Khe Sanh is the district
capital of Hướng Hoá District, Quảng Trị Province, Vietnam, located
63 km west of Đông Hà.
Khe Sanh base, 1968
Khe Sanh Combat Base
Diagram of base.
was a United States Marine Corps
outpost in South Vietnam
48QXD850418) used during the Vietnam War
. The airstrip was built in September
1962. Fighting began there in late April of
1967 known as the "Hill Fights", which later
expanded into the 1968 Battle of Khe Sanh. U.S. commanders hoped that the North Vietnamese Army would attempt to
repeat their famous victory at the Battle of Dien
Bien Phu, and the battle ended as a failure for the North
The defense of Khe Sanh became one of the
largest sieges of the war and commanded heavy international
attention in the media one of several climactic phases of the
. On July 5
, Khe Sanh was
abandoned, the U.S. Army citing the vulnerability of the base to
enemy artillery. However, the closure permitted the 3rd Marine
Division to construct mobile firebase operations along the northern
1971 Khe Sanh was reactivated by the US Army
(Operation Dewey Canyon II) to support Operation Lam Son 719, the South
Vietnamese incursion into Laos.
was abandoned again sometime in 1972
. In March
, American officials in Saigon reported
that North Vietnamese troops had rebuilt the old airstrip at Khe
Sanh and were using it for courier flights into the south. Today
Khe Sanh Combat Base is a museum where relics of the war are
exhibited. Most of the former base is now overgrown by wilderness
or coffee and banana plants. However, to this day nothing will grow
on the airstrip itself.
United States President's Inaugural Address
20, 2009, the President of the United States Barack Obama, referred to the Battle of Khe
Sanh in his Inaugural Address:
[I]t has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things
— some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their
labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards
prosperity and freedom.
For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and
traveled across oceans in search of a new life.
For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured
the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.
For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and
Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sanh.
US produced news reel about Khe Sanh
The Australian rock
group Cold Chisel
used "Khe Sanh
" for the title of a song about an
Australian Vietnam veteran
. The song
describes the bitterness felt by many Australian conscripts
following the war. In reality few
Australians served at Khe Sanh during the war.
Khe Sanh in the third verse of his song "Born In the USA
The battle is mentioned by the character Walter Sobchak, played by
in the film The Big Lebowski
. While giving a
eulogy about his friend Donny moments before scattering his ashes,
he begins to speak about the Vietnam War, and says:
- He died.... He died, as so many young men of his generation,
before his time. In your wisdom, Lord, you took him, as you took so
many bright, flowering young men at Khe Sanh, at Langdok, and Hill
364. These men gave their lives.
Yet another pop-culture reference came in the 1997 movie
That Thing You Do
the end it is revealed that the Bass Player, whose character was
never given a name, got a Purple Heart
at the battle of Khe Sanh.