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Subject: Re: Leper Colony at Qui Hoi

Steave Hosier (Glad it survived)
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Date Posted: 02:44:02 03/19/12 Mon
In reply to: Bill Bellinger 's message, "Leper Colony at Qui Hoi" on 18:55:22 03/17/05 Thu

>QL-441 runs from itís intersection at QL-1 and QL-19
>to Qui Nhon. It then goes about 5 kilometers further
>south across a mountain to a beautiful valley by the
>South China Sea where it ends. This is Qui Hoi, a
>leper community run by French Catholic Nuns. In the
>summer of 1966, a friend of mine, Lt. Douglas Crawford
>and I decided to take sight seeing tour and travel
>across the mountain and down the coast to Qui Hoi. We
>had heard about the leper colony there and we were
>curious. So we took off in a jeep one afternoon,
>unarmed. Just a couple of dumb-ass Second
>Lieutenants. QL-441 between Qui Nhon and Qui Hoi is a
>narrow dirt road. After it leaves Qui Nhon it goes
>right up a mountain. Right before the summit there is
>a beautiful vista of Qui Nhon and the surrounding
>area. You could see for miles up there. A little
>farther up the mountain there was a U.S. Army Signal
>relay station. It was completely isolated sitting up
>on top of that mountain. Itís defensives were
>formidable, however, with a high chain link fence and
>multiple rows of concertina wire. Not the kind of
>place youíd want to try to get into. The whole route
>was wooded and would have been a prime ambush
>location. It was also deserted. There was not one
>single inhabitant along the way nor was there any
>traffic on this road. I was very nervous and drove as
>fast as the road would allow. We soon came down the
>mountain into a valley by the sea. This is
>undoubtedly one of the most beautiful locations in
>Viet Nam. The beach there was pristine. There were
>about a half a dozen GIs swimming at the beach. We
>stopped at the leper colony which was not to far from
>the beach. All the structures at the leper colony are
>brick or stone. The thing that struck me most was the
>cleanliness of the place. It was spotless. Quite a
>contrast to other areas I had seen in and around Qui
>Nhon. The few people at the colony that we saw were
>reserved. They would not approach us. There is a
>beautiful Catholic Chapel at the colony with stained
>glass windows. It was interesting, because it had no
>pews. The leper colony at Qui Hoi survived the war
>intact. It exists today. We were told later that Qui
>Hoi was probably one of the safest places to be in
>Viet Nam and that there was little risk of ambush.
>The VC avoided going anywhere near the leper colony.
Have always wondered if this beautiful place made it thru the war unscathed. I served with HHC 5th Maintaince Battalion (Qui Nhon) from Aug66-Jan67 then transferred to 527 Pers Svc Co (Qui Nhon) and rember going over that road 3-4 times, never armed (dumb as that sounds) always anticipating the beautiful beach and colony over the hill. the last time we went we were shot at by 3 lone VC and luckly no-one was hit. We never went back!! Have some beautiful pictures of the place for memories! Steave

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