The Bridge at Đông Hà

by Steve Ray
12th SPS, Cam Ranh Bay AB;
Thailand, NKP

Book Review: The Bridge at Đông Hà Air Field Those that served in Vietnam during the NVA's Spring or Easter offensive that began on 30 March 1972 may be interested in reading, "The Bridge at Đông Hà Air Field", by John Grider Miller, published by the Naval Institute Press, Bluejacket Books, 186 pages. This enemy offensive took the life of a high ranking American when Brigadier General Richard J. Tallman, US Army, was killed on 9 July 1972 at An Loc in Military Region III (MR III), formerly known as III Corps. The highest-ranking American killed during the Vietnam War was M/Gen. Bruno Hochmuth, USMC who was KIA on 18 March 1967*. The book details the action in MR I at the Đông Hà Air Field bridge. A descriptive battle account is given that involved the Vietnamese Marines, an ARVN Armor unit, and the two American advisors assigned to those units. The focus of the book is on the exploits of USMC Colonel (Ret) (then Captain) John Ripley who placed demolition's under the Đông Hà Air Field Bridge that when exploded closed the immediate invasion route of the NVA units. Through sheer force of will, excellent physical conditioning, and an almost total recall of previous training in explosives, Captain Ripley turned the tide of battle and saved countless lives. Captain Ripley was awarded the Navy Cross for his heroism. I highly recommend this book to you.

Some of our Association members were stationed at Đà Nàng during this NVA offensive. You may be interested to know I have learned the Air Force Presidential Unit Citation was awarded to the Đà Nàng Security Police Squadron, not too many people have one of those. If you were at Đà Nàng from April to June 1972 and a PUC is not shown on your DD-214 let me know and I will assist you in getting that corrected. We Take Care of Our Own
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