An Hoa Combat Base

The 8th of March 1965 US Marines landed on the beaches of Da Nang. These were the first official combat units that were sent to Vietnam. Their initial task was to provide security for the Da Nang airbase. Starting out, the Marines established a stationary defense around the base that reacted to threats and attacks. As time went on, it was clear that a more effective way of protecting the airbase was to start patrolling the areas west and south west to clear out any threats before they could reach the airbase.

Runway at An Hoa Combat Base

Over time the need also grew for more permanent presence in order to pacify these areas. The An Hoa Combat Base was first used in January 1966 during Operation Mallard as the Marines needed a firebase in support of the operation. Later during that year, in April, the base was used again and it was at this time it became a permanent installation.


Base area at An Hoa Combat Base

Over the years the base grew and incorporated large Marine units as well as a 1000 meter runway able to take the large C130 transport aircraft. The base was located south of the Thu Bon river which marked the southern border of what was called the Arizona Territory.


The base as such covers a large area, parts of it has developed in to an industrial zone today, but most of it is more or less untouched. The runway is in decent condition and is possible to drive on. Locals use it as a road. At the east end of the runway are a couple of craters and some dug out areas that seem to be from the era. The old chopper pad at about the center of the runway is now covered with trees.

South of the west end of the runway are remnants of concrete structures, perhaps command bunkers. According to some accounts it was here at the western perimeter, that PFC Dan Bullock was killed in 1969 during an attack on the base, making him the youngest American casualty of the war. other accounts have the event at a smaller outpost a bit north west near the river.

Concrete structures at An Hoa Combat Base

The Arizona Territory saw large concentrations of PAVN and Viet Cong troops during the whole war, especially up around ”Charlie Ridge” in the north west part of the area. North of the river are also located Hill 65 and Hill 37 in Dai Loc, the remnants of the Victory Bridge are just a few kilometers north east of the base.

Victory Bridge

A few kilometers south of the base, across the mountain ridges is the Que Son Valley with plenty of old firebases including LZ Baldy and LZ Ross that are also very interesting to visit. The Antenna Valley is located across the pass to the west from the Que Son Valley.

Driving around these areas will give you a good idea of how the war was fought in this very strategic part of the country. Countless of operations were launched to clear the areas and small firebases were established all across the place. Only in Que Son Valley there were at least fifteen firebases on different sites at some point in time.

Looking south towards Que Son mountains

For the general traveler there are certainly reasons to visit the area. The My Son temples are located just a few kilometers south east from An Hoa Combat Base. This complex of temples were being built over the course of almost 1000 years. About a third of the temples are still standing in various condition. Time has taken its toll as well as the war. With ready built structures the temples were used by the VC forces as a hide out and served as a launch point for their operations against the An Hoa Combat Base and other targets in the area. This meant that on at least one occassion the area was bombed by US jets as they tried to drive out their enemy.

My Son Temples

Overall we really recommend a visit to this old base. We believe it might be interesting also for the general traveler thanks to its proximity to other interesting tourist destinations and to Hoi An. It is one of the most convenient ways to see one of the large combat bases and understand a bit of how the Marines fought during the war.



How to get there

Getting to the base is very easy. Only 25 kilometers west of Hoi An it is a half day trip for those who are interested in discovering a legendary US Marine Corps base. Get on a rented motorbike if you have a driver’s license or take a taxi out here.

Decimal coordinates: 15.787721 108.077795

21 thoughts on “An Hoa Combat Base”

  1. I was Army, my 8/4 Battalion of 175mm guns OpCon 3rd Marines up on he DMZ. But my B Battery had been split off from the battalion on arrival in Vietnam and placed in a defensive position near Da Nang. During Tet ’69, my battery split, with two guns staying put near Da Nang and the other two with me, XO, at An Hoa Combat Base. We were positioned at the far end of the airstrip from the ammo dump, that was blown by NVA sappers in Feb (?) ’69. I was great working for the Marines, both in and around Da Nang, An Hoa and at FSB C-1 a few miles south of the DMZ just off Hwy 1.

    I’ve been back to Vietnam three times now, easy for me because after the war I worked as a journalist out of Hong Kong for most of 20 years. I did a few weeks in late 2019, treking down through the Laotian mountains bordering Vietnam. Beautiful country Laos.

    Google “Guns of the DMZ” for more on my 8/4 Battlion. There are links to other sites there. Click on “Members’ Stories” for a feel of our guys’ lives.

    I have a neighbor who fought with the Marines near An Hoa in ’69. He served as a platoon leader

    Best to all

  2. I was Alpha Co CBMU301 (Seabees) from June67 -Dec-68 – Our main job was taking care of the Base and Runway at An Hoa – we were located on the South End of the Runway — We replace the runway twice while I was stationed there – Lots of Memories — lots of picture I have – Many convoys to DaNang – and only one time across Liberty Bridge – rest of the times were by Marine ferries –
    Thank you so much for the work and pictures you provided — Like I said — a flood of memories —

  3. Thanks for the post and pictures, sure brings back some memories for sure. I was there from Oct 76 to Mar 68 An Hoa and Phu Bai untill med evacked out of country. I never made it back still today after all the years wonder what happened to some of the guys I left behind.
    Thanks again,
    Chuck Eco 2/5

  4. As a USNavy physician, I was assigned as Battalion Surgeon for 2/5 and arrived at An Hoa Combat Base July 26, 1970, three weeks after finishing my internship. The Marines were a really impressive group of men. I ran the 2/5 Battalion Aid Station, and I got to do some medcaps in the surrounding villages. One was to a Bhudist orphanage nearby. The children were healthy there and I remember their straight lines waiting to see us. That night the orphanaged was mortared and overrun with casualties and wounded who were brought to our BAS. Also, I could occasionally rotate out to the Command Post to serve with the Marines in the field. On September 19, 1970, we moved to Baldy.

    1. I too was stationed at An Hoa with H&S. from Nov 69 to Aug 70. I left in Aug of 70 as a part of the initial move back to Danang. I recall that orphanage which was in front of Bravo Sector where we had a line of bunkers. I also recall hearing that after we turned An Hoa over to the ARVN’s the VC came right through the orphanage, and attacked the base. We would not have allowed this to happen if we had been there still.
      At the time I was there we had the NVA come on our radio net and tell us they would have complete control of Liberty Bridge and our CO told us we were surrounded by 5000 NVA Regulars. Not sure how true it was, but do know that for the next three days/nights we lit up the valley with air strikes, 175mm Cannon and even the New Jersey firing from the Gulf.
      Ahhh the Memories!!!

      Semphi Fi
      Sgt T. Golden

      1. Thanks for your comment Tom. It really adds to the historical context of the base. I am happy you made it out.


  5. I Served at An Hoa with 2/5, in January 1967 to 15 January 1968. From An Hoa 2/5 moved to Phu Bai just on time for Hue City. I was the FO attached to Echo 2/5.

    1. Thank you for your comment Michael. I am glad you made it out. I hope you enjoyed seeing some pictures from the area. Remember to check out the Hue City article on this website also, you might recognize a few places.


    3. I was with Echo also 67-68… Oct to March when evaced out of country. Remember the move north quite well.
      The many convoy escorts to liberty bridge and back, lost quite a few Marines on those, mines and booby traps,

  6. I remember while serving at An Hoa that 2 nurses were abducted from the Hospital by the VC and when my tour of duty was over in Aug. 69 they had never been found….

    1. I was with the 5th Marines in An Hoa area 11/68 – 4/69. I read years later in a book about Robert Garwood that some nurses and doctors from a German hospital were brought in to the camp where he was being held, just west of the An Hoa base. I read subsequent to that that some made it, at least one died.
      The An Hoa Basin, as it was in ’69, will always be with me.

      1. I served with CHARLIE 1/5 during TET 68-69 i was a machine gunner in the AZ VALLEY IT WAS THE VALLEY OF DEATH

        SEMPER FI

      2. I was with Echo during that time frame, 2nd platoon i believe it was. I carried the radio for most of my time there, not exactly a smart move on my part.

    2. I was there when the nurses were abducted. I saw them once in the mess hall. I was with 2/5 Flames August 68-August 69

  7. is the german hospital still standing by the river on the way to liberty bridge from an hoa combat base. it was just down from a fire support base across road from a ville. is there organized travel available to an hoa, liberty bridge area or go noi island.

    1. Hi Leslie. Thanks for your comment. Not sure about the hospital. I don’t know about the hospital building between An hoa and the bridge. The road is still there so possible to travel along. About traveling there. There are groupd travels but they tend to only stay at one location for maximum a day. If you want to travel back and spend some time there, I suggest you arrange it yourself. I can be of help with some suggestions. We have helped, without cost, several veterans and history travelers to find their way around the country. Drop me an email on


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