The Da Nang area was home to many US military organizations. Although we seldom had a reason (or an opportunity) to go to Da Nang, we did at times need to go to other military installations. The air base and PX were the typical destinations.

Danang Area


Friends in low places

Once you cleared the Co C grounds, you headed north towards Da Nang and the airbase. You went past a row of shanties we called "dog patch". Rumor had it that these were the closest establishments for 'horizontal refreshment'. I (happily) cannot attest to that. However, I always did wonder why I saw only women at these buildings and why 50% of them cheered when the SF'ers went by... and 50% extended their middle finger.


on the road to Danang

By US standards these buildings would be listed as 'uninhabitable'. Yet, these buildings were better than many other Vietnamese living quarters. The real 'dog patch' lay very close to one of the Da Nang runways. In 1966 a crippled B-52 bomber tried to make it to Da Nang airbase. It landed 500 yards short of the runway -- plowing and slicing through 'dog patch' like an oversized lawn mower from Hell. Many Vietnamese were killed. Of the aircrew only the tail gunner escaped... adding to the legacy and misery of the Viet Nam war.


Middle class housing...

These homes -- modest by Vietnamese standards -- were still shacks by US standards. They had yards, such as they were. Some even sported brick. To the contrary many refugee homes in Viet Nam were made of soda/beer cans, pounded flat, and joined together to form crude metal sheeting. This 'sheeting' became the wall and roofing material for many refugee houses.

Further up the road you approached (what I called) the Da Nang river. As we get closer to Da Nang, you would see more and more of the ARVN (South Vietnamese Army) troops. Most were on bicycles and wore nicely pressed uniforms. I often wondered why I never saw any of these men 'in the boonies' where I was. It was very difficult not to feel contempt for these soldiers. They looked pretty... but could they -- would they -- fight?


Approaching 'the Bridge'

Approaching Da Nang would often cause the SF'ers a lot of anxiety. Often, you had only three days at HQS to do five days work. You were often tired, sick, and frustrated by this war... wondering why you were fighting for Viet Nam when so many of the Vietnamese seemed not to care. It was easy to be bitter. Entering an area where so many ARVN were located equated to entering a 'target-rich' environment. Although many claimed it was only a test of 'hand/eye' coordination, knocking an ARVN off of a bicycle with a well-placed kick as you drove by elicited many a smile.


On the bridge

Most of the times ARVN troops would not travel on the Da Nang bridge when SF troops were crossing the bridge in vehicles. No... it was not out of respect for the sacrifices we were making. It was because many of them couldn't swim. Capiche'??

Score on the bridge??
SF:          1
ARVN:     0
P.S. I still resent what they stood for.