Cam Ranh Bay

Cam Ranh Bay was the major port of entry for U.S. military supplies and personnel in South Vietnam. Located approximately 200 miles northeast of Saigon on the southern bulge of Vietnam, it had been an important way station for navigators since the time of Marco Polo. In June 1965, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began improving the port with 70 miles of roads, warehouses, fuel tanks, and larger cargo-handling facilities. A new pier was shipped from South Carolina and assembled at Cam Ranh Bay, giving the facility the ability to handle six large vessels at the same time. The port was considered so safe that Lyndon Johnson visited there twice, which made the shock of the Vietcong raid in 1969 even more severe. The Vietcong attack destroyed a water tower and chapel and damaged the hospital. Most patients were evacuated safely, but the United States lost two killed and ninety-eight wounded. The Vietcong escaped without a casualty. Security was tightened, and Cam Ranh Bay continued to be the major supply port for Vietnam, even after the American withdrawal in 1975. It was abandoned without a fight in June 1975.