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The furthest north of the Navy’s bases in Vietnam, Cua Viet was under mortar, rocket, and ground attack for most of the war by the North Vietnamese Army (NVA). Because of its location on the Cua Viet River that skirted the boundary of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the base was uniquely situated to provide fuel, ammunition, administration, supplies, and construction materials to Marine and Army combat forces.
In March 1967, the Da Nang NSA Detachment Cua Viet was established to augment the efforts of the nearby base at Dong Ha. Together, Cua Viet and Dong Ha provided logistical support to American and allied units operating around the DMZ area. Cua Viet acted as a trans-shipment point for supplies headed for Dong Ha. The detachment’s work was made difficult not only by enemy fire but by the physical environment. Winds and rains of the winter monsoons were particularly harsh at Cua Viet. Outside the river mouth, shoals endangered ships making the 90 nautical mile trip from Da Nang. Crossing the bar was made difficult by shifting sand bars (solved by continuous dredging) and enemy direct fire weapons. In March 1967, the USS Caroline County (LST-525) became the first major naval vessel to enter the river and tie up at Cua Viet. USS Snohomish County (LST-1126) followed her sister ship to Cua Viet and became the second ocean-going visitor.
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