|Mactan Air Base|
|IATA: CEB – ICAO: RPVM|
|Owner||Philippine National Government|
|Operator||Philippine Air Force|
|Location||Barangay Ibo, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu|
|Elevation AMSL||75 ft / 23 m|
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Mactan Air Base, also known as Benito Ebuen Air Base is located on Mactan Island in Cebu, Philippines, and shares a runway with the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. It was built by and was a facility of the United States Air Force until the American military bases left the country in the 1990s and it became a Philippine Air Force base.
Mactan Air Base is located on Mactan Island, off Cebu City in the province Cebu in the Central Visayas. Mactan Island is best known as being the location where the Spanish explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, died during his circumnavigation of the earth.
Mactan Air Base began life as an emergency field for the American Strategic Air Command bombers to recover in the event of a war. This emergency field was basically barren with only a few permanent structures and a 10,000-foot concrete runway. By 1965, the only permanent structures on the field were a Philippine Air Force (PAF) operations building-cum-airline terminal and the PAF BOQ. There was also a squadron of PAF F-86s on base.
As the Vietnam War escalated, the base was rapidly built up. At its height, it became a permanent C-130 base housing at least the 772nd and 774th Troop Carrier Squadrons of the 463rd Troop Carrier Wing (later renamed as "Tactical Airlift" Squadrons and Wing) as well as becoming a crew rest stop for C-124 and C-133 crews to relieve congestion at Clark Air Base. The C-124 Operations Squadron was the 606th Military Airlift Support Squadron or 606th MASS.
Mactan Air Base is where the US Air Force tested and perfected the Low Altitude Parachute Extraction System or LAPES. This system was used to offload pallets at Vietnamese bases while under fire without landing, by "extracting" the pallets with a parachute from an altitude of 20–50 ft above the ground.
After the war, the base was transferred to the Philippine Air Force. During the Mindanao campaign in the 1970s Mactan Air Base the base was extensively used for fighter operations against targets in Mindanao region by the Philippine Air Force.
This air base is responsible for the Transport Wing, and provides for PAF operations in the Visayas area.
Stationed at the base in 2009 were the 208th Tactical Helicopter Squadron, 205th Tactical Operations Wing and the 220th Airlift Wing, along with the 5052nd Search and Rescue Squadron of the 505th Search and Rescue Group and the 1304th Dental Dispensary. The Headquarters Administrative Squadron from the 205th Tactical Operations Wing and the 560th Air Base Wing handle logistics.
- "MACTAN BENITO EBUEN AIR BASE". Philippine Air Force. http://www.paf.mil.ph/bases.html. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
- Clark Air Base
- Mactan-Cebu International Airport
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