Ham Tan International Airport

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hamtan.jpg (128683 bytes)

Ham Tan is practically on the coast of the South China Sea, due east of Saigon.

Ham Tan Terminal

yeah, that’s the airport i flew in and out of in south vietnam many years ago.  looks like a nice place, huh?  a bit out in the sticks to be sure but it did what it was supposed to do.

i didn’t take these photos.  you can see who did at the bottom of each photo, peter bird and bob payne.  i hope they don’t mind my borrowing the photos.  i’m not making any money on this so i hope it’s ok with them.  anyways you can google ham tan images and they show up.

the top photo is ham tan international during the war.  though the date on it says 1999.  it looked pretty much like that while i was there.  although back then there was a tail section from some large army plane out back.  i was in a macv advisory unit down the road a piece. 

the second photo is the same place but it looks considerably cleaned up and the sign is fixed.  must be years later.  i used to have a photo of myself standing in front of the building, circa 1971.  

i don’t have any of that stuff anymore because last year i gave it all to the vietnam archive at texas tech university.  they get tons of stuff.  they haven’t processed  or cataloged my stuff as yet.  it’s a nice site and you should visit.  lots of things to look at plus oral histories of vietnam vets to read or listen to.  free on line history.  pretty sweet.   http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/

jmh

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24 thoughts on “Ham Tan International Airport

    Jim Morgan said:
    March 25, 2008 at 3:50 am

    My Dad, Dave Morgan, was with USAID in Ham Tan from 1966 to1967. Do any of you remember him? I would like to hear from you.

    johnhauge responded:
    March 25, 2008 at 10:43 am

    jim, thanks for dropping by. your dad was there before my time. i hope you find someone that knew him when he was in vietnam. jmh

    1SG Richard Dahlseid said:
    June 23, 2008 at 12:45 am

    First pic is one I recall from 1972. I was assigned to the Advisory Team in Ham Tan for a few months in 1972. Left there in November. It was a quiet time at the end of the War. I enjoyed my stay there a great deal. Nice beach, great seafood and good company.

    johnhauge responded:
    June 23, 2008 at 2:04 am

    richard, welcome home. i was in ham tan a year or so earlier. most of the time it was quiet but there were numerous momments thru out the year i was there. the company was very nice. a good bunch of men to be sure. the seafood was stellar. i should probably blog on it at some point. though there are a bunch of things left to blog on nam. thanks for dropping by and i hope you check back to read other stuff in the future.

    Gator said:
    August 15, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    SSG Bateman, was with Team 48 in Ham Tan as Security Advisor and at Province Headquarters in Binh Tuy as NCOIC of Operations. 1970-71.

    johnhauge responded:
    August 16, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    hey, sarge, thanks for dropping by. i sent you an email.

    Dallas H. Valentine said:
    December 4, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    I was with MACV Team 48 from Aug 1971 until Jul 1972. The first photo of the Air Port is just as it was when Air America Dropped me off there, and said to wait inside someone will be along to pick up. The members of Team 48 were a great bunch of soldiers.

    johnhauge responded:
    December 5, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    you were there after i left. yes, they were a great bunch of soldiers. thanks for dropping by.

    Billy E Harvison said:
    September 6, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    I was senior advisor (Navy) of a three man team at Ta Kou radsite 302 from Jan 1972 until Sept 1972 and flew in and out of Ham Tan many times. I knew your radio operators pretty well as they were my only link to the outside world. It was an adventure to say the least.

    johnhauge responded:
    September 7, 2010 at 4:36 am

    nice to meet you, billy. an adventure is putting mildly. thanks for reading.

    Kurt Wahl said:
    February 5, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    That first picture! I was there as a member of MACV Advisory team 37 with 1/48 of the ARVN, I moved one of those sand bags and a vietnamese soldier slapped my hand away, there was a big black scorpion setting there, lucky me. We were supported by a FAC out of Vung Tau, he developed engine trouble one night and put the bird down in the jungle, he and a Major, passenger, with injured ankles walked back to Ham Tan. The team and some of the battalion went out the next day to secure the craft an watch the engine being lifted out by a chopper.I have some pictures of that. when I look at Ham Tan now I am flabbergasted, there was nothing there in ’65, and I mean noting, a couple of hooches and a big heap of clam shells and other rubbish.There was a wooden bridge there and we drove the jeep into the river and followed that down to the beach, I went swimming there later and the current took me down to the right,I had to look back to locate my team members, really a surprise. Well I could go on but if anybody that was there at the time reads this they know the rest,Kurt Wahl. I remember Sgt Dovikas, Lt Commello, the Cpt. the radio operator,the fac,the monkey running around playing with handgrenades,he got locked up for that. THE RIVER CROSSING! The only time that I was s ever afraid that I would die.

    johnhauge responded:
    February 6, 2011 at 4:56 am

    good stuff, kurt. there still wasn’t much there in 70. ham tan was a semi desolate place. sounds like you got caught in a rip tide while swimming. we would go there ofetn to swim or play football. that is until somebody decided we should post guards and stuff. then it became to much trouble and no fun anymore. thanks for the comment.

    Dan Ledsome said:
    February 23, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    John
    I was in signal assigned to macv also. Feb70 thru April 71. The air port looks like I remember and you are right, there was a tail section of a C-130 to the left of the building. You may not remember, but you were on duty the night a message was sent to me from red cross infoming me of the birth of my daughter. I still have the message

    johnhauge responded:
    February 24, 2011 at 3:38 am

    dan, very nice to hear from you after all these years. very cool. now that you mention it i do remember the night that message came through. i hope all is well with you and your family. i have your email address and i’ll be in touch. small world isn’t it?

    Binh V. Nguyen said:
    August 3, 2011 at 8:16 am

    I am Vietnamese-American, I left Vietnam in 1980, when I was 17, and Ham Tam is my hometown.

    johnhauge responded:
    August 3, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    binh, thanks for dropping by. you were just a baby when i was in ham tan. it was a lovely spot even considering the war. i hope you’re doing well.

    Larry Ramey said:
    April 6, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Larry Ramey
    I was at at Ham Tan July 1970 – 71. I was with the 2nd Civil Affairs with duty MACV Team 48. Looks like we were there at the same time. I too, remember the tail section of what looked to be a C123 or C130. Thats the first thing I saw when we were getting ready to land in that Air America plane. We stood down in July 1971 and drove all of our equipment back to the Plantation at Long Bihn. Hope you are doing fine, its been a long time since that era.

    john hauge responded:
    April 7, 2013 at 4:32 am

    hi, larry. thanks for reading and leaving a comment. yes, we were there t the same time. unfortunately i don’t remember you. i suppose it’s old age. lol. i’m doing well. thanks.

    Larry Ramey said:
    April 7, 2013 at 6:07 am

    John,

    Go to the 2nd Civil Affairs company web site and look at the 11th Platoon photos and you, I think will see some people you know.
    Larry

    john hauge responded:
    April 8, 2013 at 4:13 am

    thanks, larry. will do.

    Alan Runfeldt said:
    August 12, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    I was at Ham Tan in January of 1970 – my first mission (of over 60) with the USAF 8th Aerial Port Mobility Team. I do remember it well, and that photo above is dead on. As soon as I saw it, I recognized it. That building stayed in my mind because it was open to the back – 3 walls and a roof. I’d never seen a building quite like that before…. I also recall sharing some of my Bull Durham tobacco with a local farmer. He gave me some of his local stuff in exchange. It was terrible! But it was nice to practice a little bit of “tobacco diplomacy” by sharing our “makins” and sharing a smoke on a beautifully clear, sunny day…. Some Australian NCO saw me rolling a cigarette and remarked to my NCO “I knew that you Yanks were pretty open about this stuff, but really!”… He did not realize that I was rolling *tobacco*, not *weed*… 😉 I was also offered a ride in a OV-10 Bronco FAC spotter plane, but I couldn’t leave the airstrip – we were on a mission, after all… No worries, I guessed I’d have plenty of other opportunities to go flying… Funny thing is, however, that day was the only time I had a chance to fly in an OV-10. All of my subsequent flying was done on C-130’s, C-123’s and C-7 Caribous…

    john hauge responded:
    August 13, 2016 at 4:20 am

    alan, welcome home and thanks for your comment.

    Michael J. Jelenic said:
    October 10, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    I was in Ham Tan from February of 67 to March of 68. I was with the 36 Eng’s. attached to the 1st of the 83 artillery. We actually patched the air field. I thought the building was blue? International? Well ok. 1st of the 83rd moved out to Hue January of 68 and we moved into the MACV compound. The food there was Spectacular!!!!!!!!
    Our orders were canceled when the artillery left so we did some work on the road but not a lot. I also pulled a friend’s hand away from a large black scorpion as he pulled a sand bag out of a ditch. I was told the black ones were not as bad a sting. Most of our time was spent in town. I remember the wooden bridge talked about earlier. There was a small but nice hutch there with a front porch. I believe the family was Cambodian. And, I also caught in a rip tide at the beach. It took every bit of strength that I had to get to shore.

    Was Dave morgan from Ohio/

    john hauge responded:
    October 11, 2017 at 6:23 am

    thanks for the comment, michael. no scorpion encounters, but a couple of two step viper encounters. one at the beach and another inside the commo bunker. plus, a black mamba one night at the front gate. all three died at the scene.

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