The Tet Offensive (Tết Mậu Thân)

The Battle for Saigon
Table of Contents

BOQ #3

AVSG-S-1031-84/AGA68 RVN Saigon This military police truck, carrying MP's to the fighting in the BOQ #3 area of Saigon, was hit by a Claymore mine killing all passengers. 1 Feb. 1968 Photo by: SP5 Edgar Price Pictorial A.V. Plt. 69th Sig. Bn. (A)
(Donald Jellema Collection (Department of the Army Special Photographic Office (DASPO)) [va030794])

All throughout the night of 31 January 1968, VC units attacked American BOQs (Bachelors Officers Quarters) and housing units, keeping the MPs in the city hopping to defend the barracks’ inhabitants, who on the whole were almost all without weapons or a means to defend themselves. The BOQ #3 was a barracks near the Tan Son Nhut Airbase.

One of the NVA/VC’s main targets during Tet was the Joint General Staff Compound, headquarters for the South Vietnamese military, located on the outskirts of Tan Son Nhut. Early in the morning the NVA/VC moved in with a sapper team and rushed the gate to the JGS compound, leaving a reinforced demolition company in reserve on the roofs of nearby buildings. An MP patrol jeep came upon the battle and reported an attack on the nearby BOQ #3.

An MP reaction force responded to the call for help. Unfortunately, on its way to the battle, the force’s 2 ½ ton truck and gun jeeps drove down the alley occupied by the reserve VC demolition team, which attacked the MP convoy at close range with AK-47s, mines, grenades, and explosives, killing sixteen of the twenty MPs in the truck. The original MP patrol jeep reported the action in the alley and requested more MP forces to help save the trapped MP reaction force.

The MPs fought throughout the night, but they simply did not have enough heavy weapons and firepower to knock the VC company off of the roof. During the night, three of the wounded MPs managed to crawl out of the alley and early in the morning Maj. Eugene J. Connor of MACV Team 100 arrived at the scene with two ARVN V-100s, an armored vehicle with a 30mm gun. The MPs assaulted the alley with the V-100s and managed to rescue the last MP who was still alive in the truck. The BOQ #3 battle raged on until 2:00 p.m., when a US armor unit, on its way to another battle, called the Provost Marshall’s office asking for directions through the Saigon streets. The Provost Marshall, Lt. Col. Richard E. George, told the tank commander of the problem at BOQ #3. The tank commander quickly agreed to help. Once the tanks arrived, they made quick work of ending the US’s bloodiest battle in Saigon.