Tet Offensive: The Battles of Bien Hoa and Long Binh | HistoryNet

Tet Offensive: The Battles of Bien Hoa and Long Binh

By John E. Gross
12/3/2007 • Vietnam

The fog of war was especially thick on the morning of January 31, 1968. While much has been written about Tet and the political firestorm that resulted, in the hundreds of surprise battles and skirmishes that unfolded, individual units found themselves thrust into intense danger, turmoil, chaos, confusion, contradictions and outright lunacy as they responded to Viet Cong (VC) attacks. This is the story of one rifle company—comprised of some of the finest soldiers to ever wear the uniform of the U.S. Army—and what they all faced on that decisive day.

In April 1967, I was a first lieutenant commanding a rifle company in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. In command for five months, I had been assured that I would be leading the company for one year, which suited me fine. My plan was to make captain and go to Vietnam as an experienced company commander. Since I was in an airborne unit, it seemed certain that I would go to the 173rd Airborne Brigade or the 101st Airborne Division.

Consequently, I was disappointed when I received orders to join the 9th Infantry Division. Not only would I not finish my command tour, but I was also being assigned to a “leg” division. When I arrived at 9th Division in June, I was further shocked to learn that I was going to a mechanized battalion, rather than be assigned to one of the battalions in the Delta where I could use my light infantry and Ranger school experience. My only previous contact with M-113 armored personnel carriers (APCs) was during a training exercise at the officers’ basic course.

At the headquarters of the 2nd Battalion (Mechanized), 47th Infantry (2-47), nicknamed the Panthers, the ­commander, Lt. Col. Arthur Moreland, asked me what job I wanted. I told him that I wanted to command a company. He replied that I would have to wait. I was to be a platoon leader again, in Charlie Company, commanded by Captain John Ionoff. After commanding 180 paratroopers, taking on four APCs and 40 troops seemed like a dream—except that now I was responsible for troops in combat, not training.

In mid-September, when Ionoff moved to battalion headquarters to become the operations officer (S3), I assumed command of Company C. In October, the 2-47 was tasked to secure engineers as they cleared Highway 1 from Xuan Loc to the II Corps boundary near Phan Thiet. The battalion made only sporadic contact and suffered few casualties.

As my airborne mentality faded, I learned to love the M-113—or “track.” We could haul more personal gear, live more comfortably and walk less than straight-leg troops. Each APC could carry almost as much ammunition as a dismounted rifle company. In a fight, the company had 22 .50-caliber machine guns, a 106mm and several 90mm recoilless rifles, and more radios and M-60 machine guns than a walking company could ever carry. We could ride, walk or be airlifted to war, and we arrived with many times the ammo and equipment that could be lifted in by heli­copter. We could use our tracks as a base of fire or in a blocking position as the company maneuvered on foot. We carried concertina wire, sand bags and hundreds of Claymore mines and trip flares to make our defensive positions practically impenetrable.

Gradually, I became a mechanized soldier. When offered the chance to go to II Field Force to help establish a new long-range reconnaissance patrol outfit, I turned it down to stay with the company.

During December we made little enemy contact, prob­ably because the Communists were lying low, preparing for Tet. In January 1968, our battalion relocated to the area between Xuan Loc and Bien Hoa, where intelligence had located a VC battalion. On January 23, during a battalion sweep through heavy jungle south of Highway 1, Alpha Company walked into a camouflaged, well-defended enemy bunker system and was badly mauled. Four men were killed and more than 20 wounded, including most of the officers. Charlie Company quickly reinforced Alpha, and a daylong fight ensued. At dusk, airstrikes had to be called in to blast the VC from the hill. The battle proved significant, as Alpha’s leadership was seriously depleted immediately prior to Tet.

Then, for the last week in January, the 2-47 was sent south of the 9th Division’s base camp to patrol the jungles east of Highway 15, near the Binh Son rubber plantation.

When the Tet cease-fire period began on January 28, the battalion was called back to the vicinity of Bear Cat, a base camp near Long Thanh. Charlie Company was ordered to a large open field across Highway 15 from the Long Thanh airfield. From our positions we could see and hear the celebratory fireworks lighting the sky over Saigon to the west.

The II Field Force commander, Lt. Gen. Frederick C. Weyand, had correctly predicted a major attack during Tet, and his anticipation no doubt saved Long Binh and Saigon from being overrun. The 2-47 was one of several units he pulled in from the jungles to guard the Long Binh headquarters and logistical complex 15 miles northeast of Saigon.

Early on January 30, we were told the Tet cease-fire was canceled, and our unit was deployed into a defensive line along the road that ran around the east side of the Long Binh base. The recon platoon was ordered to establish a blocking position south of Long Binh on Highway 15. The 1st Platoon of Bravo Company was made the II Field Force reaction force and was placed in the PX parking lot at Long Binh. Charlie Company’s 3rd Platoon was also detached for a security mission inside the base. Alpha Company, still licking its wounds from the January 23 fight, was left intact.

The three companies formed a line almost three kilometers long, facing east, with their backs to the Long Binh wire, based on the mistaken assumption that the VC would attack from the jungle. In fact, the Communists had already infiltrated the city of Bien Hoa, suburban Ho Nai village and Widow’s Village, where pensioned families of deceased ARVN soldiers lived. Widow’s Village made a perfect attack position, since it lay directly across Highway 316 from II Field Force headquarters. Dressed as travelers returning to ancestral homes for the Tet holiday, the guerrillas had quietly drifted into their urban assembly areas and put together their weapons.

Toward dusk on January 30, Charlie Company soldiers stripped to the waist to dig bunkers next to their APCs. As the sun sank over the Long Binh base, they tossed a football and ate cold C rations. All night they scanned the jungles with Starlight scopes, seeing nothing.

At 3 a.m. on January 31, I received a call from Major Bill Jones, who had recently taken Ionoff’s place as operations officer. He stated that Bien Hoa airbase, the Long Binh facility, the II Field Force headquarters and the 199th Light Infantry Brigade (LIB) base camp were under heavy mortar and rocket attack. This was no surprise to us, since we could hear the enemy rounds slamming into Long Binh.

As usual, each company had sent two ambush patrols into the jungle to our front. At 4 a.m., Jones ordered us to pull in our ambushes and be prepared to move, and told Charlie Company’s noncombatants to report to battalion headquarters. We all knew these moves were more than precautionary.

We packed up our gear, rolled up our wire and waited. I was not sure what to do about the bunkers. Policy was to fill in all holes and empty our sandbags when we left a position, to leave nothing the VC might use against us. I called battalion headquarters and was told to forget about them, which reinforced our sense that combat was imminent.

At about 6 a.m., Lt. Col. John Tower, the new battalion commander, called with orders. Normally, operations orders issued over the radio were encoded and sent by the operations officer’s radio operator. In another sign that the situation was serious, the battalion commander himself gave map coordinates of company objectives in the clear.

Alpha Company was ordered to the 199th LIB compound, which was under attack. Now commanded by a brand-new second lieutenant, the men of Alpha Company balked when they were told to move. Tower sent Major Jones to take command, and once Alpha got moving, it did a magnificent job. Bravo Company was sent to protect the Long Binh ammunition dump and Charlie Company was ordered into downtown Bien Hoa, where the ARVN III Corps headquarters was in danger of being overrun.

After I got the coordinates of our objective, I yelled, “Crank ’em up!” into the radio handset. We rolled through Long Binh and out the main gate, then turned onto Highway 316. The 2nd Platoon led the way under Lieutenant Fred Casper, followed by my track, then Lieutenant Howard Jones’ 1st Platoon and, finally, the weapons platoon under Lieutenant Don Muir. The Commo track, C-007, nicknamed Abdula and the Rug Merchants, with Pfc (current Vietnam editor) David Zabecki behind the .50-­caliber, brought up the rear. We charged southeast down Highway 316 to the Highway 15 intersection, situated on a small hill overlooking the 90th Replacement Company. As we rolled by, we looked down into the compound and saw soldiers in khakis milling about with boarding passes in hand. But no one would be leaving the country that day.

As we turned right onto Highway 15, an unbelievable spectacle stretched before us. Having been struck by mortars or rockets, the fuel tanks at the air base, as well as several buildings throughout Bien Hoa, were burning brightly. Flames illuminated the clouds, forming an eerie glow; flares hung in the sky and helicopter gunships crossed back and forth firing red streams of tracers into the city.

Through sporadic fire, we continued northwest on Highway 15 to where it intersected Highway 1 on the western edge of Bien Hoa. As we made the turn eastward on Highway 1, the lead platoon was ambushed. We opened up with everything we had and kept driving. We had run through the rear of the 274th VC Regiment, which was attacking the airfield. As we cleared the ambush, the column suddenly came to a halt because of some kind of block in the road; simultaneously, someone keyed the company net. With a push-to-talk button stuck in the transmit position, no one could use the radio. I jumped down and ran from track to track, pounding on the sides and yelling, “Check your handsets!” As I ran back through the weapons platoon in the pre-dawn gloom, with small-arms fire cracking overhead, I was amazed to see young girls carrying bottles of Coca-Cola, trying to sell them to the troops.

After the roadblock was cleared and communications restored, Charlie Company continued toward its objective. At 7 a.m., as daylight was breaking, my track rolled past the ARVN III Corps compound gate. I realized we were driving past our objective, halted the company and called for the 2nd Platoon to find a place to turn around. As the C-23 track in the lead, Stormy, turned into a side street, a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) slammed into its front, smashing the radiator and wounding several soldiers. A VC guerrilla hiding behind a parked ARVN jeep had fired the rocket. Despite the confusion and wounds, our troops returned fire. The VC who had fired the RPG slipped away, but Pfc Jim Love, who was tossed into a sewage ditch by the explosion, remembers “killing the jeep” with his M-16.

Several soldiers gathered in front of the track to help the wounded, and Love climbed up to man the .50-caliber. Just then a three-man VC RPG team calmly walked across the street right in front of the damaged APC. Love was so startled, he didn’t fire.

“I realize now that the track was high enough that the rounds would have passed over” the troops in front of the vehicle, Love recalls. “I yelled at Lieutenant Casper, and everybody looked around as the VC tore out running the last few yards to safety. We threw grenades over the wall behind them, but hit nothing.”

Under fire, Staff Sgt. Benny Toney, the 2nd Platoon sergeant, hooked a tow cable to Stormy. The 2nd Platoon pulled the damaged track out of the side street and towed it back to the III Corps compound. There, Charlie Company soldiers joined ARVN and U.S. MACV soldiers manning the walls. Zabecki remembers taking his place on the wall with his M-79 grenade launcher. Our arrival had canceled fears that III Corps headquarters might be overrun.

As our medics treated the wounded, I reported to the American lieutenant colonel who was the III Corps G3 adviser. Tower had called and told me Charlie Company was under the operational control of III Corps and I was to take my orders from them. They ordered us to clear the VC from the houses surrounding the corps headquarters. I assigned areas of operation to my two rifle platoons, and positioned the weapons platoon inside the compound as a reserve and security force. But their 81mm mortars were useless, since we were told we could not put any indirect fire into the town.

Charlie Company soldiers, used to months of patrolling and fighting in the jungles, suddenly found themselves fighting house to house as their fathers had done in World War II. During this fighting, the two platoon leaders were wounded, Lieutenant Casper in the leg and Lieutenant Jones in the foot. Refusing evacuation, neither reported his wound. They both hobbled through the rest of the day’s fighting.

The combat around III Corps headquarters was intense. According to the VC 5th Division official history, the 3rd Battalion, 5th VC Regiment was supported by the Bien Hoa Sapper Company; its mission was to overrun the compound, which was defended by about 15 ARVN soldiers and a smattering of MACV advisers. However, Charlie Company slammed into the VC before they could organize their attack.

Sergeant John Ax, squad leader of 1st Squad, 2nd Platoon, recalls the fighting near III Corps: “An RPG hit Shocker, the C-21 track, in the side; but it must have been a glancing blow, because it did not explode. It knocked a dimple in the side of the track as I fired up the gunner.”

Later in the fighting, Casper and several 2nd Platoon troops were pinned down next to a building. Casper rose from the prone position and yelled for his troops to follow him. “When Lieutenant Casper jumped up, our legs became entangled and I tripped him,” Ax remembers. “As he fell, a burst of automatic weapons fire stitched the wall right where he would have been had he not fallen.” (Casper, one of the bravest of the brave, died during the May offensive in Saigon, leading from the front.)

After we finished clearing the area around the compound and as our wound­ed were being dusted off, I received an absolutely incredible order from III Corps. The G3 adviser told me that they had received intelligence that Vo Nguyen Giap, the North Vietnamese commanding general, had his command post in a Catholic church about 1 kilometer east of III Corps. We were ordered to go there and detain every male between the ages of 16 and 80. To get to the church, we had to run a gantlet of fire, through the VC 238th Regiment and into the flank of the 275th, which was fighting the 2-47’s scout platoon in Widow’s Village. We fired all we had into the buildings lining the roadway and took several wounded while getting to the church.

When we arrived, we found the churchyard packed with thousands of civilians. I called III Corps to report that we had detained all of these people, and was told to wait for the Vietnamese National Police to take charge. A few minutes later, a jeep drove up carrying two extremely frightened white-shirted policemen. As best I could, I explained that they were to take charge and that General Giap might be among the civilians. They bowed and looked confused.

Meanwhile, Charlie Company was ordered back to III Corps. As we turned to head back, a tremendous blast shook the whole city of Bien Hoa. The Long Binh ammo dump had exploded. Satchel charges blew pallets of artillery ammunition, creating a mushroom cloud that made us think the VC had set off a tactical nuclear weapon.

We suffered more wounded during the trip back to III Corps, where I was called to a meeting in the headquarters. As I walked around the front of a track, the .50-caliber gunner accidentally hit the trigger and pumped five rounds into the ground about three feet in front of me. All I could think of to say was, “Please clear that weapon!”

During the meeting, a master sergeant adviser to a Vietnamese ranger battalion ran into the compound. He said his battalion was in heavy contact, and he had several wounded rangers he needed to evacuate. He wanted to borrow one of our tracks. When the G3 adviser told me to lend the rangers a track, I told the sergeant that the M-113 was not a tank and to be careful with it. He manned the .50 and, with a Charlie Company driver, headed down Highway 1. About 30 minutes later, the track was back with only the driver, who reported the ranger sergeant had been killed and that it had been impossible to get the wounded.

At the meeting, I was joined by the S3 of a battalion from the 101st Airborne Division. The Vietnamese brigadier general—the ranking man at III Corps—drew circles on a map around two areas of downtown Bien Hoa. He assigned one to the airborne battalion and the other to Charlie Company. When I pointed out that the 101st Battalion had more than 500 troops and I had only two line platoons and less than 90 troops, he said, “You’re mechanized, you’re very strong.”

I told him we couldn’t take the tracks off Highway 1 into town because the streets were too narrow. He waved me off. I walked back to my track, thinking this was going to be a nightmare. I told the platoon leaders to prepare to dismount and to take all the ammunition and grenades they could carry. Then I got a call from battalion commander Tower, asking how things were going. I told him about the order to clear an area of operations equal in size to that assigned the airborne battalion.

“Forget that,” he said. “I’ve just been told you work for me again. Come back up on the battalion freq.” I had never been so happy in my life. The ARVN general and III Corps G3 adviser, however, were not happy when we pulled out.

Tower ordered Charlie Company to attack eastward to clear the village of Ho Nai, a Bien Hoa suburb. No tactic I had learned at infantry school fit that situation, so we improvised. We came up with a “T” formation. I dismounted the platoons and placed them on line on each side of the road: the second on the left, or north, and the first on the right, or south. The platoons attacked by successive bounds through the village as the tracks, forming the base of the “T,” gave fire support from the .50s and resupplied the troops with ammo.

The progress was slow and ammo was becoming scarce, particularly grenades, which get consumed at an enormous rate in city fighting. As the 2nd Platoon began to run short, Spc. 4 Joseph “Sugar Bear” Dames returned to the tracks for more grenades. Dames walked down a side alley toward the highway. Suddenly he came upon a VC RPG team drawing a bead on my command track, which was a prime target given the number of radio antennas jutting from it. Unfortunately for the VC, they had no weapons other than the RPG launcher. Dames killed them with a burst from his M-16 probably saving the lives of everyone on my track.

As enemy resistance stiffened, we realized we had bottled at least a company of the VC 275th Regiment in the village. The 2-47’s scout platoon had just finished a brutal fight in Widow’s Village, and at 4 p.m., it was ordered to move to the junction of Highways 1 and 316, and to attack westward through the village of Ho Nai toward Charlie Company, in the hope of pinning the VC between us. As 1st Lt. Brice Barnes led his scouts into Ho Nai, he ran full speed into a hornet’s nest. Several tracks were hit by RPGs and surrounded by the enemy. Listening to the scouts’ desperate fight on the radio, Charlie Company attacked with renewed vigor as we tried to get to Barnes and his men.

Fighting our way to the scout platoon, we were stopped when we came upon two large churches, straddling Highway 1, each occupied by VC. The 2nd Platoon took the one north of the road, the 1st Platoon attacked the other. Troops opened their attacks with volleys of grenades, then charged in shooting. The churches were cleared in short order.

After the fight for the churches, there occurred one of the most bizarre and inexplicable incidents of the day. An MP full colonel, accompanied by a Los Angeles deputy sheriff (dressed in his deputy uniform) and two jeeploads of National Police, drove up to my track. The colonel explained that since we were infantry soldiers and did not know the proper method of searching a house, he and his crew had come to teach us. I told the colonel that this was not a police action, that we weren’t searching houses, we were in combat. He ignored me and went to a nearby house where he and the deputy sheriff kicked in the front door. At that moment, a burst of VC machine gun fire erupted, causing the colonel, the deputy and their Vietnamese escorts to pile into their vehicles and roar off in the direction from whence they had come. We never saw them again.

We closed within a few hundred meters of the scout platoon and watched as helicopter gunships destroyed a large yellow house from which the VC were pinning down Barnes’ troops. As the Hueys’ rockets smashed the VC strongpoint, the scouts fought their way out of the encirclement and evacuated their dead and wounded. Lieutenant Barnes and one of his soldiers would be awarded Distinguished Service Crosses for their heroism that day.

As the scouts escaped, the volume of enemy fire began to slacken, then died altogether. All day civilians had been darting from their homes and running from the fighting. Now someone pointed out that there were a lot of young men, all dressed in black pants and white shirts, walking among the refugees. Simultaneously, platoon leaders reported finding discarded AK-47s. Then a report came in that a body had been found wearing a white shirt under a black pajama tunic. It dawned on us that the VC were throwing down their weapons, changing clothes and slipping away. We began detaining the well-dressed young men among the refugees.

Meanwhile, Hueys reported VC running from the village. The armed helicopter teams had a field day shooting guerrillas trying to flee into the jungle. Later, captured VC said many guerrillas only had two magazines for their weapons in expectation that the population would rise up against the Americans and have plenty of captured weapons to fight with.

As darkness settled in, Charlie Company was ordered back to the junction of Highways 1 and 316, where we would form a screen in front of the 199th LIB base camp. Rolling back through Bien Hoa, we were astounded to come upon the battalion S4, Captain Leroy Brown, in the middle of town with a 5,000-gallon fuel tanker and several ammunition trucks. Bringing that volatile convoy through the city, which had not been totally cleared and was still burning in many places, was a tremendously heroic act. We topped off our fuel tanks, replenished our ammo and continued to move toward our assigned blocking position.

That night, frightened bunker guards in the 199th compound shot into the darkness to their front. The only trouble was that Charlie Company tracks were sitting in the road right in front of their bunkers. We began to pop hand-held flares so they could see we were there, but the shooting persisted, one round hitting my track. After much frequency changing, I finally got the commander of the bunker guards on the radio. Specialist 4 Bill Rambo, assistant driver and .50-gunner on my command track, remembers my response to the firing as being absolutely irate. According to him, I told him that any fool could see that the VC did not have M-113s, and that we had 22 .50-calibers and a 106mm recoilless rifle and they, for sure, did not want us to return fire. Soon we could hear leaders moving up and down the bunker line yelling for the guards to stop firing.

As dawn broke on February 1, it was deathly quiet. The village of Ho Nai, now a ghost town, still smoldered. Incredibly, nobody in my company had been killed the day before. Charlie Company had reported 38 VC killed, at the cost of only 11 U.S. wounded and three APCs damaged by RPGs. In addition we detained more than 20 probable VC fighters dressed in civilian clothes. The 2-47’s enemy body count came in at more than 200, while the battalion suffered only four KIA. An accurate body count could never be compiled since so many VC bodies were dragged away or were burned in the many fires that ravaged the towns and villages.

Although initially surprised, U.S. forces had reacted quickly. The VC attacks on Bien Hoa and the Long Binh complex were abject failures, due in part to the fact that on January 31, 1968, they had run into the Panthers of the 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry.

This article was written by John E. Gross and originally published in the February 2008 issue of Vietnam Magazine. For more great articles, subscribe to Vietnam magazine today!

270 Responses to Tet Offensive: The Battles of Bien Hoa and Long Binh

  1. Larry Garascia says:

    I was stationed at Bien Hoa from July 67 through July 68; when Tet began we endured multiple, dialy rocket and mortar attacks and we hung the nickname ‘Rocket City’ on Bien Hoa. I also was assigned pipeline patrol from BH down to the Saigon Rover two days after Tet to mark every place the NVA or VC had ruptured the line. It was the scariest duty I pulled while in country because of the tall elephant grass and ‘luke the gook’ popping up from spider holes to shoot at us.

  2. John Driessler says:

    The first platoon of Bravo Company (numbering 24 troops) of the 2/47, was the first to enter Widow’s Village. We ran into 200 NVA and held them off for almost three hours with no air support or artillery support. We were not “guarding” the PX. We were on the verge of being overrun when the Scout platoon showed up. There were very few survivors from our platoon and what remains of the platoon are very proud of our part that we played in holding off the enemy from getting into Long Binh where all the high ranking brass were located.
    John Driessler

    • Paul Buttino says:

      John I was at 2nd Field Forces HHC right across from “Widows village” during the Tet offensive, when the ammo dump blew, and I always wanted to thank you guys that went in there and fought so hard, but never knew ’til this day who you guys were! If I knew you were in such dire straits that day, I would have volunteered to come in and support you guys, as would most of the other guys on our base, but the call never came. Thank you and the rest of your brave guys for the fantastic job you all did at clearing out “Widows village” that night!! I’m so glad I finally got the chance to tell you what GREAT, BRAVE young soldiers you all were!!

      • mac says:

        my husband was the medic for the 9th infantry 2/47th in 1968 during the tet. would love to hear smoeone who was there. would also like to know who made home safe.

      • magic mac says:

        sorry new at this my husband mac was the medic for the scouts in
        9th infantry 2/47nd division panthers. he would love to hear from anyone who was there and know who came home safe.

      • Tim Bruton says:

        Paul do we know each other? I was with the II FF Arty, 1st houch behind the mess hall and hq. I was in the commo shack. The switch board operator, got 2 purples, 1 a 122 hit blowing his florsent lights all over him and the night of Tet he took a butt round through the commo door. The night of TET I got blown out of the houch from a 122. The dump going up was a freak show non stop and of course incoming was so bad you could walk on the tracers. I left Jun 68, and dumb me went back into the Army in 1980 2 more bad roads and a lot of more closed closets but Medical in 1995. Life is good in Mexico with my Mexican wife and my disability. Here I am the only Gringo and on my 66th birthday 60 people came to honer my time

        God Bless, SFC Bruton, Retired

  3. Castello Domingo says:

    I enjoyed reading your story “The Battles of Bien Hoa and Long Binh”. It brought back memories for me. I was with the 265th RRC (ABN) at HQ of the 101st Airborne Division close to the airfield at Bien Hoa. I remember the sound of mortars and rockets and the ammo dump going up in flames. We were hunkered down in bunkers, but I was able to get some photos of the action. The guys in the field did a great job protecting our camp.

    Thanks for a Great Article,

    Castello Domingo

    • Larry J Wyrick says:

      Can you send me pictures as I was RTO in the LB ammo depot when the pads went off and I would like to see what it looked like away from the blast. The blast made my ears ring and still till this day and I suffered from being picked up and depositied knocked out and still hate thinking about it and the days ahead. The Infantry group in the depot were the 52 nd Infantry and were called a “Bastard” company of infantry just to protect the depot. Likewise the MP’s were a small platoon attached to the 3rd Ord BN across from the front gate We had a dog handler KIA and one infantry member and later two medics were KIA and the Infantry Captain was hurt from a rocket on the side of his jeep by the Sappers. Also a LT lost his legs from that rocket and the First Sarge was KIA. Lost another Lt to a broken leg. It was a mess and year’s later I have crying spells…I turn 65 on Feb 6, 2012 and it still hurts.

      • paul buttino says:

        Hi Larry, welcome home brother…!!! I was at the 2nd field forces base across from the ammo dump when it exploded during Tet, and was a helicopter door gunner with 125th aviation later. I have a couple pictures of it when it exploded and saved in my computer. Someone must have taken these pictures that was stationed at my base, and I found them online somewhere. I don’t know how to publish them on this website, but if you want to put your email in your response, I’ll send them to you. I really don’t want to make my email public, so it’s up to you. Hang in there bro, we were just kids when we went through those terrible times. Now that I look back, we were WAY to young for war…!!!

      • Larry J Wyrick says:

        paul buttino says:

        1/29/2012 at 5:19 pm Welcome home to you Paul. Thank you Thank you for the pictures. I had some back a few years ago but my computer crashed and all was lost. This is terrific..


        Larry Wyrick
        Clovis, CA

      • Mike Wendele says:

        I was Squad sgt. of 1st squad, 1st plt. D Com. of the 52nd INF. I rotated home on14Sept.67 and did not see the shit you guys did. I thank God after reading all these posts. I often wandered if my guys were involved in TET and now I know. i do not remember our captain or first sgt name but my platoon leader was named Smith. He was a sportsman country boy from Alabama. Did you receive any photos that you requested in your post of 1/28/12? i just found this sight this week and it brings back memories long past. i am 69 and retire this year. Hope all is well with you.

    • arturo says:

      Mr. Domingo . i was woundering if your photos were taken on the dates 02-1967 ——– 06 – 1967 . just trying to put something together for my father inlaw . He served in 52nd infantry special provisions bataleon army. he was right there when they hit the hospital and bomb dump….thanks anything will help …..

  4. Jon M Bowers says:

    I was in 2/47, 1st plt, 3td squad during the TET offensive. We were the second or third M113 in line entering Long Binh early in the morning. I remember the gunships looked like they were spraying a solid stream of orange water as they poured on surpressing fire all over the complex. First job was to relieve headquarters under heavy assult. We attacked in line and “Harrassment”, the Charlie 1 3 track took machine gun fire through the transfere case, we barley made it inside III Corp compound and I stayed there overnight after the VC batalion was driven off . This article reminded me of those days with more pride for my brothers and more reverance for the brothers who were killed there.

    Great article
    Thanks JON M. “TEX” Bowers

  5. Talmage aka thig says:

    Left Long Binh in Oct 67. Still feel bad I was not there for Tony and my other brothers. I was home and just moved on. One foot in front of the other.


  6. Donald Williams says:

    I was in the 4/39 9th Infantry Division and stationed at Bearcat near Ben Hoa and remember the operation that you are talking about in fact was were on patrol when the ammo dump was blown. The VC must to have had great intel because they slipped by us and got to the ammo dump. As I remember we didn’t engage them until after they were coming out . It funny but I was also supposed to be attached to the 2nd briadge of the 101 air borne Division ( I was also airborne quarlified). At any rate I remember well some of the things you are depecting in your story.

  7. Donald Williams says:

    I was in the 4/39 9th Infantry Division and stationed at Bearcat near Ben Hoa and remember the operation that you are talking about in fact was were on patrol when the ammo dump was blown. The VC must to have had great intel because they slipped by us and got to the ammo dump. As I remember we didn’t engage them until after they were coming out . It funny but I was also supposed to be attached to the 2nd briadge of the 101 air borne Division ( I was also airborne quarlified). At any rate I remember well some of the things you are depecting in your story.

    ps there is a mistake in your posting the above statements are mine

    Donald Willliams

  8. Donald Williams says:

    I was in the 4/39 9th Infantry Division and stationed at Bearcat near Ben Hoa and remember the operation that you are talking about in fact was were on patrol when the ammo dump was blown. The VC must to have had great intel because they slipped by us and got to the ammo dump. As I remember we didn’t engage them until after they were coming out . It funny but I was also supposed to be attached to the 2nd briadge of the 101 air borne Division ( I was also airborne quarlified). At any rate I remember well some of the things you are depecting in your story.

  9. Steve Forcade says:

    Co B 4th Bn 39th Inf 9th Inf Div – We flew in to Widow’s Village air mobile and would like to thank some of you –

    The two guys in the 2/47 jeep that was running through the village resupplying ammo – THANKS

    The APC that provided us cover while we maneuvered to the church…

    To the two (or more) APCs that fought through the village and set up a blocking force for us GRUNTS.

    Welcome home one and all

  10. danny smith says:

    I was on guard duty when the dump was blown up; two guards down the line were killed that night. I was from the 86th transportation ,6th bat. and still have nightmares

    • Jack Jewell says:

      I ,also, was in the 86th trans. with you. I don’t remember you but like you I was in the dump the night of the explosion getting loaded for a convoy the next day. I drove out leaving my trailer behind and picking up GI’s all the way out. It was a night to remenber.

      The 86th had the first reunion this year in Dayton Ohio. Don’t believe you were there. Contact me for some details through this sight.

      • raymond wilson says:


    • Eric Krol says:

      Welcome Home to all… Time heals
      No date on the link but our unit 5th LEM came in country by mid March, 67 and advance party stated the dump was just blown…still trying to establish a timeline. Our final location was overlooking Hwy 15 south, across for the beer dump (later in 67). Since our unit were newby’s, we all spent time at the dump and perimeter defense in Long Bien

  11. derrick j young says:

    i was station in long binh, my tour was up jan.31st 1968,but it was not to be,i stayed in hell, for 4 extra days. please contact me. nam 67/68

  12. Gordon Taylor says:

    I arrived in Vietnam on the 3rd February 1968. I was a conscript in the Australian Army, attached to 104 Signal Squadron at 1ATF at Nui Dat in Phuc Toy province. On the 7th February I was deployed to an Australian FSPB (Andersen) as part of Operation Coburg, about 20 miles north east of Saigon. I was then sent on the same day to the Tactical Operations Centre (TOC) “Hurricane” at Bien Hoa. On the first night there the ammo dump almost next door to the 101st Airborne barracks was blown up. All the US troops were immediately put on “red alert”. The ammo dump was on fire for several hours.

    You can imagine, not only Being attached to a different unit, but a different army, how I felt. I had no idea what was happening nor what I should do if the ‘proverbial hit the fan”. This was a great introduction to the war.

    During my time in Vietnam I spent time with 11ACR at Blackhorse. I also spent time in Long Binh and with MACV in Xuan Loc.

    • Snoopy says:

      You Aussies were fantastic!! I was a grunt and served from Dec. ’67-Dec. ’68. I heard something amusing. Another division (probably a platoon) ridiculed you Aussies for wearing shorts. The Aussies kicked the s*** out of them. Hurrah for them! Personally, I would rather walk in front of a bus rather than irritate one of you crazy bastards.


    I was on Guard Duty at II Field Forces HQ Bien Hoa when the ammo dump went up and mortars everywhere on our compound also, Oct 19,1967 to Oct 19th , 1968, Larry Stephenson

    • Marvin Jamedson says:

      Yes. I remember. I was also on guard duty at the back of Hq II field force. I was an E5 and 2 of us shared duty all night. Around 3 a.m. hell broke loose and the ammo dump exploded and nearly knocked us off the bunker (which 1 of us stayed at all times, on top of it). It so happened to be my shift to watch and we had just switched duties and we were both awake. Quite frightening.

      • Paul Buttino says:

        I must know you guys, ‘cuz I was in II Field Forces when the ammo dump blew during Tet too! Your names aren’t familiar, but I SURE feel close to you both right now! You can contact me at pbuttino@cox.net. I’d sure like to hear from you! I live in Phoenix now. I got a 4inch piece of schrapnel that blew all the way over to our area from the dump! I was just an 18yr old pfc at the time, but I think that’s when I got my first grey hair!

    • Hi Larry, I ‘think’ my Father may have been at Bien Hoa during the same time as you. His tour was April 1968 to May 1969. SFC Leslie “Roy” Karnes. Do you recall his name/face?

      Thank you for your time. Hope you are doing well.

  14. Tanner says:

    I am trying to find someone who was in Region 3 – Bien Hoa during the first half of 1969. Trying to find out more information on a family member….if anyone is out there please let me know! Thanks,

  15. ED CARLSON says:


    • jerry blevins says:

      i was there that night. was down loading i believe 57mm on a duse/half arvn truck with the incoming started. i worked at the gate of the dump. that night they took some of us around the pads looking for charges. i was laying on one of the berms were they fount a hole going into the ground. i believe i know you. do you remember 1st sarge carnell who got shot and kill in the mess hall?.please email me or go to vietnamvet jerry blevins on face book. thanks for serving and welcome home!

      pastor jerry.

      • theodore baysmore says:

        Pastor what base were you station? I was at Bien hoa 68=69, and am looking for some information to help me with my va. Please call if you can be of help. Ph# 817-372-1196 or email back tbaysmore@yahoo.com Thanks

      • Hello Jerry, I saw your post on ‘historynet.com’ about the article on Bien Hoa. My Father, SFC Leslie “Roy” Karnes sent or brought home children’s jackets, that had Bienhoa Vietnam sewn on the back of them. So, I’m taking a wild guess, that he served there with the 1st air cavalry. Would you happen to know him or recognize him?

        Thank you for your time and God bless.

  16. Robert Sloss says:

    I was stationed with the II Field Force Hdqtrs company, SGS, under LT. Gen. Fred Weyand. Jan. 31st, we received rocket fire. the 11th Armored Cavalry came down from the border to pull perimeter duty for us. What a welcome site to see those quys. I was sitting in a sandbag bunker 3 feet high when VC blew the ammo dump. I could see the huge fire ball go up and ducked when the concussion came. shrapnel fell like confetti all night. saw the aviation unit under attack. saw infanty land across from us to do a sweep of Ho Nai village. The jets came in at tree top over us to rocket the NVA in the village. Witnessed the huge fire fight there. A few days later a group of us went to pick up dead bodies where ever we could find them to throw in the back of a deuce and a half. Gun jeep in front. I saw the NVA and 199th Lt. Inf.firefight up the Hwy from us as they briefly broke thru. I had 60 days to go on my tour. Never forgot man.

    • Rafael Campuzano says:

      I was with 7th Bn 8th Arty (175 & 8″ unit) on the far corner of the base. We were all sent to the perimeter awaiting that ground attack that never came, but we stayed in the perimeter for 2 days. I also got a grand view of the F4 streaking above us and the Hueys above the treelines between the base and the town. I also was part of a body pick up detail along the treeline between the base and the town. I puked when I encountered my first body part. The stench was horrible. I’ll never forget the sights that day. I had been incountry only 4 months. I finished my tour and then returned for another tour in the Central Highlands from 69-70. I never forgot either. Glad you made it home.

      • Robert Meece Sp4 says:

        I was with the 7th Bn 8th Arty B co. 3ed gun (8 in) I remetnber very little about my stay, I remenber a guy who got cought sleeping while on guard duty.He got a court marchell AR-31.I worked in the supply room. Wish I could recall more. WELCOME ALL. God Bless.

      • Sp/4 Les Stroud says:

        I was in HHB 7/8ary 4-69 4-70 I seeing a lot and we got rockits abolt every night and snipers we just called on Cobro he blow VC. If U in Bien Hoa. 68-69 call Ted he needs help getting his PTSD. 817-372-1196. If entry one was there when I was call me 573-822-3229. Welcome Home Brothers & Sisters

  17. Steve says:

    Dear Vietnam Brothers,

    Nightmares and stress including the worse form of stress named PTSD are all related to your Vietnam experiences. Please see your VA Representative Veterans Service Office to get assistence. ALl VN Vets should get compensated…

    God Bless our Veterans and Troops…

    • Gregg says:

      I was just diagnosed with PTSD- 40+ years after Viet Nam plus cancer. I agree ALL VN vets should be compensated. Still have nightmares and issues after all this time. I was there 68 – 69.

  18. roger says:

    i was across from Widows Village and were receiving fire from three sides Bien Hua, long bein and the village. I was with hhq 6/56 Hawk missle. We were not combat experianced. Not much I can recall or not wanting to. I remember two different colors of traciers, I wsa in charge of opening ammo bunkers and taking ammo to the defense bunkers. I remember the ammo blast from long bien. I thought the Sun was rising from the West. Iam finally getting info for PTSD from this event. 41 years of thinking i was ok.

    • Mike says:

      I too was in Bien Hoa that day. B Bty, 6th Bn 56 Arty. I was on the main gate when the fireworks started. You forget a lot of things over the years, but I remember seeing the dump go up. Not much after that.

      • George Mariasz says:

        Mike – What was your job?

      • Mike Pierce says:

        Hey George:
        When I arrived in June of 67 I was initially assigned to one of the vans for either target tracking or missle tracking, can’t remember which, as I’d come from a Nike Hercules unit in Far Rockaway, NY and before that another Nike unit in Van Nuys, CA. Anyways, I ended up being recruited to the security section for the base. The MPs, dog handlers, etc.and spent my year doing that. Maybe we know some of the same people.
        Stay in touch.

      • George Mariasz says:

        My difficlty is I can’t remember anyone’s name.

        I also did not take many pictures of the base or other people. I do have some movies in Super 8 but my projector broke. I remember one of the movies having a short night action related to a sniper in the village. I neee to find a way to get this converted.

        I just joined – Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 452 (NJ).


      • George Mariasz says:

        to Mike Pierce
        I remember one day I had guard duty and watched an MP with a dog go out one of the access points in the wire, toward the village. About 10 minutes later the dog came running back without the handler. After a few minutes the handler comes running back. Never did find out what happened. Got a laugh out of it at the time and its still funny now.
        George Mariasz

    • George Mariasz says:

      I was a Pulse Acquisition and Range Only Rader mechanic with a Hawk Missile outfit “B Btry, 6th Bn, 56th Arty”. Our mission was air support for Bien Hoa airbase. As jets took off they kicked in the after burns over the top of us.

      The 199th Infantry was our shared wire perimeter to our compound to the west. They took a lot of fire during TET.

      We could see the Ammo dump across the field to our south. One of the times that it blew up I was just sitting down to eat in the mess hall. The dust rose to the ceiling. We all thought we got hit by a mortar just outside of the building. When I got outside and looked around I could see a mushroom cloud over the ammo dump. About 15 minutes later it looked like black snow was falling from that explosion.

      We had a supply depot to the east. It got hit one night. We had been told that this set a very large pile of telephone poles on fire. This burned for 3 to 4 days. We got warned to keep our gas masks handy in case the wind changed.

      I am having difficulty pin pointing the location on a map. I think our location was at the end of the runway to the east of the airbase. Not sure how far away.

      • Mike Pierce says:

        Do you remember when one of our 3/4 ton trucks was hit by a rocket ?
        From what I recall and/or was told, it was transporting the civilian help
        back to town after the last meal of the day. One of the cooks was in the truck as well. A guy from CT, I believe he lost a hand ? Also, a guy from the security section, Larry Delisio (sp) from PA. I believe he was messed up pretty bad. He and I were friends.there. I can’t even remember what year it was, 67 or 68. If I had to guess I’d say 68. Do you remember anything at all about it ?

      • George Mariasz says:

        Sorry – I don’t remeber any of that. Did it happen after TET I left in April 1968 and the mess sargent left the same day. He did not mention that during our conversation on the trip out.

    • George Mariasz says:

      Roger – do you remember the day when the bunkers facing the village ran out of ammo and we got hell from the commandor the next morning?

  19. Blackwidow 14 says:

    Greetings I am helping a friend find a capt.Powell, my friend Ted shot the finger off capt Powell by accident and would like to contact Capt Powell to personally apologize.
    It was ted’s first day with Bravo 4/39 9th div.and his weapon discharged taking off Captain Powell finger and striking his leg.
    IF you know anymore about this incident or capt Powells e-mail plz write me .
    Via Con Dios

  20. stanley chalmers says:

    I was at Bearcat in July 69′ during the time frame that the ammo dump blew up. There was mass confusion during that time due to all the daily rocket and mortar attacks on bearcat. It was almost a foregone conclusion that It would ahppen. When the dump exploded, there were a number of guys that were killed or seriously maimed. To this day, I cannot erase from my mind what I saw. I had never seen anyone killed or so dismembered that they could not be identified.

    I still have nightmares about it, 40 years later.

  21. Ron Lawyer says:

    I was a Spec 5 with the 79th Engineer Group, 20th Engineer Brigade stationed at the far north end of the Long Binh compound. About 2:45 AM I walked from my barracks to my assigned above ground guard bunker. It was my duty to check the changing of the guards every 4 hours. When I determined that the change went OK I started to leave to walk back to my bunk when the young pfc guard on duty asked me to stay a little longer because he had only been in Vietnam for a few days and was very nervous. So I leaned my M-14 against the sandbags of the bunker and we began to talk. A few minutes later all hell broke loose. Several mortars fell inside our base camp and at least one 155 shell struck near a transient tent and a small walk bridge across a large ditch destroying the bridge. I remember the explosion of the ammo dump behind our base camp and the bright orange ball of flame and dust cloud and a few seconds later the hot air and wind from the blast hitting my face.

    If…that young pfc in the guard bunker had not asked me to stay a little longer…I would have been near that walk bridge where the 155 shell landed and probably would have been killed.

    Within a few minutes all the men assigned to my bunker were crowded in the bunker and after the initial excitement we began to watch the perimeter fence for unusual activity. Our command post told us to not fire our weapons until we were absolutely sure it was the enemy. I understood why a few minutes later because some of our army personnel were crawling along the fence checking for Bangalore torpedos and any breaks in the fence. Our above ground bunker received a lot of small arms and 50mm machine gun fire and we spotted an area across the highway in “widows village” that was directing a lot of that machine gun fire. We used the radio phone to report the location to headquarters and received permission to fire. We silenced that machine gun. Later it was determined that the machine gun was mounted on wheels and was underground inside one of the make shift widow’s houses and the Vietcong would roll it up and fire on the base camp and them quickly roll it back underground.

    I also remember that after the ammo dump blast that I could not control my whole body from “shaking”. But…immediately after I fired my first shot with my M14 a strange calm took over and a lot of what happened during the next 9 or 10 hours seemed like a dream. It was a lot like being 9 years old again and playing cowboys and indians with your friends, running from one place to another and shooting your weapon.

    Our company lost one transient soldier and very few wounded during the first round mortar attack and we held on and did our job defending our location.

    The experience I had during my 12 months in Vietnam was a big portion of the “shaping” of my life. I was 25 years old and most of the others in my company were 18 & 19 years old. It has been 42 years but I still remember some of those guys… Sergeant Cooley, Jimmy Dunn, “Rat” Harrison, Ray Zawacki and Unser who claimed to be related to the racing family (wish I could remember his first name) from central Illinois.

    This is a snapshot of what I remember about “TET 1968”. I was one of the fortunate ones and got to fly home March 31st to reunite with my wife Jo and see my daughter Lesa for the first time who was 4 ½ months old by then.

    • JEFF GIBBS says:


      • RON LAWYER says:

        Thanks for replying to my post. Glad you made it home OK and were able to stay in touch with some of the others. When I returned home to Windsor, Illinois I still had 5 months left in the Army and had to finish my duty at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. I was able to take my wife and baby with me so it wasn’t so bad. There was really no “fan-fare” associated with my return home which has been OK with me. You probably know as well as I that it is hard for family and friends to relate/understand what we experienced because they “were not there”.

        As we get older it may take a little longer to recollect the names of the men we spent a year in Vietmam with…but I am thankful for the chance to meet and serve with them.

        Best of luck to you and yours.

        RON LAWYER

    • charles says:

      i was stationed with the man also that claimed to be some relation to the unser family and a general that was over 5th army if im right that must had been at basic traning fort leonard wood mo i was in nam 1968 i saw that ammo dump go off 3 times maybe more was with the 549th lt mt direct support wrecker oper just wanted to say hi
      and welcom home

      • Ron Lawyer says:

        Charles – I finally remembered Unser’s first name…it was Tom. I don’t know where he went to basic training but he was from a small town in south central Illinois. I remember that he was a real likable guy. Glad you made it home OK. Thanks for your comments.

  22. Dina & Larry says:

    Thank you Dad (Ron Lawyer) and all others who shared their stories. Even though we will never know what you went through, we all “Thank You” from the bottom of our hearts! GOD BLESS THE USA!

  23. Bob Edmonds says:

    I was at Camp Frenzel Jones April, 1968 until November 1968 nd I was fortunate enough to miss TET. Being in base camp ,we didn’t grasp what you field guys were going through.. Although we are all nam veterans, some of us carried the load,please accept my belated gratitude. co a 7th combat support bn.

  24. Orlando Gallardo says:

    I was flown in there from Bihn Son Rubber plantation south of Bearcat. I was in B-4-39th, 2nd Plt. We landed in the middle of the street and from there the party began. We also had a lot to do with the sucess of what happened there. We contributed to the enemy body count and made sure that they stay down. The guys from B-4-39th did an outstanding job and I’ll fight with them again anywhere, anyplace. 2/47th you had a steel vehicle between you and the bullets, we only had a shirt. Good job 2/47, you did great…..Thanks CSM Gallardo

  25. ROBERT KEY says:

    I was also stationed at Long Ben 1968 TET 551st Detachment our job was destroying ordnance. That knight after charlie was in the depot ,I was shotgun guard for CASEY core of engineers he ran a dozer puting out fires. Then along with my other comrades, we looked for shacho charges. We were 2 pads away from the first pad that went up.We had chrapenal the size of basket balls landing around us. Im going to stop.other than My nick name was TWISTO. 1967 1968 Long Ben 1969 Vung Taoe. ROBERT KEY U.S.A Email robkey16580@gmail.com 509 480 1925

  26. SP-4 LJ Wyrick RTO Ammo Depot says:

    I was the RTO in the depot when they broke the perimeter over 200 with sappers. 2 KIA and explosion from the pads from their charges. Bad day. One dog handler and one Infantry sarge kia from direct hand to hand combat. Explosion was deafning from the satchel sarge and we found days later a sickening stench of a VC body left out in the sun under some metal peices. Very bad day.

    • Paul Buttino says:

      LJ I don’t know how ANY of you guys survived that were stationed at the ammo dump the night it blew during Tet! I was at 2nd Field Forces base,near the big radio tower, directly across from you guys, but a lot further from the intitial blast when the dump blew. I remember seeing a silhouette of a guard tower at the perimeter of the dump lit up by the blast, and thinking, NO ONE could have survived that blast if they were in that tower! I never knew how the dump was blown until just now. I always thought the VC were lobbing mortars and rockets in there. So it was 200 sappers huh? You guys did a GREAT JOB defending the dump that night LJ, and I’ll say a prayer for your buddies that gave their lives that night! You all did a HELL OF A JOB!!

      • Larry RTO says:

        Thank you. I never knew what fear was until that moment. I often wonder why am alive. I had nine 122mm rockets circle me and was told they had zero’d in on me and were trying to take my radio out. The rockets killed 4 guys but I had not a scratch except the feeling of guilt it happen to them and not me. Fate. We also had some medics KIA and a couple others from a RPG to their jeep…its so scrambled today all that happened to us.

  27. Rod Layton says:

    Very interesting story by John Gross! Can’t say I did any heroic things as John describes. Did witness an ammo dump blow up like John described.

    I arrived on Camp Frez’ Jones (CFJ) (199th Inf Bde HQs compound) 7 Feb, 1968, as a PFC 11B draftee with a 500 man packet out of Ft Lewis, Washington, who were deployed earlier than planned in response to TET 68. We immediately started orientation/acclimation training for about 7-10 days there on CFJ and the surrounding area before being split out individually and assigned to various units thru out the 199 Bde.

    I remember the Long Binh ammo dump blowing up again about the 9th or 10th of Feb, 1968. God, what an image! For a split second I thought I had just witnessed a nuclear explosion as the mushroom cloud rose & expanded out.

    Went on to spend 6-7 months in the field with the 199th as a grunt in Co. A 2/3 & Co. B 5/12. Re-enlisted, and for another 18 months in country, became an MP assigned to several units in the 18th MP Bde there on LB & the Binh Hoa Provost Marshal’s Detachment (downtown Bein Hoa). Really got to know the streets, highways, and areas that John described in his 68 TET battles of BH and LB.

    Contact me: rlayton55@yahoo.com

  28. Larry Wingham says:

    Like Sp4 Wyrick and other fellers here I remember all too well the ammo dump explosion. 221 Sig Co (PIC) located on higher ground between dump and USARV. Was day light. But flash made me look over north horizon for some reason. Saw beginning and expansion of huge mushroom cloud. Thought we done bought the store. (Nuked)

    I screamed BUNKERRRRRRRRS. I avoided stampede. Bunkers filled pretty quick. Shock wave and hot wind came by then sound. Picked my self up from behind hooch, saw I was still alive, gave thanks and continued to greet the day.

    Knew way down deep that a lot of our guys were taken out just by the blast alone. Felt awful bad. Wishful they would have allowed us to go help them but ordered to stay put. 9th infantry was protecting east perimeter. Had binocs. Could see what was going on. Wanted to help them too.

    I had a good AK and couple boxes of copper gook ammo I would have loved to return to them.

    Lordy this bring back memories…….

  29. James Dunaway says:

    I arrived in Bien Hoa Jan.2, 1967 getting off the plane the first words I heard was “go to the bunkers – in-coming rounds.” I was 20, no weapon, scared to death, been in the Army 4 months. Was stationed at Bien Hoa airbase at HQ company, performed clerical duties and bunker guard dudties at night and during the day when we had incoming rounds. We were constantly on high alert never knowing when we might be hit by the next round of fire. The last four months I was assigned as a driver for a colonel, which I drove back and forth from Bien Hoa to Long Binh encountering enemy fire a along the way. I was lucky compared to alot of other guys. Still wondering why them and not me. Trying to put togehter a PTSD claim – any words of widsom or advice you can give. Would like to here from anyone who served at the Bien Hoa airbase or Long Binh HQ from Jan 1967 to Jan 1968.

    • Lou Chavez says:

      I was in Bien Hoa during the 1968 TET. I was in the 516 PSC unit. You might want to look into a website for vets called vets.yuku.com there is a lot of good information there on filing claims.

  30. Peter S Ristano says:

    I was on walking post In the far cornerof the compound in Long Binh in October 1967 Near the M.A.S.H tents…along highway 15 Directly across the highway from the 3rd ordinance Ammo dump when it went up……the whooshing sound…and the giant mushroom shaped fireball….then the sound…..I was talking to a guy named Bill Rotavera from long Island…I was from there too….We were in the 140th heavy equipment maintenance co.I was a welder…we had to stay on guard for about 12 more hours…we were both hallucinating and scared to death….one ofr the men in the 140th got a silver star that night for his part in rescuing some people at the ammo dump …….I still see and hear that explosion today………unbelievable!!!!

    • Don Blackbourn says:

      Don’t know if you remember me, but I was the company clerk at the 140th that replaced “Bud”. We stayed in the same hootch. I out-processed all you knuckleheads when you all left.

    • george toften says:

      Peter, I was in long binh in the 140th between May 1966 to June 67 I extended for an extra month for an early out being I was drafted. What caught my eye in your posting was Bill Rotavera. He was a friend of mine. He was a good friend of an Austin. They were friends. I was always out in the field on tdy trying to fix what ever broke down and also did ammo guard and convoys.
      We had a warrant officer name Wimple. I usually don’t read post but lately I have been trying to find anyone from the 140th. Been a long time since then. Hope to hear from you. George

      • Bobby Bonds says:

        I was also in the 140th at the time. Was in the armament platoon, artillery section.

    • Bobby Bonds says:

      I was in the 140th HEM Co. at the time. I was in the Armament Platoon, Artillery Section and was a towed artillery repairman. SFC Barker was my platoon sergeant and Mr. Anderson was our platoon leader. Our hooch was on the last row at the showers and latrine.

  31. John Kelley says:

    I was assigned to the 118th Assault Helicopter Company at Bien Hoa.and was there for all the excitement of TET. The afternoon prior to TETour CO called all Platoon Leaders and Platoon Sergeants into our hanger and briefed us that we were supposed to be attacked that night and to immediately stock our bunkers on the perimeter with ammo, etc. I was a Lift Platoon Sergeant. The CO instructed a Light Fire Team crank and stay at flight idle throughout the night. As best I can remember the first rockets hit the airfield around midnight. The LFT immediately took off and a hell of a fight was going on at the North end of the runway. We were flying Lighting Bug mission over our own heliport. I was in a bunker and we were receiving fire from the City right in front of us to the East
    Around day light a mechanized unit occupied the ARVN III Corp Soccer field. Boy were we glad to see them. (I thought they were 11ACR)
    Shortly after that the Long Binh ammo dump went up and the first thing I though was it was a nuclear explosion by the size of the mushroom and the shock wave it emitted.
    Also we were receiving sniper fire from the water tower at the main base entrance. Later a team from the 101st was landed on top of the tower and cleared the bad guys.
    During the night we fought bad guys right in our company area. What a night.
    I remember operations getting call from all over iii Corp requesting support.

  32. Harry McManus says:

    Does anyone remember jumping head first into the bunkers landing on a bunch of rats thinking thank God for the rats other wise there may have been cobras in there.

  33. Kenneth Jackson says:

    I remember the initial blast (Feb. 1967). The shock wave blew me and two buddies to the floor in the commo shack before we ever heard the explosion. I was stationed on Hwy. 15 with the 169th Engr. Btn,, 18th Engr. Brigade. It happened about 10pm and was still blowing past 10am the following day. No one who wasn’t close to the event can possibly appreciate the intensity of the blast and the loudness of the ongoing explosion. I still get awakened by explosions in my head and my ears still ring constantly from the blast.
    Ken Jackson, ’66-’68

    • Bob Citkovic says:

      I was there for the Feb 1967 blast. I am applying for PTSD and need some more information about the date. Do you remember the date it happened. I left country on Feb 9th so I was there when it happened, but need the exact date.

      • Dennis DeChantal says:

        I can tell you the dump blew on Feb. 5 1967. I know this because i was with the Bien Hoa Provost Marshall Detachment and I had to go to the ammo dump immediately after the blast with my captain to assess the damage and find out how it was blown. The 3rd Ord guys were out there trying to put some fires out in some of the pads. I had to get out of the jeep with my partner , with the captain driving and us kicking live artillary rounds off the road so we could drive down it. I hope that answers you quesion about the date for the 67 blast. Welcome home brothers!

    • paul occhialini says:

      Ken, WELCOME HOME BROTHER, I to was with the 169th B Co and remember that night, sometimes as bright as day, and loud beyond belief , I can close my eyes and be in the bunker and going to the berm and looking across the road at the fires.
      I was in country 67-68, 68-69 and then back in 70 all with B Co.

      Paul O.

  34. Benny says:

    Do you think that the mushroom cloud was actually the U.S. Army using tactical nukes fired from artillery against Vietcong positions near Long Binh? The ammo dump could have itself been blown up as a cover story. From reading these comments it sounds more like soldiers who were close to a small nuclear detonation. Given that the Army admits to having tactical nukes available in the theater it isn’t a stretch to think that perhaps they might have made their way to artillery units who could actually make use of them if necessary and authorized.

    Considering the use of agent orange then and the use nowadays of depleted uranium rounds for tanks’ main guns and other platforms I wouldn’t say that there is anything that the U.S. government would have the conscience to refrain from so with all due respect (and I hope the answer is no of course) is anyone here who was at Long Binh at the time suffering from radiation-related issues? Melanoma or other skin cancers, bone cancers etc.?

    • Paul Buttino says:

      I don’t think so Benny, only because I saw the mushroom clouds come from the ammo dump, not at other positions near Long Binh, but I don’t know how ANY AMOUNT of tnt could create such a blast like that, reaching all the way up to the clouds!! In my mind, it “could” have been small tactical nuclear weapons that were blown on the pads…

  35. Sp5 Teodoro R Castillo says:

    I was always on bunker guard for the 265th RRC 101st ABN. that night I and Rock were on guard at 0300 we were up all night.i remember Long Bien ammo dumb blow , it knot us off our ass. And the smell of pot at about 0230 that the VC lit up to get use high. At 0300 was my watch so I pop a flare cause the guard that I re leaved said he saw movement out side the perimeter by the rubber plantation. There were allot of gooks outside the perimeter and Rock open up with the M60 . Then everyone on the perimeter open up and we fought all night long. The next morning the planes with napon came in and dropped it on the perimeter and burned all the burned bodies Stink i’ll never forget that smell. The F?? planes dropped there bombs within perimeter that one of our guy got hit with strap medal. I got in trouble for popin off the fare because I didn’t have permission from people that were asleep> welcome to the war Cherry. Go to Danyo101st at comcast.com,

    • RUSS says:

      Really, VC smoking Pot! Probably one of your comrades down the bunker line.

      • Larry RTO says:

        The VC were really loaded up and yes they were smoking the “pot” before they shoved the bangalor’s under our perimeter wire, blew it and then marched in and set the sachel charges on the ammo pads. A month later we smelled the dope again and went on full alert and one hour later they began to rush us. We opened them up with .50 caliber’s and M-60’s and greased them up good. Pay back.

  36. Lori says:

    Thank you for telling your story; it brought tears to my eyes. My uncle, Sgt. James B. Des Rochers, was one of the casualties on the airbase, and your telling really brings home what he must have experienced, if he was even awake when he was killed.


    Thank you for your service – we appreciate it greatly. Our son has enlisted in the Army as 11X and will be heading off for Basic at the end of summer.

  37. John Amelunke says:

    To Benny,,, It was NOT nukes. I was there, 720th MP Bn B Co.
    Any explosion can and will cause a mushroom cloud. Even something as small as a firecracker on concrete and perfectly still air will make a mushroon cloud about 2 inches high, as I saw for myself many years later setting of fireceackers for my kids.

    A couple weeks later. mid Feb, 68 I was in the ammo dump when another bunker blew. It seemed that the fireball rolled up out of the ground for a minute or more,,,probably only 10 or 15 seconds. How high it was I couldn’t guess as there was nothing to compare to and I was looking up at 45 degree angle or more

  38. Larry Lambert says:

    Want to know of any atacks on Long bien post during 1969. Was there and experienced being attacked but don’t remember the dates. Need it for a claim with VA. Please contact me

    • RUSS says:

      There was a riot at the Long Bien jail in 69. We could see the fires from Bien Hoa. I was with the 101st MP’s at Bien Hoa 68-69. Had a chance to go there a couple days later, the plase was a mess. We were told that a couple guards were killed. Go figure our own doing the killing. There were a lot of things going on that did not make the press back then. I still can’t find anything on that incident.

  39. Larry Van Valkenburgh says:

    To Larry Lambert…

    I believe the 2nd Tet offensive was February 22-23, 1969. I am also into the VA claim process. I hope you saw the news on the 7th that the VA is easing the rules for PTSD.

    Anyway, here’s a great site to start from, and there are plenty of links to follow from there: http://www.chairborneranger.com/

  40. Anita Alan says:

    I was barely in and out of Bien Hoa a half dozen times on MAC flights with TWA. Even we were shot at. I heard we were hit once, but they looked at or repaired it in Okinawa. I don’t know how you did what you did, but please know that I appreciate your service. I did then. I do now. I remember how exhausted everyone was, how happy they were to just collapse into a seat and sleep, how thoughtful and courteous all of you were, how grateful you were for everything we served. Sparse that it seemed to us, it must have tasted like a feast. Thank you again and again for your service to our country. We can never repay all that you lost, but stay in touch with each other. No one else can possibly understand the trauma you went through or what you may suffer today, nor can we realize the camaraderie you shared. Stay in touch with your children. I lost my dad in WWII. Kids never recover from that–no matter how long they live.
    Blessings to you,
    Anita (Last Bien Hoa flight for me: January 22, 1967)

    • Chip Howery says:

      You ladies really made our day when you all showed up from the US. It was great seeing someone who had just flown over from my country. It was a bittersweet time for us to see you all come and go. Really got homesick when I saw the plane lift off. I couldn’t wait til my day to come to get on that Freedom Bird. I felt like I had flown to another world after flying all those hours across water. Just another dimension as far as I was concerned. To us then, VN was outside the World. “Back in the World” we would say. I went back in 95 to see how it would be. Very mixed for me. I had to go out into the Delta and up to the DMZ to see the places the troops on the front line had to deal with. You guys were really super. I was always in awe of you when you came through Bien Hoa on your way to some mission outside our gates. Thanks for your bravery and service.

    • Paul Buttino says:

      Anita, Thank you and all you “Angels” from heaven that put yourself in harms way to bring us soldiers back home on your “Freedom Bird” flights!! I remember being able to hear a pin drop as we were speeding down the runway…and the moment the nose of the plane left the ground, the entire plane was cheering like our team had just won the Super Bowl!! You ladies were VERY SPECIAL to us all, and I still remember the ice-cold wash cloths you handed out to each of us to cool our faces and necks down as we entered the plane! I thought that was such a thoughtful treat! Thank you again and again and again for the comfort you gave us during our flights home!! I love you all!!

      • Marvin Jameson says:

        Hi Paul. I was stationed with Hq Company II Field Forced from Oct 67 to November 68. I was a SP5 working in the classified document section of GI. My NCOIC was a MSG Kruger. My best friend was a SP4 Alan Basta. He worked with me. Tet was a true bummer. I was in a bunker at the rear of the compound down by the classified burn pit when the ammo dump exploded. I thought I had died. Scared the crap out of me. We were on a 2-on shift and both of use guards stayed awake there rest of our shifts. If I remember correctly, I pulled guard duty every other night. My phone # is 419-387-7301 (Vanlue,Ohio). Call if you get a chance. Hope your life has been positive. Take care brother.

  41. Bob Cochran says:

    I was in the 143rd light equipment repair company at Long Binh. I lived around the corner of Westmorland’s office. He rode around in a red 1967 fastback mustang. Our work area was across the road from Bein Hoa air base. I was given about 1/2 hr training with a M-60 then was put on a truck with a bunch of guys and boxes of ammo.

    We were headed to our work area to defend it that night. We were on the road when the ammo dump blew up. The blast knocked our truck into the ditch along side the road. We were not far from the blast and I can still picture it in my mind.

    The one thing I can remember was not being afraid and asking myself why not.

    Me and another guy were dropped off at our guard bunker with the M-60. All night hueys or cobras were flying in circles above us firing mini guns and hitting just in front of us. There were two with mini guns 180 degrees apart. One at a time they dived down firing those mini guns. When they left two more helicopters came doing the same thing but with rockets.

    I will never know who they were but they saved our lives. Thanks guys.

    Someone in a guard tower to our right was firing a .50 cal machine gun all night. He was hit by a rpg I think. When the sun came up all you could see of his tower were half of the metal legs which were pretty bent up. The top was gone.

    I can hear the sounds of those mini guns and rockets in my head to this day.

    Bob Cochran 147 LEM Co. April 67 to march 68. Siagon the Rice Mill at Cholon and Long Binh

  42. Ronnie Baker says:

    I was with the 53rd Sig Bn at long binh Apr 67 to June 68 as a combat photography and remember real will the day ammo dump went up. I was lucky I survived that day. For any one of you that like to have a picture I took that day of the ammo dump explosion email me at 4vetssake@gmail com.

    During the Tet offensive and depending on where you were and what you wanted to see it gave me a lot of opportunity for imagery of the war that day. I was probably one of the few was able travel at will. 68 Tet offensive was one of the days a situation where I have to use my M1.

    Thank you for all the good you did in Vietnam.

    • Bill Elam says:

      Hello Ronnie…..

      I am trying to acquire pics from TET and came across your posting. Would you will willing to send some pics from that period that you had taken?

      Thank you.
      Bill Elam

      I can receive electronically OR an address would be:

      Carla Tackett / Vet Center
      1500 Leestown Rd
      Suite 104
      Lexington, Ky 40511

  43. Bill Larsen says:

    I was positioned on perimeter duty on “Tet” with the Air Force. When the ammo dump blew and rockets hit, all of us jumped in a truck and headed for the end of the airfield where the VC had tunneled on base. After heavy fire all night, we did surround the VC near the tunnel area. Our leader who directed us to the fighting was with us as we fought against the VC. He was standing next to me and was shot in the stomach. We eventually contained the VC on base and stayed out until mid afternoon until we checked the area for any other VC. After “Tet” the rockets and mortars continued daily….still vivid in my memory every day.

  44. charles merkel says:

    I was stationed at the 103rd Engineers along Hwy 1 the night the ammo dump went up. We too thought initially it was nuclear. The concussion and noise were unglody fr a couple miles away and parts of our corrugated metal roof blew off the mess hall. I remember for nearly a half an hour afterwards orange sparks and small pieces of burning debris gently descended giving one the impression that a blizzard of fire was taking place. I rotated back on Feb 20th, so I was nearly done when Tet started. Everyone seems to remember that night, and it never ceases to amaze me that descriptions and recollections always include “nuclear and satchel charge. ” Our 1st Sergeant, Sgt LaRoche, believed it was the largest ammo dump outside of the US in the world at the time. I was lucky throughout my time (Feb 67 to Feb 68) but I have to admit I thought we were goners for awhile that night. God bless you all, I’m glad you’re still around.
    by Charles Merkel (see cmerkel.com)

  45. Joseph J Richardson says:

    I was in Bien Hoa and remember tet very well. I was in procurement
    supplie division. Wish I could remember the names of the men I served with like I remember the bunkers and the tet offensive. If you remember my name I would appreciate an email.
    I was at Bien Hoa from April 1967 til April 1968. I was in the
    93rd Combat Support Group from Castle AFB. Would love to
    to find out if any reunions are planned and meet the men I
    served with.
    Joseph J Richardson

  46. Steve Caliendo says:

    I was newly assigned to the 199th LIB from the 90th Repo Depot and in my 1 week of in country orientation and on guard duty when the ammo dump blew sky high! Scared the shit out of me as I felt the shock wave go through my body! Was also on guard duty a week and a half later when Charlie snuck back into base and blew the dump again, and this time got blown off the bunker and felt the shock wave go through me again! Stayed in the 199th until July ’68, then transfered over to Bien Hoa Army/Air force base and became a door gunner with the 190th Assault Helicopter Company which was another eye opener for me as far as what different units did and acted in the war. I’m definitely lucky to be alive to tell this story. Guess somebody up there like’s me!

  47. charles says:

    i was in long bien sleeping in my bunk when the dump went off i was on my feet from the flash then the explosion it was so spooky code red went into effict we was told to get in the bunkers till all was clear was give seamed like forever i have saw that dump go off i think 3 times during 1968 i was with the 549th lt maint a wrecker oper and was TDY with the 11th cav last 4 months of my tour of duty if any body was with this out fit please send a email god bless and welcome home brothers

  48. Armand Latour SP5 says:

    Yes I was on III Compound with 5 other men in the 6 th PSYOPS Bn, we were the night printing crew. My Lt. talked to me at 7pm and said we would lilely be hit that night and to take our flak vest and gear. At 3am we started to take morter and rocket fire to the bunkers we went. 3 Corps security was provided by ARVIN’s I also had the Batallions CQ in our HQ about 200 feet away. After the rockets stopted I ran to the HQ to check in on the CQ who was baracaded in the rear office but had to be near the Bn. phone. After checking on him it was a full run back to my men at the printing plant. About 4 am the oxegen plant near the end of the runway of the Bien Hoa airbase started to burn after taking rounds from the VC advancing up the runways, it was like daylight, brighter than any illumination flair. Shortly the first huey Cobra from the 118 AVB took up position over 3 Corps. Never saw a minni gun up that close, the brass was hitting the roofs of our building but they were hosing down the advancing VC onto our Compound and the airbase. Several more runs over to the CQ. At daylight the 11th Cav started to move into 3 Corps compound, taking up positions around us on the streets. We could still hear rounds over head as snipers took up positions in the village across the road. At one point a tank was moved into the main gate and fired level rounds into the buildings. I remember the ammo dump going up out at Long Binh.
    About 2pm our CQ got orders that he and my printing crew were to proseed to the chopper pad to be extracted to Train Compound III Corps Advisors living area. It was two days until the VC were cleared enough to start our normal printing leaflet production. I have some photos taken that day in my collection. A night and day I will never forget.

  49. charles says:

    im going to repost this i left out my email add its —— dirtyface_49@yahoo.com
    if any body was with the 549th lt mt direct support in long bein 1968 or with the 11th cav 3rd sq mec please drop me a note
    wrecker operator tdy
    47charles says:
    1/3/2011 at 12:39 pm
    i was in long bien sleeping in my bunk when the dump went off i was on my feet from the flash then the explosion it was so spooky code red went into effict we was told to get in the bunkers till all was clear was give seamed like forever i have saw that dump go off i think 3 times during 1968 i was with the 549th lt maint a wrecker oper and was TDY with the 11th cav last 4 months of my tour of duty if any body was with this out fit please send a email god bless and welcome home brothers

  50. Paul Buttino says:

    I was with 2nd Field Forces, HHC as an 18 yr old Pfc when the ammo dump blew, and I’m SURE that’s when I got my FIRST grey hair!! I was SURE it was a nuclear explosion, so I didn’t run, I just stared at it, as the explosion reached above the clouds, and watched as the shock wave came toward us, seemingly in slow-motion, but in reality, it reached us in just a few seconds. I thought we were dead anyway, so why run? My eardrums were damaged that night, but I shook it off after the ringing stopped, ‘cuz the tracers were flying overhead from every direction all night long, and I don’t know how I didn’t get hit that night! I still remember vividly the gunships and the C-130 “Spooky” working out all night long just across our wire, and the artillary tearing up the jungle between us and the ammo dump! I’m SURE you saved our asses!! I wish I could shake your hands in person, but if you’re reading this, A BIG ASS THANKS FOR A JOB WELL DONE!!

    • pete kelly says:

      Hi Paul,my name is Kelly. I was with the 54 ord and at the dump the night all hell broke lose. I have 2 reasons for contacting you. ist could you please forward those pictures you sent to larry, I had one but lost it over the years.that would be great if you could . 2d I had a good friend who was a door gunner like your self I think he was with your unit his name was ed Jones from mass. he was right across from the dump just thought Id ask thank you for your time petenpat2@aol.com

  51. John Ax says:

    I was a Sqd Ldr with 2nd Plt ,Charlie Co 2-47 Mech. Hard to beleive it was 43 yrs ago yesterday. This is a great article that our CO LTC John Gross wrote. thanks John… I think everyone remembers the Long Binh ammo dump blowing. I can still see that big mushroom cloud…….WELCOME HOME BROTHERS…….John

  52. Armand Latour SP5 says:

    I noticed I also did not leave my e mail address. I myself have made contact with two buddies from the 246th Co. and the 6th PSYOPS Bn.
    Armand Latour latbonorch@ yahoo.com

  53. DANIEL H MCGREW says:


  54. gary johnson says:

    station in long binh 1969-1970 looking for a few of the guys there at the time 147 lem company

    • Eugene G. Helfrich says:

      My name is Eugene Helfrich. I was in the 147th LEM Co. Long Binh Vietnam. I was there from Apr.69 through Dec. 24, 1970. I was a 31E20 Field Radio Repairman. I was in Radio Platoon. There was two Johnson’s I can remember. The company (Super Clerk) and the one in Radio Plt. Sorry I can’t remember the first names. A reply from either or any would be a help to my memory.

    • Alan Janus says:

      I was there..67/68

  55. Dennis Colvin says:

    I was with the 68th Assault Helicopter Company when Tet started. I think it was around 12:30 AM. when the attacks started. The barracks next to mine took a direct hit from a 122mm rocket. Mortars and rockets were hitting all over the place. A couple days I saw the Long Binh ammo dump explode. The shock wave from that was something else! It knocked sand bags off the bunkers. The 11th Armored Cav. Regiment arrived a day or so later. It seems as though the gunships from the 145th is what saved Bien Hoa until the Cav. got there. This is just my perspective on the whole thing.

    • Steve Caliendo says:

      It definitely was the gunships from the 145th CAB that were stationed at Bien Hoa that stopped Charlie and kept his ass down during Tet before the infantry and armor troops could get there! Though I was with the 199th LIB at that time and went through my own Tet problems, I transfered over to the 190th AHC a few months later and heard all about the attack on Bien Hoa base from the pilots and gunners who flew those missions. Welcome home from a Spartan!

  56. Judy Rhea says:

    Thank God and all of you for bringing my man back home. You will never know how thankful all the wives and women of the 60’s were to have their loves returned.

    To all of you – WELCOME HOME!

  57. Judy Rhea says:

    Sorry I entered incorrect email address. It is judyrhea94@gmail.com

  58. BILL DAVIS says:

    I was at long binh nov. 67 to nov. 68 with HHC 266 SUPPLY AND SERVICE BATTAION. I remember the ammo dump going up real well!I did my time on the bunker line but i was not out there when it went up but it knocked me out of my bunk when it went up, the next few weeks were pretty rough. I am looking for my bubbies RICHARD BARD and TED BOEDECKER.OR ANYONE WHO KNOWS THEM

  59. Gregg says:

    To Mike: I can totally understand how you feel. I was in LBJ ’68 – ’69 and went through the ’68 TET. To everyone else – thanks for your service and sacrifices as well. Today, at 63, I still have issues of the attack and the residual damage from Agent Orange and all of the problems that go along with that year.

    • chancey says:

      I was sent to LBJ to cut slots in shipping containers in order to keep prisoners,i believed at time it was for charlie but learned later it was american soldiers , which became known as silver city. I wouldn’t treat a dog like that , i hate i was apart of such a thing – just doing as told. I glad i made it out of hell hole, My heart goes out to those who didn’t make it back , the older i get the more all the crap from then affects me

  60. Lois Collins says:

    Thank you for your service. I was not there but many of friends, cousins, and a brother-in-law was there.

    Because of this war I never had a chance to meet my brother-in-law. He must have been a hell of a guy though.
    Do any of you recall a medic with the Eco 2nd Bn 39th In 9th inf?
    Or the fighting at Bien Hoa, South Vietnam on 10/9/ 1967 with the E co or A co ,2nd BN, 29 th infantry, 9thInf Div USARV?
    It must have been a really hard battle.
    Thank you for any response.

  61. magic mac says:

    does anybody remembers the medic 2/47 scouts 9th division “magic mac” doc mcfarland. He was at Bear cat and long bien. still have nightmares, jumps and shakes at night.

  62. Art Grosch 199th L.I.B Avn. Sec. says:

    TET: 01-31 68. One of my more memorable incidents
    All hell was breaking loose and I made my way back to 199th L.I.B
    Brigade T.O.C
    D.C.O Col. Davison commanded the 199th Infantry Brigade during the Tet offensive in 1968 (Gen Robert Forbes Com. of 199th L.I.B. was on 30 day leave starting Jan 15. ) his acting D.C.O. was L.T.C Hall.
    As I arrived at T.O.C there sitting on two chairs studying the map that covered the whole wall on opposite side of room was Col Davidison and Ltc. Hall, sitting directly to their left was the LERP team desk getting constant info from their teams in the field, they were also getting info from all C.O.’s in the field. Directives were coming in from 2nd Field Force to have our troops go into areas and search for the enemy. With the info coming in Col. Davidson and Ltc. Hall knew enemy were suffering heavy causalities and retreating toward same areas they came in, so they decided instead of going in areas at dark without support and putting our men at risk, they would set up blocking forces and catch the enemy in a cross fire. They set up these areas with all available troops and waited. The info coming in from the LERPS once again proved invaluable, as the enemy retreated on different fronts our troops from the 199th were at the right place at the right time and inflicted heavy causalities on the enemy. I have thought about this many times and can’t help but think how many of our Men survived that night because of the decisions these 2 men made. Ltc Hall was killed in a helicopter crash June 24 1968. Maj. Gen Fredrick Davison died Jan 24th 1999 at Walter Reed Medical Center ——-for some fantastic After Action Reports (NARA DOCUMENTS COURTESY OF DON C. HALL AND ANNETTE R. HALL) marked Confidential from the National Archives go to —(no idea if related to LTC Hall or not ? ) http://www.i-served.com/NARAdocs.html and go to bottom of page

  63. dave conner says:


    • Bob Levins says:

      If you want a couple of pictures of the Bien Hoa Bomb Dump after the direct hit send me your email. I was there even when they sent in a couple of additional rockets to wake us up.

      • Jim Flynn says:

        Bob, I arrived in Bien Hoa on 30 jan 68. What a shock! Still pissing stateside water. I would very much like to see any photos you may have. Thank you in advance for the photos and your service to our great Country.

      • Jim Flynn says:

        Bob Levins, My first night in Nam was jan 31 68.

        I was at Bien Hoa in a bunker with no gear. None available.

        One poor guy that was in there with us was packed ready to go home. Hope he made it.

        I would appreciate any photos of that night you may have.

        From there I went to Cu Chi until apr 69.

        Welcome home to all of our brothers and sisters who were there.

  64. Larry C. Smith says:

    I left country September 1967 before Tet. I really wish I had been there for my buddies. I was with the 571 Transportation, 334th Armed Helicopter Battalion. I left behind my buddy, Oliver C. Fredericks and would like to know if he made it out OK. The guys in my company would remember morning formation, our dog tab, and the demise of the rat.

  65. Larry C. Smith says:

    I was stationed at Bien Hoa from September 1966 – 1967. I wish I had been there during the Tet offensive. Reason being, to be with my buddies I left there. Would like to know if Oliver C. Fredericks from the Virgin Islands made out ok.

    • Trinh Tran says:

      Hello Sir,
      I’m looking for my father Ken Smith who was in Bien Hoa from 1965-1967. my father was in Son Cao hospital when I was born in 12/21/1966. I was told that he had a brother name Mike/Matt who also was in Bien Hoa during that time. If you can help me. Please contact trishmix@yahoo.com. Thank you so much.

  66. Robert Plummer says:

    I was in the 54th Ord Co (Ammo), 3rd Ord Bn from Oct 67 to Oct 68. I remember when the ammo dump went up. I was fortunate not to be in the ammo dump that night as they had me guarding the fence along the road by Bn Hdqts. It lit up the sky and you could feel the ground shake.

  67. Michael Frederick says:

    My grandfather, Sgt. Travis Frederick, was at Long Binh during Tet. He died in 08 and I have always regreted not writing all of his stories down. He had lots of stories about his time in WW2 and Korea, but for some reason he never said much about Vietnam. Thank you all for your service. If anyone has any info please send me an email.

  68. Bob Citkovic says:


    Dennis DeChantal,
    Thank you for that information. I needed it to complete my PTSD application. If we ever meet, Dinner is on me!
    Bob Citkovic

  69. Kevin F Whitaker says:

    I was at long Binh 1967-1968 and want though tet of 68. I was with the 624 S/S company and would like to find info on them. I havent talked about Viet Nam for 43 years and I am trying to figure it out.
    I started to go to the VA to find out whats wrong with me and I gess I have something call PTSD.

    • Patrick Freeman says:

      I was with the 159th Engineer Group when the ammo dump blew up. I have tried for years to get the disability validated. Is there anyone out there from the 15th Engineer Group?

  70. Bob Gillum says:

    I can’t remember the date during tet of 69. I was a mp with the 557th. Really don’t no why the nva did’nt take my buddy, QC, and a vietnam policeman out as we unknowing drove my jeep right by were they were dug in and hiding at orphanage in Bien Hoa. I only remember we were defending the provost marshalls office the next night and all hell broke out at the perimeter of the Bien hoa airbase and a few hundred nva were killed and taken prisoner. I believe they were going to over run the perimeter and who knows what might have been. I guess had they thought we had spotted them I would’nt be telling this.

    • Russ says:

      I remember that night very well. I was assigned to HHC 101st MP’s on Bien Hoa Army Base, the tracers were flying that night. The next morning F100’s were doing some low level drops. Since you were with the 557th do know anything about the riot and burning of LBJ (Long Bien Jail)? It happened around the later part of 68 and prior to July 69. It was a Race related incident. I went there a couple of days later and the place was a mess. From what I was told a couple of guards were killed. I have not been able to find any information on that. I guess the powers that be put a block on that information.

      • Greg Borge 212th MP Co says:

        I was with the 212th MP Company, Sentry Dogs. As previously mentioned, it was a 212th dog handler killed by the VC during Tet when the dump was blown. I arrived after Tet but was there for the LBJ riot. We were rousted about 2AM and told to fall out with full gear including our dogs. One of the stories was people were nailed down onto the picknic tables, At 4AM we were told to stand down, we were no longer needed. It could be we were told only at that point we were headed to LBJ to stop the riot. Supposedly, things calmed down when the prisoners were told the attack dogs were on the way.
        For one of the handlers, Tet was his first night on duty. He said the pad explosions blew him and his dog 2 feet straight up. The reason he knew it was 2 feet up is because he was hugging the groiund and when a pad blew, it raised him and his dog high enough above the ground so that with his arms stretched out toward the ground, he couldn’t touch the ground.
        Handlers still back at the barracks, said they were blown out of their bunks.

  71. Bob Gillum says:

    Funny you ask about the riot. I was sent in the last one I can remember in the latter part of 68. I had’nt been in country a week. My squad leader knowing that had me to the rear of the riot formation I was in. To say for sure that a couple of guards were killed, I’m not sure. I heard all kinds of rumors. The LBJ another hidden story of the war that was a waste. It was a hell hole for sure. The low level drops was the napalm that smoke them. I was doing town patrol and seen the affects of that.

    • Steve Caliendo says:

      Google LBJ riots and you’ll find out all the info you need. 63 MP’s and 52 inmates were injured One guy was killed but it doesn’t say if he was a MP or inmate.

  72. JoAnn Scantlen says:

    My husband was in Long Binh from November 1967 to January 1969. He said there were two Tet Offensives during his stay. I found onefor Jan. 1968. Can anyone help me with more info? Thanks, JoAnn

    • Steve Caliendo says:

      Yes there were! I was at Long Binh during the first in ’68 with the 199th LIB. And then at TET ’69 I was at Bien Hoa serving with the 190th AHC where we underwent what was called Mini-Tet. We had info from Air Force intelligence that something was up for weeks ahead of time. After flying combat assaults all day everyday the helicopter units were then put on perimeter guard duty every day. I was on guard duty in a ground level bunker and sometime around 2 or 3 in the morning I called in for permission to fire because I saw movement in the wire faceing the town of Bien Hoa. Let me tell you, I got permission to fire and was the guy who started the following fire fight. Didn’t know how prepared we were because we had so many people on line that you could’ve walked across the tracers into town, and when tanks pulled up next to the bunkers I knew for sure that it was for real. We received green tracer rounds from within the base and from what I heard afterward was that the enemy had tunneled in to the base at sometime before the fight. I’m sure that there’s some guys out there who were stationed at Bien Hoa who can confirm this info. Tell your husband I said “Welcome Home!”

      • Russ Conder says:

        I remember seeing a Cobra Helicopter. parked at Bien Hoa that had Galloping Guns Painted on it 68-69. I have a picture of it some where.

      • theodore baysmore says:

        I was station at Bien Hoa during that time,and do remember this. I worked in refueling. Can you remember the mess hall getting hit doing your stay?

    • chancey says:

      yes i was in 549th light maintenance at long binh remember more than i want too , there in 68-69 , yes there was tet in 69

  73. charles says:

    joann i was there all of 1968 long binh i dont recall any 2nd tet but i do remember going on code red befor the tet started i was with the 549th lt mt direct support im wondering if any body from this unite is on this page dirtyface_49@yahoo.com

    • Steve Caliendo says:

      Charles. You probably left before the so called second (mini) Tet. It happened in ’69 late Jan. early Feb.

      • charles m says:

        yes steve i came back to the states a day or so befor or after xmas

  74. misty huff says:

    Looking for anyone who knew my uncle, James A Huff from Blackwell,OK. He was KIA & as you all can imagine, he isnt the topic of family discussions as the memories are so painful. He was with the 39th infantry 9th inf div. KIA August 68′. I believe he was deployed only 2mo. Earlier. Please send any reply to miztdawn79@hotmail.com. Thank You all so much for your service & the sharing the memories that help eachother heal, & educating future generations about the sacrifices made & the realities of war. I would know nothing of Vietnam if it werent for books & forums like these….it would only be a place on a map that our fathers choose not to talk about.

  75. misty huff says:

    Also if any of you can direct me to better websites that might help me find info about my uncle, besides name & rank. Im searching archives of his home town newspaper for anything printed there. Other ideas would b appreciated.

    • Steve Caliendo says:

      Misty…Google the unit your uncle was in. There are all kinds of websites for the different units. There you can contact vets from his unit and maybe someone who knew him. Hope this helps.

  76. Valerie Perez says:

    I am looking for a man that was in the Air Force in around the time of 1970 to 1972, his name was Michael Bradley or Michael Bradly. I have been hired to find him, for a young woman whom was from a vietnamese woman and the father was the man stated above. She is desperately trying to find him. If anyone can help me I would really appreciate it. Thanks,

  77. Oliver "SuperSoul" Ward says:

    I remember well when 3rd Ord Bn ammo dump blew up. I was part of a crew sent in to clean up after it was over. If anyone recalls, we found a dead VC who was so burned up, his bones were bent and twisted by the intense heat. We found him where there had been howitzer powder charges stacked. Anyone who has ever used them knows just how intensely they burn. The heat is unreal! We once threw a handful into an old shell casing with a live rat inside. Tossed in a lit cigarette and just like that…the rat was a crispy critter. That stuff ain’t no joke. The ammo dump burned like a piece of the sun for about two weeks as I recall. I was officially with the 268th CAB of the 1st AVN Bge and the 129th AHC of same. Was in Long Binh TDY at 279 Hall RD. I am sure some of you know what and where that is. Peace to all. Thank you for your service and sacrifices.

  78. Edward " Chief " Yava says:

    TET ’68 I was in Xuan Loc and was with the ARVN 18th Division and was in G-3. I also was in the boonies alot along side the Aussies , ARVN Rangers and down in Hamtan. Worked alot with the 11thACR and other units as well as the I and R Team. I remember the snipers and fighting along side the (thID and damn near exhauting our ammo supplies as they blew up the ammo dump and our local arty units were being over run. I miss a lot of those guys I served with at Xuan Loc.

  79. James David Mitchell says:

    Was at 5th. L.E M. Long Binh Post 67&68.
    I spent many many nights on guard duty at the Ammo Dump.
    Covered the Pads, and mostly covered the perimeter.
    Some nights they posted us on Tango (Towers). Other nights we were posted on Alpha (ambush) on the ground between the towers which, as I remember it, were one click apart. The K-9 units would drop of a team to walk the perimeter road and give early alert. A two man team in a jeep would drive the perimeter and stop now and then and fire harassment grenade (M-80) Into the jungle.

    I was blessed not to have guard duty the night of TET 68. but the first explosions bent or hooch sideways before we scrambled for the bunkers. Red Alert came down and we were loaded in Duce and a halves and were told that things were popping and that we might be needed elsewhere. Word got out that the American Embassy was being over run down in Saigon and as the Ammo dump and small arms rounds went off we were not happy.

    Things got better at day light and we stood down to a lighter alert, and resumed our daily details but we held our weapons closer. Thankful that that night had passed.
    Sure would love to hear from someone from the 5th. L.E.M. Who was there 67&68.

    Welcome Home everyone,

    • Eric Krol says:

      I was a member of the 5th LEM, Since inception at Ft Hood and took the cruise in Feb 67… CO was Cpt Pugh….we kept the company supplied with rations, water and workers. Have contacted, Gammy Hartley, David Bikoff and Mike Jacomet in th elast few months. Remember Sgt Perry? Left in Jan 68 before TET.

      Lets touch base.

  80. charles m says:

    i was in long binh all of 68 was with the 549th ds lt mt co i remember that ammo dump going off several times it was a very spooky feeling being knocked to my feet by the flash befor the sound then to full gear and bunkers i was a wrecker operator and sent to i think was the 11th cav 3rd sq tdy was any body with the 549th or the 11th cav 3rd sq mech
    chuck from illinois

  81. craig f says:

    3rd A&E.. keeping those Huns flying with the 90th, 510th and 531st TFS.. AFSC 42270 Instrument shop. TET was GD hot and noisy. I remember my bunke Dean Reganal and me with our “16’s” trying to see anyone coming over the wire next to Red Horse. We shot a couple of poor dudes.-and were joined in the scene (From Here To Eternity) by a small group of other AF ranks.probably from Red Horse. Hell, I’m not a grunt, I’m a GD aviation tech… I should have stayed in school.. God love all you guys who were in country……Best people I ever knew or know all shared one thing..they all wore the uniform…..best part of my life now…its was easy…all black-or all white… no greyness no BS… just staying alive….walk tall brothers

    • Joseph Wright says:

      I was w/823rd RED HORSE Sq during this event. I remember that we were armed and some of us had duty at the concrete “French Bunker” near the end of the runway and close to some wire. I remember after Tet, that there were white strips of sheet that “Charlie” used to breach the perimeter. Also there were bodies on the wire from the napalm used to suppress those who were coming thru the lane. Will never forget those days….

  82. Wayne Piercy says:

    Can anyone remember being in Cholon Vietnam the night of Jan. 31st 1968 around the Regional Communications Group?

  83. charles m says:

    come on guys i know theys gotta be more than me— charles mohring from southern illinois—- and— jerry chancey from south georgia—- that served with the —549th lt mt co direct support— out of long binh from jan 68 thry mid 69 we r looking for you guys so answer up

  84. Snoopy says:

    Grossman must have smoked pot before he wrote that article. The first platoon, Bravo, 2/47, was the first unit to enter Widow’s Village. We held the V.C./N.V.A. off for two and three quarters of an hour before the Scouts arived. We needed the help and there is no disputing that. We arrived with 26 troopers but three of them hid (I found that out later from one of the three.) We had one operational fifty caliber and had taken casualties that reduced our numbers. What was left of the platoon advanced with the Scouts. Doubts? Ask Henry Jezek who was our platoon leader. He was so badly shot up that they put him in the tent for the dead. He was and is a great human being as well as a fine platoon leader. When he was wounded he was running to help some of our guys. Like they say, don’t mess with Texas.

    • Brice H. Barnes says:

      Many words have already been written about this battle, one of the most intense fights of the entire Tet Counter-Offensive. I want to acknowledge that the 1st Platoon of Bravo Company was in Widows’ Village first, something I’ve never disputed. What troubles me is how a line platoon can have only 1 fifty MaDeuce operational out of 3-4 possible. Doesn’t speak well of the members of the crew, since it is a crew-served weapon.
      From what some have written, there was only about 12 functioning fighters left in the 1st Platoon when the Scout Platoon and I arrived. If the LogBooks and other documents are to be believed, the 1st Platoon wa about to be overrun by a reinforced battalion of NVA, and had not the Scouts arrived when they did, all of them would doubtless been names on The Wall. If I had been in the platoon of Co. B, I would have looked up at least one Scout and thanked him for saving my ass that day.
      For other members of the 47th Infantry Regiment, kindly check into our website of .www.47inf.org, and find out how you can locate other Brothers. Or contact me at Brice@txeaglesnest.com

      • Bob Citkovic says:

        I for one, am eternally grateful to a gunship pilot who saved my life. I have no way of finding out who he was, but I want to thank all the pilots for the work they did. Welcome Home Brothers!

  85. Tony Santos says:

    I block everthing out when i got back from vietnam.I serve with the 9th. inf. div. 2/47th. Bravo co., I can not recall names but i serve from nov. 67 to nov. of 68, I participatrd in a lot of fire fights, i was even in widows village battle. If anyone remembers me i will like to know and know your names as well, so we can communicate and share stories that will bring my memory back.
    Thank you for you servesand God Bless.


  86. GEORGE HERR says:

    My tour was Nov 67-Dec 68.
    My unit was 147th LEM CO, 79th Maint. SSG
    Com Repair.
    Used to volunteer for the convoys going back and forth to various ports location in Saigon. We got hit a few times. Seemed like most every night we had incoming. Will right more after I think about it. Been a lot of years since then.
    After that tour I had 4 or 5 TDY trips back with the SENSOR programs.

    • Alan Janus says:

      George……Alan Janus …remember me….hung out with Fletcher Nance……I also did the runs into Saigon after Tet….also helped sweep thru ammo dump the next day…sitting here Xmas evening looking back 45 years ago… I landed in country on Xmas day…59 signal/147 lem…spent some time in Cholon….janus147@comcast.net…..notice e mail address……has always been my favorite numbers….

  87. James Harris says:

    My tour was mid 1965-1966

    My Unit was 576 Ord Co. Ammunition Co.

    Am glad I left before that place went up

  88. Brenda Frisard says:

    I am trying to locate Samuel Thomas Brown who was stationed in Bien Hoa in 1967. He is a caucasian, and beleived to be in the Army. His duties there may have been Material Control/Accounting. I know that he made it home to the states in late 1969 or early 1970.

    I can be contacted at exparteinvestigations@cox.net
    Brenda Frisard

    Thank all of you for your service there.
    I love to locate service members and done hundreds of locates.

    • Jim Daugherty says:

      I was in the 54th ord company before and after tet. sometime in the early morning we were rousted from our bunks and told that the depot was under attack. we were loaded in trucks and driven into the depot as a reac force. we went about half way in and with other companies were strung across the depot to contain the attackers. nothing happened for a while but i was more afraid of gun toting gi’s than of the vc. eventually we were loaded on to trucks and driven farther into the depot. we would stop at every cross road and 4 men would get out. 2 walk to the left and 2 to the right to to check the ammo pads for satchel charges.(we weren’t EOD, how stupid was that.)I was sitting behind the driver. There was a brilliant sun in a cloudless sky. All of a sudden the whole world lit up. My first thought was “I’m dead”. Then I thought “if I survive the concussion I have a chance. ” I hunkered down behind the cloth top of the truck and preceded to wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait. that second or less seemed lilke an eternity. Finally, the shock wave passed. the next thing I remember was some guy yelling “unhance that truck”. I opened my eyes and found that I was the only one in the truck. I jumped up and went to the otherside to jump out. Luckily I looked down first. I had to laugh. jthere were 6 or 8 guys in a pile cussing and screaming trying to get untangled. Everyone was running into an open field and laying down. I jumped down and rolled under the truck. In a few seconds it started raining schrapnel. they were small pieces but very hot. luckily the 200 pound 8 inch projos were not blown in our direction. we pulled back to our co. area and watched as a pad full of prop cans(black artillery powder) burned and exxploded. A jeep pulled up with it’s cloth top all half blown off. there were 2 EOD guys in the jeep and they said they had parked on the back side of the blown artillery pad (155and 8 inch) and were going into the pad to check for satchel charges when it blew. there was a crater at least 100 feet wide and 40 feet deep. another story I heard was 2 EOD guys walked in to a pad just as a satchel charge went off. One guy ran like hell and the other one ducked behind a stack of ammo for cover. luckily there was no secondary explosion. I’ve waited for years to tell this story.

      • Jim Daugherty says:

        jim daugherty here again e-mail james.daugherty@roadrunner.com

      • Robert Plummer says:

        I also was in the 54th Ord Co during Tet of 68. I was there from Oct 67 to Oct 68. I don’t remember you. You must have worked out in the deot humping ammo. I worked in the motor pool. I think it was Lt Hoteling who was in charge of the motor pool. It’s been 45 years and I have forgotten a lot. Welcome home, brother

  89. Richard Culotta says:

    I was on Second Field Forces compound the night Tet started. T.A.B 25th Artillery.Anyone in that unit at that time please E-mail me.

  90. Richard Culotta says:

    anyone in 8th Tab 25Th Artillery during Tet. please e-mail me

  91. Rick Bissell says:

    I was in the 54th Ord Co (Ammo) as well as you. I was the company clerk and I remember you, I also remember well the night the depot blew on January 30, 1968, I came in-country around January 1, 1968. I think CPT Christopher was the CO at the time. Please reply.

    • pete kelly says:

      HI jim my name is pete Kelly I was the company armorer in 54 ord the night tet 68 I found this site by luck and started to read about the ammo dump. and saw some guys post they were there some of the names ring a bell its been a life time. fell free to get back to me when you can

    • pete kelly says:

      Hi Rick this is pete Kelly I was the company armorer with the 54 ord do you remember well .i you came to new Rochelle and you me ron phillis and someone else went out drinking for the night and you stayed at house for the night its been a life time but I recall it well ive often wonder what became of all u guys please feel free to get back to me petenpat2@aol.com

    • pete kelly says:

      hey rick this is pete Kelly I was the company armorer for 54ord it seems like a life time ago do u remember you came to new Rochelle u me ron phillis and a couple of others went out drinking that night u stayed at my house that night. I always wonder what became of all you guys its been a long time I was glad to see your name. please get back to me will catch up petenpat2@aol.com.

  92. james. daugherty says:

    88.1.3 robert plummer; yes, I did drive a forklift in the depot but I also drove the 5 ton tractor trailer at times. your name sounds familar but I’m sure that if we saw pictures of each other we’d recognise one another. I’m looking for anyone who was in the depot when the artillerty pad blew. It would be nice to hear anyone’s personal experience that night.
    rick bissell: It was nice to hear from you. I’m just barely computer literate so I am trying to relive some old memories. I can hardly remember names but I’ll throw a few at you. George Adamrovich (roach) Jerry Hughes (shorty) George atherton (joe) My email address is james.daugherty@roadrunner.com. I live in Lebanon OH just a few miles ne of cincinnati. Would like to correspond and shake some old memories out of my head.

  93. Charles R. Bradford says:

    I was stationed with the 87th Transportation at the west end of Long Binh Post towards Saigon. That far away the first blast blew me out of my bed. I woke up on the floor, got out of the hooch behind the sandbags and barrels when the second went off and the big mushroom cloud came. I thought we’d taken a nucear hit-that the world was coming to an end because the shock wave and noise from that far away wracked the buildings and the doors no longer fit the buildings. They were all blown out of shape. I’m looking for other members of the 87th Trans. Co. or if they have a reunion, I’d like to know when/where.

  94. Bernie Zitomer says:

    I was an Army Captain assigned to MACV at III Corp Headquarters (Adv TM 95) in Bien Hoa during Tet. Late in the afternoon of Jan 31st, I was called into an officers briefing and given the following information – 1) we are surrounded by about 6,000 VC/NVA (in actuality there weren’t that many), 2) we’re extracting about half the men assigned to this compound, 3) we’ll have choppers up at first light to try to rescue any of you who might have survived. Wasn’t looking real promising. You can imagine how we felt when the first APCs of the 9th came rolling in to us, followed in the morning by the 101st and then the 11th ACR – who stayed till Tet was done. God Bless our infantry troopers.
    PS – Oddly, years later I ran into the officer who sent the 9th Infantry unit to us (he was my son-in-laws cousin) and the CO of the unit that went into the Widow’s Village (don’t remember his name, but he worked for Crown Zellerbach). bzitomer@comcast.net

  95. Paul Buttino says:

    Hi Capt Bernie…I was a door gunner on a Huey with the 125th Avn Co. that flew the general from 3rd Corp that directed the battle of a section of a village on the edges of Bien Hoa. It was infiltrated by the vc after the initial surge of the Tet offensive. I remember circling at very low level, probably no more than 150-200 ft, all day long while the general (forgot his name) used a high tech, powerful scope to locate, and direct firepower from the 11th ACR, and the gunships…We must have refueled 3-4 times that day! At the end, NOTHING was left of that village, just the corners of some walls..it was TOTAL destruction! We landed, and me and the crew cheif went through what was left of the village, and the only thing still alive was a shell-shocked, dog cowering in a corner…I remember when we landed, so many of the villager’s from other parts of Bien Hoa were gathered nearby watching the whole battle take place, like it was a football game!! The 11ACR and the gunships kicked some serious ass that day!!

  96. Ron Denz says:

    549th lem co 12/67-3/69
    For sure 2 yet offensives
    Anybody else never talk about Vietnam experience until the 90?

  97. Ric Cugno says:

    Larry Garascia OR Someone who knows him.
    Contact me.
    I read the above article and scrolled down to see your name.
    We were at Bien Hoa at the same time.
    Thanks ,
    Ric Cugno

  98. Joe Talbert says:

    Richard: I was assigned to 8th/25th Tab from dec 67 to jan 69, But I was Sd to Hg 2FFv Arty, I was Staff Maintenance Officer, And was the Oic of the front Permiter on 31 Jan when the ammo dump dump was blown, up, our area was about 2000’ft across from widowss villege, right next to the Hiway, The Co of our Unit was Major Babb ans the 1st/sgt,was M/sgt Ramos My Boq was about about 50’ft from the permiter fence and at the time, not Sand Bagged, That had just dug open trenches the day before tet and hastely sandbagged guard bungers, our rear area was all jungles, or left over rubber tree, but about a month later they brough in the Roam plower and the monster schereeder and made saw dust out of the trees and the local people made those wood chipps into charcole . I lost hearing in my left ear that day, but refused to be evacuated, Because that was my 4th trip to Rvn, I wont to complete my tour and never go back again, also fell into an open trench on nite during a rocket attact and hurt my back and right knee, was stuck in the hospital for a month, I had to travel to our the fire support bases and inspect, Artillery weapons no matter what the conditions were, when the weather was bad, I couldn’t fly, I traveled by road along wth a team of 6 of the best enlisted me I ever had the chance to work with, I was also Sic officer when I was in garrison at long Beinh, and when any rocket or mortor round hit long Beinh, I had to fly out with minute and figure out the direction came from and call artillery fire, Ialso had to inspect all the Radar sites , Metorology, sites and all FADAC,M-18, fire direction Computer, of the 54th and 23rd arty Gps ,25th div arty and the 5th/2nd auto weapons Bn, I left vietnam in 1969, a total wreck at 41’years old, I’m propped p with 2’crutches, use a little scoother to make tracks when my wife starts throwing shit, use hearing aids that don’t work, take 12 pills every day that make me whacky, But thanks to man above all of us, I will be 82, This coming Sunday Aug 25th, Just like many others, live with Ptsd and agent orange problems adds to the missary, I had my with knee replaced in 2005, and need to have the left done, I had spinel surgery in 1970, Just had cataric surgery on both eyes this year, I need surgery on my Neck for a reptured Disc. But must say, Being alieve is good thing and Since I like it here I going to rey and stay a bit longer. So my friend take care. Joe Talbert, Cwo (Retired)Email address: joseph_talbert@yahoo.com

  99. Robert Citkovic says:

    I think it will help everyone if you give the date of the ammo dump explosion since I believe there were at least two hits. The first one in 1967, I think in February, and a second one in 1968. I’m not sure of the second one as I was there for the first one, but not the second. There may have been more. Many of us are applying to the Veterans for some form of disability, and the actual dates will be a big help. Welcome home brothers!!!
    Bob Citkovic

  100. Ivan Christensen says:

    To the best of my recollection, I experienced the ammo dump explosion at Bin Hoa/Long Binh on or about February 14 at about 10pm. It resembled a nuclear explosion and I was caught up in the shock wave which threw me head first into the side of a building. I now have TBI as a result.

    • Jim Flynn says:

      Ivan, I would agree with you on the date and time. I was in Bien Hoa at that very moment and it put me in the dirt.

  101. Gary W Macquire says:

    I was a Spec5 medic with the 326th Medical Btl, 101st Airborne Div in Bien Hoa from Nov 67 through Aug 68. I remember the beginning of Tet very well. Our aid station was close to the end of the airstip at the Bien Hoa airbase, close to an old French bunker and directly across the field from Bien Hoa town and a cemetary. The first 3 days were very chaotic. We took a lot of fire from the field, Bien Hoa city and the cemetary. A bunch of VC were coming out of the city toward us. God bless the Cobra choppers that came to our rescue, as well as the phantom jets that lit up the cemetary . Also remember the rubber tree plantation being sprayed with a herbicide and seeing the leaves gone the next day sometime around Tet. There was an old house to the left of our position (looking toward Long Bien) that we think had a VC sniper in it. The first morning a Sgt, I think his name was Stafford or Swafford standing to my left, was talking to me and got it right between the eyes and the guy to my right got hit in the helmet about the same time. It has always bothered me that I didn’t get a scratch while guys standing on my right & left sides were both hit in the head. All I got was blood/brain splatter on me. The VC got into the old french bunker I think as well. I remember on the 2nd or 3rd day an APC full of wounded and KIA drove into our compound. We were very busy for several days. I trained with all the guys serving with me in Vietnam (at least initially) for about 2 years prior to that time and the only guy I remember by name is Bob Haney. Bob and I dug our own bunker after recognizing that the VC had some of the company bunkers zeroed in. It haunts me that I can’t remember my other brothers in arms names. After the first week our aid tent was in tatters due to all of the flying metal. We did surgery on the wounded while on our knees to keep from getting hit when it was really bad. Most of this time is kind of jumbled up in my mind and I can’t remember much about stuff after Tet except that we got a couple mortars or rockets most nights for a while. I was 20 yrs old when I got to Vietnam and I remember the hardest thing was tagging and bagging the dead. Handling body parts and KIA was the worse. I tried hard when I got back home to stay real busy, not to talk about Nam and put it behind me, but I still have nightmares where I am right back there during the worse of it. Occasionally I remember something bad just out of the blue and it still shakes me up. I assume that all Vietnam vets have some recurring bad memories that jump up and hit them when they let their guard down. Tet was very memorable for sure.

  102. Philip Cayford says:

    did you know my uncle Phillip J Cayford Jr? nickname Skip ,he died March 22 ,1968. He died from Shrapnel from a grenade in Bien Hoa. My father named me after him.

  103. Renee Hurry says:

    My grandfather was in the 4th battalion 39th infantry. .Samuel Green Hurry. He was killed on February 2 1968 in Bien Hoa. My grandmother was pregnant at the time. He was from Covington Kentucky. Do you remember him or have photos I could get copies of. Any stories or information would be greatly appreciated. All of you are heros and God bless you and your families.

  104. pete kelly says:

    Hi Ed my name is pete Kelly Iwas there that night to.jI was the company armorer. I don’t remember names well but iam sure we saw each all the time . I have never forgotten my time with 54 ord or that hugh mushroom clould when the dump went up . man I will always rememberthat time . I left nam oct 15 1968 gone but not forgotten get back to me if you like pete

  105. pete kelly says:

    Hi Rob my name is pete Kelly I was there that night to with 54 ord I was the company armorer that’s one night I will never forget. iam bad with names but I think I remember yours. man its been a long time hope all is well get back to me if you like

  106. James David Mitchell says:

    I posted earlier, About a year ago.. re: the Ammo Dump. As I remember, We were Driven through the gates at 3rd Ord. in deuce and a half Trucks for Guard mount and posting for Guard duty all along the perimeter many many times during my 67/68 tour. I was asleep in my bunk at 5th L.E.M. on Long Binh Post though on the night of the 68 TET hit. The Shock wave bent our hooch over and I too saw the large fire ball that looked Atomic..I’m sure glad it wasn’t. Anyway the thing that hits me is that I have pictures of the left over flames in the background at my outfit on Long Binh post, they were taken days after the first explosion and I remember several lesser ones. Those guys who swept it the next day must have been scared s—less, cause that place was HOT and live for some time. But after that..till my Deros date in Apri/l68 I can’t remember it being hit big time like that night again.

    • Eric Krol says:

      Mitchell – name is familar as a team member of 5th LEM under Cpt D. Pugh which I communicated since 2012 along with Gammy Hartley, Mike Babino, Mike Jacomet, David Bikoff(motorpool) and others. Left w/George Cook and John Mikulski on 1.10.68. Looking 4wd to touch base without opening old wounds

      Welcome Home

      Lifetime VVA member

  107. […] 118th Assault Helicopter Officers. The story of the battle that raged around Bien Hoa is detailed here. We were just sitting in the middle for three days, not knowing what the hell was happening but our […]

  108. terry bullock (BULL) says:

    Don, YOU still out there? I was with the 140th also working nights when the ammo dump went up, I though it was after mid night when I was refueling the Gen/ compressor we used, DO U REMBER duke that dead in a accident there? Ssg Johnsons , any of those guys,

    Sp5 terry bullock

    • Bobby Bonds says:

      Terry I was also in the 140th at that time. Was in the Armament Platoon, Artillery Section. I was a towed artillery repairman. I recall that we worked around the clock changing gun tubes on the 175’s and 8″ howitzers and on the 11th CAV’s M-48 tanks. Our section was located on the lower right side of the yard beside the supply section behind the laundry and guard station. Our hooch was on the last row at the showers and latrine.

  109. pete kelly says:

    looking for anyone from 54 ord 67 68

  110. gary flora says:

    i was with 103 engr. north end of bein hoa air feld . 1967 to1968 . we felt the blast and the heat . im 66 yrs old . still can’t sleep !

  111. James David Mitchell says:

    Krol, I was an E-5 in the S.E.D. section. we repaired Flame throwers. Zion Search lights, and Refer. Equipment. Capt Pugh Gave me an R&R to Australia that had been meant for someone else who had been hurt or transferred. I’ll always remember Capt Pugh, also First shirt Sgt. Dolen,(spelling) Sgt. Burton, and the fellas of the S.E.D. section. I left April of 68. I would love to talk to Capt. Pugh and thank him again for that R&R. Sydney was AWESOME!! Names I remember…Bill Tonks..Jerry Rhoda (we called him Learch), Banks, George Westfall, Dicky Brown, Allen Green (Generator section) Tom Mager (From North Dekota) Jim Patrick (Montana)

  112. Eric Krol says:

    Have a lot of info to share with you that was found in my search for the 5th LEM team members……see 10.2 when I came across this site. 3 of us were gypsies (wheel/Trk mechanics) I was responsible for the help but also, mess hall p/u and water carrier as was John Mikulski (fr NJ)and Tom Singstock fr Mich (as was I , fr Detroit)…We had our Int. drivers lic up to the 5 ton.
    Found many members and some are looking down on us

  113. Eric Krol says:

    Mitchell – Lots of info to share…
    mail a note: ekrol3810@gmail.com

    • James David Mitchell says:

      …………..\Your Name\………………..
      If in a moment we two should meet.
      Upon that battle field so cold and bleak,

      And if you die by my own hand.
      I pray you know of Glory land.

      Forgive me I do not know your name.
      I feel the darkness I feel such pain.

      Another place another time,
      I’d ask your name, I’d give you mine.

      But on this field of sorrow wrought,
      I cherish freedom blood hath bought.

      I honor those who gave before,
      who showed the way to victory’s door.
      I keep the charge. I heed the call, and
      honor those upon the wall.

      And if in Glory we meet again,
      I’ll humbly ask…. your name.

      JD Nam 67/68
      Thank you Vets, “Welcome Home” my Brothers.

  114. Eugene G. Helfrich says:

    147th LEM Co. Radio Platoon Apr.69 thru Dec.70. I have made contacts with a few members of the 147th LEM Co. or members attached to it. Some during my 20 month tour some before and after it. Only a handful because I waited too long. I am sorry that I had to find some listed in the obituary’s . Here is a list of contacts I have received once or more regularly. John Lunstrum (31E20)69-70, Louis Babin (35B20) till Jan 71,Pat Gutkoska Chicago, IL 31E20, 70 through May ’71 Association: Played with ( 8′ Clearance) our company band, Richard Eide, August 1, 1970 thru August 31, 1971 ground support radar tech 26C3I, Donald Tinsley 69-70 31E20, Lee Federiconi Jan 1969 thru Dec 1969 a tape recorder repairman,.Jim Welch 68 – 1970 with the 147th Light Equipment Maintenance Co.HE went by Mike Welch and was the armor, Michael Sonneberg 147th LEM Co. / 59th Sig. Co. / 185th Maint. / 79th Maint. Battalion Dec 3, 1967 thru 12/3/1968 MOS 41E20, David Pings 70 to 71. 31E40 SSG in radio repair and QC. later was working in charge of our group at the turn in facility for the units closing out. Tom Trego, 147th LEM Co ,Sept. 1967 to Sept. 1968. MOS was 76P20 and worked in the Supply Section, Mark Katic 41B20l worked on sniffers, even though my 41B30 mos We had a dog there called Zip she was white, I left on November 31, 1969,Greg (Sargent Otto Lackman 31E20 68-70, Mario De La Rosa,Aug 71 to April 72 also in the radio platoon with a 31B20 mos.147th got disbanded and He was sent to direct support battalion the 185th, Ralph Thomson CW3 left in March 1969 and returned in September 1971. with the 60th Engineer Detachment attached to the 147th.)
    John Morris 69-70 31E20 Radio Plt. and truck driver, Gilbert (Speedy) Gonzales 69-70 31E20 , Fred Cox (26W4H) 590th CS – BEARCAT then 147th LEM – LONG BINH) Co Vietnam in August 67-Aug. 68, Alan Janus was there..67/68

    Stanley Michael (Stan) Williams (07-25-2013 served March 1970 to April 1971, as a field radio mechanic with the 147th (LEM) Light Equipment Maintenance Company and was honorably discharged as a Specialist Five (SP5). Stan became a casualty of that conflict, having been exposed to Agent Orange
    Nicholas Randazzo Jr was born on November 5th, 1948 and died on October 9th, 2011. Nicholas was buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, MO. He was my replacement. Nov.70-Nov.71 147th LEM Co

  115. James David Mitchell says:

    OK Krol, Thanks man.

  116. James David Mitchell says:

    Mitchell, David 67&68. jdavid2@hotmail.commonkdaunk@aol.com All who served 5th. L.E.M. 69th Maint. Battalion 1st Log. LongBinh 68&69. Would love to here from Bill Tonks, Dicky Brown, Paul Westfall, Jerry Rohoda, Allen Green, Dennis Sharp, Tom Mager, Capt. Dan Pugh, First Shirt Dullin, Sgt. Billy Burton, James Patrick Casey, Banks, Panachio, Victor Yhoshia and any of the men who were at The 5th L.E.M. Kick me back, if you were there. David Mitchell (S.E.D. section ) Remember 3rd Ord. Ammo Dump? Perimeter Guard? 13 Tango? 13 Alpha? Pad Guard? Harassment fire? K-9 Watch? Slip Trench? Illumination flares, Tet 68? May God Bless You who have provided this site. I would love to Here from anyone who served @ the 5th Light on Long Binh Post 67&68 . Do you Remember the flood of “care pkgs.’ from ” The real world ” which came after the Mail clerk of another unit on post, requested mail for his buddys who were not receiving any at Mail call. He noticed there faces drop each time the last letter was handed out. He wrote a request to a Sunday read Column Writer, who then posted his request in the Magazine section of the Sunday paper. The thing that happened next got me through the rest of my tour. His small mail room would not hold the letters, packages, and love which spilled from the hearts of what I think are the REAL people of the country I love. It took Volunteers, Chaplains, trucks, and many hours to spread the packages to units all over the post and others. Even those of us who did get regular mail were ask to answer as many as we could. I answered two , one from a teen in Wis. and one from a large farm family in Iowa. It was the real thing I’m telling you, LOVE from America to us at a time when news from state side wasn’t usually sounding too good. You know, our unit and all units had some of those guys who needed mail, and, I’d like to thank that mail clerk, that family in Iowa , that teen in Wis., and all of you who loved us even though it was a difficult time. Spec. 5 David Mitchell 67&68. May God Bless you all. David

  117. James David Mitchell says:

    Mitchell, David 67&68. jdavid2@hotmail.com All who served 5th. L.E.M. 69th Maint. Battalion 1st Log. LongBinh 67/68. Would love to here from Bill Tonks, Dicky Brown, Paul Westfall, Jerry Rohoda, Allen Green, Dennis Sharp, Tom Mager, Capt. Dan Pugh, First Shirt Dullin, Sgt. Billy Burton, James Patrick Casey, Banks, Panachio, Victor Yhoshia and any of the men who were at The 5th L.E.M. Kick me back, if you were there. David Mitchell (S.E.D. section ) Remember 3rd Ord. Ammo Dump? Perimeter Guard? 13 Tango? 13 Alpha? Pad Guard? Harassment fire? K-9 Watch? Slip Trench? Illumination flares, Tet 68? May God Bless You who have provided this site. I would love to Here from anyone who served @ the 5th Light on Long Binh Post 67&68 . Do you Remember the flood of “care pkgs.’ from ” The real world ” which came after the Mail clerk of another unit on post, requested mail for his buddys who were not receiving any at Mail call. He noticed there faces drop each time the last letter was handed out. He wrote a request to a Sunday read Column Writer, who then posted his request in the Magazine section of the Sunday paper. The thing that happened next got me through the rest of my tour. His small mail room would not hold the letters, packages, and love which spilled from the hearts of what I think are the REAL people of the country I love. It took Volunteers, Chaplains, trucks, and many hours to spread the packages to units all over the post and others. Even those of us who did get regular mail were ask to answer as many as we could. I answered two , one from a teen in Wis. and one from a large farm family in Iowa. It was the real thing I’m telling you, LOVE from America to us at a time when news from state side wasn’t usually sounding too good. You know, our unit and all units had some of those guys who needed mail, and, I’d like to thank that mail clerk, that family in Iowa , that teen in Wis., and all of you who loved us even though it was a difficult time. Spec. 5 David Mitchell 67&68. May God Bless you all. David

  118. Linda_Reaux says:

    Hello All,

    I am posting in hopes of reaching out to my grandfather. I have never met him and he left before my mother turned 5. My mother writes,”My father’s name Dick(Richard) was a German of American Army Co Ist Tour 1965 base Bien Hoa Chief cook and driver support….His friends are Durb, Durffy, Jeffy, and Chuck of Officer Army Compound base Gate 199 SUPCOM.T.M.PO 96491, Platoon Bien Hoa and Long Binh.” Would anyone have any insight of where I can look to find him?

    Thank you very much.

  119. skip massey says:

    Looking for anyone with HQ Co 46th engineer battalion (Construction). From Jan 68–June 70. I worked in the motor pool and stood guard duty on the back priminter.

  120. Bruce Matthew says:

    I’m another guy who was at II Field Force, Long Binh. I came in country on August 2, 1967. I was at HHC until October, and was transferred to the 552nd Military Police Company until August 1, 1968.

    Oh yeah, I’ll never forget the Tet Offensive of 1968. I remember the rockets and mortars incoming at 3 AM. They blew up part of the ammo dump at about 8 AM. I remember the two Cobras being overhead during the night. Watching the red line coming from the Cobra. We called it pissin’ red. I remember the 11th Armored Cav coming across the bridge near our company area. We were jumping up and down on the bunkers and screaming and hollering. We were so happy to see them. I remember the F4 Phantom dropping napalm back near the ammo dump.

    A week or so later, sappers got the ammo dump. I think this happened about 11 PM. I just happened to look in the direction of the ammo dump, and I saw this huge orange and red fireball go up. Then I saw the mushroom cloud. I thought it was a friggin’ atomic bomb. It was weird because there was no sound at first. Then I saw a big brown wall rolling down the ridge, and headed in our direction. I was mesmerized watching this event. Just before the brown wall got to where I was, I realized this was the shock wave. I got down on the floor, and the shock wave hit. There was so much dust, I couldn’t see a foot in front of my face. The dump exploded all night and into the next day. It was the loudest noise I’ve ever heard.

    By the way, I was known as Batman when I was with the 552.

    After what seemed like an eternity, I boarded the reedom bird at Bien Hoa on August 1st 1968, and I didi-maued and went home.

  121. Mike. Ellis says:

    My. Name. Is mike Ellis I. Was In. The. 54th. Ord. Co. Dec. 69. Jan. 71. Worked. In. Moter. Pool. Also. Drove. Water truck. Would. Like. To. Hear. From. Old. Buddies. That. Served. With. Me. I. Can’t. Rember. Names. We’ll. sarg. Campbell. Was. Over. The. Moter pool. I. Heard. About. The. Ammo dump. Getting. Blown. Up. Thank. God. U. All. Made. It. Home. Alive. Welcome. Home.

  122. Mike. Ellis says:

    Hi. Again. I. Forgot. To. Leave. My. E. Mail. Address. I. Was. At longhbin. 54thordmoter. Pool. Was. Near. Ammo. Dump. Rember. Few. Names. Frank. Hodges. Charles. Lane. From. Texas. Hodges. From. Sc. Also. Sarg. Bull. My. E. Mail. mikeandbecky86@hotmail.com. Thanks

  123. Mike. Ellis says:

    Mike. Ellis. E mail. mikeandbecky86@hotmail.com

  124. Larry Just Wyrick says:

    R TO Long Ben Ammo depth and wanted to report that on the second day after the depot was breached by the Sapped the second I command of Vietnam General flew in landed stepped out and told ten of us ranking from generals to Los and I the lowest rank Spec-4 that the ammo depot could not fall we were to die in our postions. He then hopped back in his chopper and flew off. I then said \Where in the he’ll is he going? To cheer someone else up? I then thought OMG I didn’t just say that! I then waited and waited…they all busted up laughing!!!

  125. Tony McCray, SP5 says:

    I was with the 175 Engineer Co attached to the 199th. The guys from the 3/7 and other infantry units would come down to the R&U Yard and drink beer and listen to James Brown and other artists. There were some LLRP guys that would come down also. After certian missions some of the guys would not show up because of wounds or KIA. I was manning a hourseshoe pit on top of a bunker in the R&U yard where I worked the morning the ammo dump blew. I saw the mushroom cloud and shock wave in the air before the blast arrived and almost blew me off the bunker. There were NVA’s in a school across from the 199th main gate. When a gook ran out everyone on the parameter including a quad 50 mounted on a ‘duce and a quarter’ opened up. Capt Gross I remember hearing the ruckus your APC’s made as you moved around. I was part of the engineers that had to police up and bury what you guys left behind. The smell is still with me. At 65 I may be loosing it, but I was sure the dump blew in the morning after daylight. Welcome home heroes!

  126. Jeffrey Gibbs says:

    TONY ,

  127. Larry J Wyrick says:

    TONY and JEFF you both are absolutely correct the explosion from the VC satchel charges ignited during the morning of TeT. I was the RTO in the SOC (security operation center) bunker when it went up – LONG BIEN AMMO DEPOT. The blast would have been bigger had not the bravery of the EOD team who had not been removing charges along with the 52 Infantry units support and members of the APC unit. Once it was realized we had no time remaining the EOD soldiers and all others took off running as fast as possible and the blast lifted many many of them a pretty good distance in the air. Many did not feel to good but no KIAs from the blast. GRACE OF GOD PURE AND SIMPLY! Many felt back pain and ears ringing but they all made it…go figure why no one was killed except the obvious…GOD SAID SO! However day later we did find a few VC bodies and a few guys lost their breakfast when they did! I had numb spots the size of a salad plate for ten years but it went away. I figured it was one of the three blasts or however many we had as I lost count. SP 4 Larry.wyrick@msn.com

  128. Bob Citkovic says:

    Let’s remember there were two times (at least) that the ammo dump was hit. The first time was in early 1966, and it was at night, about 8:00 pm as I remember it. We were watching a movie on the side of a duce and half, when the entire sky light up like day time! It took about two days to stop exploding, but I don’t remember any one dying. Sure left a big mess! Welcome Home Brothers!

  129. Bill Kemp says:

    On Jan 31, 1968, I was involved in what must have been one of the strangest and certainly dumbest missions of the Vietnam War. I was a chaplain assistant with the 92n Engineer Battalion located at Long Binh’s southeast corner. We had an ongoing civic program with the Cao Thai Refugee village. The plan was for the Army Band to play at the Village as part of Tet festivities. We had been mortared on the evening of Jan. DD. The next morning when I reported to the Chapel, the Chaplain said there had been a lot of trouble at the 90th replacement Battalion and the performance had been cancelled. We were to drive out to the village and tell them that the Band couldn’t play.
    The Chaplain said he was sure that if it were too dangerous, they wouldn’t let us out the gate. But when we got to the gate (I think gate 3) there was no one there. The little guard house was empty. We turned right onto highway 316 in front of the Post and proceeded down to the intersection with route one then on to the village. There was no traffic. We did not see a soul. There was a dead silence. I figured that if there had been heavy fighting the night before the belligerents must all be sleeping.
    When we got to the village it was all boarded up, no one was in sight. The chief and his assistant came out. One could sense their discomfort at having to come out meet us. They must have thought that we were the two dumbest people on earth. They knew that the Band wouldn’t be playing.
    After Tet we resumed our civic action program with the village, but I have often wondered down through the years what happened to them. Does anyone know what became of the Cao Thai Refugee Village? I have also wondered why there was no one at the gate to Long Binh Post on that important day at that particular time!

  130. Mike Wendele says:

    I was squad sgt for the 1st Sqd ,1st PLt, D Comp. ,52nd Inf. at Long Binh in ’67. I rotated home on14SEP.67. I did not see or go through the shit you guys did. I accidently found this site this week and always wandered if my guys were involved in TET. Now I know.
    I have read all the postings and am amazed that your stories were not told in the press or television news at the time. We at home only learned of Saigon and Huey. What a shame. The truth was kept form us and we were told that was when the war was lost. Bullshit! i new it was bullshit at the time but could not convince most people at home.If anyone has photos of the ammo dump I would very much liketo see them. My regards to all you heroes. Make no mistake. You truly are.


    I was assigned to HQ, HQ COMPANY, II FIELD FORCE, G4. I was in country from SEP 1966 Thru SEP 1967. Anyone still around that worked in G4, please contact me. I have lost any paperwork with names on it. You can e-mail me at: dlr320@att.net

  132. robert "hoot" gibson says:

    I was at bearcat during tet 68, can still remember when ammo dump blew. long time ago but sometimes it feels like yesterday. anybody from the 214th cougars still kicking?

  133. Gregg Rennacker says:

    I was a ‘slick’ driver (Tomahawk 23) during TET. Did combat assaults on the runway at Bien Hoa and the soccer field in Saigon that a.m. Would like to know MORE about the deputy sheriff from L.A. with the Col. M. P. in the fight. Can’t find anything.

  134. James David Mitchell says:

    I have a correction on the information I posted earlier regarding the Battalion of which I was a part of. I don’t know what happened but I posted the wrong number.
    I was with the 5th L.E.M. of the 185th Main. Battalion 1st. Logistical Command, Long Binh Vietnam. Served from April 67 to April 68.
    I am still hoping some of the old group that was there. will find their way to these words.
    To all who where In Country.. Welcome Home.
    J. David 67/68

  135. Joe Walsh says:

    I was working at Hurricane VHF Facility (53rd Signal, Co B) when the ammo dump blew up; I was standing outside the bunker area. You could see the white halo ring (shock wave) coming towards you as the fire ball shot up. When it did arrive, it through us against the bunker sand bags with such force; I was completely disorientated for four to five-minutes. As I was also working in the 2nd FF signal office, I got word that the explosion knocked windows out in Saigon, 18 miles away? I spent a total of 4-years with 53rd Sig on Plantation, 2nd FF H, working in the 2FF HQ Signal Office, S-2, S-3, while assigned to HQ Co. Plt. Sgt. TET sucked for sure!

  136. Gary Vogt says:

    I was stationed at Long Binh from September 1967 to September 1968 with the 617th Engineering Company. In the fall of 1967, we spent two months in the field building bridges as part of Operation Santa Fe to reopen highway 1. We returned to Long Binh just before Christmas and in time to see the Bob Hope show with Raquel Welch.

    I vividly recall the Tet Offensive at the end of January. From our company’s location along the west side of the Long Binh base, we had an excellent view of the nighttime firefight taking place in nearby Bien Hoa. I especially remember the gunships with their laser-like bullet streams. The next day we drove through Bien Hoa on the way to Tan Son Nhut Air Base and were amazed at the total devastation of much of the commercial district. When we got to Tan Son Nhut, we were allowed to enter the base but could not leave as the Air Force had ordered a total shutdown until they were sure that all hostilities had ceased. Needless to say, we accepted the Air Force’s hospitality until it was deemed safe to return to Long Binh.

    The Tet Offensive changed everything. Prior to Tet, the area was considered secure and we traveled freely off base without weapons or protective gear. No so afterward.

  137. Larry Stephenson says:

    Larry Stephenson on facebook and email metalarry1949@aol.com

  138. Larry Zytnowski says:

    I was stationed at Long Binh from July 1967 to July 1968. At that time I had recently turned 19. I was young and courageous and looked forward to doing my part. Because of the events that occurred, while being in-country, my memory has failed me. I am now 67. Some of the details i remember are foggy. I am looking for help in remembering names, places and occurrences. I served in a forward area in an underground (computer center) data processing center. I had not talked with anyone including the VA until recently about my time in Vietnam. My Doctor and VA Rep suggested that I may be suffering from PTSD. I am looking for help in putting the pieces together. Any help or assistance would be appreciated.
    Contact me @ larryzee@yahoo.com

  139. Joshua Townsend says:

    My father (Jerry Townsend) was with the 5th L.E.M at Long Binh when the ammo dump went up. Here is a picture from a distance of one of the clouds floating up from the dump, as well as my dad outside of his hooch at Long Binh (and some others I scanned in while digging through his old photos): https://plus.google.com/photos/+JoshuaTownsend-1/albums/6072857360517575873

    • Eric Krol says:

      Welcome Home

      Original 5th LEM member but left b4 TET.

      But will discuss times and relay to other members as well, along with the CO

      I maintained the units, local help, water and mess/food pckups

  140. George Moran says:

    Hello Harry, I remember the rats quite well. I was very sick, laying in the bunkers and remember rats running over my body and my face as the mortars came flying in. You are right – better the rats than cobras! Thank you

  141. SSG Burnis M. Hughes says:

    I was in HQ’s at the 1st Sig. Brigade. Jan to Apr 1968 and was moved to DaNang. I handled special actions and sat by the old Sgt. who was recalled to Service and was the re-up counselor for enlisted personnel. The clerks had previously had a combat clerk badge emgroided. The concept was a typewriter replacing the rifle in a combat infantry badge. Ha I thought it was a great idea but had no chance to become legal. I also was a member of the IG inspection Team. Anyway, if you get this please send the picture you mention in your post. Thank you for your service.

  142. R. Mark (Pepi) Perry says:

    TET! I remember it like it was yesterday. I was the manager of the officer’s club 1967-68. I went out that morning to wash up at the small water trailer out the back door of the club, as I was washing my face three rounds hit the dirt at my feet, what the hell. Then it happened again, I looked out and about 150 yards out under a deuce and a half were three VC taking pot shots at me. Holy crap! I dove back through the door for my flack jacket and my AR 15, when I looked back out a squad were going after those SOBs. That was how I knew TET had started. I was looking at three guys on top of a bunker with a LT, I mentioned to him I thought it was a bad idea for them not to be inside the bunker, next thing I knew a round hit and they weren’t there anymore. I remember watching jets pound our parameter with everything they had, then smokey and the gunships. The north Viets lost a lot of men those couple of days. I remember seeing the smoke from the ammo dump, and then being knocked off my feet by the concussion. What I remember most was the look on the faces of the officers when they came back from routing the VC from Saigon. They saw things young men should never see, what brave men they were. I am very proud to have been associated with them and all those men of the TET offensive.

  143. dennis fendelander says:

    I was a FAC flying O-2s and had just completed being on station in an orbit east of Saigon. I had just landed at Bien Hoa when the rocket attack started. I took off hoping to locate the source. I was over the dump when it was hit. I had a front row seat. I was surprised we didn’t have damage to the plane but I was told later the dump imploded so we didn’t get hit by anything. I was heading northwest to the usual location of the launches hoping to get some artillery fire. The rockets stopped before I got out in that area. I never kept a record so don’t know what the date was, if you know can you tell me?
    If you have the pics that would be interesting.

  144. Paul 2nd FFC says:

    Denni, you guys had BALLS OF STEAL!! To be nerkin & gleepin in the middle of the night, in those little prop jobs, just over the tree tops in heavy enemy territory! I know so many of you got shot down, but you guys never flinched, just like my pilots in the slicks I flew in as a gunner on recon missions for the 2nd Field Forces, in the 3rd & 4th core..I thought my pilots were SO cool under fire, & they flew those choppers like a race car, maneuvering in and out of trouble like gang busters, & I don’t think any of them were over 25!! But you guys really got my respect denni.! I saw all those tracers at night coming up at you in a steady stream, & you guys just held the course until you located Charlie, & called in the heavy artillery! ! I’m really proud of you guys!!
    Welcome home!

  145. Dean Egner says:

    I was in the 147 LEM, 59 Sig BN from Jan 8 1968- Aug 2 1969. I was a field radio repairman working on ANGRC-106, SSB, VHF and any radios needing repair. Was one of the men who was dispatched to the Ammo dump the night VC sappers hit during TET of ’68. Most of our company personnel were drink due to company party that night. Our Maintenance shop was located on the perimeter next to the 5th Army ammo dump and one of the vehicle/APC/Tank washes. After ’68 TET they extended the perimeter and built bunkers along the perimeter. We were not very far from the Amphitheater theater where Bob hope came in ’68. I lost 95% of my pictures in a house fire in ’80. I have forgotten so much and memory is fading fast due to high BP for 20 years.

    • Eugene G. Helfrich says:

      Phillip “Dean” Egner, I remember you and a lot of the guys from radio platoon. Send me an email to eugenegh49@yahool.com We can jog each others memories. Eugene G. Helfrich (147th LEM Co. APO 96491 Radio Platoon, Apr.69-Dec.70)

  146. Alan janus says:

    Hi Dean. I was also assigned to 147 /59th signal I was one of the guys with Fletcher Nance to go sweep through the ammo dump the next day….. I remember the party the night before if I’m not mistaken they were Australian with two girls I hope you’re in good health I lost my brother last year who served in Vietnam two years prior to me from agent orange

  147. Eugene G. Helfrich says:

    Dean, and Alan I was attached to the 147th LEM Co. / 59th Signal my name is Eugene Helfrich (31E20) Radio Platoon. I got there in April 69 thru Dec. 70. We worked and repaired the same equipment. I was wondering if you (Dean) worked in our radio shop’s Quality Control Section with Ed Gibson,(Terkian)sp. I remember Schmidt, Garcia, Bovanet Lackmann Barret, Ems, SSG Vause who were senior guys getting short, when I got there. Dan Love was in the company too and was there during Tet and the and the ammo dump explosion. I pulled some guard duty with him. Dan had his personal AK47 He took it out on guard duty. I remember he had full auto M2 Carbine too. I can’t remember his MOS but started a company band latter on. I had posted some information on reply 114. I hope some names may bring back some memories.
    Welcome Home! Take Care and God Bless!
    Eugene G. Helfrich

  148. Mike - LIRight says:

    I Troop, 2nd Plt., 3/11th ACR

    I started reading the article above and then the comments. I was “there” 10/67 to mid May ’68. Sent home early via NVA RPG that KIA three members of my crew. I was on the .50 – that’s why I survived.

    Don’t know why I’m writing – except so much info I’ve forgotten I am reminded of reading here – the ammo dump, towns and village names, dates, etc.

    Great info herein….but it also sucks at the same time.

  149. David McDonell (Sydney) says:

    Dear Bill,
    I have been attempting to locate a member of the USA forces who was serving in Vietnam in 1968. He spent his R&R leave in Sydney and my sister invited him to stay with our family. He accepted but we have lost contact.
    His name is the same as yours.
    I would appreciate your help.
    Regards,David McD.

  150. Joseph Donohue says:

    What I would like to know why in this entire story, not one word is mentioned about the 3rd Security Police and elements of the 12th from Cam Rahn Bay the fought and saved the air base. The battle of Bunker #3 saved that base. So please give us our due, Thank you

  151. Jim Back says:

    Welcome home Mike. I accidentally stumbled on this site as others did. It is very interesting and brings back memories(some good others bad). My MOS was also a heavy equipment operator. And, operated the water truck which supplied water for the mess hall and showers for the 54th ORD and I believe 576th Div. My tour was from Apr 15, 1967 thru Apr 15, 1968. I vividly remember the ammo dump explosion and searching for satchel charges of which many had no experience. Do you remember a Gene Neihart (Spokane, Wa) or TJ Tahalah(Tiwan) also truck drivers? I reside in Cincinnati, Oh. WELCOME HOME! Looking forward to hearing from you.

  152. Jim Waugh says:

    Found this site by accident, I was in Long Binh 66-67(missed tet) I was in 9th trans abn car. I would like to hear from anybody from my unit there during that time. I do remember the ammo dump being hit sometime in 66. Quite impressive and scary! I have been trying to find out anything about my unit as it seems to have disbanded after Vietnam. Also looking for Al Rollins who was in the 11th Cav. Reach me by e-mail: jimwaugh@yahoo.com

  153. Tim Carrier says:

    I was a crewchief of the commanders F-100 acft assigned to the 531st
    TFS at Bien Hoa from Jan 69 to Jan 70. Remember the TET offensive very well. We had spent many nights under attack but this one I will never forget. There was so much stuff coming in and so close to our bunker that I can remember guys digging holes in the sand like ostriches for fear we would get a direct hit [even their efforts were in vain].You could have held a church service because there was a lot of praying going on. Then a rocket hit the motor pool yard with a direct hit on the oxygen welding tanks. I can’t recall how long it lasted but it was most of the night. The next morning was a mess-we also heard that the base had been penetrated by VC. Interested to hear from anyone in my unit. Remember the 21ft python we had for a mascot. Have numerous agent orange issues. The VA won’t recognize any of them until I am diagnosed with cancer. The price we pay for our country.

  154. Steve Caliendo says:

    Hey Tim Carrier, I think you have your dates wrong, the big Tet offensive was in the end of January 68 not 69. Now, I know that in February 69 Bien Hoa air base got hit for a few days near the end of February, are you talking about that? I don’t quite remember it the way you do and the way you said it was, and I was there.

  155. Tim Carrier says:

    Hey Steve:
    I am talking about the offensive in late Feb. 69. We were hit extremely hard and it changed my life forever. I have a copy of the magazine called “grunt” with a full picture of Bien Hoa on that night in Feb. The oxygen tanks for welding got a direct hit which was quite the fireworks. The attack lasted 3 to 4 hours

    • Steve Caliendo says:

      I kinda figured that was what you were talking about. I was stationed at Bien Hoa with the 190th Assault Helicopter Company. After flying CA’s during the day we would have to pull perimeter guard at night, I was on guard duty when they attacked and caught them coming through the wire, and yes the base was penetrated from underground through a tunnel we started receiving fire from inside the base. The dates were Feb 23 through 26th. I went home the middle of March 69.

  156. Liela says:

    My father was Sgt. John Edward Ishman from Clarendon,Pa. He was a heavy equip. operator with the 9th Supply and Transport Battalion.

    He enlisted in Vietnam from 1963 and did 3 tours when he was killed in Bien Hoa on Feb 22 1968. I grew up in foster care BUT always knew John…when he came home on leave he always brought me gifts and saw to me….my bio mother was 15 yrs old in 1958 when I was born…..stuff like that was not acceptable….I am looking for anyone who may have known my dad…thanks in advance!
    BTW..John was NOT ever married.

  157. Liela says:

    if you were chaplain would you have memories of deaths other then war casualties? Its been written and told to me..that my father Sgt. John Edward Ishman died from a self inflicted wound…I have another post here….I am looking for any info re/ my dad. He died Feb. 22nd 1968.
    Anything will be appreciated.

  158. re/ Sgt John Edward Ishman says:

    Clarendon Pa. Eng. Corps served from 1963 to death in Feb 1968. 9th Batalion Heavy construction operator 62E MOS Group. He was in Bien Hoa at time of death . and unspecified op. any help finding anyone who knew my father or who may have info would be great. Thanks to all of you for serving our country.
    Liela Hunt Sevcik (Ishman)

  159. John says:

    I looked up your father’s name on The Virtual Wall which has the profiles of all those that are on The Wall. I saw that he was promoted posthumously to Sgt. I doubt that he would have been promoted if he had taken his own life.. Cause of death is listed as other causes which means it wasn’t by the enemy.. Other causes could be anything from drowning to a motor vehicle wreck to being shot by accident by one of our soldiers. Friendly fire is unfortunately part of war. Anytime you have that many tired stressed out people with loaded weapons accidents are going to happen. .. Sorry I couldn’t help more. Remember the good times with your dad and be proud he served his country.

  160. Joe Walsh (SSG) says:

    I was there that night Company B… Hurricane VHF Site. 122 kind of tore things up for a bit however, the 4.2 counter mortar set up inside a 113 track got a good read on the location of incoming 122’s and I believe the first round out, got the launch area… no more incoming 122’s The village across the street form site was full of NVA and was happy to see the 9th and 11th CAV show up kick ass, no names!

  161. Joe Walsh (SSG) says:

    Mr. Baker, I (SSG Joe Walsh) was also there through Tet 68 and I did have a few photos of Tet activity around 53rd SIG AOA however, All lost during last move. I would like to have any photos you would like to share

  162. re/ Sgt John Edward Ishman says:

    My father Sgt. John Edward Ishman died Feb 22 1968 in Bien Hoa. I would be interested in seeing your pictures. I have learned a great deal by reading thru all of these comments and posts…between many tears I have gotten to know my father and what really happened on the day he died…any other info from you or other soldiers would be deeply appreciated…that was my fathers 3rd or 4th tour. Anyone is welcome to contact me.

  163. re/ Sgt John Edward Ishman says:

    You are the 1st and only person to EVER tell me that….but in my heart I knew he would not have left me to grow up with strangers! He was a good father…I was 10 yrs old and 6 weeks when he died. I am so happy you spoke/wrote the words I needed to hear for so many years! My dad was a hero to me…while I was born to a 15 yr old who abandoned me..HE never did…he knew where I was and saw me when ever he had a leave..bringing gifts…taking me to a movie and holding my hand….I knew when I went into foster care in 1968…he was never coming home…..YOU Sir have made more sense of my dads death then anyone ever has. I will never be able to thank you enough for those words!

  164. Trinh Tran says:

    Hello, I am looking for my father Ken Smith who was in Bien Hoa from 1965-1967/1968. My father was in Son Cao Hospital when I was born in December, 1966.
    Please contact trishmix@yahoo.com if you can help.
    Thank you in advance.

  165. william yonanjr says:

    My father William Yonan Jr ” Hiawatha” is looking for info on when he stepped foot in Vietnam. 11th ACR HHTroop Spec. 4 Operation TET. Please if anyone with Info get back to me ASAP for Va claim purposes . eyonan76@gmail.com Thank You all

  166. pablofiasco says:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/77fa0f912ec363a9c5be7aac8a55ed374470008dfe400d484cee3fd22e176f22.jpg just wanted to share, Pic of my Dad at Bein Hoa, 1968 is the date on the photo, he was Airforce Security Police there

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