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The Rockpile Vietnam– is also known as The Rockpile base or Elliot Combat Base is an important US base located in the rocky mountains north of Road 9 and south of the Demilitarized Zone – DMZ during the Vietnam War.
The Rockpile base is used as a watchtower to observe the activities of the Vietnam People’s Army in the demilitarized zone in Quang Tri from 1966 to 1968.
The Rockpile Vietnam Location
Located in the south and about 16km from the Demilitarized Zone – DMZ and 26km west of Dong Ha base camp. Rockpile base is located on a rocky mountain range 240m high and only 1km south of the strategic road 9 through Laos.
This base controls the intersection of the surrounding 5 valleys as well as the small infiltration routes of the army. North Vietnam from the North and from Laos into the I Tactical Zone of South Vietnam.
Farther in valleys are higher mountains. In the northwest is Dong Ke Soc mountain, 685m high. To the north is Cay Tri mountain – the site of the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment.
Elliot Combat Base History
On July 4, 1966, an American reconnaissance team arrived here and realized the importance of this mountain.
After that, the US Army established a base here to prevent the invasion of the North Vietnamese. Because of standing here, they could clearly observe ships at Dong Hoa port in the East 26km away and Ghost Mountain range of Laos in the west.
Located on road 9 running along and parallel to the Demilitarized Zone; the US troops could easily resupply Khe Sanh base, Ca Lu base, Camp Caroll and prevent ambushes around.
In July 1966, the Americans launched Operation Hastings with 8,000 Marines and 3,000 South Vietnamese soldiers led by Major General Lowell English departing from Dong Ha to conduct a search around the area. The area of the mountain that the United States later established this Rockpile Vietnam base on.
On 8 March, the US announced an end to the operation, resulting in 824 Liberation troops dead and 126 dead, and 448 wounded on the American side.
At the end of July 1966, an American reconnaissance team was stationed on the hill and since then the US troops began building the Rockpile base here. Operation Prairie continued to take place in the surrounding area and further strengthened the importance of Rockpile Hill.
The Function of the Rockpile Vietnam
The official name of the base is Elliot Combat Base but the US forces often call it Rockpile base or simply The Rockpile.
Stationed here was the 3rd Battalion of the 3rd Marine Corps Regiment. The base is lying alone among the vast valleys, surrounded by tall and dense elephant grass; located inside the base was also very messy with trenches, soldiers’ camps.
The 3 largest tents are arranged for the kitchen, hall, and medical station. The interior was very dusty, the kitchen also had no tables and chairs and the soldiers had to stand to eat.
The American troops stationed on the Rockpile Vietnam base, in addition to observing and detecting intrusions; are also responsible for wiretapping devices, penetrating the enemy’s frequency to detect intelligence information.
This is considered the safest place in the Demilitarized Zone due to the mountain’s altitude and the terrain is difficult to penetrate so the Liberation Army hardly attacks this base.
The biggest inconvenience is that due to the inability to penetrate by road, everything had to be resupply by helicopters which was often delayed due to bad weather and heavy rain as well as fog in the area.
How to visit?
Book the Hue DMZ Tour is the best way to explore the DMZ Vietnam including the Hien Luong Bridge, Ben Hai River, Vinh Moc Tunnels as well as the Rockpile Base.
If you stay in Da Nang or Hoi An and would like to travel to Phong Nha or Dong Hoi, you also can visit these historical attractions by booking the Da Nang to DMZ by private car or Hoi An to DMZ by private car.