Tchepone, also known as Xépôn or Sepon, is a village in the Seponh administrative district of Savannakhet Province in Laos. During French colonial rule, the French constructed Route 9, opened circa. 1930. Route 9 ran from the major city of Savannakhet on the Thai-Laotian border in the west across the entire country to the border with Vietnam in the east where it met National Route 9, a major Vietnamese highway. Xépôn proved to be a critical point on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, as Route 9 provided a quick way to move supplies east. This made Xépôn the chokepoint for almost all motorized traffic passing through Mu Gia Pass, the main Ho Chi Minh Trail entry point into Laos. The North Vietnamese invested in Xépôn in December 1958 and built a large, heavily defended military base there to help defend the area. It was the arena for the Tchepone Operation in 1970, an interdiction campaign by the American supported-Royal Lao Armed Forces aimed at disrupting the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) supply line along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. It was the target of Operation Lam Son 719 in 1971, an attempt by the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and the United States Marines to cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The village now known as Old Xépôn (Xépôn Kao in Laotian) was destroyed.