Camp Radcliff

Summary

Camp Radcliff (also known as An Khê Army Airfield, An Khê Base or the Golf Course) is a former United States Army base in the An Khê District in central Vietnam.

Camp Radcliff
Military service mark of the United States Army.svg
An Khê, Gia Lai Province, in Vietnam
Camp Radcliff airfield 1965
Camp Radcliff is located in Vietnam
Camp Radcliff
Camp Radcliff
Coordinates13°59′35″N 108°38′55″E / 13.993°N 108.648498°E / 13.993; 108.648498 (Camp Radcliff)
Site information
Conditionabandoned
Site history
Built1965 (1965)
Built by70th Engineer Battalion
In use1965-1971 (1971)
Battles/warsVietnam Service Medal ribbon.svg
Vietnam War
Garrison information
Garrison1st Cavalry Division
173rd Airborne Brigade
4th Infantry Division
Airfield information
Runways
Direction Length and surface
03/21  Asphalt

HistoryEdit

1965–67Edit

Camp Radcliff was established in late August 1965 by the 70th Engineer Battalion as the base camp for the 1st Cavalry Division. The camp was located on the main highway, QL-19, 60 kilometres (37 mi) northwest of Qui Nhơn on the coast and 60 kilometres (37 mi) southeast of Pleiku in the Central Highlands. The camp was named after 1/9 Cavalry Major Donald Radcliff, the 1st Cavalry's first combat death, who was killed on 18 August 1965 while supporting U.S. Marines in his helicopter gunship during Operation Starlite.[1]

In order to reduce the amount of rotor-blown dust on the landing zone, the men of the 1st Cavalry Division's advance party were instructed to cut back foliage to ground level by hand giving the base its nickname of the Golf Course.[2][3] The division also painted their distinctive insignia on nearby Hon Cong Mountain providing a landmark visible for many miles.[1] Camp Radcliff was the largest helicopter base in the world at the time of its establishment, capable of accommodating the division's 400+ helicopters. The base also had an airfield capable of landing Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft.[4] The base had a perimeter of 26 km known as the Green Line with 3-man watchtowers every 50m.[5]

On the night of 3 September 1966 the Viet Cong carried out a mortar attack on the Golf Course. Starting at 21:50 the base was hit by 119 mortar rounds over a 5-minute period, killing 4 soldiers and wounding a further 76, while 77 helicopters were damaged.[6]

Other units stationed at Camp Radcliff in this period included:

On 12 March 1967 a USAF C-130 crashed on takeoff from the base airfield.

1968–69Edit

In January 1968 the 1st Cavalry Division moved to Camp Evans and Camp Radcliff was taken over by the 173rd Airborne Brigade. The 173rd stayed at Camp Radcliff until mid-1969.[1][8]: 157 

 
POL farm on fire following rocket attack, 11 November 1968

Other units stationed at Camp Radcliff in this period included:

At 02:00 on 30 October 1968 a mortar and sapper attack on the camp resulted in two South Vietnamese guards killed, four vehicles destroyed and damage to several buildings.[10] At 15:28 on 11 November 1968 a mortar and recoilless rifle attack on the camp killed four South Vietnamese civilians and ignited 13,643 barrels of POL, one Viet Cong was killed.[11]

A PAVN sapper attack on the base on 16 November 1969 destroyed or damaged 20 helicopters.[12]

1970–71Edit

The 4th Infantry Division was stationed at Camp Radcliff from mid 1969 – December 1970.[8]: 139 

Other units stationed at Camp Radcliff in this period included:

Current useEdit

The base is abandoned and turned over to farmland.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Kelley, Michael (2002). Where we were in Vietnam. Hellgate Press. p. 434. ISBN 978-1555716257.
  2. ^ Manick, Jack (2013). Incoming...The Men of the 70th. Author House. p. 175. ISBN 9781481734066.
  3. ^ Tolson, Lt. Gen. John J. (1989). Airmobility 1961-1971 (Vietnam Studies). Washington D.C.: Department of the Army.https://history.army.mil/html/books/090/90-4/CMH_Pub_90-4-B.pdf
  4. ^ Ulin, Robert (2011). Witness to History: Reflections of a Cold War Soldier. Author House. p. 25. ISBN 9781456736163.
  5. ^ Powers, Robert (2009). 1966 The Year of the Horse. Dog Ear Publishing. p. 75. ISBN 9781608442027.
  6. ^ "After Action Report (3 Sep 1966 attack on Camp Radcliff)" (PDF). U.S. Army. 17 September 1966. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  7. ^ Dunstan, S (1988). Vietnam Choppers. Osprey Publishing Ltd. p. 138. ISBN 0-85045-572-3.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Stanton, Shelby (2003). Vietnam Order of Battle. Stackpole Books. p. 101. ISBN 9780811700719.
  9. ^ McGibbon, Ian (2010). New Zealand's Vietnam War: A history of combat, commitment and controversy. Exisle, Auckland NZ & Ministry of Culture and Heritage. pp. 351–7. ISBN 978-0-908988969.
  10. ^ "After Action Report Attack on Camp Radcliff 30 October 1968" (PDF). 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade. 9 November 1968. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  11. ^ "After Action Report Attack on Camp Radcliff 11 November 1968" (PDF). 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade. 22 November 1968. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  12. ^ "Foe attacks Bu Prang Post during artillery barrage". The New York Times. 16 November 1069. p. 3.