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

 

Back to III Corps page>>>

17 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. 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.

  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. 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?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *