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.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. 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.