One Man's Diary

Rocket Attacks on Pleiku
By: Luther David

This information is from the original diary of rocket and mortar attacks on Pleiku, beginning on August 23rd 1968 and continuing through January 15th, 1969. The diary was kept by Luther David on a yellow legal pad. It was furnished to me by his widow, Doris Davis for addition to the Web-Site.

Rocket Attack on Pleiku August 23rd, 1968

38 122mm rockets hit the base tonight. It started at 02:05 and the all clear finally sounded at 03:30. Most of the tockets didn't do much damage but a few did. 2 rounds hit the base power plant and knocked out all the electricity until the afternoon of the 24th.

Some of our aircraft received minor damage. I think it was the last round that fell, hit between barracks 305 and 315. I lived in upper bay of 315. 305 was damaged most all the electric and telephone lines were blown off both barracks. The end of 305 was partly blown off and was full of schrpnel holes. They had to replade the whole end of that barracks.

My barracks had shrapnel holes and pieces of it went through the wall of the barracks, thru metal lockers and all the way to the wall of the latrine on the other end. The outer doors of both barracks were full of holes and nearly blown off. One locker caught fire and everything in it burned, (The man had only been there 3 days). (They replaced one section of the end of my barracks, downstairs).

Three mattresses caught fire and clothing in several lockers was ripped to shreds. The rocket only made a hole about 1 1/2 feet deep and 3 or 3 1/2 feet wide. The rocket landed about 50 feet from the bunker I was in and did it sound loud. I heard 4 men were wounded during the attack, 2 of them were outside the bunker I was in and were then brought inside. One had a concussion and believe he's now deaf and the other got a piece of shrapnel in the leg. None of the injured were injured fataly. Dirt was thrown on ceiling of my barracks (upstairs) some 20 feet inside the door.

Rocket Attack on Pleiku City August 31st, 1968

Pleiku City was hit by rockets tonight at about 10:30 PM. We could see a fire that started and could hear the rockets hit. There was also some small arms fire around the POW compound across from us 1 1/2 miles and flare everywhere. I didn't hear how many in Pleiku City were hurt but one man who worked in the BX was killed. City is about 3 1/2 miles from us. We could hear the rockets go whoosh over our barracks.

Rocket Attack on Pleiku, September 21, 1968

Pleiku AB was hit by 105 mm recoilless rifle rounds beginning at 02:05. The barracks where our troops live (229) was sprayed by shrapnel. Two of our airmen were wounded, (wounds minor) and they were treated and returned to the barracks. One round went through the roof of the AP barracks, nest to 229, but I didn't hear of anyone being inside at the time. About 40 rounds hit the base. Two latrines, 2 barracks, ane Airmans Club and an NCO barracks took shrapnel. Some planes were slightly damaged, only one was major. Our barracks (312) was without electricity for about 12-15 hours. Only 3 men on the base (counting our 2) were hurt. Several rounds hit the main road but the damage was quickly repaired. One round hit about 50 yards from the bunker I was in. All clear sounded about 02:50.

Rocket Attack on Pleiku, October ??, 1968

Engineer Hill, Camp Holloway and Artillery Hill have been hit several times this month. I didn't mark down the dates because we seldom hear much about what happened during the attacks.

Rocket Attack on Pleiku, October 29, 1968

Alert sounded at 02:35 and we hurried to the bunkers. Several flashes had been seen by perimeter guards and it appeared we would get hit so they sounded the siren. As it happened all the rounds (8-10) hit just beyond the base. There was no damage to the base or personnel. All clear at 03:00.

Rocket Attack on Pleiku, Novenber ??, 1968

The first two weeks were really quiet - no incoming rounds or outgoing artilery to amount to anything. Seems odd for it to be so quiet.

Rocket Attack on Pleiku, November 10-20, 1968

Camp Holloway, Engineer Hill and Camp Enoris?? were all hit. A few trucks were destroyed and a few injuries.

Rocket Attack on Pleiku, November 21, 1968

I awoke hearing a rocket hit and grabbed my things and headed to the bunker. 3 more rounds hit before I got into the bunker. The siren sounded at 02:05 and we stayed in the bunker till 03:00 hours. 23 122mm rockets hit the base. One hit supply's barracks and nearly tore one whole end off. Another hit near a supply warehouse and sprayed shrapnel through the building. One hit in the officers RMK area about 200 yards from my bunker and riddled 3 pickup trucks and broke out all the glass. One hit the roof of a laundry under construction. The base had been poured and the girders and roofing were up. It really messed the roof up.

A rocket hit in the POL area across the road from our operations building. It turned a 6,000 gallon tank truck on its side and damaged a 12,000 gallon tank truck.

Several rounds just hit in open areas. They had delayed fuses and made holes 6 feet across by 8 to 10 feet deep. 17 men were treated at the dispensary but only 8 of these were results of the attack. The other 7 were hurt in some way getting to the bunkers or other cover. Still no fatalities have occurred here from attacks. Oh, a fork lift and 10 ton tractor were also damaged.

Rocket Attack on Pleiku, November 24, 1968

Helicopter gunships sprayed areas around E. Hill and also hit them with rockets. The gunships also fired on an area about 3-4 miles off the end of our runway. They worked the area over for quite a while. Several of us stayed up till 2:45 AM drinking coffee and watching.

We had heard that the base was to be hit (the RMK area) and the ARVN bomb dumps. There were flares lighting up the sky around us for several areas. Wh had also heard that dentry dog handlers had been told not to go to bunkers if we were attacked. They were probably expecting sappers to try to infiltrate during the attack. One man in our barracks was so frightened he was sick to his stomach.

Rocket Attack on Pleiku, December 23, 1968

The first rocket hit the base this morning at 01:45 hours. We ran for the bunkers. By 02:02, the last rocket hit. There were 30 122mm rockets in all. One rocket hit right beside barracks 317. It tore most all of the side of the barracks up and the side had to be replaced. Another rocket went through the roof of the lapidary section of the hobby shop and it burned and was completely destroyed.

Another rocket hit along the side of the road between the Airman's Club and Mail Room. It burst a main water line. Another hit in the officers RMK area about 6 feet from a building and destroyed a pickup truck. Flipped it over on it's side. The truck belonged to SPAD. They lost 3 in about the same spot during the November attack.

One round hit on the Flightline and damaged 3 of our planes. They again used some rockets with delayed fuses. There were 4 wounded in the attack - none from our unit. The all clear sounded about 03:00.

Rocket Attack on Pleiku, January 15, 1969

I was sitting in the NCO Club with Seals and 2 others from our unit waiting for a USO show that was supposed to begin at 8 PM. I had gotten there about 7 PM to be sure of getting a seat since USO shows are open to NCO's Officers and Airmen.

At 7:30 an explosion went off and I knew it was an incoming rocket. I couldn't believe it for a second of fraction of a second because of the time. Luckily I was at a table by the side door of the club and since the club is of single wood construction and offered no protection I knew I had to get out of there.

Another rocket went off before I got out the door and I ran towards a bunker. The nearest one was about 150 yards away. As I ran I could see light from a fire and I later found it was POL. A rocket hit a storage bladder with 98,000 gallons of JP-4 airplane fuel - a fuel much like kerosene. It wouldn't explode only burn. I made it to the bunker safely and went inside. It was crowded from people from barracks and the NCO Club. We could hear the rockets hit for about 10 minutes, 15 of them in all but it was 8:45 PM before the all clear sounded.

One large truck was destroyed in the attack and one plane (not ours) was damaged on the flightline. The POL storage area is about 1 block from our operations building and on large piece and several small pieces of shrapnel landed in front of out building. Six men on the base were wounded - the most serious lost one eye from a shrapnel wound. One round hit about 100 yards from our opertations building near the bus stop we use. No damage from that one. They are still using delayed fuses and that worries a lot of people. Several other rounds landed around POL and base supply open storage area but I didn't hear of any damage from them.

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