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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
1957-1977

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Comments

Rob Sanders - June 30, 2022

I was at package POL next to the ammo dump.Our compound was destroyed.Anyone at Package P O L respond.April 1969

bill currie - June 22, 2022

To Wade on the June 16th comment: I was a construction mechanic with MCB 8 at Camp Haskins for the April 1969 ASP1 event.
I agree with your thinking that Agent Orange was dispersed. For a period of time I had weakness and numbness in my right hand. This went away after some time. In 2011 I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, one of the forms of cancer connected with exposure to Agent Orange.
Thankfully, the VA here in Des Moines, IA is taking care of me along with a bunch of other Vietnam vets

Wade - June 16, 2022

I had just finished buying some stuff at Freedom Hill Exchange that morning. We were heading towards Dog Patch in a deuse and a half when the first big one’s blew. I was in the back. The driver stopped to see what was going on. Marines were running for cover. We thought we were getting hit by some very big stuff. We were! The driver stopped to see what was going on. We all yelled at him “get the hell out of here!” ….. The dump "cooked off " non stop for almost 24 hours as I recall. It took several days to completely stop. When a bunker full of 1,000 lbs bombs goes it looks like a giant mushroom 1,00’s of feet into the air. Our hooches at Camp Haskins 5 or 6 miles north were not affected but the sealed Medical hooches looked like pumpkins. The vacuum created by the concussions literally sucked walls out. We were amazed. We also had no ear plugs issued. I can hardly hear anything now, especially high pitched sounds.
As Seabees we were called to the site to clean up. Everything was flattened. We built a chow hall and hooches. To this day I believe we were exposed Agent Orange which was stored in that area along with the bombs. I have no feeling in my hands to this day.
I understand the Vietnamese still living in the area have a high incidence of cancer. That area is very contaminated.

Daniel Pellegrino - April 24, 2022

I was standing ‘ZULU’ guard on Marble Mountain Airfield. Heard the explosions and saw the blast waves hurtling through the sky. My first thought – it was some sort of nuclear blast. Thought it would end but it didn’t – shock waves just kept coming and coming.

Phillip Paulino - April 19, 2022

I was with Spt. Co., 1st FSR/FLC at the base of Hill 327 (Freedom Hill) when the dump went off. We stayed ad long as we couldd. Most of us were ordered to leave and run through the paddies to Highway 1. Some stayed to guard the weapons. There were piles of uxo’s when we went back. A couple of friends were wounded. The compound was flattened. Metal was twisted like potato chips. I still remember running through the dried rice paddies only stopping to help a mess sgt who was petrified, lying on a dike and praying. He was hard to move! Around lay huge twisted pieces of shrapnel. Can’t forget…

Michael R Anderson - April 5, 2022

I was at camp Brooks as a security guard. Been in country maybe a month. Watching the blast waves coming and sand bags leaking everywhere. Had to guard the prisoners that were evacuated from asp 1 area. Heck of a show.

Michael Egland - March 29, 2022

My oldest brother, Kenneth Egland, happened to be recording a message to our family on his tape recorder during the explosion. I remember seeing it on the news and about 2 weeks later we received a tape from Ken. On the tape he is talking to us and then BOOM!!! He said right after the explosion that the ammo dump just got hit. My brother served 3 terms and worked in the mail department. Today he suffers from severe Parkinson’s disease and Scleroderma (hard skin disease) possibly related to the agent orange. I just read that agent orange was stored at the airport. Was there any agent orange amongst the ammo dump? Was the Post office where my brother worked located at or near the airport? God bless to all you who served in Vietnam. Thank you for your service. Michael ✌🇺🇸 bluesaxe420@gmail.com

Jerry Salerno - March 3, 2022

Was this actually Mag 11 Bomb dump that went up ?

Leslie W Hines - February 14, 2022

I was a helicopter crewchief with A Co 123rd Avn Bn. It was a windy day as we flew over the DaNang area close to the bomb dump. My pilots had commented that the Marines had been burning brush around the ammo dump at DaNang as we flew over I could see men trying hard to contain the fire. We continued our mission to a location south of Duc Pho. When were coming back to Chu Lai we were as far north as Quang Ngai City when I saw this huge mushroom cloud on the horizon. I thought we had been nuked! But the pilots knew it was the DaNang ammo dump. This ammo dump had been blown up once before, but I had only seen the dump after the explosion. There seemed to be miles of berms that were blackened by bombs both times.

Ray the Bummer Stieber - December 17, 2021

Was on guard duty at the Marine Corps bomb dump. As I remember it was a sunday morning and it started slowly from a trash fire we were told. The Marine Corps was taking no chances and we were sent in to guard our bomb dump. We were knocked over by the concussion of the 10 thousand pounders just as the shock wave passed over. At night the sky lite up from the white phosphorus bombs. At least I can say I was there, walking my post in a military manner. And thanks VA for the hearing aids. They come in handy.

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