DaNang Ammo Dump, April 27, 1969

DaNang Ammo Dump, April 27, 1969

On April 27, 1969, I was the OIC of a small communications detachment assigned to 1st MAW in DaNang. One day, while working in the office, there was a huge BOOM and the fluorescent lights in our small working spaces came tumbling down. One hit the Gunny in the left shoulder, more of a surprise than an actual injury. Then, there were a series of smaller, but just as dangerous, explosions. We stepped outside the spaces, actually a small hut surrounded by a sandbag revetment, to see what was going on. We could see a lot of smoke in the direction of 11:00 o’clock. Then, all of a sudden, we could see this shock wave heading towards our area. Finally, after an hour of this, I had no choice but to shut down our comm link with III MAF across the DaNang river. In the meantime, in accordance with our standing procedures, all the rest of the detachment reported in for duty. “All present and accounted for, Sir.” It must have been about 10:00 the next morning when the all-clear was sounded.

The story I heard at the time was that some local hires were burning some brush which got away from them. Sure did a lot of structural damage. After getting all affairs back in order and re-establishing comms with II MAF, I headed up to Freedom Hill in the detachment’s jeep to check in with the detachment assigned to 1stMarDiv, OIC was Capt Jim Bolson. It was like driving an obstacle course there were bombs lying everywhere. The damage was unreal. Jim Bolson’s det was back up and running also. They had suffered some minor damage, but nothing that couldn’t be repaired easily. Dog Patch, the civilian makeshift residences outside the 1st MAW compound was literally leveled.

Arthur Kidd
Capt Ret

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  • Ken Tocha

    I was on the other side of the runway coming back from NCO club having 5 cent beers. We were in a truck. We got closer and we were told to get out of truck. We walked out into field and saw the explosions. Then we saw the really big one with the fireball and huge shock wave rings. That is the last thing I remember probably for about a month after. I worked in the USAF bomb dump. We had loaded up the revetments with bombs, napalm, etc. I suffer from PTSD and maybe TBI. I stayed in Gunfighter Village. Ken Tocha Munitions Specialist. USAF 68-69 DaNang Airbase. Does anyone know me?

  • Michael Pelucca

    I was a Cannoncocker with 11th Marines in 67-68 on hills 55 and 55 and around the surrounding areas when the ammo dump was hit with a rocket and as I recall the fuel dump up as well. Don’t remember if was late 67 or early in 68 when that happened – we all felt it and it looked like daylight was upon us. We all thought here comes a big offensive. Mike Pelucca – Sgt – 1966-70

  • Nick Hayes

    I was west of the runway with 225 (immediately adjacent to Dogpatch. That was the most impressive fireworks display I have ever seen. I think what impressed me the most was that you could actually see the shock waves traveling through the air so you knew when to brace yourself for impact. What it did to corrugated roves, plywood walls and what few windows there had been was indescribably. Most of Dogpatch went horizontal. I certainly had rockets explode closer to me, and bullets flyer closer to me and spent numerous nights hunkered down scanning the approach to our position, but I NEVER had an all day fireworks display to match that one. I think it was also in April that we had 147? rockets land in our compound, but I will NEVER forget the most expensive fireworks display of my lifetime on April 27th.

  • Tony Mastriani

    I was in the back of a 3/4Ton somewhere in Danang when the first big explosion hit. We were stopped in traffic and everybody jumped out, thinking it was all over. There was a definite shock wave but no damage. That evening, we sat on our hooch roof (5th Comm, next to MMAF) and watched the shock waves travel through the cloud cover.

  • Mike Rummel, Sgt, USMC, April 1967 — Jan 1971

    Captain Kidd: I think that was the day ASP-1 blew up. It was south of Freedom Hill, not far from the III MAF Brig, I believe. We heard a brush fire got out of control. I was a 2881 (Tactical Crypto Tech) with Electronics Maint Co, Maint BN, 1st FSR/FLC. Maintenance Battalion occupied the southeast corner of Four Corners, on the DaNang AB side of Route 1. The continual explosions wreaked havoc on our infrastructure. We were told everyone else around us was evacuated, BUT we were to line the perimeter facing Route 1 in the event the VC tried to take advantage of the chaos. We were there for a day or more, alternating Marines on the perimeter, with those taking shelter in the bunkers. Frankly, it was boring, except for the continual explosions. We were never sure if one was going to be of sufficient size to reach us. In the end, the concussions are what took out whatever flimsy buildings we had within our compound.

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