Team 51 Bac Lieu

MACV Team 51 – Bac Lieu.

This Page is intended for the discussion of the Military Assistance Command Vietnam Team 51 located in Bac Lieu.

298 thoughts on “Team 51 Bac Lieu

  1. Thanks for the encouragement. I started a FaceBook page for Team 51 today. Feel free to join it, post pictures, memories, etc. I’ll maintain it if there is continued interest, and might ask a second person to help administer it (since we ain’t young anymore). facebook.com/groups/161781681229941/

  2. My dad. Sgt major Thomas F Sheldon was in bac lieu as an advisor 1963/1964. Interested in anyone who knew him or have info about that time period

    • Hi Ellen – I was in Bac Lieu from May 1963 to May 1964. I don’t remember the name, but I had to know him since there were not that many of us there. Was he a Sgt. Major then? If yes then I remember having conversations with him. I was part of the 73rd Aviation Company, and all of us enlisted personnel lived in the old French Mansion on the river.

      • Yes, he was a Sgt Major, he took the promotion to go to Vietnam rather than France! I have some pictures at home he wore black glasses at the time. He was from New Jersey, and the last assignment was in Santa Fe New Mexico before going to Vietnam. that would be amazing if you knew him. He passed away at age 54 so I never had the opportunity to talk to him about his service

        • I remember being so very impressed with him. We were all a bunch of young kids, and he was so insightful, and offered a lot of really good advice. There were two old empty, and run down French Mansions on the Mekong River. We moved into one of them, and slept on cots, no running water, shaving out of our Steel Pots. A construction company was brought in, the placed was fixed up, running water, showers, and some nice beds. It was really comfortable after that. Your Dad had a private room, and if you needed some advice, or information, you could go talk to him. I remember thinking you have to be really smart to make Sgt. Major. I did not work directly with your father because he was part of the Adviser Team, and I was with the 73rd Aviation Company, and out at the airfield. It is a small world.

          • Oh my goodness. I was so happy to read your comments. My dad was 39 when he was sent to vietnam. He was already a veteran of Ww2 and korea. He would be 95 now if he were still living. I can just imagine that he would have been very fatherly to the younger guys. During we2 he got a silver star and a battlefield commission as a Lieutenant. He re enlisted for Korea but didnt want to be an officer and went back as an enlisted man And Got A Second Silver Star. He died when he was 54 and I never got to have an adult conversation with him about Vietnam if you have the time and if you want to respond via email id love to hear more about that time Frame What Was Going On And What THe Advisors Did And More Of Your Memories Of My Dad. I Have quite A Few pictures And Will Try To Upload Them. Again. Thank You again. You Truly Made Me Very Happy. God bless You And THank You For Your Service To Our Country

  3. Do any of you remember SFC Wayne Garber. He was KIA in June, 1971. His daughter is looking for those that knew him. I think he was a Battalion Advisor in Soc Trang.

  4. I am trying to locate and interview anyone who knew Captain Barry F. Graham. He served as an advisor with the ARVN 21st Infantry Division from 17 Dec 66 until 2 Dec 67, first in the G2/3, and later with the Division’s 9th ACR. The reason for my query is that I am writing the history of the 39th Cavalry Platoon, 9th Infantry Division, 1968-1970. Captain (later Major) Graham commanded the unit from May 1970 until he was killed in action on August 3, 1970. You can reach me, Kevin Keaveney, USA Retired, at knknec@aol.com, or (571) 296-1494.

    • I was there during that time frame, but do not remember him. In the teams, you did not get to know many outside of your team. Sorry I cannot help. Good luck…Steve

    • Sgt. Steve Koloskie was G2/3 with the 21 ARVN unit in Bac Lieu, I was there in late 67/68 and he was already there, I lost track of him in the 80’s shortly after he visited me at home in Lafayette La, he was from up north and I can’t remember from where exactly. Good luck. Everyone I knew are now decease .

  5. I was trying to find out if anyone knows what happened to the TOC reports after TM 51 or what ever the new team was changed to. I didn’t know if they destroyed them or they were sent somewhere like the archives in Washington or Texas Tech. If anyone has any idea let me know. Thanks.

    • Suggest you write to the Army, freedom of information office, or historian office. Maybe you can write a book or an article based on what you find.

    • The TOC reports were shipped to the Records Holding Area in Okinawa. I know because I shipped about 5 years worth of records there that were never shipped because no on knew where to ship them. I heard that they were later shipped to the USA someplace in Georgia after 1975.

  6. Bill,

    From your last assignment, I assume you worked with another Chuong Thien Province alumni, COL Richard Childress. Dick Childress was the DSA of Duc Long during my time in Vi Thanh (69-70). A great guy.

  7. Thank you. Eventually, once I am done researching these photos, I will sell them, but I will not break them up. I will have to keep them together.

  8. I woiud be interested in hearing from any Advisory Team 51 members who were assigned to 3/31st in Vi Thanh, Chuong Thien Province at any time.

  9. NO. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. We had a parallel command structure to the ARVN for training them and their accessing US resources

    • So, did Mobile Advisory Teams come from within the Military Assistance Command? Basically, I am looking at photos of “MAT 51″…one of the photos the NCO is standing outside a bldg with sign that says Maccords Advisory Team GO-VAP District…..Another is in the TOC with all kinds of OPSEC hanging….main update board says Mobile Advisory Team 51…….problem is when I google Mobile Advisory Team, I keep getting directed to MACV…

        • It was a pacification project operating in the provinces.  Another thread I follow has been talking about it. Life is short. Bend the rules. Forgive quickly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably. Be grateful daily. And never regret anything that made you smile!

      • Hey Bill…I did not work on Phoenix. With the Rangers, our pacification project was…search & destroy! It worked better than Phoenix! Hope you are doing well down under. Steve

      • John, they were definitely part of MACV; CORDS was the Civil Ops & Revolutionary Development facilitation of pacification as I recall.; I think I was the first commander of MAT 51, and my team and I were in the second batch of graduates from Di An, in about May or June of 1968…this was during my first tour and I came down from a Duster/Quad 50 outfit under 3rd Marine Amphibious Force in northern I Corps..my entire artillery OCS class was sent to Fort Bliss, TX to form up four battalions and three went to Vietnam…so on 1 Mar 1968 all the 1/LT’s became captains. We were seriously over strength and told to find new homes…that’s when I volunteered for the new MAT teams that were going to be part of Vietnamization…in October 68 my svc obligation was over, I took my discharge in Saigon, travelled and back packed for 15-16 months through southeast and south Asia (I wandered through Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo, Burma, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria before making it to Turkey and up through Yugoslavia to Europe, finally winding up back in El Paso). Went back on active duty–this time as an armor instead of an artillery captain and right back to Viet Nam; Chuong Thien province, not far from where I was before…didn’t much care for the Delta and missed the mountains and foggy cool mornings at Khe Sanh, Con Thien, etc…definitely didn’t miss the NVA…retired in 1997 after 32 years. The last ten years I spent in the POW/MIA issue, last assignment commanding the Army’s forensic identification laboratory, the US Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii…Got to see many more NVA before it was over…sometimes I even drank a beer with them…

  10. MACV Team 20
    I have mine framed, lived off the economy more than the c rations. Worked in the Provencial Hospital and the nearby hamlets and villages as a corpsman and lab tech. I never ate so many eels in my life as I did in that one year, chased them down with barrels of 33 and pure alcohol from the hospital.

  11. Hello Bud,
    Good to hear from you! I was on my 7 day R&R when the tower burned. I became aware of that when I returned. We were on final when I saw the charred area. The pilot filled me in. The good news was the ARVN guards had fresh meat when the boa’s/pythons also burned. And if my memory serves me correctly I think you guys received a pod type tower which had “a/c”? We had a few steak dinners at the base of that tower.

    • You are absolutely correct. The ARVN guards ate high on the hog, oops, I mean snake for awhile. That seemed to be a delicacy to them I guess. And yes again. We operated with a pod tower after the fire. I doubt it was ever rebuilt but I don’t know. I left country soon after that event.

  12. Doing well. Have been retired for about year. Enjoying life thanks to VA Disability! We pull a travel trailer around seeing the country. Take care.

    • Hi Bill. This is Torry Kirksey. I was in Bac Lieu from September 67′ to September 68′ as intel for the FACs. Are you the guy that I replaced?

  13. My time in Bac Lieu was from 11/66 until 10/67. RTO at Div Hqs and then RTO with 42nd Rangers my last 6 months.

    • Steve, do you remember a Maj (?) Jethro (Jeff) Davis while in Bac Lieu? He would have left for Saigon not long after you arrived.

    • I was there from 2/1966 to 1/1967. I was with the 581st Signal Company, CoA 52nd Signal Battalion attached to Advisory Team 51. Commanded by Colonel Edward N Hathaway. My MOS was 72B20, schooled in cryptography, but also worked radios and various other tasks.

      • Hi Charles,
        Did you work in the como bunker at team HQS in the sand bagged truck…next to the regular como bunker…actually in the same area, just a different entry? Thanks…Steve

        • No, when I first arrived I worked in the building next to the communications tower. Worked the radios up front for a few months then worked in the back in cryptography. I used to have to go to a burn barrel every morning and destroy old communications. In my last few months I worked as assistant for a Lt. who headed up our unit. A real nice guy who was trying to educate this 18 year old. I wish I kept a journal while there that would allow me to make contact with those I served with. My Hootch mate (Curri) and I did ROR in Bangkok. Can’t remember first name.

          • Thanks for the come back. No wonder I don’t remember your name. I was hoping you worked in the bunker right next to me at HQ’s before I joined the Ranger Team. Do you remember SP5 Jim Hildebrandt? He ran the MARS station and worked in the signal area. I am thinking the div Signal officer was CPT Kind. My Ranger team was Maj Don Alexander, SFC Ralph Banks, SGT Bob Lass and another CPT I do not remember (his name). So few of us served as advisors, that it is hard to find folks. I belong to a great group of guys in an organization called Counterparts. We were all advisors in some form or another. We have a reunion every year, but as you would expect, we are losing some all the time. Last guy standing gets to turn out the lights! Next reunion will be in April 2018 in Pensacola, FL. Do you live anywhere near there? Best…Steve

          • MEMO TO ALL MACV 51ers. I’m finding this format a bit confusing and also frustrated that we can’t post pictures. I’m thinking of starting a Facebook group for team 51 if enough of you think it’s a good idea. I invite your feedback

    • My father Sgt maj Sheldon left there in October 1964. Would love to know more about what he did there . He was an advisor. I have pictures I will try to scan and post

  14. I was stationed at Bac Lieu from October 1969 to August 1970. I served as a USAF crew chief/unofficial observer. The remaining Air Force personnel consisted of 4 pilots and 3 radio operators. Col. Billy Dixon and Maj. Malcolm Bacon were ALO’s. Maj. Zahn, Capt. Pierce and Lt. Stein were also pilots. I see several mentions of Soc Trang on this site. I’ve been looking for a buddy who was the Air Force crew chief at Soc Trang the same time I was at Bac Lieu. His name is Joe Bonnett. Best of luck to everyone. Paul

    • That’s one of the reasons I left the military. Branch wanted to send me back after language school to the Phoenix program. I wanted an assignment to a MI unit and a field assignment when I got back. They offered me all kinds of incentives to stay – government quarters for the wife, 2 R&Rs, guaranteed consideration for promotion and a management assignment when I got back. We couldn’t agree on a career track and they let me know that they’d be cutting orders on a certain date. If I wanted to leave for another career I needed to be out by that date.

    • Hugo, when were you in-country. In was there dec67 to dec 68. My !ast 6 o the I was in G-2 Air over I. The two Como trucks. I worked cpt Schnitchter.

    • At our age our mind can probably connect quicker with pictures than names. I have to wear a name tag to remember mine.

  15. Just located the site for Team 51. I was attached to MACV from the 525 MI Group (USARV) in 1967 and 1968. Lived on the MACV compound but was assigned to the Province Advisory team rather than the 21st ARVN Division working with the province S2 half the time and going out with the RF/PF units half the time. Compared to living and working in Saigon, it was a great job. Had a two man hutch next to the O Club and short walk to the Province headquarters. Since I was USARV attached to MACV it also gave me a 2nd supply channel and 2nd administrative channel. Ended up as the only adviser with two jeeps, one of them even a Ford. Scanning through the posts don’t recognize any names but most of the conversation relates to the 21st ARVN Division team rather than the Province advisory team.

  16. Sorry, I do not remember them. I first flew with a fellow named Miller, then Sam Deichelmann, who is an MIA. Our call sign was David 32.

  17. I said thank you for your answer to my brother’s passing. He was my hero. He was 14 years older than me.

  18. CIA had an extensive program to “win the hearts and minds” of village people in the boonies. They distributed tons of stuff throughout the country. I don’t think many hearts and minds were won

  19. My brother SFC Joseph Powers received a bronze star for his actions in that mortar attack. As I said in an earlier post, off duty he tended bar in the enlisted man’s club. I asked him before he died in 2010 what he did to deserve the award. He told me that he rescued people from the dependency area during the attack. He said that the dependency area was located near the ammo dump. He was 2 years away from retirement at the time. He retired in 1969 and moved to Seaside California and went to work at Fort Ord until it was closed.

  20. I think I spent too much time in the EM club, I remember times were dire when the only beer that was left was Balentines. Were you in mess hall when J.Winters came in? I was on mess check and he did one of his routines for me.

    • Hey…I hate beer, so never drank any. I do remember that we could only get Meyers Rum. I learned to hate that too! SGM of the Army was later indicted for getting only “certain products” for the clubs. Meyers rum and Jim Beam whiskey. Hate ’em both! Steve

      • In 1965 we ran out of beer for what seemed like months. Our PX guy (Bergstrom) kept ordering more beer. Meanwhile, we had to drink “33” and some other local beer of which I can’t remember the name. Then all of a sudden all the beer orders were filled. We had to stack the cases of beer next to the billet that was next to the river. It was an enormous stack. After I rotated and was in LA, a sports talk radio guy known as Superfan who also owned a beer distributor ship got indicted for getting paid for beer sold to the PX system that he never shipped.

          • It probably didn’t have formaldehyde in it. A Vietnamese restaurant opened in La Quinta, CA, when I was living there. I went in and they had “33” on the menu. I told them I had to have some, the waiter said he was sorry, but they never got any in. I went there several times and they never had it. I was disappointed.

        • The TET 68 Offensive created a similar problem, but it was Coke rather than beer. After things settled down they had pallets of Coke in almost every building.

          • I remember only having Imperial Whiskey and root beer for a mixer, just learned to drink it strait up. Later the doctors told me I needed to start drinking more water so I added an ice cube to the whiskey.

  21. If you frequented the enlisted man’s club, you had to know my brother SFC. Joseph Powers. He was part of team 51 in 1966 and 1967. Off duty, he tended bar wearing a black derby that Martha Raye had sent to him. He also wore a black vest and had a handle bar mustache. He was from Massachusetts. He was in his mid thirties then and was getting ready to retire. He had also served with the 2nd Infantry in Korea and was in the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge.

  22. I was there at the same time and I have their signatures on the back of my chit books to prove it. Take care and a Happy 4th of July.

  23. Hello everyone,

    I am trying to find out more information about my great uncle, Maj. Carl Steven Merlino. According to any records I’ve found, it says he served with this MAC team when he died, which apparently was on Oct. 14th, 1971 in Bac Lieu. He would have been in his early 30s at the time. He was from New Jersey.

    Thank you!

    • Samantha,
      I served with Adv. Team 51 during that time frame. I’m sure there are better people than I that could help you as I also operated in Camau and the UMinh Forest.
      But that name name does not ring a bell.
      Do you know what Regiment he served with?
      Might you know what his MOS was? (His job description, what he did in the military?)
      Was he infantry?

      • Hi Michael,

        He was infantry. I’m not sure what regiment he was with but I just was looking for more information with the National Archives and their information says he served with Team 73. Everything else I’ve seen says Team 51. I’m not really sure what to think at this point.

        Samantha

  24. OK guys, here is another small world story about my time in VN. I was at the Counterparts reunion in San Diego earlier this month (May 2016). During the reunion, I was circulating a picture that my former Counterpart, LTC Long had given me a couple years ago. I was looking for anyone that could tell me who the American Advisors were in the picture with (then) CPT Long and his junior officers. No one knew who the Americans were in the picture. In the meantime, my hunting buddy from North Dakota sees an article in the Bismarck Tribune about a former Ranger Advisor. Knowing that I had served with the Rangers, he sent me the article. I’m reading this article about the Ranger Advisor and at the end of the story there is a picture. It is the same exact picture I had at the reunion. I have since contacted that NCO and have had several great conversations with him. Now the reporter that did the original story wants to do another story for this coming Memorial weekend. Now I know who the American Advisors were in the picture. AWESOME! Steve

  25. Do not know what happened to captured weapons. My guess is that they were “sold” back. I could never understand how so much of our “USAID” ended up way out in the boonies…places where very few people have ever been. In the middle of no where, we would see sacks of rice, motors, etc…with the USAID insignia on them. Seems they were better supplied than we were. Money has a way of doing that. Steve

  26. Good discussions. I have heard several stories about the VC in recent years. One was the ARVN SSG that worked at the airport in Bac Lieu turned out to be the Commander of the famed VC Ta Do Battalion. My rangers mixed it up with them a couple of times and we were always looking for them to finish the job. Also, I read a story a couple years ago that the Deputy Commander of the ARVN 21st Inf Div turned out to be a VC as well. It seemed that they always knew we were coming before we got there. Now I understand why. My Ranger Sr Advisor, Maj. Don Alexander would always say…”they seem to know we are coming ALL the time”. He was right! For you commo guys that worked in the bunker at Bac Lieu…after 1967…was the inside of the bunker still painted pink? When I was there working in that bunker, CPT Kind asked us to “spiff it up” a bit. We went to town and got some pink paint. When we got mortared in February 1967, I remember COL Maddox rushing into the bunker and looking at this pink paint and wondering what the heck was going on. Quite funny later on when the shells quit falling!

    • Sgt Mike Zalewski, Bac Lieu 1968-1969. I remember weapons captured during combat ops with the ARVN showing up again in weapons captured later. As I understood, the ARVN were paid, in part, based on weapons captured. Were captured weapons ”
      recycled”?

      • Steve were you one of the guards at the back gate going to the provential hospital behind the compound, I was COORPS Medic at the hospital.spent at much time there at night asdasd I did in tyher day time. Sgt Hursyt was our NCOIC ( spiderman) a big guy. PFC Craimer was another of ther medics.

        • I did not work guard duty at the compound in Bac Lieu…except the night we were mortared in February, 1967. That was a temp thing to try and deal with all the civilian casualties from town…and that was a cross the street at the hospital. The VN nurse that night at the hospital working triage was a gal named Anh Le. She is now a great friend and neighbor here in MN. I had a good friend that worked the gates and towers on security at the compound named Pat Lewis…from Florida.

  27. This is a great site for re=c0nnecting and some great old stories. Hope you all stay on and keep it going. Just leaving San Jose, CA today for home in MN. Met with my old Ranger Counterpart last night and had dinner with his family. What a great fun night re-connecting with those we served with! Welcome home to all! Steve Biet Dong Quan Sat!

  28. Yes he was. Trouble is Sillivan didn’t get promoted to 04 and got put back to his perm rank of E4 or E5, to serve out his time to retirement. He was a really decent guy!

  29. I was with Team 51 in Bac Lieu from 9/67 to 10/68. Served in forward command posts in G2, including recapturing CanTho after Tet. Afterwards got assigned as SCG Advisor to Phoenix Program

    • Some of my VNese agents invited me to lunch one day in the BacLieu marketplace. I declined because of the “surprises” of indigenous foods. That day a terrorist blew up a bomb in the market. One of my guys got his leg blown off. It was hard, but before I left I got a commitment from the US medics in Can Tho to get him an artificial limb

    • Hugo – we probably met. I was in the S-2 shop in Ca Mau from 9/67 to 4/68. I made several trips to Bac Lieu to meet with capt Sullivan and his people. Once had a fun night at the bar with a Navy ensign who as you may remember died tragically.

        • I was there, too. I worked with the G-2/3 Air, Cpt Long.  I will have a check of my diary to see if I have the date.Bill  Life is short. Bend the rules. Forgive quickly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably. Be grateful daily. And never regret anything that made you smile!

  30. there was a girl who worked at the milk bar in bac lieu,her name was my. was she ok after the explosion?i was at bac lieu in 63-64

      • I served Adv Tm 51 as communications support with Delta Signal Bn out of Cantho. Reading through these posts brings back many memories. Martha Raye visited our billets at the large mansion on the canal and drank with us in the evening. She also bought all the food for a Thanksgiving dinner in our mess hall by flying to Saigon an getting the Turkeys, Ham, red and white dinning table clothes and win for us. The Milk bar bomb was across the street fram an ARVN Bar/Resturant and woman who planted the bomb was killed walking between that resturant area and the Milk Bar. She was plastered to the fence the Milk Bar had erected. I remember Robert DeJong, SP4 Santos and one other GI wounded who were eating in the Milk Bar. I was just walking in the back door where the ice cream machinery was and was wounded in arm from bomb shrapnel. I carried DeJong and Santos out to the street where Adv Tm 51 Medics picked them up. Also carried out Phong (owners daughter). There were 3 daughters working there and all three were wounded. I seem to remember being told 13/14 VN army were killed/wounded. I was treated at the Adv Tm 51 medical shack. I have corresponded with DeJongs brother since then and was very sad to hear he had passed.

        Lee R. Chasse, MSG Retired USA

        • My brother SFC Joseph A. Powers was with team 51 in 1966/1967. He was a medic. He tended bar in the enlisted man’s club when not on duty. Martha Raye was there when he was there. She sent him a derby hat for his bartenders outfit. It was in the Army’s Vietnam newspaper. He received a bronze star for action during a mortar attack in 1966. Did you know him?

          • I remember Powers. He was a good medic…and bar tender. I missed the Martha Raye visit as I was out in the bush. Heard she was a real character and the troops loved her. She drank our best under the table. All good memories of years gone by! Steve Leighton

            • I was there for the Martha Raye visits and we even named a bunker after her. We also had visits by Arthur Godfrey and Anne Margaret, who came with Johnny Rivers and his band. I remember meeting them at the airfield when I was picking up the days classified documents. I drove to the airfield almost daily by myself in a 3/4 PU, sometimes picking up Arvn’s on the way. Looking back that wasn’t too smart. I remember the boxer Archie Moore sharing a video of one of fights with us. I also remember an African American soldier that was stationed there that would always jump up and dance for us whenever we had music entertainment. 2/1966 to 1/1967.

        • I think that was the time my dad was there. Sgt major Thomas Sheldon. Would you have known him. This milk bar incident sounds familiar

    • My brother Martin was in the explosion. He passed away in 2001 but mentioned to me one time that there was a young gal in the area when the place exploded. He was unconscious after the blast.

    • Hey Bill…I still have my paddy rats plaque they gave me when my tour was up. Don’t know how to post it either. Hope you are doing well.
      Steve

    • Bill,
      I see you mentioned the Paddy Rats Shirt patch. I have tirelessly searched for that insignia for a very long time and have not been able to find one online. I was with MACV Tm 63 compound in SocTrang from Aug ’67 through Apr ’69. For a reason I do not recall, our team changed its name to MACV Tm 71 during the latter part of 1968. If you could take a photo of the old brasso looking 21st ARVN Infantry patch along with the Paddy Rat and email it to me, I certainly would be indebted to you. Ordinarily, I don’t normally get outside of our Tm63 and 71 Blog, but for some reason today, I happened on your site and am so glad to see you mentioning that little patch. My email is: rrenois@charter.net.
      Thank you,
      Raymond Renois
      Louisiana

  31. Michael Zalewski (11B40). I arrived at Bac Lieu 5 March 1968, left for a five-day resupply mission to Saigon 1 March 1969 with resupply clerk Pfc Rahm. Then left Saigon for Tan Son Nhut Air Base, and home. OIC Captain Peek. Flew to Rac Gia, Can Tho, Soc Trang, Vinh Long, Ca Mau for combat operations with the ARVN. “Doc” Crawford was the MARS operator; Richard “Bone Comb” Gannon was a compound radio operator as was a Pfc Palmer.

  32. I’m looking for more information on my great uncle. Capt Patrick Leroy Smith. KIA 02/24/1970. His last unit was Macv team 51. Any information is greatly appreciated.

  33. My uncle was an Advisor to the 21st ARVN in or around Quan Long (sp?) from Nov 65 until he was KIA in APR 66. His name was MSG Clyde Hall. I believe he was acting as the Operations NCO for his detachment. I’ve been trying to learn more about his experiences since I also served as an Advisor in Iraq from 06-07, but info on MACV Advisory Teams is practically impossible to come by on the internet. If by chance anyone remembers him, any information or general insights would be greatly appreciated.

  34. Steve, I’ll say hi to Jim Waters for you the next time I see him. I would much appreciate it if you could post on the counterparts site for me and inquire if anyone remember CPT Nicholas? The Circumstances of his death? Participation ins buying the VMI Cadet Sword to be donated to VMI in his honor. Many thanks.

    • Mike…no reply so far. Many of the guys do not check the website very often. I am not very hopeful anyone will respond. I will keep an eye on it. Steve

  35. Steve, I understand from Terry Montei that CPT Nichoias worked with a MAJ Murphy and he saw the two together occasionally, once in some tent at Bac Lieu, late 66 or Jan 67 before Denis was killed.

    I’d like to locate any one or more of the officers (presumably, Advisers) who contributed to the purchase of the VMI cadet sword in Denis Nicholas’ name. May have included ARVN officer too; I just do not know.

    BTW I have a very good friend, Jim Waters, here in Northern Virginia who was an E-5 or 6 at the time (69?) with the 42nd Ranger Batt. Jim retired as an 05.

    V/r

    Mike

  36. I remember sending you a copy of the MARS hootch. Not sure I mentioned, that at one of the schools I taught at here in the Land of Oz had a custodian who was in the 21st ARVN Div. We spent some time going over my photo collection, brought back a lot of memories for him too.
    Cheers,
    Bill

  37. Hey Robert…
    I was there for Robert Mitchem…one of the guys that I was back in Bac Lieu to meet. I think he spent the night there. At any rate, he spent a lot of time in the EM club drinking with the gang. I’m not sure he was very sober when he arrived or when he left. Another one that was great was James Garner. I had been a radio duty all night and he walked into our hootch late in the am and I woke up. Rubbing my eyes, I knew he was a “new guy” and I asked him if he was my replacement…before I knew who he was. Great fun at the time. Those guys made a difference and were great for doing that. Good stuff!
    Steve

    • Steve, I apologize for breaking comms here but I couldn’t figure out how to post a new thread. I served in RVN as a CPT in 67-67, commanded B, 2/3 Inf, 199th LIB. Our companies operated largely independently and at one point served as operations cadre to ARVN 5th Ranger Group.

      I graduated from VMI in 1964. As a VMI “Rat” an upperclassman named Denis Nicholas took me under his wing and kept me out of trouble from the other upperclassman as has been customary at VMI sine the 1800’s.

      Denis graduated in 1961, commissioned as a 2LT, and after his military schools was sent to RVN where he served as an adviser to the 31st Inf Reg’t., 21st Inf Div (ARVN) and was KIA by small arms fire during an operation in Jan 1967.

      You’ll see at the bottom of that link a photograph that shows a cadet sword being presented by the Commandant of Cadets to a cadet officer. That sword was donated to VMI to be carried at a parade at VMI once each year “By Fellow Officers 31st Infantry Regiment.”

      After the sword had been carried for a year or two it was relegated to the VMI Museum (and where I found it) but, presumably, due to some communications breakdown it was not carried in a parade afterward.

      Denis’ VMI classmates and mine want to resurrect this tradition and are looking for any of the former officers (US, I assume, not ARVN; but maybe I’m wrong about that) who contributed to raising the money to purchase this sword for VMI. An acquaintance, Terry Montei, at Team 58 Vi Thanh suggested I post this here because 21st Inf Div (ARVN) which was the Div HQ for the 31st Inf Reg’t. was located in Bac Lieu.

      Can you help me Steve?

      • Hi Mike,
        Thanks for the post. I am willing to help out on anyway. What is it exactly you are looking for? I have been asked several times to march in local parades, but have never done so. No particular reason…except maybe I don’t fit well in my uniforms anymore. I was enlisted in VN and later got a commission and attained the rank of CPT before getting out completely. I don’t remember that KIA from January ’67. I was certainly there at the time…in Bac Lieu as an RTO at Advisory Team 51 HQ’s. I didn’t know anyone from the 31st Regiment, but we must have worked with them…especially if they were in Bac Lieu. The Rangers worked mostly by ourselves or sat in reserve for active op’s. I am happy to help out in anyway, so let me know some specifics.
        I do have former ARVN Ranger counterparts that I see all the time. One is here in Minneapolis and the other in San Jose, CA. The San Jose guy is very active in ARVN organizations. I was a guest speaker for him at the 50th year class reunion from the Da Lat Military Academy in San Jose a couple years ago. My counterpart was the head of the reunion. Great fun! Steve

    • I was there when James Garner and Johnathan Winters was there. Garner was a regular guy. I was there from August 1066 until Aug 1967. When I got home I was 20 years old and too young to drink. ha! I couldn’t wait to get home but once I did, everything was weird.

  38. Well Steve, several of those post’s brought back memories of 66-67 on Soc Trang. The 121st AHC flew the wounded from the mortar attacks at Bac Lieu in to Soc Trang for treatment. I helped move them to the trucks and saw the fire truck used to wash the blood out of the choppers.. Martha Ray spent several day on Soc Trang, it was said to rest up during her USO tour. We got mortared and she helped in the aid station with the wounded. A truly great lady. I flew an ash and trash mission to Can Tho one day and picked up Robert Mitchem and a Caption. We spent the day landing at District outposts all over the Delta. He would spend 20-30 minutes with the guys, drink a beer and head out to the next place. Only in Viet Nam, LOL

  39. Hello,
    I would like to post photos also. I have one of the MARS station after a mortar attack in 1967.
    Bill ’67-’68

    • Hey Bill…
      How are you doing “down under”? I have a photo of the Mars Station as well. Maybe we have the same one! In fact, someone took many pictures of the area after the attacks and the photo guy made copies for many people. Could be the same!!
      That first night after the attack, I had to run a field phone over to the Provincial Hospital. I also had to stand at the doorway for crowd control with my rifle and I was the guy letting the wounded into the hospital for treatment. There was a young VN nurse working triage that night right behind me. While I did not know her name then, she and I both remember that night very well. Long story short, she lives about 3 miles from me here in MN (we connected after many years) and my wife and I will be at their house tonight for dinner. To make it an even smaller world, her husband was an A1 Skyraider pilot that flew air strikes for me in the Delta. In April 1975, he took his Skyraider and flew into Thailand. Today, he is the “sole survivor” of his squadron. They are both doing very well and have a beautiful home…now retired. She is an EXCELLENT cook and I’m really looking forward to dinner tonight!! (The world just keeps getting smaller!!!)
      Steve

      • I’m leaving out names four now, did she marry him in Back Lieu , if it is the same person, I attended their wedding

  40. I am trying to post the picture. It is a digital picture of the snapshot that I have and he was definitely carrying a slab side M16 with the dust cover open. How can I get the picture to you? I can’t seem to post it here.

  41. I remember when Martha Raye visited us. I’m guessing that was in June, 1967. I missed it as I was out the field at the time, but heard the stories upon my return to Bac Lieu. We had a VN bartender named Qui. He was the only one I remember at the bar. There were Americans that helped out, but again, I don’t remember the names. It has been a long time. I am having dinner tomorrow night with some local VN that live close to me. The wife was a nurse at the Provincial Hospital in Bac Lieu during my time at Div Hq’s and the husband was an A1 Skyraider pilot that flew air strikes for me during my time with the Rangers. This is REALLY a small world!
    You refer to your brother in the past tense. If he no longer with us?
    Steve Leighton

    • My brother was found dead of a heart attack in September of 2010 in front of a medical building at Fort Ord CA. He retired in 1969 and Moved to Monterey CA. He worked at Fort Ord after retirement until the 1990s when he retired from Fort Ord He was originally from Massachusetts. I live in Boston. He was an active member of the Salinas CA American Legion. I would go there with him when I was able to get to CA to visit him. I still can’t figure out how to get the picture to you. My email is hddan@outlook.com If you send me an email, I will email the picture to you.

  42. There was an article about my brother in Stars and Stripes about his hat. When he was off duty, he tended bar at the enlisted mans club at Bac Lieu. When doing this, he dressed like an old time bartender. He wanted a derby hat but could not find one. Martha Raye the comedienne was visiting and she asked him if she could do anything for him stateside. He asked her for a derby hat and a couple of month’s later it arrived from Hollywood Costumers. He was also mentioned in Martha Raye’s biography titled “Maggie and Me”.

  43. My brother was a radio operator and medic with Team 51 in 1966/67. He told me that it was a five man team when he was there but that there were only three men on the team. He was awarded a bronze star in 1966 for evacuating people from the dependency area after a mortar attack. The dependency area was located close to the ammo dump. I have a picture of him on patrol in a small boat with a Vietnamese operating it with his M16 on his lap. He was also MIA for a week after getting dropped off in a Helicopter at a village. The VC had set up an ambush to get the helicopter when it came back for them.

    • I was a radio operator as well. If he was on a 5 man team, he must have been in a sub-sector. Do you know what town he was in? Most of the teams operated “short handed”. We had a full team with the Rangers only for a few months. When I left in late ’67, we had only 3 on the team. If he was in a mortar attack, he was not in Bac Lieu at that time. The first time Bac Lieu was hit with mortars was in February, 1967. They hit us 3 out of 4 nights in a row. No casualties in our compound, but they shot the hell out of the civilians in town. I would love to see the picture. We did not have M16’s in those days…only M1 or M2 carbines…the same as the VN. One of our guys carried an M16, but he was the only one that did. He traded a VC flag for it in Saigon. He had to carry all of his own ammo as no one else had any M16’s.
      Steve Leighton

  44. I was there Jan -Nov 1970. I ran the Army Postal Unit behind headquarters building. I knew Jerry Forrester “Tree” and Co. Felters but do not remember the other two. I lived in the hutch with the 3 Marines. David Williams my email is dhw1949@bellsouth.net. I don’t recall you came but must have known you. The place was small. The guy that ran the air strip contacted me a couple of months ago. Keep in touch.

  45. I ,was with team 51 from April 1969 to April 1970 I was a radio operator and a security guard I only here from a couple of people who knew cpt Vance col knight col fellter and jerry forrester

  46. Did anyone on this site know my brother Joe? He spent a year on team 51 in 1966 to 1967 at Bac Lieu. Sgt 1st class Joseph A Powers. He was also a Korean War vet. He was a combat medic at Heartbreak Ridge with the 2nd Infantry . He had retired to California in 1969 after 20 years.

    • Hi Dan,
      He served in Bac Lieu during my time. I remember the name, but cannot picture him. I was in Bac Lieu from November 1966 until the end of October 1967. I served with the 42nd Rangers my last 6 months in country and at Division HQ the first 6 months.
      Steve Leighton

    • Pretty sure I remember him. I was there from September 65 till March 66 Nice guy always went out on missions in jeep with other Ranger. If my memory serves me right he was the guy.

  47. My father, MSGT Hap Fischer, was with Advisory Team 51 from, summer of 62 to summer of 63. He later served on Team 162 in ’69 and ’70. He passed away in October of 2011.

  48. It is interesting reading all of this. I arrived in Bac Lieu in June, 1963, as part of the 73 Aviation Co. We had the first L-19’s assigned to support the Vietnamese 21st Infantry Division. We lived in the old French Mansion on the river. It was later renovated, and we had running water, flush toilets, etc. In the beginning we shaved out of our steel pots.

    Looking at pictures of Bac Lieu today is truly amazing. Of course, it was over 50 years ago. I am currently experiencing what my parents went through, as my son is currently an “Adviser” in Afghanistan. He has also done two tours in Iraq.

    • How long were you in Bac Lieu? As a Ranger Advisor, we worked with the Birddogs all the time. My time in the bush was in 1967…you were probably long gone by then.
      Tell your son “Thanks for your service” from me.
      Be well!
      Steve

      • Hi Steve,

        I was there from early June 1963 until early May 1964. I then spent 8 weeks up at I Corp, in Hue. The 73rd arrived as a unit in May 63. We spent about three weeks in Saigon, then went to Vung Tau. At that point they broke us up, and three aircraft, three pilots, three crew chiefs, and a radio operator were sent to Bac Lieu. Our unit was sent to various locations in Nam. Our HQ was in Nha Trang. I extended thirty days in order to get an early discharge, so they sent me to Hue to break in the replacements. Thanks from my son.

    • My dad Tom Sheldon was there from october 63 to 64. I am going to look through his photos and post any that show other GI.

      • I arrived in Nov. 64 so I just missed your dad. My tour would have overlapped with others who were there at the time.

  49. Hey Paul sorry if I offended you with my comments, you well deserve a CIB I feel the MOS a soldier has makes no difference if they should get it or not . My comments about support had to do with an entire unit getting a CIB and not having to be involved in a firefight ie. those in a support position (back at base camp) getting the CIB. Again I apologize if my words offended you .
    Take care
    Bill

  50. Interesting following the discussion on CIB’s . I was assigned to Advisory Team 20 in Gai Ria, You had to be involved in a minimum of 4 firefights to receive a CIB. That did not mean in a support position but actually involved . Seems there were not consistent rules for seeding the CIB. At any rate welcome home guys !!

    • Bill,
      I had to go through 5 different “fire fights” or at least being shot at 5 different times before my Sr Advisor would put me in for it. Keep in mind I was an 05B as well. I think much of it had to do with the discretion of the OIC. I know guys that served in an Infantry unit that never went to the field and got a CIB. They awarded them to the whole unit…no matter what you did or if you were ever in the field. I would like to think most of the guys on advisory teams that went to the bush deserved them…regardless of MOS.

    • Bill Wilen and Steve Leighton,
      Guys, I have heard your responses on the CIB, and what it take to get it. First of all as stated, I was a Pathfinder, MOS 11B1Y. I may be considered in support position, I carried a PRC 25, for you guys to use, or the commander to us, as well as myself. Especially on I/B LZ’s and O/B PZ’s. I was normally on the radio, and the smoke. Rest assured that I was in more than five fire fights. It bothers me for you guys to think that I am trying to get something that I did not earn. The only office that was in my unit, that was in charge was some DA first LT. that didn’t know how to give an award. At that time a CIB meant nothing to me, all I was concerned with was staying alive. I guess the statement that got me most was when you Bill, said in a support position, but actually involved. Rest assured, I hugged the ground just like you guys did, when were receiving fire. I flew off the ground just like you when we were calling air strikes in dang close us where we were. I hope you understand why NOW the CIB means so much to me.
      ALSO, Steve, after I let the Pathfinder and went to the VIKING Gunship platoon. I flew on Viking 23, and road her to the ground at 4:30 an due to engine problem on way to an operation some where, could have been toward the Crow’s foot. Anyway, did an autorotation down, once we hit the patty we started to receive fire from tree line. Lucky for us, a Dust OFF was on same mission and came in to pick us up. About the time they touched down and we were running toward their ship, Gooks hit Viking 23 with RPG and blew to all to hades. I would not be sending this to you guys if it weren’t for that Dust Off.
      Later,
      Paul Woodby
      RA 12903051
      Airborne Pathfinder and Door Gunner for Viking Gunships
      Dec. 1967 to June 1969

      • Hey Paul…I don’t think anyone is saying you are not deserving of a CIB. I am damn proud of mine…more so today than back then. Hey, you earned you deserve it. Pathfinders certainly were not REMF’s! Sorry to hear about Viking 23 getting shot up. Do you know who would have been flying around September or early October 1967? Were you flying her then? I have had some contact a few years back from Viking 25…a guy from Montana I think. If I am recalling the name correctly, his name was Jerry Esmay. Know him?
        Steve

  51. I was an AF FAC in AT51 67-68 working for the G2/3. The Army admin guy added my name to the list of people elegible for the CIB. Paperwork went in and was approved. The AF receinded the order when it arrived at the 22 TASS in CanTho. But I did get an R&R from the Army and AF. I enjoy reading about our collective adventures. Bill

  52. Steve, I know you won’t believe it but the Army turned down my CIB. At least we tried. Thanks again, Bill

    • That’s amazing. Guess some things never change!! Sorry about that, my guess is that you really deserve it. All the best!

  53. To Steve Leighton
    Steve, I am responding to your last E-Mail about me getting my CIB. In the process of research of MACV information on this web site, I received an E-Mail from another person in my Pathfinder unit at Soc Trang. He’s name is Lee Stewart. At the time we were together at Soc Trang, After about six months he transferred up north to the One Seventy Third, was wounded at some point afterwards. To cut to the chase Lee ended up spending something like thirty two year and retired as a LTC. He told me that if I would get the paper work to him,
    he would write a letter for me, and help me get it. He is coming to the 121st Assault Helicopter / Viking Gunship reunion the first of June, as my Guest. I hope to present him with the paperwork there if not before then.
    I want to thank you for your help, and I may end up calling on you for some more assistance in the future. If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know
    Paul Woodby
    Soc Trang Pathfinder 67 to June 68, then Door Gunner on Viking Gunship 68 to June 69

    • Hi Paul,
      Glad you are getting connected with some of the old gang. There is a reg I will look up that you might want to use. The CIB is considered a “stresser” by the VA…same as a purple heart. It can be very helpful if you ever need the VA for anything. When I get a minute, I will find the reg for you. If you go to the Viking reunion, I would LOVE to know who Viking 23 is? He did some work for me one day and we had a good laugh over it. He missed the target on his first pass and I gave him some crap. Well, he didn’t miss it on his second pass. Oh what fun we had…when it was all over! Best!!

    • Paul…Bill Ballou tried to get his CIB and he just said he was turned down. He did find the Army reg that reads as follows: AT 600-8-22 states that advisors with a MOS other than infantry are eligible for the CIB if assigned to Vietnamese infantry. It is on page 101. Maybe that will be of some help. I had my VN counterpart send a letter for Bill, but apparently that did not help. Good luck and let me know if I can be of any further assistance. Steve

  54. Michael Burenko: I was attached to MACV 21st DCAT in 1971 and 1972. (TEAM # 51) The only contact I had ever had from anyone from our team was from a Vietnamese soldier named Thoi Nguyen. He served as an interpreter for us. He died in Washington DC several years ago.
    I just found this website. It brings back many memories.

    • Hey Mike Welcome to the site, I was stationed in Bac Lieu in the fall of 68 to June 69 prior to that I was from June 68 I was an RTO in Advisory Team 20, Gia Rai. Welcome Home !

  55. Good to hear from you Don. You were on Soc Trang between my tours there. I had the 69th Inf Det during the 66-67 tour on the Airfield. I was attached to the 121st and got to fly with them whenever I could. I did love that adventure. When I got back to Soc Trang in Oct 70 the Airfield was all Vietnamese. I could not even get onto the place to look around. Air Support was in short supply in 70-71. The 175th was still in Vinh Long and a few Seawolves were still around. I’m in Ohio. Be good to here from you anytime.

  56. Hi Bill,
    Back home again. Send me an email with your email. leightonconsult@earthlink.net
    I will help you in anyway I can. I do have contact with LTC Long and he was the CO of the 42nd Ranger BN while you were there…replacing MAJ. Kiet in late 1967 after Kiet was KIA. Long then became the BN CO in late 1967 and into 1968. They remained in Bac Lieu for some time, but I do not know when they left that area or how long LTC Long was the CO
    My other close friend was the 4th Company CO for the 42nd. He may be able to help as well.
    Let me know.
    Thanks…Steve

  57. Hey Bill…sorry for the delay getting back to you. I am out of the country but will return home on the 21st…when I have more time. I may be able to help you. The CO of the 42nd Rangers (during your time) is my good friend Le Than Long…LTC LONG. I can contact him when I get home and discuss this with him. My email leightonconsult@eartlink.net
    Steve

  58. To: Steve Leighton. Sorry this is the only way I knew to msg you. We have spoke before. I arrived at FM 51 in Dec 67. My Michigan senator (Debbie Stabenow) is trying to help me with my CIB. The board wants the Team day reports to show I was in the field ??? The will not accept my CO’s letter saying I was. Now get this!!! They want a letter from the Vietnamese 42nd rangers about dagger teams in our DTA. In your studies do you know if our teams day reports are stored anywhere? Also do you ever see the 42nd ranger Co. So I could ask if he recalls dagger teams. I know he won’t probably remember me but might timber my CO on these operations, Lt John Lakian. I would appreciate any help u could giveme

  59. My name is Paul Woodby RA 12903051. I arrived in Soc Trang, Vietnam in Dec. 67, and was assigned to a Pathfinder Unit there. My MOS at that time was 11B 1Y. I worked with the 21st ARVN’s, ARVN Rangers and ARVN Marine all over the Mekong .Most however, was in the south to the very bottom of the country including Bac Lieu, Rac Graw , Can Tho, Vin Long ect. and of course Soc Trang. As so many of you know, one has a tendency to go brain dead or develop the CRS disease after some forty eight years or so. I cannot remember anyone’s name. I have a few picture’s, but very few. Here is the reason for this message. I filed to get my CIB, and was told that I was not eligible because I was not assigned to an Infantry unit, and also nothing in my 214. Keep in mind, I was attached to the 13th CAB, serving as Pathfinder with an Infantry MOS, working out in the field at times on operations with MACV and the ARVN units mentioned. I carried a 30 caliber carbine, and a PRC 25. I hoped off Slicks in PZ;s just like everyone on the operation, and carried the PRC 25, and humped through the Mekong just like everyone else. I assisted with the pickup at the PZ’s directing inbound traffic, creating sticks of the troupes being pulled out, or moved somewhere else. I was also in Soc Trang when the TET offensive took place. I never gave this any thought all these years, until I retired and had time to look at and think a lot about all that transpired back then.
    In June 68 I volunteered to be a door gunner with the Viking Gunship Platoon, 121st. AVN. In order to transfer from the Pathfinders to the Vikings, I had to volunteer for an extension to get into the gunships. Keep in mind, I joined when I was seventeen, and spent eighteen months in Vietnam, and got out of the service when I was twenty.
    I was wondering if anyone remembers Pathfinders units or me working with MACV in the field.
    Your feedback and assistance would be greatly appreciated.
    A comrade in arms,
    Paul Woodby

    • Hi Paul,
      I was in Bac Lieu and left just before you go there. My last assignment was with the 42nd Ranger BN. I was an 05B (RTO) and was awarded the CIB for serving in combat with the Rangers. Sounds very similar to your status as a Pathfinder. I have re-connected with my old 42nd Ranger BN CO here in Minneapolis. He was the 42nd Ranger BN CO at the time you were there. Did you serve with the 42nd? He is Vietnamese, but he may remember you if you served with him. He is now an American citizen and perhaps can provide some support. I t is probably a long shot, but worth a look. Good luck with your process. My CIB means more to me than any other metal or award that I have.
      Biet Ding Quan Sat! (Rangers Lead the Way)
      Steve
      P.S. The Vikings did some real good work for me in mid-67. I would like to find Viking 23 in particular.

    • Well I”ll be dam. Paul Woodby, This is Lee Stuart, your ole Pathfinder buddy in Soc Trang. Contact me at my email address and we’ll link up. I think I can help you since we are identical twins almost except for when I left after the Tet Offensive and went to the 173rd Abn Bde where I got all shot up. Look forward to hearing from you.
      RLTW

    • Paul,
      Did you ever get anywhere working on your CIB. There are specific regs that allow anybody serving in a MACV status in the field as being authorized. You are not the first one to go after this award…years later. Good luck…let me know if I can be of any assistance.

  60. I was in the compound. Ran the Army Postal Unit. Detached from Soc Trang. If you mailed anytinng 1970 I sent it or sold you a money order.
    David Williams

    • Hi Frank. I remember lots of good laughs with you in your bunker. You were great at adding humor to our time there with your comments about Sir Charlie “profiling” out there in the paddies. By the way, this is Bud Ingle (Sgt.) who was NCOIC of air traffic controllers at Bac Lieu Airfield, Shotgun Tower from Nov., 1969 to August, 1970. I bet you are now a retired firefighter from Dulles International, huh?

    • Sgt Mike Zalewski, Bac Lieu 1968-1969. Do you recall a radio operator Richard “Bone Comb” Gannon?

  61. Looking for any Advisory Team 51 members who served with the 3rd Regiment of the ARVN 21st Division in Vi Thanh, Chuong Thien Province. I served on MACV Advisory Team 73 stationed, mostly, at the province HQ in Vi Thanh 69-70.

  62. Well, Frank we must have stomped mud in the same spot. Like I said I knew Jerry Forrester as “Trees”. Col. Felter was the person that put me in for my ARCOM and got me promoted to E-5. As I said I ran the Postal Office there on the compound. From Jan. 1970 until around Nov 15th 1970 then the moved our unit from Soc Trang and pulled me out of Bac Lieu. Hope all is well with you.

    • David, I think I may have been the guy who brought the mail from the airstrip to the your APO office. Do you remember who it was that tore down “Sundown’s” palm tree one night after a USO show? I remember Brown, Reynolds and Marine Corps Templeton, Green, Hanna, and the gunny who was commissioned to LT Glass or Class. There was a Lt Rogers who flew one of the birddogs. I think there was a CPT Cannon there also. Also a guy named Berg. Remember the “Bac Lieu Zoo” That was a long time ago.

  63. I was on team 51 in Bac Lieu, my job was radio operator in the command bunker. Also security guard. I was there from April 1969 to 1970. Colonel Ewall and Col Knight were the commanding officers, each for 6 months. My name is Frank Burner SP/4. Hfburner@gmail.com.com

    • Hi Frank,
      I too was an 05B in the command bunker for my first 6 months or so…before joining the 5 man Ranger team. Did you know any of the Ranger Advisors…for the 42nd?
      Thanks…Steve

      • Hi, Frank I also sent you a e-mail. I ran the APU ( Post Office ) on the compound. I don’t recall your name. I feel I may get closer to locating some people I knew. There was a Jerry Forrest (called Trees), a Brown, and Reynolds. Do you recall them?

        • Hi David. I remember you very well. The mailman who always made my day with mail from home. I am Bud Ingle, in charge of air traffic controllers out at Bac Lieu Airfield, Shotgun Tower, from Nov., 1969 to August, 1970. Hoping all is well with you!

          • Hi Bud, I just read your post. My name is Paul Jagacinski. I served as the AF C/C on O1’s during the exact same time. You where there when the ATC tower burned down. Maybe you know Jim Kerns.

          • Hi Bud, not sure if my first post fired for effect!! I served as the AF C/C on O1’s. You were there when the ATC tower burned down. Remember Jim Kerns, Butch Senior?

            • HI Paul. Good to reconnect. I remember you and yes, I remember Jim and Butch. I was the controller on duty in the tower when it burned down. I had to jump out of the tower to escape the fire and exploding ammo. The metal ladder was too hot to hold onto. That is a day to remember.

    • Hi Frank I was in Team 20 in Gia Rai from Jun 68 to Jan 69. I then went to Bac Lieu unit June 69 when I went Home in Bac Lieu I worked in communications center ( one of many there) your name after all these years sounds familiar. Welcome Home

  64. Good to hear from someon e that was in Soc Trang. That was where my home unit was. I was a one man detchment in Bac Lieu

  65. Dont forget me. I was in Soc Trang from Jul 66 to Jul 67 with the 121st AHC and was in and out of Bac Lieu many times. I was back in Soc Trang from Oct 70 to Oct 71 with Team 71. Never got back down there that time but I sure know where it is.

  66. I have friends that worked with the cav. I will try and get them linked into this page.
    Steve Leighton

  67. Although I was assigned to team 51 in Bac Lieu I spent my tour in Soc Trang, 8/68 to 8/69 as the advisor to the vietnamese 2/9 cav unit assigned there. Would like to hear from anyone that was assigned to the vietnamese 9th cav.

    • Ed, just found this site and saw your post. I was in Bad Lieu with the 1/9 Cav from May 68 until I left in Dec 68. We operated all over from Ca Mau to Can To to Rach Gia to 7 sisters up by the Cambodian border. I never saw your unit during our travels even in Soc Trang. was only there for a few days. If you get this let me hear from you about where all you were at with the 2/9th.

      • Bill, our compound was between MACV team 71 and the airport. I actually lived with the Vietnamese on the compound along with my NCO advisor. We traveled much of the Delta but mostly stayed in Ba Xuyen province. 3/9 Cav was in Rach Gia, we did several joint operations with them. In fact I was pulled out of the field as my tour was up on one of those operations. Can you provide some of the other Cav advisors that were with you. Sorry for the delayed response. Ed

  68. I lived with three Marines in 1970. I was Army however they had no RTO for Naval gunfire so I filled in.

  69. Saw your comments on Team 20 postings. Seems like many things happened after I left town. I was an RTO as well, just spent my last 6 months in the bush with the Rangers…following the loss of the Ranger RTO on an op in Feb. 1967. The Ranger RTO was a SSG green beret and I had big boots to fill!
    Steve

  70. Bill,
    I am back in country again…home in Victoria, MN. Send me your address and I can send you a full CD of the WCCO stories. The raw stories remain on their website, but you have to search their video library to find them. The first story aired on Thanksgiving night 10:00pm news and then the next morning at 6:30am for the second story.
    If you want a CD, send your info to me at: leightonconsult@earthlink.net
    Thanks…Steve

    • Thanks Steve I watched the WCCO story of you going back to Nam. I need to go through my army records and get the Number of the Advisory Team in Bac Lieu that I was assigned to after I left Gia Rai. I believe it was either 51 or 53, a large compound with white barracks. NCO/Officers club etc. I found a buddy I served with in Team 20, Gary Hill we have been talking about old times. click on team 20 on the menu and view are conversations. I will get back to you after I check my Army records. Bill

  71. Hi Bill. I was in Bac Lieu. From Dec 67 to Dec 68. Left team 51 on Dec 5th. I was in the G2 air sect. That was the two trucks over by the river.

    • Hi Bill,
      We must have met each other. I left Bac Lieu in Feb 68 and worked with the G2/3Air, but in the joint comm room with the ARVN guys. I was the AF intel guy working with the FACs.
      Bill Gillespie

  72. Hi Bill,
    I am currently in the Exhumas for another 10 days. I will get back to you when I return after the 30th. I live in Victoria, MN.
    Steve

  73. I was in Bac Lieu with MACV December 1968 to June 1969 prior to that in Gia Rai with advisory Team. Maj. Smith was the boos in Gia Rai

    • I have only found two people that knew where Bac Lieu was. One was a chopper pilot and the othe a Vietnamise that worked for me. The coppem pilot said was the worst place he had to supply and the Vietnamse said BooCo VC.

  74. My name is David Williams, I served in Bac Lieu in 1970, I ran the post office at MACV Headquarters for the 46th APU, looking for anyone from Bac Lieu then or the 46th APU that was in Soc Trang. I was a one man detachment in Bac Lieu

    • Hi David, Paul Jagacinski here. I served as the AF C/C on O1’s. My time at Bac Lieu was 10/69 to 8/70. I found this site looking for a buddy that was at Soc Trang the same time, also a C/C. His name is Joe Bonnett. Where you at Bac Lieu when the ATC tower at the airfield burned down? Did you know Jim Kerns. He was one of the air traffic controllers.

  75. Thanks Ron. Welcome home to you too!
    Do you know when they changed the team number from 51 to 20?
    Were you there for Tet in ’68?
    Steve

  76. We had both USAF and Army birddogs in Bac Lieu. I don’t recall meeting any of them, but certainly talked to them a lot on the radio. I remember on early morning while we were in a convoy heading south out of Bac Lieu on a division operation. It was still dark and we had an Army birddog flying overhead. I had just gotten a new strobe light and wanted to try it out. I called the birddog and asked him to check it out from above. After turning it on, he called and told me it looked just like a muzzle flash. That was the last time I used that strobe light!
    Steve Leighton

  77. I was on Soc Trang from July 66 to July 67. The 221st (Shotgun) O1E Birddog unit had a maintenance team there for all the Birddogs in lower half of IV Corps. No idea if there were any AF folks with then or not.

  78. Ed,
    I was in Bac Lieu with team 51. We had both USAF and Army birddogs. The Army guys mostly flew cover over us while we were in convoy. The USAF guys were on site when we needed fast mover air support. As an RTO (Radio Telephone Operator), I could talk to the birddogs, but not directly with the jets. We used mostly USAF while in the bush and in contact. I assume the USAF guys reported to the Team Sr Officer…as a special attachment. Not totally sure of that chain of command. Anyhow, go to the bulletin board (you have to enter the letters macv to get access) and then enter a post looking for help. This site is made up of former advisors from all over VN and they will likely know more than me. Good luck.
    Steve Leighton

  79. I need some help from you IV Corps (Mekong Delta) Advisory Team vets.

    I am trying to piece together my brother’s experiences in Vietnam (June 65 to June 66) for the benefit of his boys and the rest of the family.

    A2C Tom Toussaint was a USAF reciprocating engine mechanic. For part of his time he was on Advisory Team 53 at Long Xuyen or Can Tho. He spent time at Soc Trang and Chi Lang. And he had been in both Thailand and Laos.

    I think he was a crew chief on a Forward Air Control 1-E Bird Dog. He had hundreds of slides taken from the rear seat of the FAC plane of air strikes in the forests below. But the few pictures I have of him show only Bird Dogs with US Army markings, not USAF.

    How were these Advisory Teams organized? Who did the members report to?

    Could he have been working on an Army plane?

    He talked about having an M60 mounted on the door of the O1-E. The FAC’s I have talked to said that the Army O1-E’s did this, but not the Air Force.

    What was the role of these USAF people on these Advisory Teams in the Delta?

    Thanks,

    Ed Toussaint
    Potomac, MD
    Etoussaint44@yahoo.com

  80. Robert,
    I’m back in country again…at least for another week or so. Send me your email address and I will scan some pictures for you. Also, I found a website with some info/film from the 121st Tigers on it. I can find it again if you don’t know about it. Let me know. Thanks…Steve

  81. Charles,
    See my time/comments above.
    Did you know a SP5 by the name of Jim Hildebrant? He ran the MARS station, but not sure if he was there during your time. How about SSG Ken Hargrave (KIA Feb ’67) or SSG Ralph Banks…42nd Rangers during your time.
    Thanks…Steve

    • Steve,
      For some reason I have a very hard time remembering people’s names from my time there. I went out with the 42nd one time on a S&D op. SSgt Banks sounds familiar, but I think the advisor I rode with was SSgt McGrath. The top sgt. after Sgt. Major Hunter (I can’t think of his name. It was Polish, and I thought I would never forget it.) thought everybody in the Team should go out at least once. Since I sat across from him in the office I was the first one out. I rode on the APC of the second in command of the 42nd. He looked a lot like Sammy Davis Jr. to me. All we found after blowing the crap out of a village were some old women and children and a couple of old men. Later, at lunch, we found two teenage boys hiding in a hole on a rice paddy dyke. They were tied up, tossed behind the armor plate, and hauled back to Bac Lieu. I heard later that they were let go. As for SSgt Hargrave, I’m not sure. Again, I remember hearing about a Ranger battalion advisor had been KIA who had gone over for another tour. There was an advisor while I was there who it seems like we were writing up recommendations for medals about every other operation with enemy contact. Maybe somebody remembers the incident of when a writer from Argosy magazine came to Bac Lieu. I think it was the Ranger Battalion advisors and the PF advisor that set up a phony ambush for the writer on the way into town from the airport. I know the Col was not pleased, but nobody got into trouble that I know of. The writer was never let in on the gag. I remember seeing the story in the magazine. I never thought to keep a copy or try to get one while they were probably easy to get.
      I read your article on milmag.com. Great job!

  82. Great! I won’t be able to do much before getting home on March 16, but will follow up then. I have had some other contact with several fly boys from Soc Trang. Do you know Doug Wilson? I belong to a vet group called Counterparts. We were all advisors in some form or another. I was with the 42nd Rangers and most all of our air support came out of Soc Trang. I took a picture of the old air field there in 2007…on my trip back. If you google my name, you should find my story about going back., The CBS news station in Minneapolis also did two stories about it on the news. I can send you those as well when I get back home. Most of my air time was after you left. I did not rotate until the end of October, 1967.
    Thanks for the come back!!
    Steve

  83. That’s great. I was with the 121st at Soc Trang from July 66 to July 67. Those were the days, LOL I would be happy to exchange pic’s with you. I went back to Soc Tramg in 1971 to Team 71. Was totally different war by then. The Arvn 21st was still the best unit in the delta My address is Robert Gaddis, 1104 Carlisle Ave, Cambridge, Ohio 43725.

    • Bob Gaddis, I am Don Nelson. I was with Soc Trang T-Birds Jan68 – Jan69 “T-Bird 2”. USA Rotary Wing Class 67-22. Your name sounds very familiar, but not sure where. My favorite missions were the fire-fly support to the local MACV guys. I recall hovering a gunship into a “tri-angle” outpost to pick up one of the MACV guys to take him to Soc Trang for beer, shower and dinner. Not sure how he got back to work.

  84. Robert,
    Thanks for your comments. If you were there in 1967, I must have flown with you many times. I have some pictures from that time…sitting in the doorway of a slick on our way into the stuff. Let me know how to get ahold of you and when I get the time, I will send you some pictures. I am out of the country right now and most of my pictures (the ones not on my computer) are at home in MN. Let me know.
    Thanks…Steve

  85. LCDR Herbert’s “Wild Bill” story called up one of my own. On Easter Sunday 1967 I was a door gunner on a slick from the 121st in Soc Trang. We went to Bac Lieu to pickup Col Maddox to hop around and visit his Advisors. Shortly after take off we got a message that Col Dempsy 13th Avn Bn Co was down on an LZ and KIA. We flew to that location and spent the day watching this battle take place. It was a long sad day for us all.

  86. Great story. Col Maddox went on the become the General of the Army Aviation and became a Major General before retiring. I have a picture of him awarding me the CIB. It must have been around July 1967 when I was with the 42nd Ranger BN. Do you remember any of the officers from the 42nd Ranger Team during your time in Bac Lieu? In particular, do you remember a Maj. Don Alexander? He was the Sr Advisor of our 5 man Ranger Team.
    Thanks for sharing your story.
    Steve Leighton

    • Seem to remember a Col Maddox, Was his callsign BULLMOOSE? I was a RTO in baclieu in Jan 1965 later parted out to a three man team. Cpt Patton 1st name? and an Sfc Warren 1st name? I was SGT Short, Richard, Parted out to Thoi Binh a sub sector out of Ca Mau..
      Two 155’s and assorted Mortars and MG’s 57 and 75 MM reckless rifles. No electricity, no roads No mess hall, ate what they had and lost a lot of weight. Landing area for 2 UH1D’s Earned CIB while there taking jungle tours with ruff puffs and Arvn Soldiers with an Airforce Cpt overhead in his Bird Dog. While there the two 155’s were hoisted and flown out but replaced with two 105’s. No more powder bags and ignition cartridges to worry about. One thing pissed me off then and still pisses me off today.. The Lieutenants and Captains that dropped in from Ca-Mau armed with cameras to photograph dead Bodies from attacks on our little unit. Just so they could build up their combat scrap book. JAFO’s and Straphangers. I am Dr. Richard H. Short Ph.D. RACV. shortrichard2011@yahoo.com
      Left Thoi Binh Jul 1966 18 month tour——-Had enough. A quick blessing to all the military members who participated in the South East Asian War Games. You will never be forgotten.

  87. I arrived in Bac Lieu in March 1967, as Naval Liaison. Bill Maddox was still senior advisor. And, like everyone who every served with then Col. Maddox, I have a ‘Wild Bill’ story.

    The Navy had managed to send me to Viet Nam without prescription sunglasses. When I told this to an Army Medical Officer at Bac Lieu, he was happy to write a prescription. The catch was the only way to get the prescription filled was to go to Siagon, which was the only place in country to get prescription glasses.
    Some how I found out that Col. Maddox also needed to go to Siagon to get treatment for an infection and it was O.K. for me to ride along.

    When the day for the trip to Siagon came, I somehow got out to the airport and two Huey slicks came in to pick up the Colonel and myself. Of course I knew that Col. Maddox was a pilot, but I had no idea what type of pilot, fixed wing, or helicopter, or how much experience he had. In any case, the Colonel went up to the pilot of the first Huey and said he wanted to fly the aircraft, something was said about needing the flight hours. I could tell the pilot was not too sure how to handle this, but reluctantly climbed out of the pilots seat.

    Now with the Colonel in the pilot’s seat, we quickly took off and climbed to about 70 feet and headed North towards Siagon. For the entire flight I don’t believe we ever were higher than 100 feet. It turned out the infection the Colonel was to be treated for was an ear infection, and the last thing he wanted was to have his ears pop. Finally, as we approached Ton Son Nhut, he made some minor concession to enter the landing pattern.

    I stayed another 12 months in Viet Nam after that flight and had many other flights but nothing every came close to that experience. And, no one every flew a UH-1 better than Bill Maddox.

  88. The name does not ring a bell. I knew a couple of civilians. The said the were telecommunication contractors but they were CIA. They came in the NCO club they used to bring in oysters. They never mentioned losing anyone. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

  89. Do you recall the guy named Rooney Strale? He was from Laguna Beach, CA. and a civilian contractor.
    Thanks for the info. The story I heard was far fetched from what you just reported.

  90. Bill,
    Were you in Bac Lieu during the Tet attack? I’m wondering how many casualties you had at the compound during the attack. Any civilians KIA? I was good friends with a guy name Rooney Strale…a Swedish civilian communications contractor. I had encouraged him to extend him contract and have always felt bad about it…especially if he was KIA during Tet.
    Any info would be appreciated.
    Thanks…Steve

    • I was there for Tet also. No US KIA, but a good part of the town was damaged from artillery and mortars. I got sent to Can Tho the following morning and spent a month there until the city was retaken.

  91. I am pretty sure there was. I worked with lieutenants Lakian and Hoey mostly as well as cpt Schnitzer. When I got to back lieu I think it was captain.Sullivan who interviewed me, he said he was going to sent me to subsector in CaMau. The he noticed I went to language school. An ARVN walked through the office and he told me to ask him how many were VC were in the area last night. Some how I did and he said he was keeping me there to go on dagger teams. I worked mostly in the G2 air como vans on the river side of the compound

  92. Hi Steve. YET was a real mess. They took over the town and the river front was totally destroyed. They overran the airfield for awhile until spooky took care of that for us. I was on the big compound when it started and they were up to the wire. I went on a couple of operations during get with the rangers and they gave me a blue beret with the ranger badge to wear. I am not good with names and my mind blocked.a lot out but they were good fighters. After the first few days I was all over the DTA. I did a lot of dagger teams with ruff-puffs. Contact me at bill-ballou@sbcglobal.net.

  93. Hi Bill,
    We have connected before. I would be VERY interested in hearing about Bac Lieu during Tet in 1968. I left Bac Lieu just before you got there in late 1967. My Ranger BN CO was KIA aroungd the time you got there. Also, the Ranger Advisors that replaced me were messed up real good on the OP the BN CO was KIA. Perhaps you would have some good info on that for me?? Please let me know.
    I think you know about my return in 2007 looking for my old Counterparts. If not, let me know. The story is really interesting.
    Thanks for the come back!
    Steve

  94. I was an Intel analyst in G2 from Dec 67 to Dec 68. Went on dagger teams and during YET I was all over the DTA.

  95. Hi

    I am looking for an Matthew,he served in MACV T 51 in Bac Lieu in 1970, and had amerasian daugther,now living in USA.

  96. David,
    Do you have any contact with anyone from Team 51? I have only found one guy that I hooked up with (American) and 2 Vietnamese. I have a great story filmed by the local CBS affiliate in Minneapolis that I can share with you if you would like to see it. There are some pictures from Bac Lieu in 2007. Let me know.
    Thanks…Steve

  97. I served with Team 51 in Bac Lieu from Oct. 1966 until Oct 1967. My last 6 months were with the 42nd Ranger Bn. Team 51 was commanded by Col. Bill Maddox while I was there. I was an 05B20 RTO at the time. After VN I was with the 91st Engr Bn (CBT) in Ft, Belvoir, VA before getting out in May 1969. Later on I went to the MN Military Academy and got a commission, I finally got out completely in 1980 as a CPT.
    Where do you live now?
    Steve Leighton

    • I was at Team 51 as a member of the 10th PSYOPS Bn. for six months (April-Oct 1969). The Army pulled us out of Bac Lieu and I finished my tour and then did another one at Can Tho. I got racked up pretty good in a jeep accident while at Team 51 and was on light duty there for 30 days. I served with Lt Fritz, Sp4 Roy Springs, a Lt. Lehue and a medic who’s last name was Castleberry. My time there made me who I am today and I am proud of that as I am of all you guys. Ron Trovato (Ronbo215@gmail.com) PS I stumbled onto this site and am not too computer savvy.

  98. I SERVED WITH ADV-TEAM 51 IN THE SPRING AND SUMMER OF 1965. I WAS INJURED IN AND EXPLOSION OF THE MILK BAR IN BAC LIEU IN LATE JUNE 1965. OUR CO WAS COL.KIRSEY.

    • David Cox, I was with AdvisoryTeam 51 all of 1965. I remember the incident at the Milk Bar. I worked in the admin office with Spec 4 Lovelace, SSgt Cahil (?), Sgt. Maj. Hunter (?), Capt. Bowling. I forget the name of the Deputy Senior Advisor at the time. In fact I forget the name of the Col who replaced him, although he was promoted to one star and had to be reassigned. Col Kiersy rotated and was replaced by Col Bob Spilman.

      • Sir(s), my father Thomas Dawson, SFC was the personnel sgt at the time, Aug 65 to 66. I have a photo of the Advisory Team 51 admin team’s office with the name placard out front. COL Spillman, LTC Phillips, MAJ Menzies, MAJ Christman, CPT Bowling, CSM Masciarelli, and my Father. I am looking for stories or photos of my fathers times there. He passed away from lung cancer and heart ailments in Feb 2000. We are just seeking to know him better. Any info would be appreciated. Regards,
        Steve Dawson.

          • Thanks for replying Steve L. My brother has been copying/digitizing slides Dad took during his time there. If you are interested, I will figure a way to best load them to share with others. Thanks for your service, from one Vet to another Vet.

            • Hi Steve,
              Good luck with your project. It is a good thing to do for the future generations. I have written several short stories for my grandkids to read one day. I have had some interesting things happen along way to do with my V service. I went back to Bac Lieu in 2007 looking for my VN Ranger Counterparts. Long story short, I found two of them alive and living in the USA…one lives only 20 miles from me. If you google my name, you should be able to find my “Return to VN” story on the web. Someone put it on a Vet Website. I would love to see your finished product. Happy Vets Day (yesterday) and THANKS for your service!!
              Steve

        • Steve D. I’m sure I knew your father, but I’m having a hard time placing him. It’s been driving me nuts ever since seeing your post a couple of days ago. Can you send me a picture or two of him from that time frame? My email is howdythat@gmail.com.
          Aloha, C.Roney

      • I must have met you as I’m pretty sure you came through Bac Lieu a time or two when I was there. Col. “Bullmoose” Spilman has a Facebook page under the name Bob Spilman, but he doesn’t seem to be active. He was living in Iowa, but he recently moved to FL. I think to an assisted living place. I sent him a friend request but he didn’t respond. His profile picture looks just like him. He has to be in his 90’s as he graduated from Westpoint on the day I was born in 1942. Thanks for your service and congratulations for sticking to it on your education.

    • David, My brother Martin de Jong a Spec 4 was injured with you at the Milk Bar. He spent most of the rest of 65 at Walter Reed but did ultimately recover. I have some pictures of his time in Bac Lieu. Sadly he passed in 2001.

      • I must have known your brother, but, sadly, t don’t remember. I do remember Sgt. Major Hunter rushing out of HQ to go to the Milk Bar. He did say a couple of GI’s were there. It must have been your brother and David Cox. Sorry for your loss of your brother.

  99. I served on Team 51 in Bac Lieu from Nov. ’66 until late Oct. ’67. Much of my time was spnet with the 42nd Ranger BN (ARVN 21st Inf. Div.) I have been back to Bac Lieu once in 2007 and have visited other areas in VN as well. Col. Bill Maddox was the Senior Advisor of Team 51 while I was there and Maj. Don Alexander was the Sr, Adv of our Ranger Team. Other Ranger Team members were SSG Robert Lass, SFC Ralph Banks. (Ranks were in 1967.) If anyone wants to make contact with me, fire away.
    Steve

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