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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.

4 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.

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