Rocket and Mortar Attacks

Bunkers Constructed with Sandbags


Charlie Troop 1/9th hooches

Staff Sgt Dave Roger

One of the most helpless feelings I experienced in Vietnam is when our firebase was being mortared (incoming) and hoping the next rocket wouldn’t be a direct hit. It almost seemed safer on a recon mission in the middle of the jungle.

An incoming round exploding is a noise forever embedded in your brain and for years to come you could be affected by similar sounds.

When I first arrived in Phuoc Vinh mortar attacks were quite frequent. It seemed like we got hit at least three times a day, and Charlie had our Company Area zeroed in.

Usually, a siren would blow to indicate an incoming mortar attack. When it sounded you scrambled to the nearest bunker for protection. The siren would sound again to indicate the attack had ended and all was clear to exit from your bunker. That’s when you had to be careful because Charlie could also hear the siren, and he would lob a few more in.

One morning a bunch of us Blues were standing down at the helipad waiting for our choppers to arrive to fly us out for a recon mission. Charlie started shelling the helipad area and a mortar landed within six feet of where we were standing. There was a row of barrels filled with sand between us and where the mortar landed. That was a close one to say the least!

Then there was the night Charlie threw some big stuff at us (Sept. 12th 1970). The sound of 122mm rockets slamming down in the area around the hooch where I was sleeping woke me up within seconds. I rolled out of bed to the floor and low crawled as fast as I could to the nearest bunker.3987246444_95167a4f3d_m
When the attack seemed to be over, we came out of the bunker to access the damage. Our hooch did not take a direct hit, but a Red platoon hooch across the road did and was on fire. I then went back to check my AO ( sleeping area). I would not be writing this now if I wouldn’t have woken when I did. My pillow got peppered with shrapnel holes along with an Iowa State flag that was hanging on the wall above my bed…

Remains of Red platoon hooch
Photo by Nathan D. Shaffer (Charlie Troop Scouts, 1969-70)


The hole in the ground between the boots is the results of a small VC mortar round.


Chinese 60 mm mortar rounds captured by 1st Cav Quan Loi May 69
Photo by Jim Beck

Radar unit on the wooden tower was used to pinpoint the origin of incoming rounds for retaliation purposes. (Two above Photos by Chris Bussells, 31st HHC)

Newly built Charlie Troop hooches before sandbags

Two above photos by Jordan Green (Charlie Troop Maintenance, 1969-70)


Filed under Vietnam War

2 responses to “Rocket and Mortar Attacks

  1. Larry Cook

    I was with A co. 15th S&S Bn. 1st Cav. 4th forward position stationed at Camp Gorvad in 1970. We were platoon strength there,and I worked issuing supplies to You Guys that did the heavy lifting. Before leaving in Dec. (got a Christmas drop)I was transferred to pol ,refueling choppers at both the old point by the runway(kept it going overnight) ,and the new point near the perimeter. I saw some of the things you saw (at Camp Gorvad the hit on the hooch in Sept.& the Miss America show ),but for what you did in the field,


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