Most would agree that the Vietnam War, also commonly referred to as the Second Indochina War, which lasted from late 1955 to early 1975, marks a poignant time in America’s history. However, in the 20-odd years that the war raged on, some dates stand out considerably and are worthy of a deeper conversation. One such date is January 21, 1968, which marks the Battle of Khe Sanh. 

To understand the significance of this date, we should first establish the geographical location of Khe Sanh. And according to the world map, it is located in South Vietnam, bordering the much smaller Southeast Asian country Laos.

Shedding Light on the Battle of Khe Sanh

For those not as familiar with the various aspects of the larger Vietnam War, the Battle of Khe Sanh represents the bloodiest period of the war, with scores of U.S. and Vietnamese soldiers losing their lives. On January 21, 1968, military forces with the PAVN (People’s Army of North Vietnam) carried out a large-scale artillery bombardment on the U.S. In turn, this prompted retaliation by not only the U.S. Marines but also their South Vietnamese allies, which resulted in back and forth attacks that would go on for roughly 77 days.

In the end, the U.S. Marines, with help from South Vietnamese allies, destroyed the base complex of Khe Sanh and ultimately withdrew from the battle area in July 1968. All told, the Battle of Khe Sanh was about the PAVN attempting to overtake the U.S.-based garrison, a military fort that houses troops and weapons, and U.S. military soldiers fighting to prevent it from happening.