Battle of Nam Dong

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Battle of Nam Dong
Part of the Vietnam War
DateJuly 5–6, 1964
LocationNam Đông, Vietnam
16°07′03″N 107°40′41″E / 16.1175°N 107.678°E / 16.1175; 107.678[1]
Result Allied victory
 South Vietnam
 United States
FNL Flag.svg Viet Cong
Vietnam North Vietnam
Commanders and leaders
United States Roger H. C. Donlon Unknown
South Vietnam 360 ARVN/CIDG
United States 12 Green Berets
Australia 1 Advisor
Casualties and losses
South Vietnam 50 killed
United States 2 killed
Australia 1 killed
62 killed

The Battle of Nam Đông took place from July 5–6 1964, when the Viet Cong (VC) and People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) attacked the Nam Đông CIDG camp in an attempt to overrun it.


Nam Đông is situated 32 miles (51 km) west of Da Nang in a valley near the Laotian border; it was manned by South Vietnamese personnel with American and Australian advisers, and served as a major thorn in the side of local VC militants.

The PAVN/VC struck at the camp at 02:30 on 5 July to achieve the element of surprise, and reached the outer perimeter where CIDG forces managed to hold out. At 04:00 the senior officer, Captain Roger Donlon, radioed for support and 2 hours later 6 HMM-162 helicopters carrying reinforcements escorted by 2 U.S. Army UH-1B helicopter gunships left Da Nang Air Base for Nam Dong, but on arriving over the camp they were unable to land due to intense fire and had to return to Da Nang.[2].

A U.S. Army CV-2 Caribou managed to drop ammunition into the camp and Republic of Vietnam Air Force (RVNAF) A-1 Skyraiders carried out airstrikes on the PAVN/VC around the camp.[2]:158

At 09:45 18 HMM-162 UH-34Ds escorted by 4 UH-1Bs and 2 RVNAF A-1s began landing a 93 man relief force and extracting the wounded. At 15:45 a further flight of 10 UH-34s delivered ammunition and equipment to the camp but by this time the battle was over.[2]:158

Allied losses were 2 U.S., 1 Australian and 50 CIDG killed, while the PAVN/VC left 62 dead around the camp.[2]:158


Captain Donlon became the first American to be awarded the Medal of Honor in Vietnam for killing two VC sappers and thereby preventing them from breaching the Nam Dong base, while sustaining shrapnel wounds in the process.[3]

For his actions during this battle, Warrant Officer Kevin Conway of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV), was cited by his commander—then Colonel Ted Serong—for a Victoria Cross, the highest gallantry award for Australian service personnel. Conway was in a forward weapon pit with an American Master Sergeant, Gabriel Alamo, who was killed in the assault. Conway alone fired his mortar upon the assaulting enemy in ever decreasing range fire until he was forced to bring his mortar fire upon himself to save the perimeter of the base. Conway has never received the cited award for valour. He was the first Australian to be killed in action in the Vietnam War. Serong stated that it was US Special Forces politics that denied Conway his Victoria Cross. Sergeant John L. Houston, Radio Operator, was also killed during the action on 6 July 1964. Alamo and Houston were posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Sergeant Terrance D. Terrin, U.S. Army Green Beret Medic, was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in battle.

The Green Berets[edit]

A key battle scene in the 1968 film The Green Berets was based on this battle.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kelley, Michael (2002). Where we were in Vietnam. Hellgate Press. pp. 5–351. ISBN 978-1555716257. 
  2. ^ a b c d Whitlow, Robert (1977). U.S. Marines In Vietnam: The Advisory and Combat Assistance Era, 1954-1964. History and Museums Division, Headquarters US Marine Corps. p. 157. ISBN 9781494285296. 
  3. ^ "One Who Was Belligerent". TIME Magazine. 1964-12-11. Retrieved 2007-04-22. 

External links[edit]