The Siege of Khe Sanh

Sunday, January 15 at 8 p.m. ET!

Hosted by Oliver North

Khe Sanh was the scene of one of the most ferocious and controversial battles of the Vietnam War. It was a remote combat base in the Vietnamese highlands. The base was under siege for 77 days (from January to April 1968). The 6,000 Marines and soldiers at the base were surrounded by a massive North Vietnamese Enemy Force (search) numbering more than 20,000 by some estimates. Enduring unrelenting enemy fire, heavy casualties and dwindling supplies of ammunition, food and water, the Americans held their ground and broke the back of the enemy. Conditions at the base were stark: most were unable to shower for months, they often had to share their last drops of water or last bites of food with their buddies and enemy fire was so constant they had to live underground in bunkers for most of the siege.

On orders from General Westmoreland (search), the Supreme Commander in Vietnam, B-52S and other bombers dropped more tons of bombs on this remote region than had been dropped on any one place on the face of the earth at that time. Huge numbers of North Vietnamese were killed. And what was lush, green mountains was transformed into a barren dustbowl that resembled the surface of the moon.

The military commanders decided to abandon the base after the siege was broken, leaving many of the Marines and soldiers who defended it extremely bitter. It also coincided with the Tet Offensive (search), which was a turning point in the war for the United States. President Lyndon Johnson (search) decided that the cost of winning the war against the North Vietnamese simply was too high and began the process of getting America out of Vietnam, which many of the troops there felt was a betrayal.

In this special edition of "War Stories" we get to know several of the men who came close to being killed, but survived the brutal siege. And we even return to Vietnam with one of the Marines who served at Khe Sanh as he returns to the hills of Khe Sanh 32 years later, to the very bunker he lived in for those 77 days under siege.

Don't miss this riveting edition of "War Stories with Oliver North" this Sunday at 8 p.m. ET!