Fourteen of the United States Air Force 29 F-111 swinging fighter-bombers were pulled out of Korat Airbase, 160 miles (250 kilometres) northeast of Bangkok, in Thailand, on Sunday (15 June).
GV Jets taxiing on to runway
GV Jets taking off (4 shots)
Initials CL/2232 CL/2240
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Fourteen of the United States Air Force 29 F-111 swinging fighter-bombers were pulled out of Korat Airbase, 160 miles (250 kilometres) northeast of Bangkok, in Thailand, on Sunday (15 June). The operation formed phase one of a two-part withdrawal of all U.S.A.F. F-111s in the country.
The remaining 15 aircraft will leave next weekend as part of a programme announced jointly by the Thai and U.S. governments to reduce the U.S. military presence in Thailand, by the end of the month.
All U.S.A.F. B-52 Stratofortresses stationed in Thailand have already been pulled out. The withdrawal leaves about 150 U.S.A.F. combat aircraft and a further 150 transport planes and helicopters still based in the country.
The Thai Government has stated that it wants all U.S. military personnel out of the country by March next year and further troop withdrawals will be negotiated later in the year. By the end of June the number of authorised positions for military personnel will have been reduced from 27,000 to 19,000.
The first large deployment of F-111s to southeast Asia occurred in late 1972 when 48 arrived at Takhali Airbase. F-111s flew more than 5,000 combat missions before the U.S. bombing halt in September 1973.
SYNOPSIS: The first part of a two-phase operation to withdraw all twenty-nine United States Air Force F-One-Eleven swinging fighter-bombers from Thai bases took place on Sunday. The aircraft left Korat Airbase -- one hundred and sixty miles northeast of Bangkok -- to fly to base in Guam and Hawaii.
The remaining fifteen F-One-Elevens will leave Thailand next weekend as part of a programme jointly announced by the Thai and U.S. governments to reduce the level of U.S. military presence in the country by the end of the month.
The Thai government has stated it wants all U.S. military personnel out of the country by next March. A large number of aircraft -- including all B-52 Stratofortresses -- have already been withdrawn ... leaving only about 300 U.S. combat and transport planes in Thailand. Moves are also underway to reduce the number of U.S. troops by eight thousand by the end of june.