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Pershing Field Terrorist Bombing February 9, 1964: Were You There?

On Sunday, February 9, 1964, Viet Cong terrorist planted bombs under the bleachers at Pershing Field set to go off during the base ball game.

Were you in attendance when the bombs exploded?

Were any of your family members there when the bombs went off?

Did you know anyone who was there and experienced it first hand?

Do you have photographs of the bombing?

I’m looking for first hand accounts and photographs of the incident.

If you have any information about this event, please share it with us in the comments section below.

Bob

12 comments to Pershing Field Terrorist Bombing February 9, 1964: Were You There?

  • Anita Roby-Lavery (Class of '64)

    I lived just a block away when the bomb went off. Heard the explosion, and we were kept indoors for some time. We had arrived in Saigon less than two weeks before, so that was quite an introduction. Don’t remember if that bombing was before or after the bombing of the theatre; I was suposed to go to that, with my younger brother, but something came up which kept us away from that. Re the ballfield bombing, as far as I know there aren’t any photos.

  • Bruce Berger

    Bob,

    Pictures of Pershing Field after the bombing, and also the Capital Kinh Do are in the 1964 Gecko. The link at the bottom of this comment has information. I think you provided this link a while back, which is for the Mariah Project. On page 13, it gives infornation for both bombings, as well as Brink’s BOQ on Christmas Eve 1964. The Kinh Do was one week after the Pershing Field bombing.

    To the best of my recollection (which may not be entirely reliable), my brother Ken Berger (class of ’64), and I were riding around on his motorcycle and had gone to Pershing Field earlier that day. When the news came on the radio, he told me about it, and I really didn’t believe him.

    Bruce Berger class of ’66

    http://www.virtual.vietnam.ttu.edu/cgi-bin/starfetch.exe?Q4PMokDjbYJBzJ@ts8vXbQ3KB7k.m0xSzblg6hMSsVU18STWV@uZ@QwVsq1Ka90lh56fb7eY07hPa135NcX.1KdeR1f0e9xU4IRZ5XzAGfNCNX1whqsNHQ/0440416006.pdf

    • Ken Berger

      Bob: Bruce nailed it. This is how I recall it as well. Only other insight is I think we at one time discussed going to the ball field but rulled it out. Again it could be a failing memory.

  • Gene (Joe) Weinbeck

    Bruce, I’m glad for that link you provided. I had remembered that the bomb in the softball field bleachers went off when no one was there. I do remember the Brink bombing. I was on my way home from getting a haircut there when I heard the bomb go off and saw the plume of smoke in the sky.

    Gene (Joe) Weinbeck, class of ’66

  • John M. Adams

    I was there with my friend Jimmy DeHayes and his family. I recall with not alot of confidence that it was an Air Force team playing. We were seated to the right of home plate and then started to move to the other side when the bomb went off.

  • Kathy Conner Dobronyi

    Just got back from an Old Spooks and Spies Reunion of the men who were in the Southeast Asia Army Security Agency (ASA).

    A number of men from the 3rd RRU were at the first game, and many were in the bleachers during the second game. Two men from the unit died. One was PFC Don Taylor. My father was very torn up when he had to write their parents about their deaths.

    I remember hearing about a bicycle leaning against the bleachers that had plastic explosives and a timer in the tubing. One of the men at the reunion talked about a bomb under one of the bases that was set off during the game.

  • Nelson Thoresen

    5-24-14 I don’t use net/email much and just came across this site. I was at the Pershing field bombing. My father was medical director of Saigon Adventist Hospital we lived close to the field and I used to watch a lot of the games. I was 13, freshman in a mission school in India, and home in Saigon for 3 month break. My roommate, Gary Gardner who lived on the JDP compound, was also at the game with me… It was Sunday, the last game of the day. On weekends the games were at 2,4,6,8 oclock. Gary and I watched the 6 0’clock game (3rd RRU) from our usual place behind the batrack in the 1st base bleachers. Mostly Americans would sit on that side. The mobile canteen parked behind it and the field lights were better. Usually a dozen or so Vietnamese would sit on 3rd base side. For the last game Gary and I decided to move over to 3rd base side because AFII(2nd Air Div.) was home team and using 3rd base duggout. We always rooted for them (they hadn’t lost in 2 yrs). After about 20 min Gary said let’s go sit in our usual place so we could see better. The first baseman from 3rd RRU was sitting there changing his spikes-although we didn’t know him personnaly we liked the way he played ball- you could tell he was legit by the way he would straddle 1st and stretch for the throw with his opposite foot depending where the throw was from. Gary walked over there, paused, came back and sat down. Five min later the two bombs went off. My first reaction was to duck and cover my ears. It was like lightning/thunder next to you. All the military personnel went to ground prone. All civilians were up running into each other. Tremendous amount of white smoke-electric lines from lights down. We were all immediately ordered out to center field…they were afraid of more bombs on our side. I remember looking over to our normal place and seeing the 3rRRU 1st baseman lying down with two people kneeling beside attending him. Gary and I walked to my house. The next day Gary and I went back. We could see all the shrapnal damage and holes in the tin roof over the bleachers.. I found some pieces of shrapnel. It looked like oversized pieces from a frag grenade. Later we heard the VC had planted 5 claymores under the bleachers. MPs found 3 that didn’t go off. They were on a circuit with a pocket watch with the hour hand so had to have been set less than 12 hrs. There were no Vietnamese at the game that night. Later we heard that one of the small VN kids had told one of the young US kids not to play under the bleachers….Gary and I never sat on 3rd base side. I don’t believe in coincidence.

  • Marilyn Harrison

    To Nelson Thoresen,
    I was an American vol. nurse at the 7th Day Adventist hospital. The night of the theater bombing, I was supposed to go to the theater with some friends but was held up by emergency surgery on a young Viet-namese boy. Being we did not have phones to call and cancel, my friends decide to wait for me and go the next night. We were all blessed we did not go. When I got home my friends had the radio on and they were pleading for A Neg. blood which I have. I went to the military hospital but was too late. If your Father is from Australia or New Zealand, then he and I worked together on many cases. I also remember being invited to dinner at his home so I probably met you. I am glad we all made it out safely. It was quite an experience, learned much from your Father. When I came back to the United States, I went to Uni. of Calif. school of Medicine extenstion program and became a Nurse Practitioner thanks to Your Dad’s guidence.

    • Hello Marilyn! Welcome to our group! It’s great having you join us and sharing your memories. Thank you for you’re story about your experiences in Saigon. Please visit often and share more of your memories with the group.

      Bob

  • Marilyn Harrison

    Thank you for welcoming me. So many stories to tell. It started the the first night of my arrival. Jan. 4, 1964 I fly on a charted plane(PanAm) then Air France to Saigon. The firstthing that struck me on the plane was the troops they were transporting were just kids. I was 29. At first they were laughing and joking but as we were preparing at Than Son Nuit (spelling has left me) there was a sudden silence. Reality set in. I looked at them and wondered how many of these young men would come home. Sad to say several of my friends did not.
    I was transported to a house with 4 other women on the airport grounds with 4 other young ladies. We didn’t talk much, I think it was reality setting in also. So I went to my bedroom to read. I heard what sounded like pop corn popping but couldn’t smell it. Then I saw the hole apperaring in the corner wall. Didn’t have to tell me what they were. I did what I later named the “John Wayne Slide’. I slid off the bed and into the living room with the others. Our conversation went right to what would be the outcome of this attack. The VC wanted that airport real bad. Anyway we came to two choices if the VC found us. Capture or run and take a quick bullet in the back, and that is what we decided. Capture was not an option. It was a long night, our boys came to the rescue but when dawn arrived I saw for the first time what a battle field looks like. I didn’t like it. One girl turned to me and said “Welcome to Viet-Nam”. I never forgot that among other incidents. For some odd reason I was not in fear all the time, just everyday business.

  • Keith Maxwell

    My father (Russell Maxwell) was playing catcher during the game. The Colonel he worked for was the pitcher. He recalled that at the end of a play, someone behind him threw a ball onto the field that fell short of the pitcher’s mound. The pitcher had been involved in fielding the play and was not on the mound. My father jogged out from behind the plate to pick up the ball. That’s when the bomb went off.

    My father was peppered with gravel. The bleacher behind home plate were destroyed and many wounded were on the ground. Two men died. My father believes that had he not gone out to retrieve the ball, he would have been seriously wounded or killed.

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