Phuoc Vinh Base Camp

Being one of the earlier bases in the area, established already in 1965, Phuoc Vinh Base Camp was an integral part of the build up of U.S. military presence in Vietnam. Phuoc Vinh Base Camp was to be one of the more important bases covering War Zone D. The base was located along the main road between Saigon and Dong Xoai about 70 kilometers north east of Saigon.

Initially it was a base for the 1st Infantry Division and later in November 1968 the 1st Cavalry Division moved in and had its rear here as well as up in Quan Loi. As we understand, the Division Headquarters was located here in Phuoc Vinh, The Cavalry stayed until 1971. The location meant this large installation was isolated in a very hostile area with no larger bases in the vicinity. Convoys used to come up from Bien Hoa with supplies, meaning they had to cross the Song Be river and the old blown up bridge. The Song Be Bridge itself is an interesting destination which has its own page here on the website.

Convoys would also continue north to Dong Xoai and further up to Quan Loi. Visiting the site isn’t entirely easy as the People’s Army has a large base there. We weren’t really aware of the presence at our visit as we drove straight in to the runway from the eastern end where the Special Forces camp used to be located. That area is now a shooting range for the People’s Army. We decided to drive around the camp to enter from the south on the main road from town. There we asked someone who seemed to have authority if we could drive the runway and it seemed to be O.K. We rode along the runway that stretches more than 1000 meters. Although there were no signs saying this was a restricted area, we felt we weren’t welcome on the runway so we made this only a short drive.

At the south side of the runway is also a cemetery where soldiers from the PAVN and possibly VC are buried. We had no time to go in this time but will make sure to pay a visit next time we drive by. Our position on this website is to show our respect for both sides. The cemetery is located on the site of where the base camp itself was. In the video above we are driving around the former camp area. There are mostly Army and other Government installations there now.

Due to the potential difficulties of visiting this place, we don’t recommend to have Phuoc Vinh Base Camp as the primary destination for a trip in the area. Instead we would recommend it as a secondary site for those who are visiting other places in the area. But as we got there, we were very pleased to see the runway and the surrounding areas and we will go back with the ambition of spending more time on the untouched scrub area adjacent to the runway as we believe there will be remains of the old camp there.

 

How to get there

Access by road from either Bien Hoa or Thu Dau Mot in the south or from Dong Xoai in the north along the DT741 main road. The road is in good condition and it is a couple of hours drive from Saigon.

Decimal coordinates: 11.298056, 106.795278

 

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59 thoughts on “Phuoc Vinh Base Camp”

  1. Served out of Phuoc Vinh with 227 AHB under 1st Cav.Div. ’69-70′. It was a good camp with most needed amenities met there.1st Cav was the greatest.Have many ,many memories of Phuoc Vinh(Camp Gorvad).

    1. Thank you for your comment Thomas. This was an interesting place to visit as there is an army base there today. We do not want to trespass or break any laws on our travels, however there were no signs around saying we couldn’t enter the area. We felt we couldn’t stay too long and take pictures. There are government or army facilities all over the old camp area now and a firing range where the SF camp was.

        1. Malcolm, my apologies for taking time to answer. I had gotten several comments in a short while and thought I had replied to all. Well, driving between Phuoc Vinh and Bien Hoa today is not much of an adventure. 12 hours then might be one and a half to two hours depending on traffic. And the risk of running in to an ambush is very low 🙂

    1. John, thank you for your comment and for visiting our website. Phuoc Vinh was an interesting visit for us, especially since I have been in contact with quite a few people who served there. also because I was told it wouldn’t be possible to visit it as it is an army base today. I went by to have a look anyway and there were no gates as we drove on to the old base area, the army base was off on the northern side of the runway. I wasn’t sure if it was allowed to drive around filming and taking pictures there which is why my material from this visit isn’t the best. We don’t want to trespass or break any laws during our visits as we want to be welcome back to travel the country.

      Did you also move around to other bases in the area such as Lai Khe or Quan Loi?

    1. Rong, thank you for your comment and for visiting our website. I have never heard of that attack. I hope someone will share more information about it. Any idea of which side of the camp was attacked?

  2. I was at Phouc Vinh with the 15 Med. in 1971 as a cook before we close down Phouc Vinh to move down to Bein Hoa. It was really hectic the last two weeks there. There was a hand full of us and we had to tear down all the hoachs and burn them. Me and a man name Tom that was from Guam took the flag down off of commo. Friends forever.

    1. Thank you for the additional information Malcolm. I was never sure if the base was turned over to the ARVN or just taken down.

      1. Jonas, the ARVN troops could not wait till we left. The final night before we left for Bien Hoa we almost got in to a fight with them if you know what I mean very scary with M16 in our hands. It could have ended real bad.

    2. Do you know exactly when the 1st Cav pulled out of Phouc Vihn? I was there with the sensor platoon attached to the 191st military Intelligence company in the Cav. I got there late October 70. My co sent me to a monitoring station on Nui Ba Ra mtn next to Song Be firebase. I was there until the Cav pulled back and never got back to Phouc Vihn.

      1. Hi,

        I’m looking on behalf of my father. He arrived at the Phouc Vinh base camp in Nov, 1970. He left the 1st Brigrade of the 25th Division and was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division Airmobile, 2nd & 20th Arial Rocket Artillery. He speaks of Major (Mataka?) spelling? And Lt Colonel (Paeta)? – I am transcribing his letters he wrote home to compile a book of some sort for my 4 brothers/sisters. My dad is no longer living and he never spoke about the war. Any information would be greatly appreciated!

  3. Hi All,

    I’m looking for information about the start of “Tet 1969” at Camp Gorvad (Phuoc Vinh) Feb. 23. 1969. I lost a cousin on that day at Camp Gorvad.
    SFC Edward Steele, 229TH ASLT HELO BN, 11TH AVN GROUP, 1ST CAV DIV, USARV.
    He was a Flight Operations Coordinator.
    I hope to visit the area on his 50th anniversary.

    Thanks & Regards
    David

    1. David, thank you for coming to the site. I don’t know much of that offensive but I hope we will get someone here that can shine some light on it. If you manage to go there next year, please don’t hesitate to contact us on the email address available in the “About Us” section. There are some things to think about before visiting this area and we will be glad to help out.

  4. What a difference 49 years can make. I was there Nov 69 thru it closing with Company B 227 AHB 1st Cav. Our company overlooked the dump to our west and the air strip was to our south. There wasn’t a tree for miles and as I remember we were on a hill or high ground. I was young and dumb and clueless , I literally grew up there, an experience that shaped my world view to this day.

    1. Robert, thank you for coming to our website and thank you for sharing a bit of your story here. It is all grown up in the area there now, mostly rubber plantations. We never got up to the north west side of the old camp. We were concerned about the Army camp that is there today and do not want to trespass. The areas we went did not have any signs and there was a war cemetery right in the middle of where the camp was, south of the runway. Did you close to the camp or did you turno it over to ARVN?

      1. Yessir. If you visit the War Museum in Saigon and go to the Agent Orange exhibition, there is a map and you can see the Phuoc Vinh base at the heart of the area from where Agent Orange was sprayed.

    1. Albert, thank you for the insight. That is very interesting. I would have guessed that your enemy would have been very provoked by your presence in this area. I am glad you had the opportunity to enter the village and meet the people. It is an odd place today, heavy army presence and semmingly not very welcoming, although the guard at the cemetery invited us to drop in for a look. We didn’t have time then but hopefully next time I can go in.

  5. I was with the 8th Engineer Battalion of the 1st Cavalry Division from September, 1968 until November, 1969. I came down from Camp Evans to Phouc Vinh in early November, 1968. We convoyed from Camp Evans to the docks at Hue. We loaded up on a Navy LST for the trip south via the South Chins Sea and the Saigon River to Newport docks in Saigon. We convoyed to Phouc Vinh after a sleepover on the docks and at Bien Hoa I think. I was with S-3 operations of the 8th Engineers. I spent many hours on a drawing board working on varied projects that were to be built all over the III Corps war zone. I was in and out of the field on Hueys checking on projects, etc. Phouc Vinh, like Camp Evams was under frequent shelling from mortars and rockets with occasional snipers. We were located on the western perimeter of the base camp.. Living conditions were very much better at Phouc Vinh than they were at Camp Evans. However being fortunate to spend the vast majority of my time on a large base camp was a distinct advantage over our brave infantry and artillery units at our far flung LZ’s. I extended my tour two months to get an early out from the military. I am proud to have served with the 1st Air Cav. I am one of the fortunate men that was able to make it back to the world. marry and have children and grandchildren. God Bless!!

    1. Lynn, thank you for your comment. That is very interesting information. For other readers here, Phuoc Vinh might have been a large base camp, but it was certainly located in a very active zone with high concentrations of enemy. Do you remember any of the projects you were working on? Were they most smaller Firebases or any larger base camps?

  6. Spent most of my tour at Phouc Vinh with 1st Cav, HHB, DIVARTY, as a Radio Teletype Operator. Our unit was located facing the village just inside the wire next to a Medivac unit. There was a school house on the other side of the wire. Curious if it’s still there.

    Also spent 6 weeks at FSB Katum during the Cambodian invasion as communication liaison to an ARVN Artillary unit. Also, one month on Nui Ba Den which was a communication relay station.

    Grew up over there, mostly great memories.

    Do you know where to get info/plan a trip to those places.

    1. Hi Tom. Thank you for your comment. Sennd us an email on namwartravel@gmail.com and we will be able to help you in the right direction. We have helped several returning veterans before. We do not sell any services through this website, what we do is help you out with advise and some contacts. You will be able to visit Nui Ba Den and Phuoc Vinh without any problems, Katum is possible sometimes but being so close to the border wight mean access is sometimes restricted. Let’s be in touch.

      1. My email is teast11@ gmail.com. Would be interested in info about visiting the three locations I was at (Phuoc Vink, Nui Ba Den, Kathmandu. Want to plan a trip there with my wife. Thanks for any help.

    2. Hi Tom,
      My dad arrived Nov of 1970 as part of the 1st Cav Division Airmobile 2nd&20th Aerial Artillery (he was 1st brigade, 25th division). He was in the Tactical Operations Center as a Radio Telphone Operator – any chance you knew him?
      He is no longer living and never spoke of the war – I am transcribing the letters he wrote home to my grandparents into a book for my family. Anything you have would be greatly appreciated!

      1. Hi Ann, if your dads last name was Chester it does not ring a bell. As far as his unit, it does not sound like he was in associated with mine directly. Also, I left in Nov 1970. I would be more than happy to give you info on websites that might help you locate people that may know your Dad. If interested, reply to my email at teast11@gmail.com.

  7. Was part of base camp 1967. Located north side from air strip . The further most part with a Arvin camp next door. Rebuilt base camp for a new unit coming in. Dug all position underground. Left and was first unit into song be. A airstrip was built while there. We were Bravo Battery 1st & 5 th arty. 1st infantry Division. We did fire missions for radio unit on the mountian known as the BLACK VIRGIN. We also were the first units set onto the Golf course of Quian Loi my gun was set on number 9 tee. The headquarters company was built on reclaimed trash dump. The swimming pool I never got to see. Once again we were moved before completing our build of camp.
    We moved to the Michelin Rubber Plantation. Located not far from AN LOC . Which was attacked during Tet. The VC WALKED BY US. Not attacking field units but struck the towns and villages. While in Phouc Vhin the town was wide open for all military. I finished my tour in the Plantation never leaving that position. We had Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner in that area.
    Very pleased that you are able to report on these sites for us. Always wanted to see the area. But it would not be the same as it was. Time changes all.
    Just thought it was nice to be reminded of those locations. Time served JAN 1967-thru February 1968. Thank you again for your work. Have research a lot of current photos of Phouc Vhin and Quian Loi which contains a lot of memories for us.
    FRANK

  8. The Third Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division replaced the 1st Infantry Division at Phuoc Vinh at the end of November 1967. We were moved North to Camp Evans in September of 1968, when the 1st Air Cav replaced us. We worked in III Corps, and IV Corps, War Zone D, the Iron Triangle, and IV Corps when I left Vietnam in late November 1968. I’m kind of amazed that there is no mention of our presence during that time frame. Delta company 3/187 had a big battle not far from Phuoc Vinh on March 16, 17, and 18th 1968 where we lost a lot of good men. Our company commander Paul Bucha received the Medal of Honor for his actions that day. We had previously secured MACV Headquarters in Saigon during the Tet offensive. Also spent time at the Song Be Bridge on several occasions. Enjoyed perusing your site.

    1. Bill, thank you for your comment. I didn’t know about those units being down there at that time. Let me see how I can add more unit information to the pages. In the other end, our overall aim is to be a travel website, we can not have all historical information on here. We leave that to all the great history websites out there. What we do though is that we put in a lot of effort to make sure the historical information we have on it is correct although it might not be altogether comprehensive, for almost every location we have visited we have direct input from a veteran who were there about some facts. With all the transportation, medical, engineering, helicopter units etc. that were also in these places it would be too big of a task.

      We are very happy with all the additional information you and your brothers add to the site in the comments here. We work hard to keep it clean. Again, thank you for your comment and we would be happy to receive more feedback.

  9. I was at Phouc Vinh Sep66 to Sep 67 with a maintenence detachment with the 162nd Assault Helicopter Co.. It looked nothing like this video then. There was no pavement anywhere then. The village was small and open in daylite hours. I can’t believe what I’m seeing here.

    1. Hello, thank you for your comment and visiting our website. Yes fifty years will bring some change in an area that is developing so rapidly.

    2. I was with Co D, 1st Med Battalion Jun 66-jun67. I agree with you Combs, it looked nothing like these pictures.

  10. I was with the 191st Military Intelligence Detachment of the 1st Cav from Oct 68-Oct 69.
    I was at Camp Evans in I Corps for a short while before we moved to Phuoc Vinh in anticipation of another Tet Offensive for 1969. The Cav’s aerial combat ability was the main reason for the move. The division was to be used to thwart any offensive on Saigon.
    I was responsible for order of battle information on VC and North Vietnamese units operating in the area. I visited many landing zones during my year in country to collect document and to gain other information from Americans serving there.
    The Phuoc Vinh base was frequently shelled during my tour. We all took turns every four or five days manning the well-protected guard sites that encircled the camps. Flares would frequently go off during the night to alert us to any probes of the perimeter wire.
    We worked in small buildings reportedly built by the French that were part of the command tactical operations center, a massive construction piled high with sandbags and surrounded by concertina wire.
    Our living quarters were down the road about one-quarter of a mile. We lived in long tents that held about a dozen guys. The mess hall and the detachment hqs were nearby.
    The village was close to where we worked. Young girls worked at the small commissary and could easily pass through the perimeter wire to return to their homes. I was only in the village market area once. Security was getting stricter during my tour and you needed a written reason to be there. It was not a tourist site.
    I made many friends in the 191st during my time in Phuoc Vinh, but sadly have lost contact with them.
    It’s hard at times to believe over more than half a century has passed since I was there. Thank you for this site. I have just discovered it.

    1. Same time I was there remember what you are talking about…HHB DIV ARTILLERY RTO IN FDC.Pulled a lot of “greenling too”.Also was at Evans and An The

  11. Phuoc Vinh was also the home of the 3rd BN 3rd BDE 187th Infantry Regiment (Rakkasans) of the 101st ABN DIV. We deployed from Fort Campbell, KY in Dec 1967 and were based at Phuoc Vinh until moving to Dak To in June of 1968. During that period Phuoc Vinh had the highest concentration of spray of Agents Orange, White and Blue in Vietnam with 484,383 gallons of agent orange, 146,576 gallons of agent white and 12,810 gallons of agent blue totaling 643,769 gallons of defoliant sprayed. I served as a combat squad leader with D company.

  12. Was with HHB 7/11 arty 25th Inf at Tay Ninh , Fsb Denny south of Katum, and then to Dau Tieng. Assigned to Bn Arty tac ops center as Rto and later acting duty Nco. 25th Inf went back to Hawaii and I got transferred to C 2/19 Arty at Phouc Vinh and later to Firebase Apache near Xuan Loc. I recall waiting all day on the airstrip at Phouc Vinh with our 105mm howitzers to load them on C130s. We loaded 3 of them and one engine would not fire so they decided to take off with 3 engines. Then another engine would not start so had to unload the 105s and return to the parapits and do it all over again the next day. We flew out the next day and landed on some remote airstrip near Bo Dop(not far from Xuan Loc) and the Chinooks took our 105s and us to Firebase Apache. This was in Dec of 1970 and I went home shortly after.

    1. Hi Greg,

      It sounds like you served with my father, Arnold J Stueber. He too was in the 7/11, 25th Division.

      Any chance you remember him?

      Thank you for your service!

  13. I just found your site and enjoyed the post and video. The area has changed so much from the once single dirt road that entered the main gate. I was re-assigned to HHC 1st Cav to General Roberts and then General Casey staff. I left the camp after the death of General Casey and some very good friends the day his chopper went down. I was suppose to have been on that flight with Ken and the old man that day but by the grace I had to the opportunity to travel to a PX in Bien Hoa instead and did not go. I have so many mixed memories of the camp and the Great men I had a chance to serve with in the Cav. Welcome Home Guys!

      1. Jonas keep the work up; I have read post on other sites and it seems like myself so many men are now searching for buddies they served with. So many of us like you said made it out but left so much of ourselves behind. The connection with others can help heal the scars that people can’t see. By the grace of the past few years I am now rated as a 100% permanent DAV. These benefits help but the recognition has been the best part. I pray that my fellow servicemen no matter where you served, what unit you may have been with or what personal horrors you suffered find recognition and fellowship. The Vietnam Veteran deserves praise and recognition of honor and bravery.

        1. Thank you for your comment. We will keep working on this project. In fact we have some very interesting material soon to be published. We have done work with veterans from one of the most public battles and we visited the battlefield a few weeks ago where we managed to make some very interesting finds. Their 50th anniversary is coming up soon so this will be published in a month or so. You have our deepest respect and an important part of our work is to honor those who fought in this war.

  14. I was with C Troop 1/9th Cav from Jan 1971 thru Jun 1971. We moved our base camp from Phuoc Vinh to Di-An near the end of April 1971. I remember watching the C-130s and C-5A’s being loaded and then struggling to get airborne. They would sit as far back as they could and revved up their engines almost to red line, before rolling down the runway. Prior to their departure additional trees were cut down at the far end of the runway. Even then they seemed to just barely make it. My last look at Phuoc Vinh was several days later from one of our UH-1H’s as we flew to the base at Di-An. At that point in time we were assigned to the 1st Aviation Brigade, since the 1st Cavalry Division (AM) had officially stood down. We stayed at De-An until the end of June 1971 when C Troop stood down and the colors and troops who had been in country 7 full months went to Fort Hood, TX. Forward was at Tay Ninh during this time period. Since I had not been in country that long I was transferred to the 23rd Artillery Group at Plantation.

    1. Walter, thank you for your comment. It brings a great insight in to the activities there and in the general area. I hope you enjoyed the page.

  15. Oct 65, Ft Riley to Oakland, CA by train, sailed under GG bridge, about 21 days at sea. 1 week at temporary base camp-Convoyed from Bien Hoa to Phuoc Vinh in mid Nov 1965, 1st BN, 28th, HHQ Co, RTO & some time in Mortar platoon. Bn Commander Col Haldane, tough and great soldier. 1st few weeks lots of digging, mine field laid at entrance. early casualty was new 2nd Lt who misread map and lost life in our own minefield. Opns usually 3-4 weeks then back to PV for 2-3. Long one in Tay Ninh, lost some friends. What a time that was. I salute all you guys who were there and all vets. Jim Burke

  16. I was one of first to go to Phuoc Vihn from Camp Evans in Oct/Nov 1968.I was an RTO in FDC Division Artillery First Air Car.I remember a lot of 107 rockets while there…lot of incoming.I left June 1969.I have had cancer ptsd and other ailments.Agent Orange was heavy.We used to get the coordinates for maps as well as seeing Hueys and trucks spraying.Email me daveaircav@gmail.com

  17. I served with the 227th AHB at PV in 1969, ’70, and early ’71. I recognized some of the descriptions of the place, and even the names of some of the people who posted comments here! There was nothing recognizable in the video, however. Thanks, Jonas, for creating this site.

    1. Thank you for your nice comment John. Yeah I guess the only thing recognizable is the runway. There is an old white church or French colonial building near the runway that I have seen in old pictures. It is still there.Check out the other nearby sites also as Lai Khe, Song Be Bridge and Quan Loi, maybe you came by those places?

  18. With the Cav November 70 – March 71, C/1/77 arty FO supporting D 2/12 Cav. We were “palace Guard” Feb to end of March. Supposed to be 30 day rotation but we stayed out there as Cav was going home. Did not have enough time in country so I was sent north to B/2/94 Corps Arty.
    When we came in everyone was gone. Went to battery area, duffle bags left on pavement in pile almost everything was gone including “go home clothes.
    Ray

    1. Looking for anyone that was part of the 13 th. Signal at Phouc Vinh. I was there from March 1970 until March 1971. Left before the 1st Cavalry pulled out. I was division Currier. Having problems because of agent orange. I would like to hear from some of the guys from the 13th. Bill Russell

  19. Sp5 John D White
    E Btry 82 Artillary
    556 Transport
    1ST Air Cav
    Arrived in Phuoc Vinh May 1970 was in charge of Avionics,then Sgt of guard and did some night hawk mission.When arrived the crew cheif said this place is know as rocket city and he was’t kidding.Constant incoming.I finally learned to lay down instead of running into the bunkers.Got a lot of sharpnel wounds.I have agent oranges issues,heart and prostate.When 1st Cav left several of us did’t have orders so we hitch hiked to Saigon First Cav head Qtrs and got our orders.We were really disrespected when we got home.Americans need to wake up.Amen

  20. I arrived at Phuoc Vinh in January 1966 and left about the end of February 1967. It looked nothing like the photos shown here. Narrow dusty dirt roads. My unit was south of the airstrip. The only attacks at the base while I was there were mortars dropped on the airstrip. The VC got lucky one night and hit an ammo dump. Strange war. You had to leave the village by dusk as, as the story goes, the enemy would make their visit during the night. PV was a staging area for operations to An Loc and Tay Ninh. Been there a few times. Convoys down to Bien Hoa were dangerous. I saw a Deuce and a Half trucks get blown off the road in front of my. Can’t forget the Victory Bar. 🙂

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