy ground on the south side of the major port city of Da Nang, the area was ideal for an airfield, having unobstructed approaches to its north/south runways. Once little more than a provincial airfield, the base expanded to 2350 acres (95 1 hectares) with two 10.000 ft (3048 m) asphalt runways with concrete touchdown pads, parallel taxiways, and a heliport. It was under the control of the VNAFs 41st Wing, which was established there on January 1, 1964 as the major Vietnamese air element in I Corps.
The base became a joint operating airfield when U.S. Forces came to the aid of the South Vietnamese. As the number of VNAF units at Da Nang continued to increase, so did those of the USAF, and U.S. Marine air units swelled the capacity of the base beyond its limits. Covered and open aircraft revetments were constructed on concrete and asphalt parking aprons.
In addition to these permanent assigned combat units, the airfield was an on-and off-loading port for the huge C-141s, C-5s, and contract commercial flights of the Military Airlift Command, as well as a civil terminal for the various domestic airlines.
Da Nang became the world’s busiest airport in the single runway category. In the mid-1960s, 1,500 landings and takeoffs were recorded on peak days, besides having two extra traffic patterns for helicopters at the edge of the airstrip.
When a parallel runway was added in 1966, Da Nang rivaled Tan Son Nhut as the world’s busiest airport. By 1968 an average month saw the number of takeoffs and landings of fixed-wing aircraft exceeding 55,000. With helicopter activities added, the figure approached 67,000. During the winter monsoon at least 4500 of these landings were normally ground-controlled approaches.
For the air war over North Vietnam, trek Da Nang was considered the most suitable diversionary airfield in case of emergency. Landings of this nature became commonplace for Thailand-based USAF fighter bombers. reconnaissance aircraft, strike aircraft from the Navy aircraft carriers stationed in the South China Sea, and damaged aircraft of all air units stationed throughout South Vietnam.