Phuoc Vinh Base Camp
Being one of the earlier bases, 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, also called Camp Gorvad, 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 its immediate 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. Besides of the runway, there really isn’t much left of the old camp that we could discover. The only building of significance we could find is a church like building that is clearly visible in old pictures of the camp, it was white then. Now it is painted in a yellow cream color that seems to be popular on many Vietnamese government buildings.
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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