Battle of Nam Dong

Battle of Nam Dong
Part of the Vietnam War
DateJuly 5–6, 1964
Location16°07′03″N 107°40′41″E / 16.1175°N 107.678°E / 16.1175; 107.678[1]
Result Allied victory
 South Vietnam
 United States
Viet Cong
Vietnam North Vietnam
Commanders and leaders
United States Roger H. C. Donlon Unknown
South Vietnam 360 ARVN/CIDG
United States 12 Green Berets
Australia 1 Advisor
~800–900 guerrillas[2]
Casualties and losses
South Vietnam 57 killed[3]
United States 2 killed
Australia 1 killed
62 killed

The battle of Nam Đông took place from July 5–6 1964 during the Vietnam War, when the Viet Cong (VC) and People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) attacked the Nam Đông CIDG camp in an attempt to overrun it. During the battle, 57 South Vietnamese defenders, two Americans, an Australian Military advisor, and at least 62 attackers were killed.


Nam Đông is situated 32 miles (51 km) west of Da Nang in a valley near the Laotian border; it was manned by South Vietnamese personnel with American and Australian advisers, and served as a major thorn in the side of local VC militants.

The PAVN/VC struck at the camp at 02:30 on 5 July to achieve the element of surprise, and reached the outer perimeter where CIDG forces managed to hold out. At 04:00 the senior officer, Captain Roger Donlon, radioed for support and two hours later six HMM-162 helicopters carrying reinforcements escorted by two U.S. Army UH-1B helicopter gunships left Da Nang Air Base for Nam Dong, but on arriving over the camp they were unable to land due to intense fire and had to return to Da Nang.[4]: 157 

A U.S. Army CV-2 Caribou managed to drop ammunition into the camp and Republic of Vietnam Air Force (RVNAF) A-1 Skyraiders carried out airstrikes on the PAVN/VC around the camp.[4]: 158 

At 09:45 18 HMM-162 UH-34Ds escorted by four UH-1Bs and two RVNAF A-1s began landing a 93 man relief force and extracting the wounded. At 15:45 a further flight of 10 UH-34s delivered ammunition and equipment to the camp but by this time the battle was over.[4]: 158 

Allied losses were two U.S., one Australian and 50 CIDG killed, while the PAVN/VC left 62 dead around the camp.[4]: 158 


Captain Roger Donlon returns to Nam Dong, 21 September 1964

Captain Donlon became the first American to be awarded the Medal of Honor in Vietnam for killing two VC sappers and thereby preventing them from breaching the Nam Dong base, while sustaining shrapnel wounds in the process.[5]

Warrant Officer Kevin Conway of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) was killed in the assault. He was the first Australian to be killed in action in the Vietnam War. Master Sergeant Gabriel Alamo and Sergeant John L. Houston were also killed during the action on July 6, 1964. Alamo and Houston were posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Sergeant Terrance D. Terrin, U.S. Army Green Beret medic, was awarded the Silver Star for his gallantry in the battle.

The Green BeretsEdit

A battle scene in the 1968 film The Green Berets was inspired by the battle of Nam Dong.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Kelley, Michael (2002). Where we were in Vietnam. Hellgate Press. p. 351. ISBN 978-1555716257.
  2. ^ Heroes of Vietnam: The Battle for Nam Đȏng
  3. ^ Viet Cong attack Special Forces at Nam Dong
  4. ^ a b c d Whitlow, Robert (1977). U.S. Marines In Vietnam: The Advisory and Combat Assistance Era, 1954-1964 (PDF). History and Museums Division, Headquarters US Marine Corps. ISBN 9781494285296.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ "One Who Was Belligerent". Time. December 11, 1964. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved April 22, 2007.
  6. ^ "The Green Berets: how the war was spun". Retrieved April 18, 2019.

External linksEdit