USMC Base The top of Khe Sanh has been cut away and an airstrip built there. Troops of the USMC occupied this peak for many months in 1967 and 1968. They suffered many causalities from NVA rockets and artillery but continued to hold the outpost. The marines withdrew in 1968 when NVA forces pulled back into North Vietnam and the entire area has become a "Free Fire" zone. Now the earth is pock marked with bomb and artillery craters and only heavily armed troops visit the area.