Camp Reasoner

Camp Reasoner Vietnam

Camp Reasoner was the home of the USMC 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion during 1965 and 1966 and later in the war the 1st Force Recon and 1st Recon Battalion called the base its home. Located southwest of Danang, the camp sat on a ridge of Hill 327. It received its name in honor of 1st Lt. Frank Reasoner, who was killed in action on 12 July 1965, while serving as the Company Commander of Alpha Company. First Lieutenant Reasoner was posthumously awarded the Medal Of Honor for his actions of in July 1965 near the village of An My in the Danang Tactical Area Of Responsibility. The 3rd Marine Division Headquarters was located directly above the camp further up the mountainside.

Camp Reasoner Da Nang

I was on a motorcycle trip and I awoke in Da Nang with the goal of arriving in Quang Tri province, near the former DMZ, by midday. Then I got a message from one of the team members of Namwartravel, he really knows his stuff and told me to go check out a site on my way north: the original guard post and sign for USMC Camp Reasoner, about 10 kilometers from the central Danang. The guard post and sign were part of the original gate and entrance to the installation.

Camp Reasoner guard shack

The ride out of the city and up the hills outside it, where Camp Reasoner is located, was dusty and hot. The hills are now mines and construction sites. The roads were horrible and clogged with slow moving, full but poorly sealed, dump trucks shuttling up and down the hills. The going was slow, I had to dodge bouncing stones. That said, and the GPS coordinates below are accurate.

Camp Reasoner concrete sign

What a reward awaited me when I arrived there. The original guard shack at the entrance to Camp Reasoner is perfectly preserved, and a few meters away from it was the camp’s concrete sign replete with the USMC insignia hand carved and painted on it. Both objects have chain link fences around them. Someone is protecting and preserving this site. As it turns out, a group of 3rd Recon Battalion Marines in the US is petitioning to arrange for the transfer of the gate and shack to USMC Camp Pendleton in California, to bring them home. Ideally, they’ll be able to do so. It’s rare that such objects, especially those with US armed forces markings on them, survive the years in Vietnam.



How to get there:

As the camp site is located very near Da Nang city and its airport, visiting here is easy. Either get there while you’re on your way to or from Hue or arrange for a half day visit here combined with some of the other sites located in the Da Nang area such as An Hoa Combat Base, Hai Van Pass or FB Los Banos.

Decimal coordinates: 16.038320, 108.153556

28 thoughts on “Camp Reasoner – Da Nang”

  1. I would be interested in contacting any BN. Divers. I was NCOIC OF LOCKER from Dec. 68 to Apr. 69.

  2. Spent 20 months with Charlie and H&S Companies from Feb 1969 to Oct 1970 at Camp Reasoner. Saw time on OP’s BaNa and Dong Den. Also there when Division Hill was overrun in February or March of 1969. I have a picture of myself and the tiger they brought in. I also have pictures of a honey bear I shot off of OP Dong Den.

  3. Nice write up. I was clerk and later admin chief of Alpha Company from March1968 to Novermber1969 at Camp Reasoner. I am also an active member of the 1stReconBn Association. The cost and political issues associated with bringing the Camp Reasoner sign home are HUGE. It probably won’t happen. Sorry.

  4. I was in Camp Reasoner, PhuBai and ChuLai in 65-66 in 3rd Recon. Burned guard shack in Chu Lai “Let’s put this fire out with these papers.” Never mistreat my guys!

  5. Read NEVER WITHOUT HEROES for a good history of the 3rd Recon Battalion 1965-69. I was at Camp Reasoner in Charlie Company in 1966. In 2008, I got down to the village where Frank Reasoner was killed. Talked with an old VC who said he was on the ambush that day in July, 1965. He still walked with a stiff leg from a wound. He said they knew who had landed, how many, and the movement and direction of the patrol. It was actually the 2-squad 1st Platoon of 2nd Lt. Bill Henderson. Henderson was on the patrol, but their Company C.O, 1st Lt. Frank Reasoner also went with the team. I got one thing wrong that I know of – I thought the name of the village where they landed was Đại Lộc. That was the name of the district. The town was Ái Nghĩa. That was where they landed. I believe I found where Frank was killed, but not sure. It was an old typical graveyard and the only one adjacent to the smaller village where the patrol was ambushed. Today nothing looks the same. No thatch huts. The homes are red clay brick topped by corrugated sheet metal roofs. The streets are concrete. Anyway, read the book to get a better understanding of 3rd Recon in the war. BTW, the roster of all who served in the back is not 100%. It is close but there just are no rosters of who served in any unit. You have to read each monthly unit diary of each and every company for every year and copy the names (thank you George Neville et al)…..Larry Vetter

  6. James Reasoner is my Step-Dad. However, he’s the only dad I know and raised me.
    He was a great dad and made me into the man I became.
    When I was 17 I enlisted in the, Marine Corps and worked my ass off to get my shot at becoming a Recon Marine. I succeeded in my father’s footsteps and proudly served as a Recon Marine from 1987-1992.

  7. Just there again in 2020 vfw sponcered has changed since I left in1971 still felt like home

  8. Does anyone know what road goes by Camp Reasoner today? I’m trying to find the old site on google map.

    1. Conrad. Thank you for your comment. Check the decimal coordinates at the end of the article, copy them and paste in to Google Maps and you have the location.

  9. I also want to correct myself on the camp’s occurrence. While I was there in 68, 1st force and battalion was in Phu Bai. Third was up in the Quan Tri area. I have no idea who occupied Reasoner in 65.

  10. My time with Alpha, 1st Recon 1969-1970, is one of the times in my life I am most proud of. I’m still in contact with friends and commanding officers. I wrote my CO and shared with him it was like Dickens book A Tale of Cities, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Camaraderie that can’t be explained if you haven’t experienced it. The sorrow of lost and wounded comrades, the elation and adrenaline rush of surviving contact. The pride of taking the trek down to the LZ each patrol even though at times the fear gave the dry heaves and I couldn’t eat and knowing that fear would be pushed aside when I boarded the 46 and locked and loaded. I never failed to fall out for a reaction force when a team was in trouble. I even borrowed gear the day before going home because I’d turned mine in. Memories, happy and sad that are ones I treasure.

    1. I was with first recon bravo company in 67 my Plt Was sent to Chu Lai with alpha company then back to Danang to Phu bai with 3rd Recon back to Danang years later my platoon leader Paul Young wrote a book called first recon 2nd to none a paper back about our platoon

  11. Spent the last three months (April-June 1970) of my 12 month tour at Reasoner, Motor T.
    I took a picture of the tiger that was brought back to Reasoner.

    1. I was there also when the Tiger was brought in; Doc Norton has the picture in his book “Recon Diary 1970”. Duck Overton. USMC.

  12. Will contribute to any fund setup to bring what’s left of Camp Reasoner home. Please advise. As a young marine, I was stationed there in 1965 and the area has great personal meaning to me.

  13. My last post needs a correction. Camp Reasoner was also to 3rd Recon Bn, earlier in the war. Buy 1969-70, it was occupied by 1st Force and 1st Bn Recon.

  14. The site posted above is greatly appreciated and brings back many memories, thank you, but a correction is necessary. Camp Reasoner was home to 1st Force Recon and 1st Recon Battalion, not 3rd. 3rd Recon was further north, I think Phu Bai area.

    1. Third force and Bn. were not in Phu Bai. It was farther north in Khe Sanh and Quan Tri. 1st Force was in Phu Bai in 68, 69. Then back to DaNang for duration.

    2. No they got it correct. 3rd Recon was at Reasoner 1965-1966. We were also up north at phu bai and maybe other places as well depending on your company or plt.

      In June or so of 1966 we went north to the DMZ (Hastings) and sort of just stayed there.

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