Vietnam War Bombing Runs Over Khe Sanh | 1968 | US Air Force Documentary
Lasting 77 days, the siege of Khe Sanh saw American and South Vietnamese forces suffer. In the end, there were 703 killed, 2,642 wounded, and 7 missing. PAVN losses are not known with accuracy but are estimated at between 10,000 to 15,000 dead and wounded. Following the battle, Lownds’ men were relieved and Westmoreland ordered the base occupied until he left Vietnam in June. His successor, General Creighton Abrams, did not believe that retaining Khe Sanh was necessary. He ordered the base destroyed and abandoned later that month. This decision earned the ire of the American press, who questioned why Khe Sanh had to be defended in January but was no longer needed in July. Abrams’ response was that the then-current military situation no longer dictated that it be held. To this day, it is unclear whether PAVN leadership in Hanoi intended to fight a decisive battle at Khe Sanh, or if operations in the area were meant to distract Westmoreland in the weeks before the Tet Offensive.