Don Muang RTAFB & Bangkok

Don Muang - 6th Aerial Port Squadron & Bangkok Military Air Terminal
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After 35 years, many questions remain:  What happened to the Military Air Terminal building?  When did passenger service operations cease?  Who was in charge when it was closed?  How did this little story end?  If you can fill in the blanks, please send your memories and photographs to the webmaster.


In January and February 1969, 6th Aerial Port Squadron handled 14,000 passengers per month.  Our passenger terminal was a converted warehouse in the cantonment area of Don Muang RTAFB.  Lieutenant General Francis C. Gideon, Commander, 13th Air Force, is shown above with 1st Lieutenant James L. Wells during the generals visit to the terminal in April 1969.  Terminal facilities had become a Matter of Command Interest.


Passenger volume grew to 30,000 per month.  Our host command, 631st Combat Support Group, leased a 6-story office building which we operated as the Military Air Terminal.  The MAT was located in downtown Bangkok on the corner Intersection (West) of Sri Ayuthaya Road and Phaya Thai Road. The Florida Hotel was on the opposite corner of the Sri Ayuthaya Intersection. The next intersection after Phaya Thai was the Victory Monument Intersection. It was near the hotels which were under the contract to the Billeting Office.


Busses and baggage trucks ran constantly between the Military Air Terminal and Don Muang RTAFB. The bus and baggage truck staging area at the Military Air Terminal is shown above.


First floor:  Check-in counter; border clearance; information; and Tri-Services ATCO counter.


Third floor and fourth floor:  Arrival briefing.  This is where the new arrivals were welcomed to Thailand.


These lovely young ladies delivered the cold, scented towels for your sweaty brows.


Bus service and baggage-handling were provided under contract by a Thai company.  These guys were supervisors.


Ground-level also provided covered bus-loading and baggage handling area in the rear.  We saw people with many different emotions back here.  We saw the troops, joyful about going home.  Too often we had to deal with a sorrowful Thai woman who was left behind even though she and her departing husband were married under Thai law.  I have often wondered how many American-Thai babies were also left behind.


Second floor:  Departure lounge and souvenir shop.  This scene is a patio off the Departure lounge.  From here we watched President Nixons motorcade pass by during his visit to Thailand in July 1969.


Sixth floor:  Space Available lounge, Immunization, R&R Office, commercial airline booking, and telephone bank.  The TV set is significant to me:  on 20 July 1969 I watched the live telecast of Neil Armstrongs landing on the moonone of those events you always remember where you were when it happened.


Fifth floor:  Passenger Services office, Tri-Services ATCO office, Billeting office, and Protocol lounge.  MSgt. Hill, Passenger Service NCOIC, is shown conferring with the coordinator representing the Thai contractor.


SSgt. Macias, Passenger Service representative, is shown with one of the young ladies.


1 December 1969:  Port call date for Captain James L. Wells I PCS'd to 7th Transportation Squadron, Carswell AFB, TX.  That is another story entirely!


Our landlord, Madame Chariwan.  She was lovely, gracious and very, very shrewd.  She not only owned the building, she also owned the tourist agency and souvenir shop.

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