Phan Thiet Convoy
~ 720th Military Police Battalion Reunion Association Vietnam History Project ~
This Page Last Updated    16 July 2012
If you participated in this convoy and would like to contribute information, personal stories, or photographs , please use the Email Link above.

Phan Thiet ... lies approximately 120 miles East Northeast of Saigon, right on the South China Sea. It was located at the very southeastern point of II Corps.

18th MP
89th MP
720th MP
        It is a fishing town that was infamous for its pungent fish sauce "Nuoc-Mam," Vietnamese name for fermented fish sauce, which when the wind was coming from the right or wrong direction, covered the countryside with the most unpleasant (for Americans) smell imaginable.

        Phan Thiet is also the provincial capital of Binh Thuan, a rather arid province (although that was hard to believe during the monsoon season) with the exception of the mountains to the North and West that provided good cover for the NVA.

        Ho Chi Minh taught in Phan Thiet as a young man and thus it was symbolically important to the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army.

        Rice, salt and timber were other products produced in the province. The town itself lay generally on a Northeast to Southwest axis along the coastline. The Ca Ty River runs through Phan Thiet and empties into the South China Sea.

LZ Betty... lay about 4-5 miles Southwest of the center of Phan Thiet and was located on the top of a high bluff overlooking the sea. The LZ was supplied by both land, sea and air.

        On LZ Betty, units were scattered on both sides of the landing strip but the most "valuable" assets (some of the choppers & light aircraft, command & medical facilities, etc.) were mostly located between the landing strip and the bluff.

        There were two or three permanent French "colonial" buildings located next to the bluff which housed the medavac unit and the LZ Betty command. Elsewhere on the LZ, tents had largely given way to wooden and tin hooches by early 1970.
Phan Thiet and LZ Betty had been hit hard, like most of South Vietnam, during the 1968 Tet New Years Offensive, it remained a convenient target at night for mortar attacks and sapper attacks that tried to take out the choppers along the landing strip.
        The cemetery located just outside the area of the main gate was the scene of a major battle during Tet of 1968 and also served as the favorite location for sniper and harassment fire on the compound during the years that followed.

        The 630th MP Company (Escort Guard) Headquartered at Cam Ranh Bay, 97th MP Battalion, 16th MP Group, 18th MP Brigade, had a detachment stationed at the LZ that worked the Main Gate, guard tower, local convoy escort security and enforced discipline, law and order.

        Some of the units that occupied LZ Betty during the war were elements of the:
2nd Battalion 7 Cavalry Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Division, 1966; The 3rd Battalion, 506th Airborne Infantry, 101st Airborne Division, June 1968 through Aug 1970; The 1st Battalion (Mechanized) 50th Infantry, Task Force South, I Field Forces, 1970 and 1971.
Overview of Phan Thiet and LZ Betty Courtesy of SP/4 Robert C. Dash, 630th MP Company, 97th MP Battalion, January 1970 to March 1971. Bob is currently a professor of politics at Willamette University in Salem, OR and can be reached at

4 March The 720th MP Battalion was assigned to provide escort security for the Phan Thiet convoy. During the months of March and April the Phan Thiet Convoy was being run twice weekly.

The Bluffs at Phan Thiet "When I arrived at the unit we were already doing the Phan Thiet convoy depending on the call for supplies from Phan Thiet. Sometimes the 4th Transportation Command would have 20-40 trucks loaded at Long Binh Post. We would pick up those and meet the rest of the convoy at Bien Hoa and head out from there. Most of the contents of the convoy were ammunition and fuel (POL) but would also contain food (refrigerated trucks.) and sundry other items. I can remember it took all day to get there, or with delays and breakdowns longer.

     The roadway was good in places and potholes that would swallow an APC in others. Parts of the route were through enemy controlled territory, so on most of the convoys I did we have air cover. Mostly a FAC in a Bird-dog. On some occasions, we had fast movers (F-104) if there was trouble within a few clicks on the highway. It was a Long convoy, very hot at times. I was medically evacuated once with heat-stroke, dam near killed me, I had a body temperature of 104-06. They had to put me in a tub of ice water to get my core temperature down at the evac hospital in Phan Thiet. Then I was evacuated to the 3rd Field Hospital in Saigon.

     I do not remember specifically going into LZ Betty with supplies, It was always into Phan Thiet proper. We would wait some times to escort the convoy back but most times we turned around and the 4th Transportation Company security would return the empty convoy to Long Binh Post. It was a 2-3 day affair for us or longer on a few occasions if we had to wait for repairs or to get the way ahead cleared from mines and fire fights. The convoy required at least 3 V-100's plus an APC if it was very large. We could only do one every other week or so, as we were stretched thin equipment wise. I was always doing quick turnarounds as my team (driver & gunner.) were quite good getting the convoys to their destination safely. We developed a reputation for knowing the many routes and call signs and calling in air cover and dustoff's. We burnt our candle's at both ends in those days took more chances than we should have. I do remember the Bluffs at Phan Thiet overlooking the South China Sea." SGT Don Sinclair “Canuck” A Company, 720th MP Battalion, 89th MP Group, 18th MP Brigade, 1971 to 1972.

     "I was a wrecker driver from 321st Transportation Company (4th TC) in 1971, and made many overnight runs to Phan Thiet. I was at the back of the convoy (call sign “Trail1”) with the rear v-100. we often tripped up to Whiskey Mountain to resupply the Engineers. after parking up the wrecker at Whiskey Mountain I would hop a lift to the MP compound in Phan Thiet on a v-100. There we would part company as I always got a hotel room in town. In the morning I would catch a lift with you guys or take a taxi (Lambretta) back to the mountain for the long haul back to Long Binh. Iv’e got some great memories (& stories) from our convoy days." J.J. Nixon, 321st Transportation Company, 4th Transportation Command.
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