Revisiting the site of American Firebase Tomahawk from the War in Vietnam
Firebase Tomahawk was located near Phuoc Tuong Pass, Phu Loc, Thua Thien Hue Province. Today vegetation has reclaimed the site and all that remains is crumbling tarmac and the old road to the top. The firebase is known among Americans for Bardstown, Kentucky; a small town that lost a disproportionately large number of national guardsmen in combat on the hill in 1969. Many soldiers from both sides were killed on this hill and in recent years there has been efforts to recover their remains.
The area around former FSB Tomahawk in 2012, and in 1969. note the same sloping hill face in both images
The site of the former base has been reclaimed by nature over the years and little evidence of its occupation remains; In the two images above you can make out the same sloping hill in the midground, this hill lies south west of the site of the former base. [lower image from photo from Kentucky Thunder in Vietnam: History of 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery in the Vietnam War, 1968-1969, John Michael Trowbridge, 2010]
crumbling concrete at the site of former Firebase Tomahawk
This hill can be seen in previous panoramic black and white image of the base
[above is some footage of our climb to the top of the hill where Firebase Tomahawk was located – October the 3rd 2012]
[wpgmza id=”5″] [a map with the position of Firebase Tomahawk]
The images below which are looking facing north, give an impression of FB Tomahawks proximity to Hue City. The base is about 50 mins from Hue and around 44km in distance.
FB Tomahawk and proximity to Hue City
[one_half]The images below show Highway 1 looking south towards Lang Co and Da Nang and the former sites of Hill 88/FSB Denise and Firebase Los Banos, the later of which was positioned near Phu Gia pass and had a commanding view over Lang Co. The top image was taken in October 2012 from the site of former FSB Tomahawk. It was taken further West along the ridgeline in comparison to the lower image from the late 1960s. Both the hill and the surrounding flat plains have seen considerable revegetation since the end of the war.
[lower photo: Kentucky Thunder in Vietnam, John M. Trowbridge, 2010]
[/one_half] [one_half_last] The U.S National Guard had a policy called infusion that was designed to prevent too many men from the same hometown and unit dying in a single action. Troops belonging to the same hometown were divided to prevent small towns in America loosing large numbers of soldiers in single engagements. The infusion program was however unable to avert fate at Firebase Tomahawk where on the night of June 19th 1969, 10 soldiers from the small town of Bardstown, Kentucky, were killed in combat with NVA troops. The population of Bardstown at the time was 6000.
[Memorial Service 1969, photo: Kentucky Thunder in Vietnam, John M. Trowbridge, 2010]