Team 39 Phan Rang

MACV Team 39 – Phan Rang.

This Page is intended for the discussion of the Military Assistance Command Vietnam Team 39 located in Phan Rang.

109 thoughts on “Team 39 Phan Rang

  1. Does anyone remember the incident in sometime in 1967 when the fuel pipeline exploded directly across from the compound and destroyed the Vietnamese village?

    I was there, but have heard so many different remembrances that I’m not sure what really happened.

    • Its Saturday night in the day room. Explosion, we head to the bunkers. The VC blew the jet fuel line down the road. The next morning after breakfast I am walking to my barrack. I am shaken by another explosion and see flames shooting high above the dayroom. Total chaos. Vietnamese on fire running in all directions. We do our best, everyone rushes to help. We put out the fire engulfing the people and get them to the local hospital. I was with the Air Force Medical team. living on the Compound and working at the Vietnamese Hospital. We worked all day on the victims but most of the Vietnamese couldn’t be saved. I heard that 28 of the 36 burn victims died. Later I learned that two army engineers were repairing joint leaks caused by the blown fuel pipe. Earlier the nearby Villagers gathered the leaking fuel in pots to be used in cooking. That morning they grouped together to watch the Americans working when one smoked a cigarette on the fuel-soaked ground. The fire quickly spread to the huts and pots.
      Some of us stopped that evening on the way back to the Compound to survey the damage. We observed a man with a small box picking up pieces of his five deceased family members.

      • Hi Jim, I came to the team in early July of ‘67. I went to the Du Long sub sector in ‘68 during TET and it must have happened then?
        I had a great few pictures of us in your X-ray “lab”. You did a good job with antique French equipment. When was the pipeline accident?

      • I was at MACV 4/68 – 4/69 so didn’t experience the pipeline incident. However, I have a question. Was it Jet fuel? If so, going from where to where? I think I remember the pipeline running along the road across the street on the way to our helicopter pad.
        Thanks. Best Regards to All.
        Norm Boeve

      • Bill Hall, MAT II-36 Team 39/45 Bu son (SP?) subsecter. MAJ Ryan district advisor. 7/68-2/69. We were right outside of the gate to Phan Rang AB. I was a 19 YO E-5 weapons advisor on MAT II-36. We worked with the RF/PF In the villages to the South of Phan Rang. I only got to the province advisor complex a few times. LTC Vincent was the Province senior advisor the whole time I was there. I was sent there after a full tour as a grunt in the 101st.

    • I was told that the jet fuel pipeline ran from the beach to the Airbase.
      I have pictures of the fire site along with many of the guys at the compound during my tour (Mar 67 – Apr 68). John Murphy’s terrific “Agents Unknown” on Netflix has a segment about the fire.

      If anyone wants to swap pictures or stories, I would be happy to share.
      Jim Murray

  2. Did anyone work with Major W. C. Dale ?
    He was with Team 39 around 67’. Im looking for more information about him.

      • I recently discovered a Team 39 certficate from 68-69 and would like to post.  How can I do this?   I found it in my late Fathers old locker.  Major George R Higgins

    • Hi Grant,
      I was there in ‘67 and your inquiry brought to my mind a picture of a man I remember as Maj. Dale. My memory his vague, but I think he might have been a district adviser, one of three sub sectors in Ninh Thuan province, where a few advisers worked primarily with the Regional and Popular units. Sorry I can’t recall anything more than that, except that the picture in my memory is a thin man with alttle gray hair, suggesting he was older than most of the men I served with.
      John Murphy

      • I was at DuLong, one of the three sub sectors in ‘67 and I remember an older officer in command who taught me how to attach increments to the fins of our 82mm mortar during H & I firing at random times. I was an Air Force MILPHAP medic. If that was him, his replacement was a Capt. Murray ( I’m reasonably sure) who was promoted to Maj. before I left in about June of ‘68. I have many pictures of Du Long. I’ll try and see if I have any references to him in my mail to home from back then.

  3. Does anyone remember 1LT Robert Fleming, who was with MAT 39 in 1970-71? He was about 5 ft 6, black hair, from Boston. He was an MP officer before Nam. He is a good friend of mine.

  4. Many of the messages here come from Team 39 folks who came after my time (12/66 to 10/67). But if anyone is interested in what my time as a intelligence adviser during that time was like, there is a film called “Agents Unknown” available on Amazon, Tubi, and other streaming devices.

    • John, I saw your documentary “Agents Unknown” on Amazon Prime. I enjoyed watching it. I mentioned the documentary on “Counterparts” facebook site. I made up a list of some AT-39 advisors a few years ago. If any former AT-39 member would like this list email me. I was a helicopter crewchief in Viet Nam .

  5. I was at Team 39 from July ’67 to July ’68. I was sent to a subsector (Du Long) for a couple of months, then back to the main compound before rotating. John Finch, rto was my best man when I got home. Dr Chesley Hines was one of the Dr’s there at the main hospital and we went out to the outlying districts weekly to see the villagers and treat them. Lt. Col Harry E. Vincent was Team commander. TSGT Zeno was a great mentor. I have some great picks if anyone wants to see a few. We had a FAC pilot Maj. K. K. Fenell and CPT Murray (later in ’68, MAJ). I am in Nashville. Anyone close or interested in info, let me know.

    • I am in Nashville approximately 6months per year. Now in FL. I was at MACV in 1969-1970. Now an Emeritus Orthopaedic Surgeon at Vanderbilt. We have been in Nashville since 1983. Dan Spengler

      • Hello Mark, I do not remember your father as I was not at Phan Rang (the main MACV compound) for a lot of ’68. I was sent to DuLong, a sub sector, located between Cam Ranh Bay and Phan Rang. I only came back to the main compound in ’68 to get my stuff to head back to the U.S. in July of ’68. I am not aware of any of my fellow enlisted MILPHAP team members who were assigned anywhere but the main compound.

        • I also have a certificate listing the members on the team. If interested, I can scan a copy and send to you to post. Let me know please. cant believe I have it after all of these years……

        • My name is William Hall, I was at MACV team39 from July of 68 until Jan of 69. I was on MAT II-36 as a weapons advisor. I spent most of my time in the villages to the south of Phan Rang. I was a 19 YO E-5 sent to MACV after a year in the 101st. Our team actually worked out of BUSAN subsector which was located near the front gate of Phan Rang airfield. However, we visited the Team 39 compound regularly. My certificate, when I left Team 39, was signed by LTC Harry E Vincent. If you need names from that certificate, just let me know.

          • Hello William, I left on 5 July ’68 and most of the guys I knew were already gone back to the U.S. then. Good men, all of them. I have only seen my certificate and one other from Maj. Higgins son. If you can forward yours to me, I surely would like to see it.
            Mark Paul

            • Hi Mark, I will work on getting that done. It has been in the frame for 50 or so years. I will remove it carefully and take it into work to send it to you. I work in a specialty middle school in Burleson TX. I am a SPED educator. So, you will get it sometime in early December. Oddly, the certificate says Team 39, but when I left the designation had already been changed to Team 45.

    • I just finished Dr. Henry Hamilton’s book “Phan Rang Chronicles”. I sure learned a lot even though I was there most of the time he was. I accompanied him, as a MILPHAP medic, to the brothels in Trap Cham and found him to be a resourceful and caring man. By far the best journal I have ever read of our time there.

  6. This is Norm Boeve. I served as MILPHAP USAF surgeon late April 1968 to early April 1969 and lived on the MACV Compound. Other physicians were Chesley Hines, Bob Smith and Jim Harris, who passed way July, 2018. I am very grateful for my service in Phan Rang. It was a gift to be able to serve the Vietnamese people in this capacity and also provided a ton of surgical experience, which came into good use in my practice, but also in a variety of subsequent developing world volunteer opportunities. I have good memories of living at MACV, including vicious volley ball competition and going to the beach.

    I practiced Orthopaedic Surgery in Grand Haven, MI until 2010. We have 4 children and 7 grands. Since retirement we have made multiple trips to a mission hospital in Kenya for volunteer medial assistance and training, as well as other medical mission trips.

    Our MSC Officer was Jack Jones, who married Man, a Cham girl from the Hospital. They live in California. Man has a very active and effective Christian ministry with the Cham people, including school, orphanage type home and clinic. She has translated the Jesus film and some Bible into the Cham language. She spends quite a bit of time in Viet Nam and Jack also goes back and forth. They have changed a lot of lives for the better.

    Incidentally, Dan Spengler and I traded places. He came from Malmstrom AFB in MT to Phan Rang in 1969 and I went from Phan Rang to Malmstrom.

    I recently read Henry Hamilton’s book, Phan Rang Chronicles. He was a volunteer British surgeon. He lived in town with other USAID and civilian type volunteers. I enjoyed the book a lot. He refers to our interpreters whom I worked with extensively, as well as living on the economy. He writes much about the hospital chief and several others, with whom I worked. I recommend the book.

    Dr. Trinh was an amazing guy, one of the most remarkable men I’ve had the pleasure to meet and work with. In 1975 he sent his family ahead to Saigon and stayed with the hospital as long as possible before the North invaded. He was very savvy politically and medically with deep clinical and surgical experience. He taught me much. The family subsequently escaped as boat people, were imprisoned and separated, but eventually united in the US. They initially lived in Kansas where we helped with letters of recommendation to get him licensed in medicine. My wife and I visited with him and Nhat, his wife, a day at the home of Jim Harris in Ft. Wayne, IN where they kept us spellbound for the afternoon with their tale of adventure, hardship, courage and eventual triumph. Maybe 5 years ago, I spoke with Dr. Trinh and said our goodbyes. He was in the later stages of prostate cancer, so I assume he has passed by now. Their life is the stuff of books and movies.

    In 1994 my wife and I had the opportunity to tour Viet Nam, with an aid organization, from Hanoi to Saigon. We went to Phan Rang and visited the hospital. The chief was accommodating, but not especially cordial to one of his former “enemies”. At the Air Base, we got to the gate, but no farther. I was disappointed that we could not locate the MACV compound. After 25 years, not much of Phan Rang was recognizable to me, but we did see the Cham Temples around Thap Cham.

    I’m attaching 4 photos: MACV from the air, a volleyball game with the Vietnamese, the beach and our MILPHAP team (I’m standing, 2nd from the right).

    Best Wishes to all. Mar. 3, 2020

    Sorry, the photos wouldn’t transfer. If you’d like to see them, email me and I’ll send them.

    • Norm, good to read your comments. I am now Emeritus at Vanderbilt. Continue to lecture, write and travel. When I followed you we tended to play basketball and seek out the beach when safe. We had one VC mortar hit one of our huts. Fortunately the occupants were elsewhere and not injured. I also respected Dr. Trinnh. Super MD with compassion and competence. Love to see your photos. Also have many myself. Best, Dan (best email:

    • Hello Norman, I was a medic there and left in early July ’67. Could you forward the pic of the team? I know some of my fellow MILPHAP team members would be in it. Thanks!

        • Hello Norm, you can send some pics to I look forward to seeing them. I will receive Dr. Hamilton’s book today from Amazon. I worked with him at the off base “bars” in Trap Cham, just off the air base at Phan Rang. We gave health checks to the working girls.

  7. Hi John,

    Ordered and read Dr. Hamilton’s book. I vaguely remember him. I worked mostly with the Air Force doctors and enlisted guys. I have some pictures I would like to share. Do you know the best way to do that?

    Best regards,

    Jim Murray

  8. I Am William A Hall SGM USA (RET). As a 19 year old E-5 I joined Team 39 (later 45) in July of 1968 after spending a year in a Rifle company of the 101st. I was on MAT II-36. We were assigned to the Buuson district. MAJ Ryan was the district advisor. My first team leader was a LT Cornish, and then CPT Rerecich (SP?)
    team members were SGT Roy Ashton and SGT Smith (medic) We also had a LT on our team as XO who”s name escapes me at the moment. LTC Vincent was the Team 39 Senior Advisor. Does anyone remember the big flood that resulted in chest deep water in the Buuson Team house. I had to help one of the Montanyard guards wrestle two American hogs onto our ammo bunker . I left Team 45 (former team39) in Feb of 69.

  9. Not certain of Capt. Hale’s precise job title. I was a physician at the Phan Rang Hospital. Time at MACV was April 1, 1969 to April 1, 1970. Dan

  10. a few of the guys I remember are Maj Ryan, Col Vincent, Bruce Richards, John Brewer, James Roberts, Ron Steele, Ken Guido, Ronald Best and SSG Roberts you owe me a poncho 🙂

    • I think I have worked together with you,do you remember me, my name is ssgt. Bich, the arvn interpreter of the team. Good lucks to you Peterson.

    • Hi Peterson my name is James Roberts/James Kaleohano I was with team 39 from 67-68. I was the infantry advisor with the team worked with Maj. Mcvey than with Mag. Ryan and the Pru team. My tel. No. 808 277-3633 give me a call.

    • Hi Peterson. Maj Ryan was DSA, LTC Vincent was PSA and I was Maj Ryan’s arvn interpreter, I think I know you, do you remember me? Glad to hear from you. Bich.

      • I am William A. Hall I was the heavy weapons advisor on MAT II-36 Jul68-Jan 69 assigned to and quartered at Buu last team leader was CPT Rerecich (SP?) Maj Ryan was the DSA and LTC Vincent was the PSA. Anyone remember the flood. I was the guy that saved the pigs along with 2 montanyards.

    • The MACV officers during my time included:LTC George Patrick, Sr AdviserCpt. Richard Culp, S-2Cpt. William West, S-3Cpt. Rufus Crow, S-5I was Lt, Asst S-2  John Murphy

    • Hi Spengler. As I remember that Capt Hale was chief of S-2 advisor, Ninh Thuan sector, is that correct? Glad to hear from you.Bich

  11. Hello John, No I wasn’t your interpreter because I was assigned to team #45(replace for team #39} since 1968 but I was Cpt Hale’s interpreter.,who was intelligence officer in that time. Good lucks to you.Bich

  12. I was a Medical Doctor (Captain) in Team 39 from 1 April 69 to 1 April 70. Remember Jim Harris by name but forgot names of many others. We had a great team and cared for a variety of injured including VC and North Vietnamese injured on the air base. Also had several wonderful interpreters. Will post a few photos when I convert them from slides to ephotos.

    • I was with the team at that time you might be the one who took out the shrapnel from my neck in june 68 if you were the doctor of the province

  13. From that time, the 3d Battalion, 506th Airborne Infantry reinforced by the 3d Battalion, 44th ARVN Infantry; two Mobile Strike Force Companies; three RF companies and 15 PF platoons drove the enemy out of most of the city and had secured the area by 9 February. On 18 February the enemy again attacked Phan Thiet and overran the prison, releasing 500 prisoners.

  14. Charlie Clark, I don’t recognize the people but remember that mountain in background of one picture. Flew out of Phan Rang Feb.-May 68. Walt42

  15. mag mcvey & i did some dumb things together,what a tme. clark is that u. i oue u 2m16s. sgt don goddard 1/44/23rd arvn

  16. My name is Sfc James K Roberts but now my name is James R Kaleohano is was with Mack team 39 from around October 67 till October 68. I was the infantry advisor for the team. My first operation officer was Maj Mcvey and after he rotated the next op. Officer was Maj Ryan. I worked with the pf,rf,Aron and the pru team of the Provence, also with the mountain yards in fact the yards made 6 wrist brackets for me and you know they don!t do those bracelets unless they like what you’ve done for the people of the village. Maj. Ryan and I were wounded on the same operation when we were attacking a village.I used to come back to the macv camp to rest and get ready for the next operation. I was the one who captured that Russian machine gun on one of our missions. I can’t remember to many people by name at the macv camp. I’m retired from the army in Jul 1970

    • I am SSG Franklin Peterson I was with team 39 in 67 and 68, remember Mcvey and Ryan well, I retired in 68

      • Go to google and type in james kaleohano you’ll see some pictures of me in the korean war and vietnam war maybe you can recognize some pictures

    • Robbie,
      Gene Hale here. I often wondered what became of you. I know you planned to reclaim your Hawaiian heritage and I see you’ve done that. Didn’t you have a martial arts school in the Va/DC area. If I remember your wife was running it while you were overseas. One of your staff was giving her a hard time and you had me type him a letter.
      I’m 72 now, had a triple bypass brought on by Agent Orange exposure. On the plus side I became a Grandpa recently and I love it!
      Hope you are well. Write if you feel like it.

    • Ronald Best went home around March or April of 1969. He was at the base in An Phouc at the time.

        • When were you at Phan Rang? I was at An Phouc From Sept 68 until May 69. Best at his best was a sip of coke, a sip of OGD, followed by a sip of coke.

          • I was there January 68-January 69 for some reason I have a memory of drinking gin and wink? With you

            • You have a very good memory. That would have been me. I have tried to locate him, but to no avail. I only know he was part Am Indian and from OK. When he left he said he was coming back as a civilian. How are you doing?

              • I am kind of fuzzy about can na. I do remember going out once where I had a cocked and loaded .45 pistol but, don’t remember why and another time with mop Villanova and his uncle who was in special forces not sure where we went

  17. I was big, but not as heavy as Capt. Gilchrest, who was in supply. I was Assistant Intelligence officer to Capt. Culp. Were you our interpreter in November 1966.
    We were Team #39 at that time.

    • My name is James Kaleohano formally Sfc James Roberts I was with team 39 from oct 67 till nov 68. I remember some of the pictures that you posted especially the pow I was there on that opperation. That was the time that we captured the russian anti aircraft machine gun also one of the sgts in the pictures. I also worked with the pru team on several opperations. Lct col. Vincent was the over all commander of the team

        • If you google james kaleohano there is some pictures of me in the karean war and rhe vietnam war maybe you might be able to recognize me in the pictures

      • I forgot that mag. Mcvey and I was attached to the 3 of the 506 101 airborne for the month of nov. 67 and went with them on opperations “Rose”. We stayed with them for awhile

    • Hello John Murphy I remember that you are the one with a fat body and your job were a supply personnel MACV team#45, right ?

      • I was big, but not as heavy as Capt. Gilchrest, who was in supply. I was Assistant Intelligence officer to Capt. Culp. Were you our interpreter in November 1966.
        We were Team #39 at that time.

          • Hi Bich My name is Jim Murray and I was with the Milphap team from March 1967-April 1968. I know you arrived a bit later but maybe you ran across a few folks I worked with. Han Van Tung was an x-ray technician at the hospital. I think our interpreter was named Bang. Was there when that terrible fired killed all those people across from the Compound. Is the hospital still there? I know it was built in 1907 and the electrical and plumbing systems were in very poor condition. Would enjoy hearing from you.

            • Hi Murray.I was transfered to MACV team #45 on o3/1968 and served till 1975 I was interpreter for Ninh Thuan sector HQ,Bang was an civilian interpreter for your Milphap team and I did not see him since 1975,the hospital still there and being repair to becom a privat hospitalk.stay intouch and good luck to you.Bich

            • Hi Jim,
              Seems we overlapped. I remember well the terrible fire you mention. I was Asst. S-2 and often ate with Milphap doctors.
              Did you know Dr Henry Hamilton, aCanadian civilian, who wrote a book from his diary, and recounts treating the victims of the fire in some detail.
              Best to you,
              John Murphy

            • Hey Jim, I worked with you at that hospital in the x-ray room. Where are you living now? I have a few pic of us at that hospital before I was sent to Du Long, one of the sub sectors, for a few months.

Leave a Reply to John Murphy Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s