"Khe Sanh - A very sad place" Khe Sanh by bpwarne

Khe Sanh Travel Guide: 0 reviews and 5 photos

I visited Khe Sanh on a group day tour of the DMZ area. Khe San was a scheduled 45 minute stop in a long 12 hour day trip out of Hue and I was doubtful it would be enough. However, there really is very little to see here. A couple old US tanks, a Huey and a Chinook helicopter, a small museum mostly filled with pictures, a few old bombs, a couple of bunkers which my or may not be original. Virtually everything of a base of 6,000 people is gone.
It was cold and foggy the day I was there and the surrounding hills were not visible. There was a young guy following the tourists around, hawking old dog tags as souvenirs which everyone seemed to abhor. The area surrounding the base is full of coffee plants which did not look overly productive, there was a woman selling cold drinks and small bags of coffee. It was too cold for most of the tourists to be interested in cold drinks and no one was interested in buying the coffee beans. Add to this our tour guide's relentless drum pounding on the glorious victory and I began to wonder why I even came here. The dense slow moving fog only added to the ghastly impression of the whole scene. To the victor go the spoils, they say. Spoils it seems is what they got. My visit to Khe Sanh left me very confused.

Above all, do not expect to hear a truthful recounting of the seige from your tour guide. It probably won't happen. According to my tour guide::

Khe Sanh was the largest US military base in Vietnam with 60,000
troops Not true, 6000 troops, not even close to being the largest.Long
Binh, near Saigon, was a logistics facility and the largest U.S. base
in Vietnam with over 50,000 women and men.

Over 600 Us troops killed during siege. Not true, official count is
just over 600 casualties, of which about 210 are KIAs. Note that
there are contesting figures, none are in the 600+ range.

It was commanded by General Westmoreland. Not true, it was commanded
by Colonel David E. Lownds, regimental commander of 26th Marines.

Fidel Castro built a bridge on the Cam Ro in 1973, about 13 kilometers from Khe Sanh as a humanitarian gesture to help aid supplies down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. This I believe is true.

The USA has made over 700 unsuccessful assassination attempts on the humanitarian, Fidel Castro. Are you kidding me? 700? I can find no record of this anywhere.

The siege lasted 98 days. Not true, actually 77days
Also, truthfully, the siege wasn't really a siege in the literal sense
of the word. Supplies were delivered by air throughout the siege, casualties were evacuated. Marines arrived for duty, and went home if their tour was up. They even went on scheduled R&R during the siege.

To see Khe Sanh in it's present day state is to wonder what the hell
the US had in mind to begin with. It was and is today the middle of
nowhere.

Hwy 9 was never an open path to Khe Sanh.. It was only open during
the entire course of the war for a very brief few months.. The fact
that the base had to be supplied by air during the siege was nothing
new. The base was always supplied by air throughout it's existence.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:None, really. Either you have a need to experience it or you don't
  • Cons:A lot of Communist propaganda rubbish
  • In a nutshell:Only of interest to military history buffs?
  • Last visit to Khe Sanh: Feb 2012
  • Intro Updated Feb 12, 2012
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bpwarne

“Why did we come here?.....”

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