Ben Het Special Forces Camp

Ben Het Special Forces Camp, located in what was once one of the most dangerous places on earth; the tri-border area between Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos,  was placed there on purpose in order to monitor movements in the area and to fend off intruders infiltrating across the border. Originally there was a tribal village on the site.

Runway at Ben Het

This is an encouraging site to visit as the runway is still there and possible to drive or walk down. The base as such was located on a set of hills overlooking the valley that stretched towards the border area. These hills are just north of the runway and it is possible to walk up them and move around where the old base was. There are also some remains of the old berms and fighting positions further down in the valley.

Ben Het, looking up at the hills where the base was located.

Special Forces teams led countless missions from the base across the borders to Laos And Cambodia in order to perform reconnaissance and combat missions on the Ho Chi Minh trail. Right across the border in to Cambodia the mountains formed natural routes leading in to Vietnam which were heavily used by the PAVN forces. The Green Berets overlooking the heavy traffic inside the Cambodian border could find themselves in situations where they could see the heavy traffic of men and material infiltrating Vietnam but were unable to report back as they had to stay dead silent in order not to compromise their positions.

Ben Het has the distinct honor of being one of the few places during the Vietnam War where a tank against tank battle took place. This happened in March 1969 when PAVN forces reinforced with armor engaged the troops at the camp resulting in the destruction of tanks on both sides. One Vietnamese tank was also by chance hit by US artillery as it approached the base.



How to get there

Today, the area is easily reached via the main road stretching west from Plei Can, west of Dak To. A visit here is a must for anyone traveling between Kon Tum and Kham Duc along the Ho Chi Minh Highway. The eastern edge of the runway brushes up against this road and can be easily accessed during the periods when logging companies are not utilizing it. Like many other areas staying on established trails decreases the likelihood of encountering any old unexploded ordnance. Located so close to the borders with Laos and Cambodia the area is often closed for foreigners to visit so we recommend any travelers to contact the local police in Plei Can or Kon Tum should they want to visit.

South of this location are the sites of the famous battles of Hill 875, Hill 724 and the NVA incursion during November of 1967. Many of those hills can also be accessed via the smaller roads.


Decimal coordinates 14.688, 107.661


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52 thoughts on “Ben Het SF Camp”

    1. I have approved your post now. Great video. Very informative. You should join our Facebook group Vietnam War History Travel

      Your videos would be well received there as well.

      Jonas, founder of

  1. I sure would like to hear from some of my plt guys in c. company 299 Eng Bn
    that were there around Jan/68 to FEB 68. plt sgt Eads plt leader Lt Reed

  2. My name is Mike fleming..I was assigned to the 57th AHC from 4-68 to 12-69.. in kontum..flew many missions to dak to and Ben het..neither place was totally friendly..

  3. I was in A co. 4th engineers. Was at Ben Het May of 68 with a dozer, leveling areas for artillery. Too be used against Russian tanks. My company also put anti tank mines between Ben Het and the border at that time. So we knew a year ahead that the tanks were there.

    1. I arrived in country June 18, 68 and was assigned to Co. A, 4th Division Engineers. My platoon had put in land mines around Ben Het before I arrived. I was on FB 32 over looking Ben Het.

  4. My name Larry Puckett. Charlie Co 4th Infantry Div. Radioman. Was on Ben Het during the siege. In the command bunker with the Captain and my lieutenant. My call sign niner 9er. Relayed for the artillery 4th inf. Remember under heavy fire had to replace radio antenna so communication could be maintained. Was proud then and still proud to have served with all the men on top of that hill. Ben Het never to be forgotten

  5. My name Larry Puckett. Charlie Co 4th Infantry Div. Radioman. Was on Ben Het during the siege. In the command bunker with the Captain and my lieutenant. My call sign niner 9er. Relayed for the artillery 4th inf. Remember under heavy fire had to replace radio antenna so communication could be maintained. Was proud then and still proud to have served with all the men on top of that hill. Ben Het never to be forgotten

  6. I was the second platoon leader of B Company,1/69 Armor stationed at Dak To when we escorted the first convoy to Ben Het. This was prior to Tet and the “road” was little more than a bicycle path originating at Dak To. B Company was the only US unit to engage NVA tanks during the conflict and we provided reaction forces, convoy and bridge security in the Central Highlands. We lost approximately thirty percent of our tank crews in combat. All Good Men!

    1. Michael, thank you for your comment and the insight you share. I am very happy you made it out. I would love to hear more of your story. If you like to share more, then send me an email on [email protected] I am always trying to learn more as it helps me understand the war better and also helps me to understand the sites I visit better. I try to make more real stories told, it is one of the reasons I started this website.

      /Jonas, founder of

  7. Hi Brothers Welcome Home. I was at BenHet B Btry 6/14 Arty Jan 1970 Until deacttivation Oct 970. Iwas in Gun Section 3 175 .I would like to find Rodger Toney From WV . Thanks again welcome home

  8. My name is Jim House and I was the company clerk of 6/14 Battery B upon arriving from Dak-to until Dec 1968. I lived in the FDC center. Would like to hear from past members of Battery B who I served .

  9. I WAS PART OF THE 4/60th Dusters 68/69 . I Remember the trail up to mountain where we guarded base from.

  10. I was on FB 29, at the end of the valley closer to the tri-border area, and could see Ben Het from the firebase. We had our own troubles, many mortar duels; but, we also watched action occurring at the Special Forces camp. There was an Arc-Light (B52 strike) called in, between the two bases, at one time. We had FB 29 and FB 32 on either side of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, hitting whatever we could, when we could. I was in 1/8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division, at the time. When we were pulled from the area, we moved into the area of Polei Kleng. From the fire into the fire, so to speak.

    1. I was on FB 32 from late June 68 until late Sept 68 with 4th Engineers. Airlifted D6 dozer onto FB to clear and setup defenses.

  11. Today, Apr 17, 2021, and I just now found this website. WELCOME everyone. I was with HHB 1st Bn, 92nd Artillery located at DAK TO, from Jan 1969 to about Jul 1969 when we turned DAK TO, FSB-1, over to the ARVN and we moved down the road to the MACV Compound at TAN CANH.
    I have a website where I have hundreds of pictures, some are mine and some I have collected from others. Feel free to roam and copy anything you want:
    I remained in the Army for 26 years total before retiring in June 1991 (Almost 30 years ago now).
    SALUTE to all of my Vietnam brothers. Job well done by all.
    E. Ray Austin, MSG, USA, Retired

    1. I was KingBee pilot. I am wondering if you know anything about the people who operated the 175 canons in Dakto at that time.

  12. In August 1967, Charlie Company 299 Combat Eng left Dak To AFB headed west to build Ben Het. The first obstacle was to build a float bridge across the Dak Po river. We used the 4th Div Float Bridge Company. Convoy security was 4th Div Inf Mech Company. Upon arriving at the Ben Het site, our D8 dozers cleared the site , dug in positions for the tanks and APCs. My platoon’s job was to build the 1500′ runway and parking apron. Over the next few weeks 155 SP, 8″ SP and 175″ SP joined our camp in support of the 4th Div and 175 Airborne activities along the hills. All the hills had numbers, but the most famous is Hill 875. Much is written on the beating the 175 took on Hill 875 in November 1967. Ben Het was the resupply and forward Aid station for all INF operations. There were some very tough days. On 31 December 1967, we received visitors from USAF. Two Phantoms were providing cover for Ranch Hands, call sign for C123s spraying Agent Orange. The two Phantoms broke off to provide cover for us. Charlie was getting too close to Ben Het. One took fire in an engines and the two pilots ejected. I had the very humble experience of meeting the two pilots last summer. Charlie Company turned over Ben Het to Special Forces in February 1968 and left for our base camp in Plieku.

    1. LT Harmon I have searched all over for c. comp 299 th eng I hope that you could help me fine all the guys that where in ben het I got there in
      01/03 or 04/68 my name is Tony Fonseca my plt Sergeant was Eats my
      squad leader was sgt Wilder. I would like to know what happened to Allen
      Reed? If you could help me I appreciate. thank you. And also I want to say welcome home

  13. I’m Larry Thomas and was attached to the 105 unit, 3/6 arty. I was there in June 69. The night of 6/23 we were hit pretty hard and a sapper put a satchel charge in our bunker at around 3 am. I was on my way to the bunker as I was on my way to relieve my buddy when I heard the explosion. When I finally arrived at the bunker I found one friend was killed and two were wounded. I have never or will forget that night and I can still picture Ben Het.

    1. I was a Sgt. that came over in the middle of the night to help and moved wounded guys to heli- pad on main hill.

    2. Larry, I believe my dad was severely wounded at Ben Het 6-20-69 His name Msgt Mike Oruska 5th SF. Any chance you knew of him.

      1. Mike, my dad, Msgt Ralph Trout of the 5th SF was there with your father. I have a photo of my dad with an unnamed SF Msgt (wearing glasses) and an SFC at Ben Het firing a mortar. Might that be your dad?

  14. I commanded Q-4 radar site during the summer of 1970. The previous site commander had hit a mine on his way back from Pleiku. The man next to him was killed. The only officer that was killed in our entire Target Acquisition battery was killed at Ben Het in 1969. Fortunately for me, it was pretty quiet during the months that I was there. That was after the invasion of Cambodia. I remember seeing the high sun-lite mountains in the distance in the evening. We occupied the highest point on the main hill.

  15. I’m Robert Boyce, and I spent a lot of time at Ben Het with ‘D’ Battery, 5/16 Artillery, 8″ SP. We were set up right off the road next to an ARVN camp, and too our right a 5th SF group. We took a mortar hit on the breech of one of our guns that left a faint but beautiful sunburst pattern, art in war! We called the place ‘Been hit’ because of the rockets and mortars, but far worse for us was Polie Kleng. It rained 122MMs there.

    1. Robert. Thank you for your comment You provide great historical context to the article. Did you see that we have an article on Polei Kleng also on the website? Still lots to see at that camp.

    2. I was at Polie Kleng. North of Kon Tum. THe LZ was named BASS and was a Metal landing strip with 8inch track mounted guns next to it. I recall 122mm rockets coming on the strip. We were in and out on patrols. for a couple weeks. Contacted the NVA in the hills on April 3rd 68 for a 3 day battle. C 2/35, Cacti, 4th ID

      1. Hi Ken. Thank you for your comment. Did you find the article on Poei Kleng here on the website also? We have some photos there of what it looks like today.

  16. I was on west hill as part of a 3 tank detachment from B Troop 1/10 Cav for several weeks during late April May and June in 1968. Does anyone out here remember that?

    1. Yes I was at Benhet in 1968-69 when the T-96 Russian Tanks hit us on that faitful night. North Hill had SP-155’s and they got hit real bad, they didn’t put out any guards only Mantenyards were the protection. They lost 80% of there men I was a part of SF/6th 14th Arty that had to go over in the middle of the night to secure the hill from take over by NVA and to get wounded to main hill,mean while You lost your Tank Commander and in the day light You guys went after NVA Tanks and destroyed them. Not the best night and I don’t blame You guys for going after them dispite the bitching from high command. I was the Commo Sgt. on the main attempting to keep communications between the 3 hills, my guys had to run wires between the hills in the middle of that night.

  17. Gary Berry
    O served from November 1968 to January 1970.
    6th / 14th 175 mm Gun.
    Would like to hear from anyone in that time.

    1. You could have been me! I left for ‘Nam on Thanksgiving, 1968 and returned in January, 1970. I was a movement specialist and my primary duty station was Saigon. We worked out of an old mansion right along the river. We had “offices” in the Delta and near the DMZ- Dong Ha and Cua Viet. It was a strange and life changing experience and only people who have been there understand what happened. I was drafted out of graduate school so oddly I had a weird advantage . When I retired, I was surprised how my memory lit up and I found myself thinking about things I thought I had forgotten. Made some good friends there. I miss those who passed on. I’m not much of a talker but it’s always good to acknowledge those people I served with. I still think we were a great generation -maybe even greater than others because we had to put up with so much negativity and slander, yet we still did our jobs. .

      1. Hello Lt. Cotlow, Sgt.Pete Koense Comm/ PP5-PP-10 Radar Attachment. Will attempt to Fb,health not good.

        1. Pete Koense I was at Ben Het 1969-1970.como hutch.was there the whole seige. 56 days straight we was under seige.Still got my memo tablet for all time we was under Attack.Happy that I made it back.I had my teletype rig up at forces camp.I was inside my rig heard a thump,I knew what was coming,so I jumped out my rig to get in my bunker and before I reached it Charlie had sent in rounds and hit a connex full of ammo.It was so loud.when I made it to my bunker,I was on my knees,reaching down to see if I had any legs.I had never been that scared in my life.I made it back home intact.I was scared.

    2. Hello Cprl. Berry Sgt.Pete Koense Commo , all 11 guys I’ve tracked in Commo have passed on from what I hear and posts.

      1. My name is Jim House, company clerk 1968 left Dec. 1968. I lived inside the FDC center. I also was at Dag To and Sou Dail, Plecku base camp. like to hear from you. I was in commo for a short time Dec 1967-Feb 1968 got burned while on latrine detail and Doc Middleton treated me and the 5th cav.

    3. I was there at Ben Het as a searchlight operator jeep mounted. First Field Forces. On Main hill. Early 1970. We had a twin 40mm Duster on west hill. I was in the OP tower at night with a starlight scope slept at the base of the tower in a conex. Do you remember The Mess hall being blown up moment after being opened at noon. For the first and only time? I WATCHED for week as it was being built. Had may meal on a table. When they targeted it! Never got to eat. Came back after the attack. Nothing was left. Never re opened it.Igot wounded their a few weeks later. Was treated at the aid station. Medic filled out casualty feeder card. Said to me you just get a purple heat! That card was lost or not forwarded to my unit. Never got it. Had a friend killed in a latrine. Shrapnel hit him in his left temple. He operated the Freddie computer for Artillery. Told him to got to aid station. He refused,went back to his computer. Tiny hole very little blood. DIED at the computer. Wish I could remember his name. Would know it if I heard it. Think we called him Blevit as a nick name. I was Sp/4 John Faulk B Batery 1/29th Arty. Searchlight.

      1. I believe you are referring to William Baxter. Whose radio name was Blivet. I was in FDC with him at Ben het.

    4. My name is Jim House, company clerk 1968 left Dec. 1968. I lived inside the FDC center. I also was at Dag To and Sou Dail, Plecku base camp. like to hear from you.

    5. Hi Gary, my name is Jim House was your company clerk gave out beer each night. I slept in the FDC center, also help some night with fire missions. would like to hear from you.

    6. I was xo and battery commander of B 6/14th during part of that time. Other officers Neal Fagan, Bill Sherman, Norbert Reder. Wentz Brister

      David Cotlow 1/lt

  18. I am still amazed at the fact that the jungle is gone; if you look at the size of the trees being harvested you can imagine the size of the canopy we fought under.

    1. Don, thanks for your comment. Yes, there is not much of pristine jungle left, more or less only in the national parks. I was surprised on on Hamburger Hill that the jungle was so high and dense although 49 years ago it was basically a moon landscape.

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