Bridges over Vietnam

Bailey Bridge

Below are some photos Chris Bussells (31st HHC) provided of a Bailey bridge project built by the 31st Engineer Battalion over the Song Be River and completed in 1970. Chris worked on the design part of this project as a draftsman.

The original concrete bridge piers had been partially destroyed, and he needed to design formwork and reinforcing for the reconstructed piers. These photos were taken by Chris at the request of the operations officer, who wanted the photos for the unit historian. He had to turn over the negatives, but kept a set of prints for himself.


Below are views of an E-48 AVLB (Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge) deploying its bridge in the Central Highlands, 1968.
Photos by Tommy Truong79 Flickr







Filed under Vietnam War

27 responses to “Bridges over Vietnam

  1. Great pictures. It is nice to see we did something besides killing and getting killed.

  2. Thank you Rob., and Chris for the photos. Maybe someone will get up with us with some info.. We flew everyday, but I do not remember ever seeing these. Great photos. Frank.

  3. Walker

    I see an OH-58 in one photo. This must be 1970 or later. I’m sure I flew my Loach under it :-))

  4. Richard Schunk

    Great photos of the Song Be River bridge project, which was built by C Company, 31st Engineer BN. Note that the Bailey bridge replaced a pontoon bridge, which can be seen in the aerial photo.

  5. This wasn’t the Song Be bridge just out of Phouc Vinh was it ?

  6. Chris Bussells

    Well, I have prints of 2-36 exposure rolls of plusX. shot at the bridge site- these were just a small sample. If anyone is interested I can scan the whole batch.

    • usastruck

      Chris, your photos are much appreciated, and seem to have sparked some interest.

      If you want to scan more of the better photos you have, I would like to add more to this post…

  7. Chris, I had pulled security on the song be bridge in 1968 during tet. The photos of the bridge shows where I pulled my security on the banks of the old structure. I heard the song sitting on the dock of the bay by Otis Redding while at that AO. I also became friends with the 90mmRR, humping that beast also brings back fond memories. Thanks for the photos and WELCOME HOME Roland Hayes 3/187-101 div. 67-68

    • prophet1154

      I was in Charlie company 3/`187 and guarded the bridge leading in phuc vinh which was my base camp. was hit at that bridge in 68. in looking at the photos I am not sure that is the same bridge. he said they were building it in 70 and that is way later then you and i

  8. David Armstrong

    I was there too. The whole company was flown up for the assembly of the Bailey Bridge. The choppers did not want to fly back in to pick us up so we set up a night position in a clearing on the other side and sat back-to-back all night long. Then in the morning we finished the bridge and were flown out.

  9. gary f. portrer

    name gary porter. i spent many a days and night on the song be bridge just outside of phouc vinh guarding it. i watched a 16 yr old viet colonels daughter almost cut a another lady in half with a ak who was driving a moped and wanted to blow the bridge up. i got my 3rd wound guarding that bridge on 4-12-68.

  10. Wow I found this blog a few months ago while googling family photos. I don’t think I’ve ever seen these before. Chris worked for dad for many years and still does design work today

  11. prophet1154

    my name gary porter and I see that roland hayes was in the 3rd of the 187–101st airborne. roland I was the 60 gunner in Charlie co. exactly what company was you in. we operated out of phouc vinh. my ne-mail is

  12. Carl Darby

    I see several messages about the Song Be Bridge and it’s proximity to Phouc Vinh. I was at this location in 1969 w/ the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, L Troop of the 3rd Squadron. I am writing about Vietnam, and I’m trying to identify the highway/road, by number or name, which crossed the Song Be at this bridge in 1969. Can anyone help?

    • Dave W.

      I don’t think it is the same bridge/location, the Phouc Vinh bridge was all metal in 68/69 as i remember it. I was with the 1st Cav, 8th Engineers, we only went to the bridge to swim and/or trade with the bridge people, the 31st was in charge of the bridge.

      My link to my Camp Evans/Phouc Vinh pictures, the bridge looks mostly all steel and not concrete. I probably went over it 100 times..

      • Dave W.

        This youtube video of the Song Be bridge at Phouc Vinh is the one i remember. Concrete at both ends with the metal center sections.

      • prophet1154

        dave i was stationed at phoc phin in nov 67 with the 101st. the bridge was built over the top of another bridge that the french had and was blown up. this bridge you could not swim at because the river was mined so the cong could not get to it by water. south vietnam troops lived under the bridge and helped guard it. we was sent there once a month for a few days to guard also. that was the only road to phouc vinh but i do not remember the name of it. it was just a few miles from phouc vinh and the road dead ended at our basecamp at phouc vinh. i got my 3rd purple heart at that bridge. if i remember it was metal with wooden planks

  13. Hal Finkle

    I was at that bridge with the 31st Eng. B.C0 1970 that picture of the guy alone with a pry bar over his head is me. I would love to see the rest of the pictures if you could scan them and send them to me.
    Hal Finkle

  14. Francois buis

    It seems that was the Nha Bich bridge – linked Chon Thanh (Binh Duong province) to Dong Xoai (Phuoc Long) on road 14 (now National Road 14).

    The Bailey bridge was destroyed in 1974-1975 then a new bridge was build and finished in 1977 (I had worked in building the new bridge):

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s