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Danang Air Base Bombing

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  • Danang Air Base Bombing

    I am trying to find out some information about the bombing of Danang Airbase by the Air Force, Navy & Marine Corps. It had to happen mid to late 1972 or early 1973. If memory serves me correctly, 34 five-hundred pound bombs got dropped on the base by 5 or 6 Air Force, Navy & Marine Corps jets that had been given the wrong coordinates. Ground casualties were minimal – maybe 1 or 2 – but they did hit the fuel dump causing one tank to explode and at least one more to burn for several days. It happened relatively early in the morning – maybe 8:00 AM or so. Everyone was speculating about the type of attack until AFVN Radio related the story that afternoon. This isn’t hearsay, I was there, I just have not been able to find any info about it anywhere. Can you help? Is there a historical person in your group? Any thoughts on where I might find more info? Thanks in advance. Bob Peetz – MSgt. (Ret.) USAFR Webmaster –

  • #2
    Re: Danang Air Base Bombing


    I was there!

    I was stationed at FASU as a Navy air crewman. One day I was sitting in our aircrew shack by our revetments, I am sure it was a Sunday, I was writing my mom. Then a screaming od jets came... louder and louder. As a Navy Crewman I knew it was unusually loud, like a jet landing on a carrier not on the runway close by. As it became evident this was so abnormal and sounded like something crashing I tried to make it to the bunker outside the aircrew shack, jumping over a table or something and then got thrown into walls from the concussions... when I got outside there we 2 F$ Phantoms peeling off. The fuel farm was blowing up and a fuel tank... large fuel tank was on fire and burned for days making it like daytime for nights... some people had a patch made with the "mistaken bombing of DaNang on it.. sorrowful I have lost it.

    I can not believe that this real event I was in has been confirmed by someone else. This really happened and I got hurt in it... not killed like our heroes were throughout this wars. I had many Marine friends I lived with in the Quonset huts on the hill in Subic the Philippines from the 1st Marine Division,
    they were then doing search and destroy being flown in and out everyday from the PI as Nixon was de- escalating the war. They use to send me out on fire watch on the outer perimeter at night with the muzzle of my M 16 with a butt plug in it and taped with 100 mile an hour tape. I am sure by the terms I use you know I am telling the truth about this. I have a scrapbook from there I bought for a marine but they would not let me give it to him as he sat by the c 130 to leave.. I still have it.. it says.. "Memories from Vietnam " on it.. unbelievable.

    I was there.. it blew up my guitar which I carried back and had it rebuilt and still have it.

    Bless you all and I am amazed this day is remembered.

    My email is


    • #3
      Re: Danang Air Base Bombing

      IMHO....This is what happens to your mind if you abuse drugs.


      • painter52
        painter52 commented
        Editing a comment
        Really funny.
        If you had been there with me you would not say that. This was real .

    • #4
      Re: Danang Air Base Bombing

      Hey Navy aircrew member. Can you explain what the hell is a Butt Plug for an M-16? Too much Happy Smoke I expect.
      Larry Groah[FONT="Comic Sans MS"][/FONT]


      • painter52
        painter52 commented
        Editing a comment
        Nixon was de-escalating the war. We had to go to the security shack by the main gate to FASU and check our weapons in and out when going on watch. Then they put "plugs" in the muzzle and duct taped then up... crazy as hell but true... we all carried duct tape, undid the tape and took out the plug going out to firepoint and put them back in on the way back. True as I am alive.

    • #5
      There was another mistake bombing on the 15th of January as well.

      SAIGON (AP) - An American flight leader mistakenly guided five U.S. fighter-bombers into an accidental attack on the Da Nang Air Base today. Ten Americans and one Vietnamese were reported wounded by shrapnel or injured while running for cover. No deaths were reported. The western part of the base where the bombs hit is thinly populated. The U.S. Command reported that about half a dozen U.S. AC119 gunships and one helicopter were lightly damaged by lying shrapnel and four fuel tanks were destroyed. The command first reported the explosions at 8:20 a.m. as an enemy shelling attack. Seven hours later, it announced that an investigation showed five Air Force, Navy and Marine fighter-bombers "flying above a heavy overcast accidentally dropped 34 500-pound bombs at Da Nang Air Base." The intended target was suspected North Vietnamese and Viet Cong positions near Da Nang. The flight leader reportedly ordered the bombs dropped at the wrong map coordinates. The planes - an Air Force F4 Phantom, two Marine F4s and two Navy A7 Corsairs - came from two bases in Thailand and from a carrier off the coast, and the pilots may have been unfamiliar with the Da Nang area.

      From a now gone website:
      "Danang Air Base, January 8, 1973. Keith W. Steward. 6498th Security Police Squadron. It was the eighth of January 1973, and Tiger Flight (night shift) had just gotten off duty. I now had a room on the second floor of a two story barracks in Gunfighter Village, on the east side of the base. I was working nights supporting Tiger Flight from the vehicle section. I remembered just getting ready for bed when I heard a strange whistling noise. All of a sudden the world is erupting in explosions. It sounded like rockets right outside of the building. the barracks was shaking and I was sure, when I headed for the door, I was going to find dead Momma-Sans all over, since they would just be coming to work. I ran out of the west door, and seen nothing. Everything looks normal until I look to the northwest across the base. there are several columns of black smoke headed skyward from the area of the VNAF (Vietnamese Air Force) POL (Petroleum Oil Lubricant) storage. the big question was why were the explosions so loud? It turned out we didn't get hit by rockets at all. It was an Air Force F-4, two Marine F-4s and two navy A-7 Corsairs dropping a total of 34 five hundred pound bombs. the story was the Air Force pilot in lead was unfamiliar with the area, and due to overcast conditions, ordered the bombs dropped on the wrong coordinates. The base newsletter had a nice article which I saved, and my folks saved a couple from the local papers. It was said that Danang was the only US air base in Vietnam ever bombed by American military forces. I think even at a mile away, it was too close. One of the large storage tanks burned for days afterward."

      Appendix 1 (11th Combat Aviation Group) to Annex B to USARV/MACV SUPCOM After Action Report
      "8 January 1973: DaNang AFB received a misdirected Loran strike causing light damage to one building and one UH-1H aircraft. Six members of the 11th CAG were slightly injured with minor cuts and bruises."

      Project Checo Southeast Asia Report, Short Rounds, January 1972 - August 1973 (U), 1 November 1977
      "Because of a procedural error on the part of the aircrew, a flight of F-4s, call sign Junior, inadvertently released 34 Mark-82 five-hundred-pound bombs directly on Da Nang Air Base. Fortunately, the damage was relatively light, considering the number of bombs dropped. The first bomb struck a fuel storage area, destroying three 10,000-barrel-capacity fuel storage tanks. The remainder fell in an open field, and the only damage incurred was from flying debris which lightly damaged eleven parked aircraft and injured 16 persons, with only one requiring hospitalization. Junior flight was scheduled for a LORAN strike and the Da Nang coordinates had been set in the target number two position, to be used for rendezvous. The actual target coordinates were set in the number three position. The aircrew failed to select the number three position prior to making the bomb run, which resulted in the computer identifying Da Nang as the actual target. The LORAN checklist specifically requires rechecking the selected target prior to making the bomb run; therefore, the primary cause of the incident was aircrew procedural error."


      • #6
        There was another bombing by a Marine F4 on the VMO-6 flightline at Phu Bai in 1967. We had moved from Ky Ha to there, prior to moving on to Quang Tri. I don't recall if it was Sept or Oct, but a few of us were taking care of some maintenance items when we heard a 500 pounder whistling in. We knew what it was and hauled toward a bunker, but it hit before we got there. Thankfully, it wasn't a daisy-cutter and penetrated the thick concrete the French left behind, and I don't think there were any serious injuries. It left a good crater, and wrecked the canopy of one bird with a hefty piece of concrete. Several years ago there was a photo of it on the internet, but I've lost track of it.