The United States handed over the first of its five major air bases in South Vietnam to the Saigon Government last Tuesday (28 March).
CU Guard of honour
SV Officer inspects troops (2 shots)
GV Gen. Minh pins medals on flag & airman (2 shots)
SV Officers - South Vietnamese
SV Gen. Minh shakes hands with US airman & pins models
SV US flag lowered rolled & put in case (2 shots)
SV Gen. Minh & US officer change base sign & shake hands
Travelling shot along airbase (2 shots)
Initials SGM/1610 SGM/1628
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Background: The United States handed over the first of its five major air bases in South Vietnam to the Saigon Government last Tuesday (28 March). Phan Rang base, on the coast about 170 miles (273 kms) north of saigon, will from now on be manned by South Vietnamese forces.
The South Vietnamese Air Force commander, General Minh, decorated several of the American air crews and presented medals to ground personnel.
Phan Rang was built in 1965 when the United States began increasing its troop strength in South Vietnam. At the heigh of the Indochina war, it was one of the largest supply depots, providing much of the equipment flown in from the United States.
When the air base changed hands, American troop withdrawals were reaching a daily average of 1,000 men.
But on Saturday (1 April), North Vietnamese gunners and rocket crews continued their massive bombardment of South Vietnamese positions south of the Demilitarised Zone as military sources in Saigon reported major ground battles on three fronts. The barrage began on Thursday (30 March), but military sources said no government filed positions, had been lost, although civilians were evacuated from two towns.
SYNOPSIS: A South Vietnamese guard of honour stood by at Phan Rang air base last Tuesday are the Americans officially handed the base over to the Saigon Government.
South Vietnamese Air Force chief General Minh decorated air and ground crews who' worked at the base. Phan Rang, on the coast north of Saigon, is the first of five bases the Americans will hand to the South Vietnamese. The base was built in 1965 when the United States began increasing its troop strength in South Vietnam. At the war's height, it was one of the biggest American supply depots.
When the base changed hands, American troop withdrawals were reaching a daily average of 1,000 men. But since then, there's been more fighting. On Thursday, North Vietnamese gunners and rocket crew began a massive bombardment of South Vietnamese positions south of the Demilitarised Zone. And on Saturday military sources in Saigon reported major ground battled on three fronts. By Saturday, more than 10,000 rockets, mortar rounds and artillery shells had landed on villages and government outposts south of the Zone. Sources in Saigon said no government field position had been lost, although civilians were evacuated from two towns. It was announced in Saigon that two marine outposts which had been abandoned were since recaptured. In addition to fighting near the Demilitarised Zone, there are reports of fierce battles south-west of the old Imperial capital of Hue on the eastern side of the A Shau Valley, and is the Central Highlands opposite the border area shared by South Vietnam, Laos and the Khmer Republic.