Tân Mỹ Base (also known as Col Co, Tân Mỹ Docks, Tân Mỹ Naval Support Activity or Eagle Beach) is a former U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) base northeast of Huế in central Vietnam.
|Tân Mỹ Base|
|Occupants||3rd Marine Division|
Task Force X-Ray
ARVN 1st Division
Tân Mỹ airfield
|Elevation AMSL||3 ft / 1 m|
The U.S. Navy established Tân Mỹ Naval Support Activity in 1967, the base comprised an LST ramp, Seabee base, docks and petroleum storage facilities together with a petroleum, oil and lubricants pipeline to Huế. The base was adjacent to the Eagle Beach rest and recreation facility.
The base was initially defended by elements of the 3rd Marine Division. In February 1968 the U.S. Army's Task Force X-Ray assumed responsibility for base defense before handing control back to the 1st Marines in early March following the end of the Battle of Huế.:248
In March 1970 Tân Mỹ Naval Support Activity ceased operations and the base facilities were handed over to the U.S. Army Support Command.
On 23 May 1972 during the Easter Offensive, the 7th Marine Battalion launched Operation Song Than 6-72, an amphibious assault from Tân Mỹ against the flanks of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) force on the Street Without Joy.
On 8 September 1972 during the Second Battle of Quảng Trị, Vietnamese Rangers boarded the USS Juneau at Tân Mỹ to conduct a feint amphibious assault intended to draw PAVN forces away from the Quảng Trị citadel.:123
On 22 March 1975 in the face of the PAVN offensive, the decision was made to abandon Huế and withdraw all South Vietnamese forces to an enclave around Danang. The plan was for the 147th Marine Brigade to withdraw to the Tân Mỹ Base where they would be picked up by Republic of Vietnam Navy ships. The base was soon swamped with Marines, soldiers and civilians seeking evacuation, however only smaller ships were able to dock at the base and ferry evacuees to larger ships offshore.:306 Due to the overcrowding and the threat from the closing PAVN, the Marines moved further down the coast where two attempts were made to pick them up by LST over the next 2 days, however the LST could only approach to within several hundred feet of the shore forcing the Marines to attempt to swim out to the ship, in the end only approximately 600 of the 3000 Marines were evacuated to Danang.:316–7
The base is abandoned but the airfield and docks are still clearly visible on satellite images. On the ground, the airfield bitumen runway is still intact although overgrown with weeds, and the control tower is fully intact.
The Battle of Huế – also called the Siege of Huế – was one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War. Between 30 January and 3 March 1968, in the South Vietnamese city of Huế, 11 battalions of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), four U.S. Army battalions, and three U.S. Marine Corps battalions – totaling 18 battalions – defeated 10 battalions of the People's Army of Vietnam and the Viet Cong (VC).
By the beginning of the North Vietnamese Tet Offensive on January 30, 1968 – coinciding with the Vietnamese lunar New Year (Vietnamese: Tết Nguyên Đán) – large, conventional, U.S. forces had been committed to combat operations on Vietnamese soil for almost three years.
Highway 1, passing through the city of Huế, was an important supply line for ARVN, US, and Allied Forces from the coastal city of Da Nang to the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). It also provided access to the Perfume River (Vietnamese: Sông Hương or Hương Giang) at the point where the river ran through Huế, dividing the city into northern and southern parts. Huế was also a base for United States Navy supply boats.
Considering its logistical value and its proximity to the DMZ (only 50 kilometres (31 mi)), Huế should have been well-defended, fortified, and prepared for any communist attack. However, the city had few fortifications and was poorly defended.
While the ARVN 1st Division had cancelled all Tet leave and was attempting to recall its troops, the South Vietnamese and U.S. forces in the city were unprepared when the Viet Cong and the PAVN launched the Tet Offensive, attacking hundreds of military targets and population centers across the country, including Huế.The PAVN/Vietcong forces rapidly occupied most of the city. Over the next month, they were gradually driven out during intense house-to-house fighting led by the Marines and ARVN. In the end, although the Allies declared a military victory, the city of Huế was virtually destroyed, and more than 5,000 civilians were killed (2,800 of them executed by the PAVN and Viet Cong, according to the South Vietnamese government). The communist forces lost an estimated 2,400 to 8,000 killed, while Allied forces lost 668 dead and 3,707 wounded. The losses negatively affected the American public's perception of the war, and political support for the war began to wane.Defense Attaché Office, Saigon (1973–1975)
The Defense Attaché Office, Saigon (also known as DAO, Saigon or simply DAO) was a joint-service command of the United States Department of Defense (DOD) under the control of United States Support Activities Group (USSAG). It assumed all DOD responsibilities in South Vietnam following the disestablishment of Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) in March 1973. The DAO was responsible for administering military assistance and support to the South Vietnamese armed forces, the gathering and distribution of military intelligence and the performance of normal Defense Attaché functions. The DAO remained in existence until August 1975.Operation Vinh Loc
Operation Vinh Loc was an operation conducted by the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) 54th Regiment on Vinh Loc Island, Phú Vang District, lasting from 10 to 20 September 1968.USS Bulloch County (LST-509)
USS Bulloch County (LST-509) was an LST-491-class tank landing ship built for the United States Navy during World War II. Named for Bulloch County, Georgia, she was the only U.S. Naval vessel to bear the name.
LST-509 was laid down on 7 October 1943 at Jeffersonville, Indiana by the Jeffersonville Boat & Machine Company; launched on 23 November 1943; sponsored by Lieutenant (j.g.) Dorothy L. Nims, USCG(W); and commissioned on 20 January 1944 with Lieutenant J. B. Malcom, USNR, in command.
During World War II, LST-509 was assigned to the European Theater and participated in the Invasion of Normandy in June, 1944. Following the war, LST-509 returned to the United States and was redesignated USS Bulloch County (LST-509) on 1 July 1955.
She was recommissioned in 1966 and served in the Vietnam War until she was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam Navy in April 1970.
She was used primarily for provisioning forward coastal and river US Marine bases such as Tân Mỹ Base (now Thuan An) and Cửa Việt Base located in I Corps and bases further south such as Vung Tau, Cam Ranh Bay and Nha Trang.
Other duties included coastal picket and resupply duty during Operation Market Time in which she resupplied and provided off-patrol berthing for Patrol Craft Fast crews interdicting Viet Cong communication and supply routes.
The starboard screw and rudder were once damaged by a floating mine in the Cua Viet River. She continued operations on one screw until another could be fitted at Da Nang. She suffered serious enough storm damage during a typhoon during a voyage to Okinawa in 1969, to require emergency repairs while beached and more complete repairs in a graving dock at Sasebo, Japan.
On 8 April 1970, the ship was decommissioned and leased to the Republic of Vietnam under the Security Assistance Program for service as Qui Nhon (HQ-504). After 1975, she served in the Vietnam People's Navy with new registration as HQ-505.
In 1988 she was heavily damaged in the Johnson South Reef Skirmish by the Chinese frigate Yingtan. The Vietnam People's Navy, in an effort to save her, tried to bring her to Cam Ranh Bay for repair but she sank south of Great Discovery Reef in the Spratly Islands area. The ship and her crew were granted the title of Hero of the People's Armed Forces.
LST-509 earned one battle star for World War II service.