March 1969

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Hospital Uncovered By Famous Fourth

OASIS—NVA bunker complexes are often described as ingenious.

The one found recently by the Famous Fourth Division’s 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry proved to be no exception.

Sweeping a stream bed in the Chu Prong mountains, 11 miles north of Pleiku, elements of Charlie Company passed what appeared to be a rock filled ravine. Two NVA graves and two AK-47s were found In the area. Suspicions aroused, the soldiers returned to the ravine the next day.

There, in the crevices and caves formed by the rocks, they discovered the remains of an NVA battalion-sized aid station. "We knew immediately that this was some kind of medical facility;" commented Captain Guy R. Marbury of Republic, Pa., Charlie Company commander.

"There were empty plasma and penicillin bottles and many used bandages scattered throughout the complex. The NVA seemingly left the area about three weeks previously, after the area was, hit with heavy air strikes. They left in a hurry, not bothering to completely bury their dead."

Sleeping Positions

The complex began at the bottom of the ravine where several sleeping positions were hidden In the dark recesses of the rocks. Inside the cave bamboo had been cut into strips and woven together to form sleeping platforms. Further up the ravine was a log and dirt covered bunker forming an underground room ten feet by ten feet. In the back a small fireplace had been built. According to Captain Mar-bury, this was probably their mess hall.

Nearer the top of the ravine was a large opening formed by the boulders. Inside, an operating table and several sleeping positions had been constructed. Several natural tunnels branched off from this room spiraling down further between the rocks. At each level sleeping positions had been built. At the bottom was a small underground stream which could be heard gurgling throughout the cave. In all, the one complex could accommodate 12 to 15 patients.

At the top of the ravine were more sleeping positions and a large open pit-like crevice. "This might have been a morgue," commented Specialist 4 Warren Jarrard of Orlando, Fla., Charlie Company’s medic. "There was only one entrance and we found several shrouds inside. It was also set apart from the rest of the complex."

Doctor’s Area

Specialist Jarrard noted that the sleeping positions at the top of the ravine probably belonged to the doctor and his staff.

The most unique aspect of the sanctuary was the total naturalness of the surroundings. The NVA had taken great pains not to disturb the area, making maximum utilization of the cover and concealment provided by the rock formations.

Engineers from Delta Company, 4th Engineer Battalion were called in to clear the area and to seal off the caves. They also marked the complex by painting the rocks with bright paint, thereby marking the location and hopefully discouraging the enemy from deciding to return.


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