Chu Lai Air Base

Chu Lai Air Base
Chu Lai Air Base

Roundel of the USAF.svg

Chu Lai SATS airfield c1965.jpg
IATA: noneICAO: none
Location Chu Lai
Coordinates 15°24′22″N 108°42′20″E / 15.40611°N 108.70556°E / 15.40611; 108.70556
Direction Length Surface
m ft
3.048 10.000 Concrete

Chu Lai Air Base was a military airport in Chu Lai, Vietnam, operated by the United States Marine Corps between 1965 and 1970. It was located near Tam Kỳ city, the largest city in Quảng Nam Province. Abandoned after the end of the Vietnam War, it was reopened as Chu Lai International Airport in 2005.


On 8 March 1965, the U.S. 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade landed at Da Nang to protect the airfield from possible communist attack.

A VMA-121 A-4E making an arrested landing at Chu Lai, March 1967.

In May, the 3rd MEB, under Brigadier General Marion E. Carl, landed at Chu Lai about 80 km south of Da Nang. The brigade was composed of the 4th Marine Regiment, Marine Aircraft Group 12 and Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 10. One of its principal objectives was to select a site and construct a second jet-capable airfield. At first, only a "short airfield for tactical support (SATS)" was installed. This SATS consited of a 1,200 m runway with an aluminum surface of interlocking lightweight metal alloy planking, a catapult and a carrier deck-type arresting gear. It also included a tactical airfield fuel dispensing system.

Much difficulty was encountered with the base of soft sand at Chu Lai in the installation of the SATS but the first landing of an A-4 Skyhawk was made on 1 June 1965, by Colonel John D. Noble, Commanding Officer of MAG-12. On the same day the first combat mission was flown, led by Lieutenant Colonel R. W. Baker, CO of VMA-225. The aircraft took off using jet-assisted takeoff rockets.

In the fall of 1966, a new 3,000 m runway with taxiways were completed, just west of the SATS strip.[1]

Chu Lai was transferred to the United States Army on 3 September 1970. The last Marine sorties were flown from Chu Lai by aircraft from VMA-311 on 11 September.[2]

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