… Saigon’s Tan Son Nhat …

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Where …

On the runway at Saigon’s Tan Son Nhat Airport

When …

Thursday, August 2, 2018 at 1.16pm

What …

The “departure” runway at Saigon’s Tan Son Nhat Airport – with one typically for arriving and the other for leaving – which is the city’s international and domestic hub about 15km from District 1.

Back during the “American War” Tan Son Nhat was Tan Son Nhut Air Base and one of the world’s busiest airports in the late 1960s when military and commercial aircraft were using the long side-by-side runways.

Even the Australians used Tan Son Nhut with many of our soldiers, who spent their 12-month tour in “the bush” never getting into Saigon, reporting that they saw no more of the former South Vietnamese capital than the TSN terminals the day they arrived in-country.

A few years ago I spoke to an Aussie veteran who was a RAAF Caribou mechanic during his Vietnam service and he remembers changing a vital engine component on the ramp at TSN during the first few hours of 1968’s Tet Offensive with the battle raging around him.

And during April 1975, as communist soldiers were moving south to reunite Vietnam and finish the long war, the airfield was bombed forcing the Americans to evacuate by helicopter from buildings downtown resulting in the now-famous photos of helos flying from rooftops.

There is talk of the city getting a new airport – I understand the government is acquiring land somewhere out on the road to Vung Tau, about 30km from the city, but it’s costing more than expected to move the locals – but for now I still appreciate flying to and from a place heavy with military and aviation history.

And here’s a time-lapse video I caught from the window seat of my Singapore Airlines hop into Tan Son Nhat a few days ago …

Visit the Tan Son Nhat website

 

… posted Thursday, August 2, 2018photography by Sarah Nicholson

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