Construction of this large joint military and civil air field commenced in 1956 which now serves the Cebu-Mactan International Airport and the complex houses. This is the air base responsible for the Transport Wing of the PAF, where the Hercules, Fokkers and Nomads are based. When fighters are stationed in the area, it was known as the base of the defenders of the Philippine southern backdoor.
In June 1996, known as Mactan Air Base it was renamed Benito Ebuen Air Base in honor of the PAF Commanding General and the pilot of the ill fated Presidential Plane which was carrying Pres. Ramon Magsaysay that crashed in Mt. Manunggal on 03mar57 killing all 25 aboard. Gen. Ebuen who was also a commander of the 5th Fighter wing was also famous in piloting the famous PAF P-51 Mustang known as the During World War II, he flew reconnaissance missions for Gen. Jonathan Wainwright before the fall of the Philippines. He then served as a guerrilla in the remainder of the war.
Brigadier General Benito Ebuen Air Base (also referred to as Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base) is located on the small island of Mactan in the south-central Philippines. It features a single 10,000+ foot long runway, which it shares with Mactan-Cebu international airport. The nearby city of Cebu is the capital of the province. (Coordinates: 9o18'36 N, 123o58'54 E).
The Base was originally named Mactan Air Base and was constructed by the US Air Force in 1956 as an emergency landing strip for Strategic Air Command bombers. It remained a spartan outpost until the Vietnam War, when it was used extensively as an air transit point for American troops and supplies bound for the warzone. After the war, it was transferred to the Philippine Air Force.
In June of 1996, Mactan Air Base was renamed Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base in honor of former Brigadier General Benito Ebuen, a distinguished former chief of the Air Force who died in a plane crash in 1957 along with then-President Ramon Magsaysay.
As of 2009 Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base housed a number of air transportation units of the Philippine Air Force, including the 208th Tactical Helicopter Squadron, 205th Tactical Operations Wing and the 220th Airlift Wing. The 5052nd Search and Rescue Squadron of the 505th Search and Rescue Group, was also stationed at the base, along with the 1304th Dental Dispensary. Base logistics and services are provided by the Headquarters Administrative Squadron from the 205th Tactical Operations Wing and the 560th Air Base Wing.