A few months ago Phu Cat was just another small village located near the central coast of South Vietnam.
(a) Aerial view of Phu Cat
(b) Heavy equipment and vehicles being unloaded from LST and Qui Nhon
(c) Convoy forming, moving out enroute to Phu Ct
(d) Convoy moving over rough road, aerial view of convoy crossing bridge
(e) Convoy entering base site at Phu Ct, supplies unloaded from trucks
(f) Men hooking up water purification plant, children observing
(g) Men pitching tents
(h) Interior of mess tent, meal being served
(i) Bulldozer clearing perimeter roads
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A few months ago Phu Cat was just another small village located near the central coast of South Vietnam. Today, it is buzzing with activity after being chosen as the site for the newest aircraft fighter base for the U.S. Air Force.
The initial plans for the construction of the new base at Phu Cat got underway when heavy equipment, lumber, and other construction materials, along with almost 100 Air Force personnel loaded aboard an Army LST for the trip to Qui Nhon, about 25 miles southeast of Phu Cat. A few days later they were joined by another LST loaded with men and equipment from Cam Ranh Bay.
All the vehicles and heavy equipment moved overland from Qui Nhon to Phu Cat. The 25 miles were travelled over rough roads, sometimes deeply cut by ruts. When the convoy arrived at Phu Cat, men of the "Red Horse" Squadron hustled about setting up camp. The first tent to be erected, of course, was the mess tent.
A 120 kilowatt generator provided the camp with lights, making living conditions a little more comfortable. In addition, a 3,000 gallon water purification plant was put into operation.
During the first afternoon at the base site, bulldozers opened up perimeter roads, and air policemen dug foxhole bunkers surrounding the area. Base security was provided by Republic of Korea troops.
While nothing should be taken from the Air Force's "white knights" of the Vietnam sky, recognition should also be extended to other important support units engaged in the battle against the VietCong. The "Red Horse" Squadron is one of them.