DONG TAM
"United Hearts and Minds"
Headquarters Base Camp 9th Infantry Division
4 Miles West of My Tho - Dinh Tuong Province - IV CTZ

9th INFANTRY DIVISION GUIDON

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FUTURE SITE OF DONG TAM LOOKING NORTHEAST FROM ABOVE SONG MY THO - US ARMY PHOTO - 1967   AERIAL VIEW OF DONG TAM LOOKING SOUTHWEST - MAY 69   LABELED AERIAL VIEW OF DONG TAM LOOKING SOUTHWEST - MAR 69  AERIAL VIEW OF DONG TAM LOOKING NORTH - US ARMY PHOTO -1969  MAP OF DONG TAM   SITE PLAN DISCOM COMPOUND

Dong Tam was engineered out of inundated rice paddy land on the north bank of the Song (river) My Tho east of, and adjacent to, the mouth of the Kinh Xang (Canal). Silt and sand from the river bottom had been pumped to a depth of six feet to create a stable land mass suitable for construction that encompassed 600 acres. Work commenced in January 1967 and never stopped. Dong Tam was continually improved and expanded within its own acreage. The initial construction occupied 400 acres along the river. The final development  was in a 200 acre area on the north perimeter. The Army chose to name the site Dong Tam, meaning United Hearts and Minds in Vietnamese. Dong Tam's purpose had been twofold - a nerve center for 9th ID operations but, more importantly, a political statement to the Communist. The US Army was in the VC infested Mekong Delta and planned to stay. Dong Tam was made into a showplace of civilian amenities - churches, golf course, pool, athletic field, large post exchange, civilian stores, barbers, a hospital, a huge heliport, an airport with 1,000-foot runway, manmade harbor, a snack bar, and more.

 

Dong Tam was the second and final headquarters base camp of the 9th Infantry Division in the Republic of Vietnam. When conceived and erected during January 1967 it had been known as Camp Dong Tam and housed the Division's 3rd Brigade HQ and their 3/60 Infantry Battalion. This arrangement lasted only a few months; in March 1967 the 2nd Brigade replaced the 3rd Brigade (the 3/60 Infantry Battalion remained at Dong Tam after having been reassigned to the 2nd Brigade) who had relocated northward to Tan An in Long An Province (III CTZ). The 2nd Brigade remained at Dong Tam until the formation of the Mobile Riverine Force in June 1967 when elements of the brigade began moving aboard US Navy ships of River Assault Squadron 9 who maintained a semi-permanent anchorage in the My Tho River near Dong Tam. In August 1968 the HQ and colors of the Division relocated from Bearcat, in III CTZ, to Dong Tam where they remained until the Division withdrew from Vietnam in August 1969. The less fortunate and left behind 3rd Brigade did not occupy Dong Tam, but remained in their HQ camp at Tan An and bases at Tan Tru, Rach Kien, and Binh Phouc.

 

The Division Support Command (DISCOM) compound and billet area was somewhat larger than others on Dong Tam but was representative of how most compounds at Dong Tam were arranged. Each major command stationed on Dong Tam had its own mess hall, barracks, personnel shelters, armory, parade ground/assembly area, outdoor movie theater, showers, latrines, and headquarters office. The DISCOM area had a little more of everything and some unusual amenities because it also supported the base VIP lounge in the mess hall, battalion HQ and staff offices, a private fortified mobile home for the DISCOM commander, BOQ (Bachelor Officers Quarters) for visiting officers, a USAF weather team, and bandstand with bleachers and an attached supply room for use of the 9th Infantry Division Band. Later additions included a volley ball court and basketball hoop (difficult to bounce the ball on the sand). Although not shown on the schematic, the armory was near the south end of the mess hall.

Harbor & Turning Basin

Enemy Action at Dong Tam
Air Cushioned Vehicle Unit Heliport
Reliable Academy Northward Expansion Project
Reliable Airfield 9th Infantry Division Band
DISCOM Compound  

Gerald Lariviere, 3/60 Infantry, snapped this northwesterly aerial view of the Dong Tam base camp from a Slick while on an insertion mission. The oiled (to keep dust down) Air Cushioned Vehicle access ramp to the Song My Tho is very visible in the lower right corner of the photograph.

Background Sound: "Fourth of July Fireworks and Crowd" - Microsoft Clip Gallery   RETURN TO VIETNAM TOUR 365

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