The United States Marine Corps entered Vietnam in 1965 with two battalions and no idea that this war was to become the longest in Corps’ history. Marines and their Allies fought both Viet Cong guerillas and North Vietnamese Army forces in hamlets, urban areas, jungles and rice paddies. This gallery brings to life horrific scenes of close combat and small moments of compassion on the field of battle at such places as Howard’s Hill, Marble Mountain, Quang Nam, Khe Sanh, and Dong Ha. Wall murals and dioramas deliver stories about combat operations, significant contributions to the war, individual Marines, special units, morale, and air support.
Visitors are taken into battle through a series of immersive exhibits and are introduced to the weapons and equipment used by the combatants, from the simple sharpened bamboo stake to the highly sophisticated ONTOS anti-tank vehicle. An A-4 Skyhawk and the ever present UH-1 Huey helicopter represent the air war. Marines move block by block, house by house wresting control of Hue City from enemy forces while also caring for innocent civilians caught up in the battle. Visitors are airlifted into the “hot” landing zone at Hill 881 South near Khe Sanh on a CH-46 helicopter. Rotor wash swirls the hot air and the sounds of combat surround visitors as they step off the helicopter’s rear deck. Making his way to the CH-46 is a wounded Marine while another lies dead in this austere and dangerous scene.