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QL-1

Photo submitted by: Russell Grobe

                                             

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SONG MAO

HHC provided water at the Song Mao Airfield from the summer of 1969 until the unit was deactivated in early 1971. Co B assisted in constructing the 2/1st Cav Squadron Basecamp at this site during the summer of 1969, and provided continuous maintenance of the airfield from early 1970 until Co B's deactivation in early 1971.

Song Mao Airfield - 1966-1972

Song Mao Airfield - Today

                                             

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VINH HAO

Co B moved from Phan Rang to LZ Last Chance near Vinh Hao in early 1970, and remained there until the unit was deactivated in early 1971. From this location Co B upgraded highway QL 1 from the vicinity of Phu Quy to the vicinity of Phan Ri Cua near the Song Mao Airfield. It also performed continuous maintenance of the Song Mao Airfield during this period.

Vinh Hao Base Camp

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Photos submitted by: Russell Grobe

                                             

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PHU QUY

589th Co D moved into this location in June 1969, and remained there until the unit was deactivated in early 1971. Co D upgraded highway QL 1 from Phan Rang to this location, and constructed a number of railroad loading and off-loading facilities in this area. The Phu Quy base camp received numerous mortar and rocket attacks, and Co D's work was hampered by numerous mining incidents, sniper fire, and ambushes in its sector of work on QL 1. Co D had numerous casualties while working in this sector.

Phu Quy Base Camp

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Photos submitted by: Russell Grobe
                                             

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DON DUONG

Don Duong Base Camp

                                             

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More information about our work on "QL-14" will be updated in the near future and displayed here.

                                             

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Highway TL-3A from QL-19 to VINH THANH

589th "D" Company had to completely rebuild this road in order to move the heavy equipment necessary to accomplish the Vinh Thanh Air Field project. This 13 mile stretch of road, in it's original condition, was little more than a crude, rutted, dirt road that could not accommodate much more than a jeep-sized vehicle. The finished road was a CL31, one-way, fair weather road. Construction involved 3,000 cubic yards of fill and 386 feet of culvert. Working through an enemy ambush, 12 mine incidents, three US wounded, and two vehicles damaged; 22 589th “D” Co personnel were recommended for the ARCOM with V device.

Write-Up submitted by: David Harbach

                                                

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QL-19 from PLEIKU to QL-1

QL-19 was upgraded from the intersection at QL-1 to the base of the Miang Giang Pass near Pleiku. Included with the upgrade were numerous culvert installations, repairing two blown bridges, one using 12 pile timber bents and 50 foot 36WF steel stringers. Most of the asphalt for paving was provided by the civilian contractor “ RMK” whose quarry and asphalt plant was located near the 589th Base Camp at Cu Lam Nam. The base preparation and asphalt spreading and rolling was done by 589th “D” Company over nearly 60 miles of roadway. These upgrades were accomplished in 1967.

QL-19 Paving

RMK belly dump trucks:

RMK Quarry & asphalt plant:

An Khe Pass grading

Bridge 19-10 

Breaking up blown bridge:

Rebuild under way:

Just beat the monsoon:

Completed rebuild:

Blown by the VC/NVA ?? about two weeks after we completed it.

QL19, Bridge 19-? 

2d bridge rebuild:

Write-Up and Photos Submitted by: David Harbach

                                         

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ROK Evacuation Hospital

589th D Company constructed a 400 Bed Evacuation Hospital at An Son (ROKA Valley) for the ROK Tiger Division in 1967. Tasks covered were horizontal and vertical including road network, pavements with sun covers, Eight Quonset hut wards, clinics, and living quarters built on concrete walls on concrete pads, complete plumbing and sewer system, underground electrical wiring, and an X-ray lab within a lead shielded Quonset.  All components of a major hospital were included in this project.

Write-Up and Photos Submitted by: David Harbach

                                              

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Vinh Thanh Air Field

In 1967, 589th "D" Company spearheaded the construction of a 2500-foot double bituminous surface treatment (DBST) Type II Light Lift Air Field, complete with over-run and taxiways at Vinh Thanh. 

This project was essentially an around-the-clock construction project since much of the rock drilling and subsequent blasting had to be conducted at night to allow the ground crews to prepare the base during the day. Of particular significance was that the rock formation in the center of the runway site was granite with a hardness factor of  9. Track drills were air lifted to the site in order to drill the tungsten carbide tip bits into the granite. Regular jackhammers were not able to penetrate this particular deposit. 

589th Company “A” ran their crusher unit along the local river but, also due to the hardness of the granite, had to replace crusher jaws much more frequently than normal. As difficult as the conditions were at this site the project was still completed in just nine weeks. The 6,000 cubic yards of crushed rock produced here was probably the finest in RVN.

VINH THANH Airfield

“A” Company quarry site:

Camp site:

Church service:

Earth moving:

Well deserved break time.  We also drew our drinking water from this river…upstream!!

Aerial resupply:

Culvert construction under north end of runway:

Before & after 250 # dynamite blast of granite deposit in center of runway:

“Rat Patrol” courier run on TL-3A.  Mine activity on this road kept visitors to a minimum:

Nearing completion!

Completed airfield:

Aerial view.  Airfield on left (early earth moving), Special Forces camp in center, and D Co camp site is the “V” shaped area on the right:

Camp site tear-down:

Write-Up and Photos Submitted by: David Harbach

                                              

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More information about our mission in "Kon Tum" will be updated in the near future and displayed here.

                                             

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More information about our mission in "Da Lat" will be updated in the near future and displayed here.

                                             

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LZ JANE

LZ Jane was located to the west of Hai Lang village in the middle of the Hai Lang National Forest. Being in the middle of a forested area, it was also on one of the main enemy infiltration routes into Quang Tri Province. It also had the best road construction fill material in the area. A section of the 589th C Company EM Platoon was located at LZ Jane from April to August 1968 to move fill to the 13-kilometer long Hai Lang to Wunder Beach road. This road had become the most important U.S. logistics resupply route into Quang Tri Province, and the enemy did everything possible to prevent its construction. Six engineer vehicles (four from the 589th EM Platoon) hit new, hard-to-detect Soviet mines within a 13 day period. Three EM Platoon grader operators were injured, and one narrowly missed backing into a booby-trapped claymore mine. Official reports described EM Platoon’s work as being “… hampered by distance, constant convoys, mining incidents, and enemy harassment.” Living conditions at LZ Jane were “primitive.” Because of enemy snipers and mortar fire, the EM platoon members lived in a dirt trench. There were no shower facilities (“we must have smelled really bad”) or dining facilities (“C rations again”). LZ Jane was also an artillery firebase, and constant firing at night made sleeping difficult. The 320th NVA Division attacked across the DMZ towards Dong Ha from April 29th through most of May, resulting in over 3,000 NVA killed and about half that number of American and ARVN killed.

Write-Up Submitted by: Larry Jinkins 

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Photos Provided by: Dennis Cluth and Keith Swilik

                                             

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WUNDER (Utah) BEACH

During the 68’ Tet Offensive the enemy seriously disrupted movement of supplies into Quang Tri province by use of convoys over the Hai Van Pass located between Da Nang and Hue. Meanwhile, the Marines had been surrounded at Khe Sanh for several weeks and the relief of Khe Sanh was being hampered by the shortage of supplies.  In March 1968 a beach head was established at Wunder (Utah) beach to bring in supplies by sea directly into Quang Tri Province, thus reducing the reliance on use of the Hai Van Pass. The selected beach-landing site was located where the French had made a similar landing in 1954, and the road that ran parallel to the beach was known to the French as “The Street Without Joy.” The 589th C Company Earthmoving Platoon arrived at the beach via LST on March 20th, and immediately constructed a sand-cement road across the beach to the old French road that in turn connected into Highway 1 at the village of Hai Lang. During the first week of April six EM Platoon volunteers (“what were we thinking”) hauled ammunition into the Khe Sanh area during Operation Pegasus, the Army’s rescue of the surrounded Marines. Sections of the 589th EM Platoon subsequently deployed to Camp Evans, LZ Jane, and Mai Loc. Wunder Beach received sporadic rocket and mortar fire during its existence. On June 27th the 1st Cav Division detected the NVA 814th Infantry Battalion moving into the village of Binah An north of the beach. The 1st Cav Division, supported by the USS Boston with its 8-inch guns and Marine artillery from Quang Tri, killed 233 of the enemy and captured 44. The 589th EM Platoon departed Wunder Beach via LST on August 16, 1968.              

Write-Up Submitted by: Larry Jinkins 

Photos Provided by:
      Dennis Cluth, Keith Swilik, and Bill Stafford

                                             

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PHAN RANG

Google Map of Phan Rang as it looks today.
Anotated by: Fred Osterman

Photo submitted by: Russell Grobe

                                             

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SONG PHA

589th C Company was co-located with an ARVN unit adjacent to an inactive hydroelectric plant from August 1968 until early 1971. The location was at the base of three forested hills and at the bottom of the Good View Pass road. The company’s two primary missions were that of restoring, straightening, and widening the old French road, QL 11 (now National Highway 27), from Tan My Bridge to Song Pha and restoring and improving QL 11 up the Good View Pass to the village of Don Doung. The company also performed additional engineer missions at Bao Loc, Du Long, Ba Rau, Cam Rahn, Ba Ngoi, Song Mao, and bridge construction missions on QL 1.

The History of the 18th Engineer Brigade states: “… the most difficult stretch of roadway that the Brigade had ever undertaken, the 27 kilometer stretch of National Highway QL 11 south in the Central Highlands known as the Good View Pass, was completed. This road was transformed from a treacherous mountain path into a thoroughfare worthy of the name National Highway. The Good View Pass metamorphosis is one of the high points of the Lines of Communications highway project that the Brigade is engaged in.

          589th C Company received casualties at the Song Pha compound from mortar fire. On QL 11 it occasionally encountered mines and sniper fire, and culverts were demolished by the Viet Cong – but for the most part the company did not have serious casualties from these incidents. The one exception was the ambush of the company’s mess/supply truck on December 3, 1968 during which the truck exploded and NCO was killed. A cook, who was riding shotgun, received 5 small arms fire wounds but miraculously escaped and survived.  

Write-Up Submitted by: Larry Jinkins      

Song Pha Base Camp - Today

Photos Provided by: Dennis Cluth, Ralph Downing,
        Keith Swillik, Bill Stafford and Chuck Schueddig

                                             

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QL-11

Photos submitted by: Russell Grobe

                                             

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Port of QUI NHON

LST beach upgrades and interim access roads at the port of Qui Nhon were accomplished by 589th "D" Company. Primarily, long haul of fill dirt, spreading, and compacting to raise the level of the port facility to accommodate LSTs and to provide parking areas to stage equipment being off-loaded from ships. Extensive effort by the Earth Moving Platoon began within days after the troop ship’s arrival in April 1967 using earth moving assets from the 84th Engr Bn (Const) until their equipment arrived.

Write-Up and Photos Submitted by: David Harbach

                                             

 

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The 589th Base Camp at "Cu Lam Nam" between Qui Nhon and An Khe off QL 19. HHC and A Company operations were located here from Apr67 to Aug68.

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Photo Provided by: John Mayes



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Photo by Dave Harbach

                                             

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AN KHE Basecamp - Camp Radcliff,  1st Cavalry Division

"D" Company of the 589th Engineer Battalion projects at the Division Class II & IV yard consisted of completion of four warehouse buildings, rehabilitating three existing buildings, upgrading the access road, and completeing a hardstand. They also completed construction of a warehouse, shed, and POL ramp at the Class III yard.

Write-Up Submitted by: David Harbach

                                             

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More information about our mission in "PLEIKU" will be updated in the near future and displayed here.

                                             

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CAMP EVANS

Camp Evans was the Base Camp for the 1st Cav Division.  A section of the 589th C Company Earthmoving Platoon was assigned to expand the aircraft tarmac and cargo holding areas of the Camp’s airfield from April to August 1968. This work was needed to improve logistics support to 1st Cav operations within Quang Tri Province, particularly logistics support to the Battle of A Shau Valley that was being fought to the west of the Camp. EM members also assisted in off-loading wounded from the helicopters. On May 19th, 1968 an enemy rocket round landed in the Camp’s ammo dump. The explosions from the ammo dump and several fuel bladders could be seen from 20 miles away. Dozens of helicopters were damaged.  Members of EM Platoon were pinned down by flying shrapnel for 14 hours. They were a “jumpy bunch” after the incident – not that anyone would make sudden loud noises to see them jump.

Write-Up Submitted by: Larry Jinkins  

  

Photos Provided by: Keith Swilik and Ralph Downing

                                             

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MAI LOC
    Special Forces Camp

The Mai Loc Special Forces Camp was located immediately south of the infamous “Rockpile,” and was the northern-most Special Forces camp in South Vietnam. A section of the 589th C Company Earthmoving Platoon extended the airfield runway from 1800 feet to 2300 feet in length during June 1968.

Write-Up Submitted by: Larry Jinkins

                                             

If you have anything else to share regarding this location please send it by email to: 589th Email