Danny Yates' Return to Duc Pho
Webmaster Note: Recently I've communicated with Danny Yates, a former soldier assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry (one of the guys we provided air taxi services for). He sent me an early aerial photo of Duc Pho mountain. Duc Pho went by several "GI names" through the years, primarily LZ or Mt. Montezuma and LZ or Mt. Bronco. In March 2012, Danny returned from a trip back to Vietnam, in which he also took his wife.
During their trip around the country, they stopped by Duc Pho and were able to take some pictures. In his note to me he says, "If you haven't been back, you would not believe how the town of Duc Pho has grown up around our old camp." Below I will include the photos he sent to me.
This first one below is of Duc Pho mountain and the military compound very early on. Date estimated in early 1967. Note the fixed wing runway is under construction, likely the extension of the runway to accommodate C-130s. It appears the 174th had not yet completely set up shop at Duc Pho. Although some helicopters are visible on what will later become Dolphin and Shark park, the company area does not appear well organized yet and there is no maintenance area defined. You can download this or any of the other photo (right-click your mouse from within the photo) and enlarge it for more detail. The "My tent" label is where Danny's tent was in the 3/25th area. Below this photo I've cropped and enlarged our company area.
Below is Danny's 3/25th company area a bit later in 1967.
The photo below Danny took during his return trip. His tent would have been where the pagoda type building is on the right. Danny says, "The helipad would have been near where the yellow structures are. Notice the tree growth on the hill. Back in 1967, it was just short bushes at best. Also notice the whitish line running across the picture in the center of the photo. That is all that's left of the old runway. I would have loved to have walked over there, but this was as close as I could get. If you remember the metal roofed buildings that were south of the end of the runway (see the first picture), that is now a Vietnamese Army base."
The photo below was taken from the same spot as the above photo, just turned 180 degrees toward the west. This was an open area when we were there.
Below is a then-and-now picture that Danny put together from one of his old pictures, and one just taken. Jerry says, "We had an ammo dump on the beach at Duc Pho, as well as one of our gun batteries. You probably remember when it blew up. I do -- I was swimming in the water when it started. The beach has eroded a lot since."
Here is a picture of Highway 1 Danny took as it runs through Duc Pho. He thought what surprised him the most on the entire trip was just how much things had changed. Note all the overhead powerlines now.