In early 1967 after combat training near Port Hueneme, CA, MCB-11 was airlifted by C-130 aircraft to Dong Ha Combat Base South Vietnam. The base was located 6 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Vietnam. Unfortunately this was well within artillery range of the North Vietnamese gunners.
The base was named Camp Barnes, after Donald J. Barnes, who was MCB-11s first casualty of the deployment. Senior Chief Barnes was killed on the morning of 6 June 1967 during a rocket attack on Khe Sahn. Senior Chief Barnes was the Alfa Company Leading Chief.  

 

Headstone at Arlington National Cemetery

 

According to Marine Corps personnel Dong Ha had never come under direct enemy fire. That changed with the arrival of MCB-11s main force. Upon the CBs arrival the base was shelled at least once per day and on many occasions several times each day. The CBs nicknamed the gunners One Shot Charlie for the propensity they had of firing only one or two rounds each day. Other assaults were made on the base by rockets, mortars and zappers.
By far the North Vietnamese most productive day was September 3rd, 1967. Their artillery hit Dong Has main ammo dump early that morning. Upon seeing secondary explosions, all of the enemy gunners in the area opened up on the dump. Several Marines which had been working in the area were pinned down by the explosions, some were wounded. BUL2 Floyd J. Pratt drove a cargo truck into the exploding ammo dump several times to extract the Marines. To his credit there were no casualties that day. The attack lasted 2 more days but the CBs escaped with only minor wounds. Unexploded ordinance was thrown up to one mile from the ammo dump and into the CB camp.

MCB-11 built or helped to build forward artillery firebases and landing strips all along the DMZ. The most notable were Khe Sahn, Dong Ha, Gio Linh, Lang Vie, Quang Tri and the base at the Cua Viet river near Vietnams eastern coast. Besides building housing, roads, bunkers and ammo dumps they also constructed elevated lookout towers which were taken by helicopter into the DMZ and manned by U.S. Marines.

According to the Navy Department, MCB-11 suffered 9 men killed in action during the deployment. The number of wounded is known to be over 70.

MCB-11 was relieved by MCB-5 during November December 1967 at which time they were air-lifted back to Port Hueneme.

Submitted by Charles Worcester USN MCB-11