U.S. Naval Mobile Facility Nam Can (1969-1971)


One of the most remote of all the Navy’s bases in Vietnam was Nam Can. It was situated on the north bank of the Cau Lon River on the Ca Mau Peninsula. Establishment of a shore facility at Nam Can resulted from a strategic decision to penetrate the recognized Viet Cong strongholds in order to disrupt enemy supply lines and hinder waterborne movement. Reasserting the sovereignty of the South Vietnamese government over this area was another prime consideration. Consequently, in June 1969, naval harbor craft towed the first of thirteen pontoons that were to comprise a floating base complex to a mooring point off the deserted Vietnamese town of Nam Can.

Operations from this mobile facility, named SEA FLOAT, soon improved security in the surrounding area, prompting plans to develop an installation ashore on the site of the destroyed town. Designated SOLID ANCHOR, the base was designed to protect and support U.S. and South Vietnamese naval forces engaged in river and coastal operations.

Construction problems were legion. Building material had to be shipped in from distant Areas, especially Saigon which was 150 miles from the site. Because local dredged fill was unsuitable, even sand was barged in. In addition, the heavy equipment of Seabee Battalion One repeatedly became mired in the extremely porous ground. Equally difficult were the on going rocket and mortar attacks as well as the task of clearing the surrounding scrub and bush away from the perimeter. Defoliation operations helped keep the enemy from getting close to the base. Nonetheless, during 1970-71 the Nam Can Intermediate Support Base became functional and provided the allied combat units on the Cau Mau Peninsula with vital assistance.

In keeping with the direction of the Vietnamization program, the Vietnamese Navy assumed the Solid Anchor mission in April 1971. This ended the last major U.S. combat operations in Vietnam. In September of 1971 U.S. naval personnel turned over control of the shore facility to their Vietnamese counterparts.