~ 720th Military Police Battalion Vietnam History Project ~
Lai Khe
Detachments & Convoys

This Page Last Updated   19 November 2017
   if you served at this detachment or on the convoy escorts and would like to contribute any information, personal stories, documents, media articles, photographs, or can provide additional or new information on any events not listed in the Battalion Timeline, please take a moment to contact Tom Watson the History Project & Website Manager at the Email Link provided below. Your contributions are important to the recording of the Battalion history and always welcomed here.
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    To send your photographs or documents use the Email Link below. Scan them as large as you can. Direct any questions to the History Project Manager via the same Email Link.

This Timeline has been reduced to a summary. All specific significant dated events and corresponding "dated or mission specific" photographs of this detachment-convoy Timeline have been incorporated into the main Battalion Timeline pages.

     To assist in locating the detachment-convoy events from your tour, each entree on the main Battalion Timeline pages is proceeded by the designation Lai Khe Detachment or Convoy. To review your tour in the Battalion Timeline, use the To Vietnam Main Index link above.

1st Inf.
18th MP
89th MP
720th MP
Lai Khe Detachment/Convoy Timeline Summary

Lai Khe base camp was located near the village of Lai Khe in Binh Dong Province, III Corps Tactical Zone approximately 30 miles north of Saigon and home to elements of the 5th ARVN Division (Headquarters Bien Hoa) responsible until 1970 for III Corps Tactical Zone. Throughout the war many U.S. combat armor, artillery and air support units utilized the base camp to support their many fire bases along the Cambodian border.

5th ARVN
     Passing through Lai Khe, Highway QL-13, also known in later years by the U.S. units that traveled it as "Thunder Road," was the main artery for supplies going northwest to An Loc in the Parrots Beak area of III Corps Tactical Zone near the Cambodian border and enemy sanctuaries.

     Keeping the highway open was vital to the numerous fire support bases of the Saigon Defensive Ring. In July of 1966 Elements of the 1st Infantry Division began clearing operations along Highway QL-13 to protect its supply convoys from further enemy attacks.


  From October 1967 through October 1969 the Headquarters of the 1st Infantry Division moved to the base camp from Di An.

     From 22 April through 11 May battalion elements were temporarily stationed at the base camp while supporting Operation MANHATTAN.

Tet New Years Communist Offensive

     Between 31 January and 3 February Lai Khe received forty-two attacks by fire, including 141 rounds of 122mm rocket fire.

     Between 14 March and 13 April Lai Khe Base was subject to twenty-six separate North Vietnamese Army 122mm rocket attacks.

     In the fall of the year the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) moved into III Corps Tactical Zone. Elements of the division were sent to the base camps of Quan Loi and Lai Khe.

     On 8 October 1968 under orders from Battalion S3 (Operations), Charlie Company transferred 1LT Herbert R. "Herb" Bradley, III and a platoon of thirty enlisted men from their 1st Infantry Division base camp detachment at Phu Loi to the base camp at Di An.

     They were attached to the Provost Marshal, 1st Infantry Division and aided the 1st MP Company in the mission of combat support by staffing a Traffic Control Point (TCP) and providing escorts for two daily convoys to Lai Khe utilizing two gun jeeps and six MP's for each run. The code name for the 1st Infantry Division convoys to Lai Khe was "Iron".

     The 1st Infantry Division's other convoy to Quan Loi was called the "Devils Convoy" and the run to Phuoc was called "Lead".


     The C Company convoy escorts to Lai Khe continued. The North Vietnamese Army operating in the area became so active in ambushing the convoys that the C Company escorts began using the V100 Armored Commando Cars supported by 1st Infantry Division armored elements.

1969 Convoy Photographs
Intensified Vietnamization Program

     The ARVN 5th Infantry Division officially took over control of the area of operations of the U.S. 1st Infantry and 1st Air Cavalry Divisions including the base at Lai Khe.

     With the stand-down of U.S. combat arms units in Military Region III, the 1st and 25th MP Company's were returned stateside with their divisions leaving a void. The Battalion was tasked with filling it. C Company personnel that were working the Lai Khe convoy escorts from Long Binh Post were reassigned to the new detachment.

     SSG Robert Schuyler was the NCOIC and 1LT Charles Smith was assigned as the first Officer In Charge (OIC) and acting Provost Marshal for Lai Khe and all area detachments.

    When the C Company staff first arrived at the base routine comforts were sparse. They had no bathing facilities and washed with a hose until they could build a shower room.

Reflections-1 SGT Steven D. Patrick, C Company, 720th MP Battalion, December 1969 to February 1971.

     On 7 April 1LT Frederick A. Gertz of C Company was assigned as the new OIC and Provost Marshal at Lai Khe until his departure on19 July.

Reflections-2 SGT Steven D. Patrick, C Company, 720th MP Battalion, December 1969 to February 1971.

Lai Khe Base Camp Overflight 1965
Lai Khe Convoy Briefing Form
Convoy Checkpoint Map

1970 Convoy & Detachment Photographs




On 18 May Battalion realigned all detachment and convoy missions. All A Company convoy elements were reassigned to C Company, and all C Company detachment missions were assigned to A Company.

     With U.S. advisory and support elements still located at the area base3 camps and remote fire bases, A Company detachment personnel provided supply convoy escorts to the local area detachment base camps. The A Company escort vehicles primarily consisted of three V100 Armored Commando Cars and on occasion they were accompanied by a gun jeep.

     By 27 May the responsibility for investigation of offenses involving the use and possession of dangerous drugs and marijuana reverted from Criminal Investigation Division (CID), to the operational MP to include processing the evidence for laboratory analysis and final typing and distribution of related reports. One additional clerk had to be added to each provost marshal office, including Lai Khe, from existing resources to handle the new workload.

    To make room for D Troop 3/17th Cavalry who were needed to improve lax perimeter security at the base airfield, on 25 July the PMO and detachment was closed and the equipment and personnel were moved to Phu Loi. One patrol consisting of two enlisted MP's remained on the Lai Khe Base Camp at night to provide a continuous MP support.

1971 Convoy & Detachment Photographs



Communist Easter (Spring) Offensive

     B Company began ammunition resupply convoy escorts from Long Binh Post to Lai Khe during the Communist Easter (Spring) Offensive attack of An Loc.

     On 7 April the attack by three enemy divisions with Russian T-54 tanks and heavy artillery support crossed the Cambodian border and seized Highway QL-13, the city of An Loc and nearby cities of Loc Ninh and Quan Loi surrounding the ARVN 5th Division's 8th Regiment, 3rd Ranger Group, area Popular Forces companies and U.S. MACV advisors in the An Loc Base Camp. The siege lasted for sixty-six days before the continuous U.S. & ARVN air and Allied artillery and ARVN reinforcement ground support finally broke the enemy's hold of An Loc on 18 June. The city of Quan Loi and Highway QL-13 still remained under enemy control until late August.

     The number and frequency of the escort duties were regulated by the enemy activity during the siege and were rotated between all companies. During the height of the offensive the threat of the enemy overrunning Military Region III became so bad that Battalion S3 developed contingency plans to evacuate to Vung Tau.


     With the process of the battalion stand-down progressing under Operation KEYSTONE, in mid May all convoy escort assignments came to an end.

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