The United States hands over an air base in the Mekong Delta to the Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) as part of the Vietnamization program. President Richard Nixon initiated this program in 1969 to increase the fighting capability of South Vietnam so they could assume more responsibility for the war. It included the provision of new equipment and weapons and an intensified advisory effort. Secretary of the Air Force Robert Seamans and Gen. Creighton Abrams, commander of Military Assistance Command Vietnam, attended the ceremony. The air base became the home of two South Vietnamese helicopter squadrons, with the United States providing 62 aircraft, 31 of which were turned over along with the air base. By 1973, after additional equipment and aircraft transfers had been made to VNAF, the air base had a fleet of 1,700 aircraft, including more than 500 helicopters.