Phu Loi Army Airfield, Vietnam
Latitude: 10° 59' 36.600N Longitude: 106° 42' 4.680E
Runway Length: 2900 feet
Phu Loi Army Airfield was located west of Bien Hoa and about 25 miles north of Saigon. The actual village of Phu Loi was immediately to the west/southwest of the base. The village to the east/southeast was called Bung. The base was situated on Route 13. The nearest major town was Phu Coung.
Phu Loi airfield was a Japanese air base during WW2. Phu Loi Air Field was actually built using POW labor, during WWII. The Japanese had Allied POWS cut out the jungle and level that area, for their fighter planes to use. After WW2 the French took over the airfield and used it in their fight against the Viet Minh.
Phu Loi was used as a Political Prisoner Camp, under President NGO DINH DIEM. It was established in 1945. It housed political prisoners who supported Ho Chi Minh. In 1958 Phu Loi was used as a concentration camp under Diem. Prisoners were massacred here.
Originally Phu Loi had a 1 mile defensive perimeter. It was triangular shaped with an artillery unit in each corner. This design was typical of Vietnamese fortifications of the era. At the onset of the war Phu Loi was headquarters for the Big Red One’s Division Artillery, its armored cavalry unit (1st Sq./4th Cavalry) and other key division units.
Phu Loi had been the scene of fierce fighting during the 1968 Tet offensive. Major units of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and Viet Cong (VC) troops had used the area around Phu Loi for pre-Tet staging and as a jumping-off point for their attacks on Saigon and surrounding U.S. and South Vietnamese installations
Herbicide agents were extensively used in the Phu Loi area during the war from Aug. 1965 onward. The Air Force during Operation Ranch Hand sprayed 79,000 gallons of Agent Orange over the Phu Loi area. An other herbicide used over Phu Loi was Agent White. 84,430 gallons of this herbicide was sprayed by the Air Force. These figures do NOT include the US Army helicopter or ground applications, or any form of the insecticide programs by GVN or the US Military. Many soldiers at Phu Loi sprayed Agent Orange onto our primeter from trucks and now suffer the effectes of this exposure.
Phu Loi was shut down in April 1972. Avel troops were some of the last U.S. soldiers to leave. Our shop was torn down and we quietly left. It isn't known who was the last man to turn out the lights as he left our old home at Phu Loi.
Phu Loi was taken over by the 5th ARVN Division after we left. They continued to operate there until 1975 when the NVA launched their offensive to take Saigon. One of the northern thrusts was begun through Phu Loi. Phu Loi was the site of major fighting during the NVA offensive on Saigon. The NVA destoryed the ARVN defenses there and moved toward Saigon.
The latest information we have received is that it is a communist helicopter facility and is closed to the public. We have information that a returning Vet tried to gain access to the airfield and was denied. Primo Funari left this statement on the 1st Avn Bn RVN Guestbook, 09/17/2003 "I returned to Phu Loi twice doing the last 4 years. The base is now a prison and you are unable to get to the runway." Primo was an observer on OV-1's, 04/67-10/68.
Phu Loi 1967
Phu Loi today