The database page for James Foster Brooks
In late 1966, the US Air Force's 366th Tactical Fighter Wing (dubbed the "Gunfighters") relocated their headquarters to Danang, South Vietnam in support of the war. Their fleet of F-4 jets were the 'best of the best' at the time and were used for air/ground support - along with shooting down enemy MIG's. With the Wing came all of the necessary support personnel to ensure full flight operation s - and Airman First Class James E Brooks was assigned to the 366th Civil Engineering Squadron staff.
The Danang airstrip was located in the northern sector of the country, and would be the primary launching site for the Marine Air Wing, various USAF Units, and the ever-ready Search and Rescue aircraft. To its east was the South China Sea, and to its west were rolling hills leading towards Laos. Large AF hangers, billets, and various buildings were erected along the strip for its primary operations - with the Marine pilots and others housed in the suburbs of the airfield.
The enemy was fully aware of the buildup, and considered it a favorite military target. Hidden in the hills overlooking the airstrip, they would lob mortars and rockets toward their objective almost nightly. By early 1967, Danang became known as "Rocket City" to all military personnel.
On July 15, 1967 it started in again. At 20 minutes after midnight, the Viet Cong launched a total of 83 rockets at the strip causing massive damage. Ten aircraft were totally destroyed, 49 damaged - but the real carnage was US casualties: 174 men wounded and 9 killed ... including A1C James Brooks. This single attack was the worst at Danang during the entire war, but clearly showed the capabilities of the unseen enemy.
From a researcher,
A Note from The Virtual WallAs noted above, 15 July's combined rocket and mortar attack on the Danang Air Base was the single worst attack on any US air base during the war. In addition to the material damage outlined above, the ammunition dump on the Marine side was hit and went up in a series of massive explosions. Oddly, the nine US dead all were Air Force personnel, eight of them from the 366th Combat Support Group:
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20 Jan 2005
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 03/13/2005