Cam Lộ Combat Base

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Cam Lộ Combat Base
NARA 127-GVB-3-A801118 Black and white aerial view of Cam Lo Base Camp.png
A 1968 aerial view of Cam Lo
Cam Lộ Combat Base is located in Vietnam
Cam Lộ Combat Base
Cam Lộ Combat Base
Coordinates16°48′43″N 106°59′35″E / 16.812°N 106.993°E / 16.812; 106.993 (Cam Lộ Combat Base)
Site history
In use1966–1972
Battles/warsVietnam Service Medal ribbon.svg
Vietnam War
Battle of Con Thien
Easter Offensive
Garrison information
Occupants3rd Marine Division
ARVN 1st Division
ARVN 3rd Division

Cam Lộ Combat Base (also known as Hill 37 or simply Cam Lộ) is a former U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) base northwest of Quảng Trị in central Vietnam.



The base was established in the town of Cam Lộ 15 km west of Đông Hà and 20 km northwest of Quảng Trị between Highway 9 and the Miêu Giang or Cam Lộ River only approximately 7 km south of the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).[1]

On 22 June the Marines' "Task Force Charlie" comprising two Force Reconnaissance Companies, Companies from 2nd Battalion 1st Marines and 3/4 Marines and Battery H 3rd Battalion, 12th Marines deployed to Đông Hà Combat Base and Cam Lộ. On 28 June a People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) mortar attack on Cam Lộ killed two Marines and wounded five.[2]

On 14 July in preparation for Operation Hastings, General Lowell English established his command post at Cam Lộ with security provided by 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines and artillery support from the 3rd Battalion, 12th Marines.[2]: 161–4  Following the completion of Operation Hastings, the artillery and tanks from the 3rd Tank Battalion remained at Cam Lộ with security provided by 2 Companies from 2/4 Marines. The artillery and tanks were used to support Marine patrols into the DMZ as part of Operation Prairie.[2]: 177 

On the early morning of 26 August the 812th Regiment of the PAVN 324B Division attacked Cam Lộ resulting in 9 Marines killed and 20 wounded.[2]: 186–7 

From February–March 1967 the Marines launched Operation Prairie II a series of sweeps from Cam Lộ to Con Thien resulting in 93 Marines and 694 PAVN killed.[3]

In March 1967 Route 9 west of Cam Lộ was reopened to Khe Sanh for the first time since 1964. The road would suffer numerous ambushes making it dangerous if not altogether unusable.[3]: 239 

Cam Lộ was intended to form a supporting base for the McNamara Line[3]: 89–91  and provided artillery support USMC forces engaged at Con Thien. Route 561 which ran from Cam Lộ was the main supply route to Con Thien[3]: 91–4  Cam Lộ formed one corner of what became known as Leatherneck Square, with the other corners being Con Thien, Firebase Gio Linh and Đông Hà Combat Base.[4]


Company H, 2/4 Marines rush for cover during an attack on Cam Lo Combat Base

In January 1968 Cam Lộ was occupied by artillery of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Marines with security provided by the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines.[4]: 40 

At 02:15 on 2 February the Vietcong 27th Independent Battalion attacked the Cam Lộ district headquarters resulting in 3 U.S. and 111 Vietcong killed.[4]: 138–9  CPL Larry L. Maxam would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the engagement.[4]: 740 

The 1st Battalion, 11th Infantry was based at Cam Lộ from July to October 1968,[5] being replaced by the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines.[4]: 446 

In July 1969 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines assumed responsibility for the Cam Lộ area.[6]

In September 1969 as part of Operation Keystone Cardinal the 3rd Marine Division began its withdrawal from Vietnam and by early October the Marines had handed over control of their tactical area of operations (including the Cam Lộ base) to the 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division.


By January 1972 the ARVN 3rd Division had assumed responsibility for the area north of Highway 9.[7] The PAVN launched their Easter Offensive on 30 March 1972 and by 1 April had broken through the ARVN defensive positions along the DMZ and north of the Cam Lo River.[7]: 45  On the afternoon of 2 April the road and rail bridges at Đông Hà were destroyed temporarily halting the advance of PAVN armor down Route 1, however at 18:00 a USAF EB-66 was shot down west of Đông Hà and a no fire zone was imposed around the area allowing the PAVN to capture the Cam Lo Bridge intact.[7]: 61–3  PAVN forces moved across the bridge rolling up ARVN defensive positions south of the river before finally being halted south of Quảng Trị. Cam Lộ would remain in North Vietnamese hands for the rest of the war.[7]: 76 

Current use[edit]

The base has been turned over to housing.


  1. ^ Kelley, Michael (2002). Where we were in Vietnam. Hellgate Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-1555716257.
  2. ^ a b c d Shulimson, Jack (1982). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: An Expanding War 1966. History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. p. 158. ISBN 9781494285159.
  3. ^ a b c d Telfer, Gary (1984). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: Fighting the North Vietnamese 1967. History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. pp. 9–14. ISBN 978-1494285449.
  4. ^ a b c d e Shulimson, Jack (1997). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: 1968 The Defining Year. History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. p. 40. ISBN 0-16-049125-8.
  5. ^ Stanton, Shelby (2003). Vietnam Order of Battle. Stackpole Books. p. 140. ISBN 9780811700719.
  6. ^ Smith, Charles (1988). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: High Mobility and Standdown 1969. History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. p. 75. ISBN 978-1494287627.
  7. ^ a b c d Melson, Charles (1991). U.S. Marines In Vietnam: The War That Would Not End, 1971-1973. History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. p. 32. ISBN 978-1482384055.

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.