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Operations Swift; Essex; and Union I & II - 50th Anniversary
27 August - 10 September, 2017
15 Days
Price: $3,595.00
Tour Reference: VN-17094
Ground Only Price is: $2,600.00 *
Deadline for registration is May 29, 2017
Two Marines From 3/5 during Operation Swift.
September 1967.
Daily Itinerary

Day 1 & 2: (Sunday - Monday, 27 - 28 August, 2017)  –  Houston to Taipei

Report to the International Terminal by 9:00 p.m. and proceed to the EVA Airlines ticketing counter for our flight to Taipei.  Lose one day crossing the International Dateline.

Day 3: (Tuesday, 29 August, 2017)  –  Taipei to Ha Noi

After a short layover in Taipei where we endure the Big Speech, we depart for Vietnam.  Landing at Noi Bai Airfield (heavily bombed during the American War) we and proceed through immigration, retrieve our bags, clear customs, and board our waiting motorcoach.  We then cross the Red River and its dikes to explore the Ha Noi environs.  We also visit the Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton) and stop at the John McCain Monument.  Tonight we enjoy our Welcome Dinner.

Meals: B (in flight) /_/D

 
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Day 4: (Wednesday, 30 August, 2017)  –  Ha Noi to Hue

Today we visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh House, and One Pillar Pagoda.  Next we visit the DDPA (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency) for a command briefing (mission permitting) on their efforts to find our missing brothers-in-arms.  Our last stop is the fascinating War Museum with its Dien Bien Phu exhibit and American artifacts.  Later, we head back to Noi Bai to catch our late afternoon flight to Phu Bai Airfield.  Leaving the airfield, we turn north on Highway 1 and enter Hue City (the old Imperial Capital of Vietnam) and soon arrive at our hotel on the southern bank of the Perfume River.

Meals: B/L/D

 
Class I Tour Day - Click for more information.

Day 5: (Thursday, 31 August, 2017)  –  Hue

This morning we begin our study of the 1968 Tet Offensive battle for Hue.  The Battle of Hue was one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the war, and we spend the remainder of the day visiting strategic sites around the southern city.  We follow the actions of 1/1 and 2/5 covering, among others, the football stadium, the former MACV Compound, Tran Cao Van Street, Joan of Arc Girl's High School, Hue University, Treasury, Public Health Building, Provincial Capital Building area, and the Church of the Redemptress.  Famous for its university, this town, known for open and radical thinking, is also home to the high school that graduated Ho Chi Minh, General Giap, and President Diem.  We then take a relaxing Dragon Boat cruise up the beautiful Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda.  It was from this pagoda that monk Thich Quang Duc was driven to Saigon, where he immolated himself in protest to the government's oppressive treatment of the Buddhist people.  Following lunch, we cross the river to explore the Citadel with its ramparts and towers, and visit sites specific to the northern battle, including the Chuck Meadows and Dong Ba Gates and Phase Line Green.  We finish at the Imperial Palace gate blown by 1/5, which allowed the ARVN to enter and lower the NVA flag that had flown from the main flagpole for 24 days.  We then visit the Forbidden City, home to the ancient emperors.

Meals: B/L/D

 
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Day 6: (Friday, 1 September, 2017)  –  Hue to Lao Bao

We depart Hue very early and travel to the DMZ.  We head north on Highway 1 crossing the Song My Chanh, which is the farthest south the NVA got during the 1972 Easter Offensive invasion from the North.  Next we drive the section of Highway 1 known as the "Highway of Horror", so-called because during the 1972 invasion, thousands of local refugees - most of which were old people, women, and children trying to flee south - were mercilessly slaughtered by communist NVA troops and artillery.  The north side of the Truong Phuoc Bridge is where the worst of the massacre occurred.  Massive numbers of people were trapped here because the downed bridge prevented escape.  At Dong Ha, we walk out onto the Dong Ha Bridge (destroyed by Capt. John Ripley which stopped the initial NVA advance during the 1972 Easter Offensive).  Re-boarding our motorcoach, we travel east on the north side of the Song Bo Dieu and Song Cua Viet passing through Dai Do, Mai Xa Chanh, and My Loc.  We turn north on the new beach road along the Tonkin Gulf and soon cross the Song Ben Hai (this river was the only true physical demarcation between the North and the South).  Now in North Vietnam, we explore the tunnel complex in the artillery village of Vinh Moc.  The Vinh Moc Tunnels are an incredible complex of tunnels that were dug by local people to evade the constant US counter-battery bombing of the area.  The tunnels include kitchens, wells, and a 'hospital,' as well as living quarters for roughly 60 families.  The tunnels, which are at a depth of 30m, are still in very good condition and saved many villagers' lives.  We then head west and south, crossing the Hien Luong Bridge (also known as the Peace Bridge).  Back in South Vietnam, we proceed to the FSB Gio Linh (Forward) which overlooks the DMZ from the Republic side.  We then pass through Alpha-3and visit the base at Alpha-4, better known as Con Thien (the Hill of Angels).  A-4 was the western anchor of the McNamara Line.  We cross 2/4's Bastard's Bridge (aka The Washout) and encounter Charlie-2 and Charlie-3.  We stop for photos at Cam Lo Bridge, and then turn west on Route 9 (the main U.S. supply route from the coast to Khe Sanh) and head inland.  Crossing the Khe Gia Bridge, we stop at the Rockpile where we gear up and hike to the northeast side of the Razorback.  Back on Route 9 we come upon other sites that were of military importance during the war, including the Vandergrift Combat Base (LZ Stud), Ca Lu, and the Hairpin before we enter Khe Sanh Village, where we stop for lunch.  Next we venture north to Khe Sanh Combat Base where we spend ample time exploring.  Khe Sanh Combat Base was a U.S. jungle outpost close to the border with Laos.  It grew into a major military base and airstrip under LBJ and was the scene of a 77-day siege in 1968, as well as many vicious hill battles in 1967-68.  As the day draws to a close, our last stop is Lang Vei Special Forces Camp, overrun in the first-ever NVA tank assault.  Co Roc Mountain soars to the heavens just across the border.  Tonight we stay in the Laotian border town of Lao Bao in somewhat Spartan accommodations.

Meals: B/L/D

 
Class II Tour Day - Click for more information.

Day 7: (Saturday, 2 September, 2017)  –  Lao Bao to Hue

This morning we travel east on Route 9 to our first stop at a Bru Montagnard tribal village.  We then return to Highway 1 where we turn south, with stops at the Lew Puller School and the Quang Tri Airfield.  Next is Bo De School, which provides a shocking and violent reality of the 'Battle of 81 Days and Nights' for the city and its Citadel.  The battle is infamous for the huge amount of ordnance fired by both the ARVN and the NVA. Returning to Highway 1 we stop at Long Hung Church, a Catholic Church in which ARVN troops sought refuge during the 1972 invasion, and in which the NVA troops sought refuge as they retreated during the ARVN counter-attack.  The church has been left as it stood after the battle, with scars from grenades, rockets, artillery, and bullets.  We then return to Hue where the remainder of the day is free.  Tonight we are on our own for dinner.

Meals: B/L/_

 
Class II Tour Day - Click for more information.

Day 8: (Sunday, 3 September, 2017)  –  Hue to Tam Ky

This morning we bid Hue goodbye and head south.  We pass by Dam Cau Hai, one of the largest lagoons in all of Southeast Asia encompassing 112 square kilometers.  We soon enter the Lang Co fishing village, where we walk across the bridge separating Dam Lap An lagoon from the sea.  We then head up the breathtaking Hai Van and stop at the Pass of the High Clouds to take in a view of Da Nang and her bay.  The Hai Van Pass has been a vital military strategic foothold for centuries, and was used by the French during France's Indochina War and by the U.S. in America's Vietnam War.  Bunkers and fortifications dot the hillsides here.  Continuing down the Hai Van to sea level, we cross Nam O Bridge.  We then visit Red Beach II, where U.S. Marines made their first amphibious landing in Vietnam in March 1965.  We pass through Dog Patch as we enter Da Nang City.  After lunch, we continue south, stopping at the Nguyen Van Troi Museum before finally reaching Tam Ky for the evening.

Meals: B/L/D

 
Class II Tour Day - Click for more information.

Day 9: (Monday, 4 September, 2017)  –  Tam Ky

Today we venture west into the Que Son Valley.  Our first stop will be at a reservoir that served as a reference point for aircraft and troops coming into the valley.  Here we trace the progress of Operation Swift starting from the initial enemy contact point through the combat area.  We will have a memorial service for Father Capodanno at the place where he left this world to be with the Creator, 50-years ago to the day.  We will remember, too, all those Marines and Corpsmen who also died in the battle.  Following the memorial service we will visit Hill 63, Hill 48, Hill 43, and Hill 56 which were some of the hills that were so hotly contested during that time.

Meals: B/L/D

 
Class II Tour Day - Click for more information.

Day 10: (Tuesday, 5 September, 2017)  –  Tam Ky to Hoi An

This morning we travel to the battle areas of Operations Union and Union II, to include Hill 51 (LZ Ross), Hill 110, and Phuoc Duc near Song Ly Ly.  Continuing west, we cross the Que Son Pass and descend into Antenna Valley.  Here Operation Essex took place which encompasses the areas around the many villages of Ap Bon and Ap Ba, as well as Hill 90, Hill 144, and Hill 170.  We traverse the valley ending at Khuong Nam (1) and the Song Thu Bon.

Meals: B/L/D

 
Class II Tour Day - Click for more information.

Day 11: (Wednesday, 6 September, 2017)  –  Hoi An

Today we head west and parallel to the southern edge of Go Noi Island.  We stop for visits to Liberty Bridge (south) and An Hoa Regimental Combat Base.  We then stop for a special visit to the My Son Holyland located deep in the foothills of the Que Son Mountains.  My Son is the site of Trakieu, the ancient capital of the Cham Kingdom, and contains ruins dating back to the 5th Century.  Our last stop is a wood-carving and silk shop as we arrive in Hoi An.  Hoi An, a beautiful well-preserved ancient trading port, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Its temples and architecture show the different cultural influences of its time, and its lovely Japanese covered bridge is unique.  Luckily for Hoi An, its importance waned long before the War, and it was left essentially isolated and relatively untouched.  Dinner is on our own this evening.

Meals: B/L/_

 
Class II Tour Day - Click for more information.

Day 12: (Thursday, 07 September, 2017)  –  Hoi An

Today is a well-deserved free day.  You can relax by the pool or you may want to roam by yourselves the streets and shops of this ancient port city, formerly known as Faifo, where Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese traders once walked.  The town ceased to be an important trade harbor when its inlet shoaled and the port was moved north to Da Nang.  Shopping is excellent here and is one of the best places for tailor-made clothing.  There are literally hundreds of amazing little shops in this town.  Lunch and dinner are on our own.  Be sure to sample some of the many local restaurants and night spots.

Meals: B/_/_

 
Class I Tour Day - Click for more information.

Day 13: (Friday, 08 September, 2017)  –  Hoi An to Da Nang

This morning we head north and visit at a marble carving shop near the Marble Mountains.  This area is famous for their stone-sculpture industries.  The Marble Mountains are visually-striking hills that rise from the flat coastal region - these mountains are home to Buddhist shrines and numerous caves.  We climb to the top of the largest mountain and explore the VC hospital area located deep within.  After lunch, we arrive at our riverside hotel in Da Nang.  The remainder of our afternoon is free, but tonight all hands are required at our very special Farewell Dinner at the most famous restaurant in Da Nang, the Kim Do.

Meals: B/L/D

 
Class I Tour Day - Click for more information.

Day 14: (Saturday, 09 September, 2017)  –  Da Nang to Ha Noi

After a leisurely late breakfast, we head to Da Nang Airfield for our flight to Ha Noi.  Transferring to our hotel, we prepare for the journey home, relax, or imbibe with a little last-minute shopping.  This evening we enjoy a visit (mission permitting) to the Marine House, home of the U.S. Marine Corps Security Guard responsible for the protection of the U.S. Ambassador and the American Embassy.

Meals: B/_/D

 
Class I Tour Day - Click for more information.

Day 15: (Sunday, 10 September, 2017)  –  Departure

This morning we return to Noi Bai Airfield for our flight to Taipei.  Departing from Taipei, we gain a day enroute by re-crossing the International Dateline, arriving in the continental United States this same day.

Meals: B/L/D (in flight)

 
Class I Tour Day - Click for more information.
Tour Pricing Information

Tour Price: $3,595.00 / Per Person is based upon Double Occupancy (2 people per room)
Single Supplement is $598.00

Ground Only Price: $2,600.00 / Per Person is also based upon Double Occupancy (2 people per room)
Single Supplement is $598.00

Tour Price Includes:

  1. International roundtrip airfare from our Houston, Texas gateway.
    • Ground Only Tours - International roundtrip airfare is not included.
  2. Air-conditioned motorcoach transportation.
  3. Vietnam airfare.
  4. Vietnam Visa Processing and fees.
    • Ground Only Tours - Vietnam Visa Processing and fees may or may not be included.
  5. Hotel Accommodations throughout tour.
  6. Virtually all meals, as indicated in itinerary.
  7. Historical Trip information packet, containing maps and other information pertaining to your tour.
  8. Admission fees to all sites, museums and special attractions listed.
  9. Services of our experienced Directors & English--speaking local guides.
  10. Gratuities (NOTE: VBT American guides are prohibited from accepting tips.)
  11. Bulk-baggage handling.
  12. Emergency Medical, Evacuation, Repatriation and Hospitalization Insurance included in each tour.

Why choose Vietnam Battlefield Tours?

Here's just a few reasons:

  1. VBT - We use only highly-experienced U.S. Marine Corps & U.S. Army Vietnam Veteran guides.
  2. VBT - Runs 15-day tours which ensures unrushed touring.
  3. VBT - Has all-inclusive pricing. (Beware of hidden charges forced on you by other tour operators).
  4. VBT - Gets you to places other companies cannot access.
  5. VBT - Our tours are designed for customization based on participant's requests (no off-the-rack tours).

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