An Khe Pass

Looking down the road from the An Khe pass

Currently QL19 is a beautiful route from the coastal town of Qui Nhon west over the “Dragon’s Back” to the western part of the country all the way up to Pleiku.  A part of this route is the An Khe pass, which for US forces during the war was one of the most dangerous chokepoints for supply convoys.

The pass was an essential convoy route from the coastal port of Quy Nhon to the US bases in An Khe and around Pleiku  The route not only provided the topographical challenge of steep and winding mountain roads, but also provided the PAVN and VC forces ideal ambush locations. These forces were determined to cut off this critical supply route.

View from the An Khe Pass

Various iconic markers remain to this day. A tower of most likely French origin, sits on top of the pass on the southern side of the road.

JT

 

How to get there

Driving along the QL19 one will go through the pass. It starts about 55 kilometers west of Quy Nhon and the drive itself is about 5 kilometers from the foot of the mountain ridge to the top of the pass.

 

Back to II Corps >>>

49 thoughts on “An Khe Pass”

  1. Reading the above comments brings back a lot of memories for me. I was a platoon leader in C Troop of the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry, and later the commander of C Troop, stationed at RSB Buffalo (a reduced perimeter of the old Camp Radcliffe) in 1970-71. Keeping QL19 open and secure between the An Khe Pass and the Mang Yang Passes was our main mission. C Troop spent very little time at RSB Buffalo as we were used as the swing troop which was assigned many challenging missions including a period of time being Opcon to the Vietnamese 3rd ARVN Cavalry in an area of operation between the Mang Yang pass and Pleiku out of LZ Black Hawk, located not too far from Dead Man’s Curve. Reading all the comments about the An Khe Pass brings back a memory when C Troop was the last combat force to leave the An Khe Area of operations and travel through the very dangerous An Khe Pass under the watchful eye of John Paul Vann who was at the An Khe Pass that day to personally watch history in the making. (More to Follow)

    Don Smith

  2. I was in the 444th trans unie 88th trans co. drove for awhile then was gunner on the back of a jeep , then gunner on 2.5 ton truck. We hauled supplies to Pleiku Quihon and Doctoe , 68 & 69 based out of Ankhe Vietnam. My name is Seaton Hall . Very scary times on the convoys , the passes where hell some times. Thank God for coming back in one piece.

  3. I was stationed at Camp Radcliffe May 66 to May 67 Supply 15th TC. Made multiple scary runs with Capt. Keefer through both passes from AnKhe to Pleiku or QuinHon driving a 3/4 Ton. Thank God for the Korean Roc soldiers (tough dudes. Experienced 2 fire encounters.

  4. If someone recognizes my name and remembers me, e mail me. There was a battle in 1970 , when and where i my mind blocked it out. I know I was MIA for awhile but the Army never acknowledged that . Was a keep gunner with Lt. Pike.

    1. Henry ,
      I think I can help you. I am an archival researcher at the National Archives with over 20 years experience researching military records. I also served in Vietnam 1967-1968.
      Michael Bracey
      micher9@comcast.net

  5. I was at Tigertown 70-71. Part of an Air Force Forward Air Control Team assigned to the Tiger Division. Drove that road many times.

  6. Drove a tank from Pleiku to Quin On down An Khe Pass to be loaded aboard an LSD headed up north. Company D, 65th Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division support tank crewman 1966-1967.

  7. I was in 444th, 27 trans in 68-69, running on gun truck Iron Playpen for convoys An Khe. Definitely wasn’t paved and no guard rails then!

    Anyone remember others in 444? Looking for some buddies I served with.

    1. I was with the 504 and pee Italian out of On K from February 1968 until September 1968 when they sent us up to Camp Evans and Quan Tri. I escorted convoys up and down An Khe Pass and all the way to Mangyang Pass. An Khe pass was paved all the way from An Khe to Quinyon with a Korean post at the top of the pass and a Korean post at the bottom of the pass. No guard rails. Highway 19 was only paved about halfway to Mangyang Yang pass near Ambush Alley. Marv DeMilio

  8. I was a Machine Gunner on one of the Gun Trucks that would assemble in Phu Bai in the early mornings. Myself, Sp Frank Medina Jr, from Pueblo, Co , Sp Stanley Swaksky, the other Machine Gunner from Mt Carmel Pa, and Spc Edmond Cesar M-79 Greanade Launcher from Baton Rough La. We were from the 16th Eng Detachment Camp Granite. We also had some Trk Drivers from my Detach who were also Temp assigned to these convoys, going north to Anh Khe, Pleiku, Kontom, Bon Song, and ChuLai. 1967- 1968. There is a hairpin from Qui Nhon to Anh Khe, and we were ambushed there a few times but most of the ambushes were at Mang Yang Pass vicinity. Doe anyone recall the young Vietnamese boy who would hang out at one of the check points maintained by the 4th ID, He was loaded down with Sachel charges and blew the bunker where they would let him read comics. He went by the name of Peter. The VC set him up to commit the suiscid because His sister was raped and parents were being held captive

  9. went along that road 19 from Quy Nhon to Pleiku in 1994 with 2 cavalry veterans, stopped at the Mang Yang pass for refreshments on route,
    Cavalry veteran ‘Bud’ from original Cavalry arrival team 1965 was thirsty.
    There was a hut constructed from Bamboo, timber, thatch, dust and dirt which served as the cafe. On the shelf covered in dust from the war years were some bottles of what appeared to be beer, Bud reached over grabbed one hand scraped of the dust confirmed it was beer, opened it and proceeded to drink the contents.
    Pure bravery if ever I did see bravery.
    Gary Owen

  10. Was sent to An Khe in August of 67 unassigned. I was sent to 66th Petroleum Convoy Co as a temp assignment. First day I was assigned to commo jeep
    w/ XO and driver and designated as M-60 gunner. We were in the middle of a huge convoy…JP4, Kerosene, gas and diesel. When we were approaching Meng Yang pass all hell broke loose (not from NVA) as lighter trucks were passing heavier trucks to avoid ambush in the pass. It was crazy. Couldn’t see with all the dust and trucks passing on the left and right to gain position for the climb through the pass to Pleiku. Was transferred to 34th S&S next day and was told the drivers passing all could have been handed Article 15’s. Moved with the 1st Cav to DaNang and Camp Eagle early in 1968…out in September 68.

  11. I ran convoys from QuiNhon to Pleiku every day from May of 67 to June of 68 sitting behind two 60’s in an armored 106 jeep . Got hit constantly and was in the biggest ambush at least up to that time . Many times we got hit and didn’t know it until getting to our destination because of the truck noise . Ran to KonTum once a week after leaving Pleiku . I remember the pass vividly . Know every bump and mine hole .

  12. Dave Schoeck-71-72 Company A 1/10 Cav we ran road security on east side of Mang Yang pass-lot of enemy activity in those mountains as NVA supply line to south-pretty section of the country but defoiliants made it less hazzardous-unit stood down & we turned basecamp over to SVA n moved to Quin Yon

  13. I was there in 1972 on helicopter fire base for Korean Tiger division.

    i thought the fire base was called An Son between Qui Nhon and Pleiku.

    wonder who else was there

    1. I was at Tigertown 70-71. Part of an Air Force Forward Air Control Team assigned to the Tiger Division. Drove that road many times.

  14. I was there with the 1st cav in 66 and part of 67. I can only remember being back at base camp 2 times for about 1 week at a time. I am not sure which wars where worse, the actual fighting out in the field or the free for alls that would break out back at the bar at base camp!!

  15. I ran security on convoy escorts in a V-100 with the 66th Military Police Co. out of Phu Tai. Made many escorts through the pass, mostly in 1970!! I wrote an article that was published in Vietnam Magazine August 2008 about our procedure if any one is interested!! Convoy Escort Service Extrordinare is the title and can be found on google using this title. My title I wanted was Convoy Escort V-100 style but the magazine changed the title, no problem.

    1. Dave;
      I drove a 2 1/2 ton of supplies up to An Khe via convoy more than once. You may have kept my sorry ass safe back then and for that I thank you, Brothers always, Don Lomax.

    2. I was there in 1970 when it was free fire all night long, I remember the suicides from soldiers that had, had to much already. I myself was involved in a huge firefight somewhere after taking diesel to a tank battery that had been running out of fuel and were pinned down. When we arrived with the fuel nobody wanted to drive the half tracks to the front to supply the tanks so I jumped in the half track and took the fuel. I must have gotten into some bad shit cause my mind has blocked it all out. Met a fellow once at the V.A. clinic that recognized me and apologized for leaving me behind , he said they thought I had been killed.
      I remember after that wondering in the jungle finally finding my home to a military base where they cut me open and med-evac me home. Nobody knows why I was cut open. Hope someone out there remembers me. Henry Ortiz. Jeer gunner and truck driver…… y’all remember that mountain that Charlie was held up at and that we would shoot at every night.

  16. Ran 3 truck convoys between An Khe, LZ English, an Qiun Yon ( sp ?) at least once a week. Got ambushed on the pass, 9 in our convoy, 2 wounded, 2 killed including our 1st sergeant, spent the night til they come and got us…..173d ABN ..68-69

  17. There was another pass on the section between Qui Nhon and An Khe that was also a favorite for occasional ambush. Anyone remember the name of that pass??

  18. I remember this pass well. I was with the 61st and the 129th AHC from Lane Army Field . The helicopter I was a door gunner on was shot down trying to get into Hill 638 on a resupply mission, it was April 27, 1972, lost four souls that aweful day, lucky myself and one other door gunner survived.

  19. I know this pass very well. Was with the 88th trans. Company in Ankhe from June 69 to Sept 70. Drove gun truck along with John Kaufman and Bobby Ray Smith. John drove “PANDEMONIUM”, BOBBY drove “SATAN’S CHARIOT”, and I drove “LIME FIRE”..

    1. I was with the 88 from July 68 until July 69. Ran a convoy every day from An Khe to Pleiku and on occasion to Quin On.
      Not exactly my favorite time of life. Lived in the first barracks from the direction of the road as it came through the gate.

    2. I was 50 cal tail gunner on Satans Chariot gun truck Jan 70 til Mar 71. Sims was NCOIC. Several drivers,and gunners came and went during that time. Stump, Kamien, Stryffler, Smitty, and more whose names i forget after these 51 years

  20. I moved along hwy 19 through this pass many times. Came so close to becoming a KIA in the pass by friendly fire while trying to help the USMC in Oct 1965.

  21. Was on gun trucks snoopy with 444 Trans. What is your Nam from July 70 to February 1972 made many trips up AN KHE AND MAG YANG PASS. They could’ve hit us every day if they wanted to pull them big tankers around a hairpin you’re lucky if you’re doing five or 10 miles an hour. A friend of ours from Brutus was killed 23rd of February 1971 Larry doll DEHL he was a water the medal of honor for saving the lives of the rest of his troops on the gun truck met a lot of good guys over there it’s a shame a lot of them didn’t come home !!!!! It was a political war. And the young soldiers died And the young soldiers died. RONALD ROESER. ST LOUIS MISSOURI. ☮️🇺🇸

  22. I ran the pass in 66-67 5 ton tankers then 2.5 trucks

    The road was not paved and the hair pin was a bitch in the rain pulling a load

    My truck broke down and I spent a night with the Koreans who took me in

    We ran many runs at night one to five unescorted so we
    Enjoyed the Cabernet down on the flat before the climb

  23. I rode shotgun on a duece &1/2 thru the an khe pass in 1968. The 3rd brigade of the 4th Inf Div moved from LZ Baldy to Pleiku and I was lucky enough to be along on the adventure. It was scary and hairy! Just glad to know that some of us still think about it.

    1. Sept. 22, 1967 we were going back late 17 KIA one was my shotgun rider in AIT and a few trips on hwy 19 we had over 150+ 5-ton trucks. We only had a Jeep
      in front of convoy and one in the rear so it took some time for the help to come. After that we got gun trucks as lot of different tran. co. were in the same convoy.
      The length of convoys was reduced to about half. I was in the 57th trans. Later in the 563rd.

  24. My uncle, a Korean veteran of the Capital ‘Tiger’ Division was stationed there during the battle of April, 1972.

    1. I ran convoys on the pass in 1971 and I had great respect for the Tiger Division. They had a fire base on top of the pass and after they established it the action of ambushes decreased tremendously.

    2. Just got back from a wonderful trip to Viet Nam. I ran convoys on Highway 19 thru the pass in 1970. The Tiger Division had a fire base on top of the pass and when they established it the rate of ambushes decrease substantially. I had great respect for them. It was hard to recognize the pass now with clear cuts and power lines running through it.

      1. Thank you for your comment David. I am happy you enjoyed your trip back to Vietnam. Did you recognize the French bunkers and watchtower on the top of the pass?

    3. V-100 platoon of 560th MPCo,escorted convpys daily Quinhonto

      pleiku,1971,1972

      v-100 plat00n 0fhn of 560th MP Co escorted convoys daily Quinhon to pass and AnKhe passes back to the coastMangYang passes very dangerous areas

      pleiku

      ]leiku

  25. I was with the 1st cav in 66 and 67. We maintained a fm radio relay station on the top of an khe pass. Perhaps in the same location of the radio tower, although I do not remember a radio tower.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.