23d Air Base Group
To clear up the confusing array of USAF units, PACAF formed new ones without expanding manpower authorizations. At Da Nang trekking , the 23d Air Base Group was created to organize the USAF advisory units stationed there.
The “Mule Train” C-123 Provider unit became the 311th Troop Carrier Squadron as a detached component of the 315th Troop Carrier Group at Tan Son Nhut AB. It specialized in missions to remote mountain airstrips and drop zones and flights into the A Shau Valley using junior but more experienced C-123 pilots specially trained at Pope AFB, North Carolina. On March 8, 1965 it was re-designated the 311th Air Commando Squadron of the 315th Air Commando Group at Tan Son Nhut. It remained at Da Nang as a Geographically Separated Unit (GSU) until its inactivation on 5 Oct 1971
Operation Rolling Thunder
F-100s of the 416th TFS on the flightline – 1965
During 1964/65 the 23d Air Base Group supported various USAF deployed squadrons through mid-1965. As a result of the announcement of “Operation Rolling Thunder” after the Gulf of Tonkin incident, North American F-100 Super Sabre squadrons began deployments from Tactical Air Command bases in the United States. Squadrons deployed to Da Nang AB were:
522d Tactical Fighter Squadron, 13 December 1962 – 1 June 1963; 16 March-6 May 1964 (TDY from 27th TFW, Clovis AFB NM)
428th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 15 November-30 December 1964 (using 522d TFS Assets)
615th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 1 June-30 September 1964; 1 April-30 June 1965 (TDY from 401st TFW, England AFB LA)
614th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 1 August-30 November 1964 (TDY from 401st TFW, England AFB LA)
612th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 1 September-15 November 1964 (TDY from 401st TFW, England AFB LA)
613th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 15 November 1964-30 July 1965 (PCS from 401st TFW, England AFB LA)
416th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 15 March-15 June 1965 (TDY from 405th TFW, Clark AB PI)
The last of the rotational F-100 squadrons were moved out by mid-1965, with Da Nang Air Base being programmed to receive the new Tactical Air Command F-4C Phantom II tactical fighter which was by then in full production by McDonnell aircraft in St. Louis, Missouri.