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Aug. 2001





   





 

 

LZ "STUD" VANDEGRIFT COMBAT BASE

 

LZ Vandegrift is located on Rt. 9 at the village of Ca Lu in a narrow valley. The land in the valley is flat making it ideal for a helicopter landing zone. The landing zone is nothing more than a large, flat piece of ground, roughly square and covered with large sections of steel, Marston Matting. This small hunk of real estate is one of the most important in I Corps. From here supplies go out to the different fire bases located throughout the area. It is the main supply point for Task Force Hotel, the Marine unit that controls most operations in the area. Whether you ride in or fly into the LZ the impression is the same. The area around the landing zone looks like a "hobo" camp. There, a little of everything is waiting for transportation -- troops, boxes of ammunition, water cans, mail sacks and the equipment that makes up a modern fighting force. The troops and equipment, in the order of its importance, are waiting for delivery to their destinations. Each item on a re-supply must be evaluated to see which is most important. For example, ammunition would come before food and of course food would come before mail. Each day, weather permitting, six CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters report for work at the landing zone along with two CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters. Between these eight helicopters about 130 different re-supply missions are flown daily. 95 are flown by the Sea Knights and between 30 and 35 by the Sea Stallions. The landing zone itself is controlled by the men of Company B 3rd Shore Party Battalion. They are responsible for keeping the pad in order and seeing that all the equipment being helo-lifted is in the right position on the pad at the right time. Three PRC-25 radios are used by the "home-made" control tower 20 feet above the ground. One is used to direct the helicopters as they come into the landing pad. Another links the air traffic controller with the G-4 section and the third is used to talk with the pad crew so they will be in the right position to load the next helicopter. Every evening each unit in the field radios LZ Vandegrift and makes a request for what they will need for the next day. The field units also report where they will be and when they would like their re-supply. Because there are so many Marine units in the field located through out I Corps a constant re-supply of ammunition and necessities must be flown out to them.

Vandegrift combat Base sits nearly in the center of the 3rd Marine Division's area of operations and is growing by leaps and bounds. It had its beginning in March 1968 as a landing strip and a helicopter landing pad. Then, known as LZ Stud, it served as a jumping off point for operations to open Rt. 9 leading to Khe Sanh. During this operation, helicopters flew from the landing strip, just off Rt. 9, to resupply Marine and Army units moving into Khe Sanh. After the operation, the activity at LZ Stud, just 10 miles from the DMZ, soon died down. The centrally located landing strip had its rebirth when Khe Sanh Combat Base was officially closed in June 1968 and the 3rd Marine Division turned to employ its technique of mobility. Named after the 18th Commandant of the Marine Corps and Medal of Honor winner, General Alexander A. Vandegrift, the 3rd Marine Division's forward combat complex is playing a vital role in the Marine's offensive against the North Vietnamese Army. It serves as a jump off point for the Division's mobility against the NVA infiltrating from the North. It is also home for BrigGen. Frank E. Garretson's Task Force Hotel, the Division's command center for its sticking force in the field. Vandegrift stretches along both sides of Rt. 9 and is buzzing with activity. Most supplies arrive at Vandergrift by convoys from Dong Ha Combat Base. Once there the Logistical Support Unit at Vandegrift takes over. It stockpiles large quantities of supplies and is responsible for getting everything from beans to bullets to the Marines in the field. Helicopters, CH-53 heavy transports and the smaller CH-46's from the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing are utilized to resupply the Marines. 

   Written by: GySgt. John Conick

 

 

 

 

CHOPPER TRANSMISSION

HELICOPTERS

 

CHUHOI PROGRAM

 

World War II  Medal of Honor Recipient

General Alexander Vandegrift whom LZ Vandegrift "Stud" was named after

 

 

 

PICTURES AND ARTICLES SUBMITTED BY STEVE POUNDSTONE

LZ_Vandergrift Large e-mail view.jpg (448885 bytes)

Picture of LZ Vandegrift taken from the Stars and Stripes 1968/1969

Helo Pad Large e-mail view.jpg (411306 bytes)

Marines boarding Sea Knights at LZ Vandegrift

Convoy Large e-mail view.jpg (329969 bytes)

Convoy on Rt.9 between Dong Ha and LZ Vandegrift

File0067 Large e-mail view.jpg (43677 bytes)

LZ Stud renamed after General Alexander Vandegrift

File0070 Large e-mail view.jpg (222401 bytes)

Vandegrift becomes main pivot point

File0069 Large e-mail view.jpg (124598 bytes)

HMM-262 Flying Tigers

 

PHOTO ARCHIVES

View from mountain perimeter

Helicopter landing pad

LZ_Stud.jpeg (121823 bytes)

Map of LZ Vandegrift (Stud) and Rt.9 to Khe Sanh and Lang Vei