Does anybody remember when sappers came through the wire and blew the ammo dump at Quang Tri base camp just before we stood down in 71? We'd been getting hit with 122s a lot. I woke up on the floor thinking a rocket had hit just outside the hootch, then wandered outside and noticed the sky was on fire over the ammo dump. Secondary explosions all morning. It burned for three days. Blew the plywood off the walls of the hootch, then sucked it back and left all the nails sticking out. Amazing.
That had to be something impressive to see close up but I was in Nam at the wrong time and in the wrong AO to have seen it. I did, however, see and hear the ammo dump at Camp Eagle (near DaNang) go up in 1969 even though I was about twenty miles away from it at the time. My squad was securing a hilltop in Que Son valley and late one night the sky toward DaNang lit up then some time later we heard the explosions. The rest of the night we were trying to guess what was going on as the explosions continued and guessed that the NVA were staging a major attack on the city. It made us thankful to be out in the middle of nowhere. It wasn’t until the next day that we learned it was the ammo dump. I never heard what set it off though I heard several different rumors.
I was there and rescued several trucks with pro jo's on them. contact me when you can. Don Mangus email@example.com
The past national historian of the 1/5th Infantry recently told me that there is no official record of the ammo dump explosion at Quang Tri. Everyone who was there certainly remembers it. It happened around the beginning of August of 71, after the 1st of the 5th began to stand down. We were understrength and the enemy knew it. NVA sappers snuck through the wire and used satchel charges to blow up over 60 tons of ammunition. They got away clean. It was the main ammo supply point for the Brigade. The web site of the 407th RRD corroborates this. They also mention that the concussion blew the windshields out of jeeps and broke bottles. I know for sure it blew me out of my rack onto the floor. The ammo dump burned for three days, with rounds cooking off and clouds of CS drifting around. Most of us had lost our masks by that time so we just had to tough it out. I was there till the very end. A Chinook touched down in our AO and lifted out the last of us on 15 August. After that the ARVNs took over and were shortly overrun. I wonder why there’s no official record? If anyone reading this was also there or has any additional info, please respond.
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Sean, I was at Quang Tri Combat Base, aka Camp Red Devil, Oct 69 to Sept 70. 75th Support Battalion. Are you a member of the Society Of the Fifth Division?
Welcome Home, my Brother.
Roger, I arrived at Camp Red Devil in early February 71. Dewey Canyon II was underway. I was on an Armament contact team with Delta Co, 75th Spt Bn from then till I went to Chu Lai in late August. I am a member of the Society of the Fifth Division. Welcome home yourself, Brother. I'm glad you made it.
I look forward to meeting you at one of the reunions. I will not be there this year, too poor. Perhaps in 2014. I attended 2001, 2008, 2009.
Company A, 75th Spt Bn.
I was there in the 1/5 TOC when the ammo dump exploded. It's one of the things I particularly remember. I was assigned to base defense. The explosion almost or did knock me down. Dirt and dust filled the TOC and it felt like a 122 rocket had landed right on TOC. After I picked myself up it got very busy with the land lines and Major Sessoms yelling to find out what was going on. I also remember the rounds cooking off for a long time. I also remember that someone was at the ammo dump with a heavy forklift moving ordinance away from burning stuff at great risk to himself.
My Dad Dave Tretton from Rhode Island was in the 63rd Maint. Bn from Feb 1971 to Feb 1972. He was in Quang Tri. He had brown hair and blue/green/grey eyes. He kind of had a piggy nose. He killed himself when I was only 15. He was having nightmares about Vietnam but he would never talk about it. If anyone knew him contact me so I can understand what happened to him and find some peace, please. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
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