HARB Celebrates National Vietnam War Veterans Day

  • Published
  • By Mr. Robert H. Clark, 482nd Fighter Wing Historian
  • 482nd Fighter Wing

March 29 is National Vietnam War Veterans Day. A day to thank and honor Vietnam War veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice.

Today, there are many Vietnam veterans all around us. You could be standing next to a Vietnam Veteran right here at the Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida. Maybe at the Base Exchange or anywhere out in the local community surrounding the base. Most of those local area Air Force Vietnam veterans in our midst were most likely deployed right out of what was known then as Homestead Air Force Base.

HAFB was at its historical peak of population after the Cuban Missile Crisis ended and the Vietnam conflict started. Aircraft and personnel from HAFB started deploying to Vietnam as early as 1965 and continued through 1972.  

Several HAFB flying units deployed to Southeast Asia in support of the Vietnam conflict.

In December 1966, the whole 31st Tactical Fighter Wing deployed to Tuy Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, with F-100 Super Sabre aircraft. The 31st TFW departed HAFB, only a month after the 4531st Tactical Fighter Wing activated at Homestead, flying the F-4E Phantom II.

With the 31st TFW departure, the 4531st TFW was activated at HAFB to maintain a Tactical Air Command presence at the base, which at the time was a Strategic Air Command base.

On July 1, 1968, the command at HAFB then changed from SAC to TAC with the host becoming the 4531st TFW. Two years after, TAC officially took control of HAFB as the host unit. In 1970, the 31 TFW returned from Vietnam and became the host unit replacing the 4531st TFW on October 15.

During its tour in Vietnam, the 31st TFW was instrumental in almost every major allied victory. With interdiction of enemy supplies and close air support missions, the 31st TFW flew more than 100,000 combat sorties before returning back to HAFB in October 1970. The 307th and 308th Tactical Fighter Squadrons, flying the F-4E, then deployed from HAFB to Southeast Asia in support of the Vietnam conflict in 1972.

With F-100 and F-4 aircraft, pilots and crews deployed to Vietnam from HAFB during the six year period of 1965 through 1972. There are sure to be HAFB Vietnam veterans to thank in-person at HARB and around South Florida this year for National Vietnam War Veterans Day.