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.

JT

 

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

51 thoughts on “An Hoa Combat Base”

  1. Was assigned to Bravo Company. 1/5 Third Platoon, USMC An Hoa Base, as A “Grunt” Marine, from October 1968 to November 1969. Participated in many combat operations. Would like to know the name of the area on the map, where Operation Mead River and Operation Arizona Territory took place?? If any one knows. I was there.

    1. That area was known to us as “Dodge City” located about 10-12 miles South of Danang. Harvey 3/5

  2. I was a 2nd Lt, 2nd Platoon Commander, Bravo Co, 1st Tks at An Hoa from Setpember 1968 until April 1969. 4th Plt was also at An Hoa, We had 10 tanks split between An Hoa and Liberty Bridge. Mostly we were on perimeter duty at night and road sweeps during the morning. Did make it to the Goi Noi Island; bad place! Yes, the German hospital was outside the gate on the way up to Liberty Bridge. The doctors and nurses would regularly eat in the 5th Marines mess hall.

  3. I was a Navy Corpsman with Delta 1/5 in ’68-’69. A platoon corpsman in the field and then at 1/5 BAS Liberty Bridge for 4 months (still remember the night we were overrun) and served last 3 months at the BAS 1/5 at An Hoa.
    I often went to W. German hospital many times (the let us use their autoclaves to sterilize our large surgical packs). During an attack on our base two of the German male nurses where driving their white painted (with red cross) jeep near the village and where attacked and one was killed and the seriously wounded. There was a stone monument built at the spot.
    I have good and bad memories of my service in the area. The Marines and Corpsman I served with were all incredible men. My best friend (we grew up together and both became Corpsman and went to Vietnam together} was killed while we were on patrols in the valley.

    1. Hey Ronald ( Doc). 19-March-69, FSB Phu Loc 6 . I was with the Engneers that operated the ferry there and was located just across the river from where you were when your position was over run . New one of the KIA ( Gunny, Floyd Keffe) . Also Corpsman David Ray ,also KIA , received the MOH for his actions that night. Bad night at The Bridge. Semper Fi.Doc!

    2. I was at An Hoa for much of 1967. Was part of the LSU (Logistics Support Unit). We were bulk fuel, ammo, radio relay, etc. I was rations. We were near the BAS. Lived in a tent and used tents to store rations for the mess hall as well as C-rats. Had a pet monkey who helped keep the rats off us at night. Not sure why that worked. With all those food stores, the rats were huge. They’d chew right through the tins. We’d pull bunker duty and convoy runs to/from Da Nang over Liberty Bridge.

      Will always admire the grunts and docs who did so much!

  4. I was at An Hoa 69 70, attached to 2/11 Hq, field radio operator. Worked FDC, then sent to 2/5 to work with them at the other end of the base. Then sent to Delta battery hill 65. With recon for 1 month on top of some mountain top with a 1st Lt. forward observer to watch over a big valley that had been cleared out, to call in arty if we spotted anything. Don’t know why I was always sent to odd places, other radio operators mostly got to stay same place the whole tour. Found an old bugle and they sent a chopper to An Hoa to pick me up to play taps at a ceremony for a fallen Marine in Danang. Hard to believe Liberty Bridge, An Hoa look so different, not much left.

    1. I was a Scout Sergeant with various battery’s in 2/11 attached out to 3/5. I spent most of my time with India or Lima Companies but spent some time with Kilo, H&S and the CAP Co. HQ on Hill-37. I became a Cobra pilot and retired as a LtCol in 94.

  5. Can anyone tell me about the disposition of Hill 300.
    I was on Hill 300 in 1967. We would rotate there from Mortars 3/11, based at Hill 55.
    Once, instead instead of evacuation by chopper we went to An Hoa and caught a C-123.
    I was surprised by how many civilians with chickens and pigs got on with us!
    I saw a C-123 at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. A docent who was familiar with the history of the air craft told me that the plane had been flown of An Hoa at the same time period that I was flown out of An Hoa!

    1. Hill 300 (Razorback Ridge) was in Northern I Corps West of Camp Carrol and from what I gather, it is nearly flattened due to the Vietnamese mining of the rock for roads and other construction.

  6. I was with Mike 4/11, a 155mmSP battery in late 68 to May of 70. I think we called it the Rocket Capital of the World, lol.

  7. I was a radio relay operator at An Hoa in fall of 69,we were next to the air traffic control tower.I remember those 175mm guns.The mess hall served peanut butter,jelly, bread,and warm goofy grape kool aid every evening!
    SEMPER-FI

  8. Hi Jonas, regarding the hospital, I read on another site that the hospital was located just south of the compound near a lake,if that helps. The lake might have been called Alligator Lake . There was a refugee camp at Duc-Duc near the river between An- Hoa and Liberty Bridge that was later over run . It was operated by the Maltese and the nurses would visit there from time to time. Wade. E- 2/5 69-71

    1. Alligator lake was over the small ridge to the southeast near Go Noi island. I recall referring to the lake where the German hospital was located as Spider lake. Duc Duc was just outside the west gate of F 2/11 towards the song Thu Bon. I was a Artillery Scout/Sgt attached to 3/5 July 69 to July 70.

  9. I was assigned to H&S 2/5 in An Hoa from July 1967 to December. Colonel Ernie Cheatham was our battalion commander. We moved from An Hoa to Phu Bai in December 67 and then into Hue during TET. I remember going up to Hue in December to visit a buddy and at that time the city was untouched and beautiful. That didn’t last long unfortunately. I do remember the IOWA firing block busters over our heads.
    My best friend wound up at Khe Sahn during TET and over the years we had our share of alcohol talking about who had it worst. We always argued that the other guy had it worse.
    In An Hoa I do remember seeing the German Hospital from my area. As I recall it was a white building about a mile or so away. One time a few of the nurses walked through our area and I just stood there and gawked.

    Thanks for sharing the pictures. If I ever get there, I hope I can figure out about where my bunker was.

    1. Hello Mike. Thank you for your comment. I am happy you made it out. Did you also read the Hue article here on the website? There will be a few places you remember there as well.

      I have heard about the German hospital from others as well. I wish I could figure out where it was.

  10. I have spent a few days visiting the various web sights searching for anything I can find on An Hoa Combat Base and yours has been very helpful, I was there in ’69-70. Finally, my image of An Hoa can be put to rest after seeing all the changes to the former combat base. Thanks for posting!

  11. Served as a Seabee 67/68 served at An Hoa combat and the Liberty bridge. I remember being shot at alot and also having a sense of purpose. I love some Marines (my shortfall lol)

    1. Hey Michael, I served as a combat engineer and was assigned to the Liberty Bridge from mid 68 to early 69 and maintained and operated the pontoon ferry while the Seabees were building bridge #2 . I was there March69 when Phu -loc 6 was over run. The one Seabee Ican remember had handlebar mustache and was nicknamed “Gunsmoke”. LibertyBridge was not a boring place to be. Always busy. Harry 7th Eng. 1st Bridge Co.

  12. 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
    there.

    Best to all

  13. 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 —

  14. 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

  15. 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.

        Jonas

      2. I remember that like yesterday. We did a Medcap at the orphanage the day before. Went back the next day. Many children killed. I have pictures of the before and after. Visions never leave my Ming. Why an orphanage?

    2. I went on that Medcap with you at the Buddhist Orphanage. Dr Donald Turner DDS and I. I have a pictures of that Medcap. The next day we went back and saw the carnage. Young orphans killed laying out on the front of the temple. I believe one Monk was killed. Vivid image in my mind.

    3. Dr. Faust, I was with you and Dr. Donald Turner, DDS on the medcap that day. I have pictures before and after. That night the orphanage was mortared and VC in our lines at An Hoa. Went back the next day. So many orphans killed. Forever in my mind

    4. I as with you Dr. Faust that day with Dr. Donald Turner DDS. I have pictures of that day and the day after. That night the orphanage was mortared and VC tried to get through our lines at An Hoa. See so many orphans killed after we treated their smiling faces will forever be in my mind

  16. 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.

    2. I served with CHARLIE 1/5 from 68-69 came away with two Purple HEARTS AND LOST A FEW GOOD MARINES THE AZ VALLEY WAS THE VALLEY OF DEATH SEMPER FI GLAD YOU MADE IT BACK

    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,

  17. 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

  18. 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 namwartravel@gmail.com

      Jonas

    2. I spent nearly a year at the Liberty Bridge , Phu- Loc (6) area . Escorted many mine sweeps between Phu-Loc (6) and An-Hoa. Never saw a hospital. I do remember a place that we called the Alamo with a refugee camp near by , but that was it. Harvey Wade. E- 2/5 69-71

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *