Tet Offensive 1968

We will be posting recollections from Marines and FMF Corpsmen who participated in Tet Offensive, 1968. Please email us any remembrances/pictures you'd like to share~DR

Robert E. Filice
Vietnam HQ CO/5th Marines 6/67-7/68

On Jan. 30, 1968, North Vietnam and the Viet Cong opened a new phase of the war, when they attacked major cities of South Vietnam. The fighting was especially savage in Saigon, South Vietnam's capital at the time, and in Hue City. This campaign began at the start of Tet, the Vietnamese New Year celebration. It will always be known in history as,"The Tet Offensive."

I was still in the Da Nang area when Da Nang was hit with a hail of rocket fire. It was very early in the morning of Jan. 30. I was asleep in my tent when myself, and every one else in my tent was awakened by the rocket fire, and the sirens. The rest of that day, we had to stay at our assigned bunkers on a red alert status. That evening, we were told to get our gear together, because we had to move to an area 50 miles north of Da Nang, this place was called "Phi Bai." Phi Bai became the First Marine Division Headquarters. The reason that we had to move out so fast, was because there was a place called, "Hue City" being overrun by the N.V.A. Hue City is just twelve miles north of Phu Bai.

The trip to Phu Bai was a tough job in itself. It took us over twelve hours to make the 50-mile trip from Da Nang to Phi Bai, on Highway One. We were getting hit almost every five miles.  We got to Phu Bai, and set up camp about a half mile from the air field. From Phu Bai, we were running about two convoys a day to Hue City. It was always a long and dangerous 12-mile trip.

All that I got to see of Hue was a bombed up city that at one time was a beautiful, and majestic city that also had a beautiful college, "Hue University." I was in and out of Hue until April, when I was sent to the Quang Tri Province.

In Quang Tri, we did a lot of patrols around the area, and did a lot of convoys to the D.M.Z. The runs to the D.M.Z. and back were nightmares. We had to make sure that the road was clear of mines every time we got on it. It seemed like every time we blew up a mine, it was there again when we came back. Our morale was getting pretty low, but it was going to get lower, we were getting ready to go to "Khe Sanh."

Khe Sanh is approximately 50 miles west of Quang Tri. We did drive by Khe Sanh a few times, but we did not know about the N.V.A. build up that was going on there. We flew into Khe Sanh, and no sooner than we got off of the choppers, the N.V. A. was blowing up the airfield. I got to Khe Sanh in the second week of June. I had less then 30 days left incountry. At first I and a few other guys were told that we were just going to be at Khe Sanh a few days, but we could not get any transportation in or out of the valley. Finally on July 6, myself and nine other guys got out of Khe Sanh by helicopter, and for me it wasn't soon enough.

We were flown to Tam Ky, about f40 miles south of Da Nang. On July 17, I got on a KC-130 to Da Nang. I spent two days in Da Nang getting processed, and on July 19, I left Vietnam, and went to Okinawa for more processing, and finally on to Travis A.F.B., and home.

It was a year in my young life, that I will never forget.

Semper Fi, 

Robert E. Filice, Vietnam HQ CO/5th Marines 6/67-7/68, 
HQ 5th Marines Website

[Operation ALAMO 30 Jan. '68, India Co. 3/5][6-8 Feb. '68 Ambush, M Co. 3/5]

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