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Long Bình Post and the Vietnam War

The following guest post is by Ryan Moore, a cartographic specialist in the Geography and Map Division.

During the Vietnam War, Long Binh Post was the U.S. Army’s largest base located in the former South Vietnam. It was situated between Bien Hoa, the location of a large American airbase, and Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam. The Geography and Map Division holds a map from the war that was printed and created by the 66th Engineer Company (known as the “Topo Corps”). The likely purpose of the map was to serve as a guide for personnel and others who lived or worked on the base.

During the Vietnam War, the U.S. Army used the base as a logistics and command center. It had the unofficial name “Long Binh Junction.” Its initials, LBJ, were the same as then-President Lyndon Baines Johnson, the chief American proponent of the war against the communist insurgency. In 1968, the base fell under attack during the Tet Offensive, and the Viet Cong assault force was repelled by American troops.

The base was a kind of island for U.S. troops “in country,” a phrase used to describe a soldier who was on a tour of duty in South Vietnam. A virtual city of some 60,000 people at its height, Long Binh Post had dental clinics, large restaurants, snack bars, a photo lab, a wood shop, post offices, swimming pools, basketball and tennis courts, a golf driving range, laundromats, and even a Chase Manhattan Bank branch. It had a nightlife scene, as well. Among the offerings were a bowling alley, nightclubs, and other so-called adult entertainment establishments. Several of these places are listed on the map’s index titled “Guide to Important Buildings and Features,” which provides a building number and grid location.

Long Bình Post : [Vietnam]. [1972?] G8024.L6 1972 .L6. Library of Congress, Geography & Map Division.

The reverse side of the map depicts Long Binh Post in relation to Saigon. Early in the war, many American units were dispersed throughout Saigon. However, the American command relocated them to Long Binh Post in order to centralize security, logistics, and communications.

Long Bình Post : [Vietnam]. [1972?] G8024.L6 1972 .L6. Library of Congress, Geography & Map Division.

The base and its facilities were handed over to the South Vietnamese military in 1972, as part of the de-escalation of American forces from the war. Currently, the area is used as an industrial park and shopping center known as Long Binh Ward.

19 Comments

  1. Leslie Wagner
    August 2, 2017 at 10:40 am

    My father was a Lt. Col. when he was stationed at Long Binh, 1966-1967. He retired from the U.S. Army back in 1970, went back to college, and started a new and successful career. He died this past January. I have old reel-to-reel audiotapes that my parents recorded and mailed back and forth to each other while he was stationed at Long Binh. I haven’t attempted to listen to them yet.

  2. Leslie Wagner
    August 2, 2017 at 11:23 am

    For that time period, I would have to say that Long Binh was modeled after most large military bases, containing recreational opportunities to distract you from the fact that you were counting the days until you could return home. Unlike the military bases in Germany, for example, there was no family housing at Long Binh because Vietnam was a war zone. My husband was stationed at Binh Thuy, a much smaller base that lacked most of the niceties of Long Binh. At Binh Thuy, my husband witnessed the prevalence of heavy drug abuse among the enlisted ranks and was relieved to return stateside in 1972 after 7 months in country. The Vietcong hit the base ammo dump with mortar rounds, resulting in the destruction and abandonment of the base.

  3. Ryan Moore
    August 11, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Dear Leslie Wagner,

    Your comments are appreciated. I would like to share with you information about the Library’s Veterans History Project that collects stories about veterans.

    The website is //www.loc.gov/vets/

    Their email is [email protected]

    Sincerely,

    Ryan Moore
    Cartographic Specialist
    Geography and Map Division
    Library of Congress

  4. Frederick Danial Oliver
    September 21, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    My brother was stationed here but would never talk about it. Drafted at 27 finishing up his degree at our university, full time job.

  5. Curt Locke
    September 22, 2017 at 3:48 am

    My father was LT. Gordon L. Locke on base. He was an MP officer If any of his buddies remember him I would love to hear from you.

  6. Jim Haskins
    October 15, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    I was at Long Bing for most of ’67. Never heard the base called LBJ, but the stockade was called LBJ as in “Long Bing Jail”.

  7. Ryan Moore
    November 2, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    Dear Jim Haskins,

    The jail was indeed referred to as LBJ. However, different sources, include memoirs by veterans, refer to the base as LBJ or Long Binh Junction. If you are curious about those writings by veterans, please contact me and I can share some of titles with you.

    Sincerely,

    Ryan Moore
    Cartographic Specialist
    Geography and Map Division
    Library of Congress

  8. Ngo – Gao
    November 10, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Did anyone in here whose were in LongBinh, BienHoa around 1970 to 1071 or know someone who was there . PLease post . Thanks

  9. Bob Dunn
    November 11, 2017 at 8:48 am

    I served at Long Binh in 67 and 68. I was in the U.S.Army, 212th MP Co. I was a Sentry dog handler and psyroled the ammunition dump at night. I have photos of the base and dump.

  10. John Wyatt
    December 22, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    I was in long bin in 70 and 71 with 66 engineers. I worked in the map depot. Never saw a bowling alley, wood shop or any of the other things mentioned. There were some clubs to.drink though.
    Never heard post called LBJ. only heard long binh jail. Went lots of other places in country too. Now disabled due to agent orange. Want to say to all that served there, THANKS MEN and WELCOME HOME!!

  11. B johnson
    January 2, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    I was a 1Lt stationed at Long Binh 1970-71 at a facility called Inventory Control Center-Vietnam. On the map it was in the lower area about 500 yards east of the Generals Compound. The building next door was the headquarters for the 1st Signal brigade
    I don’t ever recall anyone stationed a Long Binh calling it “LBJ” — that was reserved for the infamous jail. It’s possible that one stationed elsewhere did nickname the base LBJ. There was, however, a civilian contractors billeting area located in the area about the center of the map that was referred to as RMK-LBJ (RMK being the initials of that major contractor)
    I wish the map were larger so that I could locate several of the base facilities on it

  12. L Hafferty
    January 4, 2018 at 4:47 am

    April 1967 to November 1968 Mail address 19 months
    1st Signal Brigade
    44th Signal Battalion
    580th Company (Telephone Company)
    Long Binh Vietnam 96307
    Work as telephone lineman

  13. Richard Becker
    January 6, 2018 at 5:49 am

    How could I get a digital copy of the map? I cannot enlarge the map as it is displayed here so that I can read it.

  14. Rodney Bissey
    January 6, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    I was in the Army signal corp at Long Binh Post Jan. 67 thru Jan 68 soon after tet. Anyone out there who remembers the detained VC lineup outside the main gate by the barber shop the morning after tet? Remember when the VC blew up the ammo bunker? Not sure which company and battalion I belonged to while there, can anyone help?

    Rod
    From Quakertown, PA (30 mi north of Philly)

  15. Bob Koehler
    January 30, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    I was a JAG officer stationed part of the time in 1970 at Long Binh – I had many a “client” housed at the LBJ – a place you did not want to spend any time at – or in it!! LBJ was the major jail facility in Vietnam for military prisoners convicted or waiting for trial.

  16. Carl Easley
    February 20, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    I was with the 261st Transportation Co. in 1968,arrived just before Tet and my 2 years “ETS” was up in late Sept.68. I drove a 5 ton and hauled mostly ammo all over Vietnam. I had my 21st B.D. there.

  17. Ken Edney
    March 12, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    I served in Long Binh from Mar ’67 to Mar ’68 with 3rd Ord Bn, 60th Ord Co in the ammo dump. I never heard it referred to as Long Binh Post or LBJ. LBJ was the jail. In my time we had no swimming pool, bowling alley, or any of the other creature comfort things listed above. It was pretty wild around there. I lived in a tent my first three months. Never had a hot shower or running water, we pissed in a tube sticking out of the ground and had two hole outhouses. Even potable water was from a lister bag hanging from a tree limb.

  18. Tim Dickison
    March 21, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    I was stationed from June 68 to June 69 at 12th Combat Aviation Group, which was located about 1 mile north of
    Long Binh main base. The compound was called Long Binh North or “Plantation Airfield”. I worked in aircraft maintenance section, although my last 3 months in country drove truck back and forth to Ton Son Nhut Airbase to deliver potable water to our unit. Remember “LBJ” as referring to the jail there.

  19. Steve Hodges
    April 1, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    I worked inside the LBJ (Long Binh Jail) every day from mid-September, 1969 through mid-September, 1970. I was nominally the SJA for the 18th MP Brigade, but actually worked most of the time for the LBJ “Correctional Officer,” in other words, the warden.

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