Bien Hoa is located on quiet, flat grounds in a rural area 25 km (16 mi) northeast of Saigon. The French Air Force established an air base, the Base aérienne tactique 192, which was very active during the First Indochina War.
In February 1953 the French Air Force established a facility at Bien Hoa to overhaul its F8F Bearcats.:69 In April 15 airmen and USAF civilians from the 6410th Materiel Control Group arrived in Saigon to help the French set up their F–8F overhaul facility and they were deployed to Bien Hoa.:70
On 1 June 1955, Bien Hoa Air Base became the RVNAF's logistics support base when the French evacuated their main depot at Hanoi. At this time the base had a single 5,700-foot (1,700 m) by 150-foot (46 m) PSP runway.
In December 1960, the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group Vietnam (MAAG) requested the U.S. Navy, as the designated contract construction agent for the Department of Defense in Southeast Asia, to plan and construct several jet-capable airfields in South Vietnam, including at Bien Hoa. In December 1961, the American construction company RMK-BRJ was directed by the Navy's Officer in Charge of Construction RVN to begin construction of a new concrete runway, the first of many projects built by RMK-BRJ at the Bien Hoa Air Base over the following ten years.:30–32