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. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading...
Anyone know my brother 1lt David Taylor? Killed January 5, 1966. Think Wally Siner died at same time.
Looking for some info about my dad 1st Lt. Richard L. Gardner, Team 51 MACV 1969 ARVN. Anyone serve with him?
Hi my name is kelvin, I am curious if the name “james best” rings a bell.. served vietnam in 1967 and returned to USA, Massachusetts in 1969..please let me know.
My brother was in the same Team 51. I think he came home in 1967. I posted some pictures my brother took on my facebook page.
Hi, Sorry, but I cannot locate the FB page with your photos. I was there at the same time. Cheers, Bill
Hey Bill…how’s it going down under? Retired yet? All the best…Steve
Sir they are on my page….Land StClair White haired Lady…. look for that page.
Thanks for the pictures. I was with Advisory Team 51 when your brother was there.
Writing a book on the Battle for An Loc and the roll the 21st ARVN Division played in opening highway 13. Would like more information on LTC Butler, LTC Willey and CAPT Fridermeyer and another advisors that were there in 1972. Ross Franklin was my fav advisor when I was in the Captains Advance Course. Please contact me.
I am searching for Ron (last name unknown) who was an officer with MACV in 1964-1968 time frame to return tapes between him and his wife. He was from Central Ohio. His wife’s name is Sherry. He had two very young kids, Ronnie and Jan). He went to Bac Lieu to assess housing needs after VC mortar attack burned out 200+ families. I believe he was an engineer.
Not sure I can help much, but the mortar attacks you are referring to were likely the 3 we had in February, 1967. It was the first time Bac Lieu had come under direct attack from mortars (they were actually 75mm recoilless rifles). The Ranger compound across the river took the brunt of the attack killing many civilians and destroying many homes. At the time, the Rangers were away for training, so most of the casualties were their family members. If the time frame is right, that might help you find more information. Good luck!
I was smack in the middle of a motor attack at the airfield and aviation fuel dump in 1966 in Bac Lieu Vietmam with 221st Aviation, Eyes over the Delta. Shotguns. 1st Lt Dale Dillard still out there somewhere ??
. My name is Steve Starrett I was there from November 65 to December 66. I stayed in the old mansion on the canal for a while then we moved to the new hooch’s. I was and the security detail and walked around the fence line come rain or shine.
Hi Steve, You probably walked around my Hooch. I was there from 2/66 to 1/67. I worked in communications in the Signal Corps building that housed the switchboard, radios and classified teletype room.
Also, there is a Facebook page for the MacV Team that was in Baclieu.
Great….I posted some pictures just this week that my brother took while there in the same team.
Hi Steve, I was there when you guys came to be security. I worked in admin and grabbed a couple of you to work in the hq office because they said they could type and were willing. They worked out very well. I rotated back to the states in 2/66. We welcomed you, I hope. I was glad to have you as it released us from pulling guard duty. We put you up on the second floor of the mansion which took away our movie venue. We had to show the movies outside with the mosquitoes. ☹️
Were you the company Clerk. I think I was one of the ones that could type but I wasn’t fast enough and made too many mistakes so I asked to be relieved of that job
Mike Zalewski, Bac Lieu 1968-69. When I arrived the Colonel asked me if I could type. I said “no”, did not take typing in school, could only hunt-n-peck. He said good enough, but later I requested to be relived of that function and be turned to an Infantry postion. Assigned to Captain Peek as advisor team with the 21st ARVN.
Yes, I worked in admin. I just replied again to your original post. I must be losing it.
Hi Steve I was in Bac Lieu June of 65 to March of 67 in Signal support . lived in Mansion till we moved over to new hooch’s .Worked out of the Communications building some of the security used to stop in for coffee we had going all night. also took care of the monkeys and the boa constrictor. I am Shure we crossed paths If nothing else at emclub.
Yes I used to stop in there and chat with you guys even had a Mars call one time to my mother. But you never would let me in that back room where all the secret Gizmo’s were kept. Yes I spent I spent many a beer in The e m Club
My late brother, Sergeant First Class Joseph Powers from Worcester Massachusetts was stationed there at that time and when off duty he tended bar in the EM Club. He had a handlebar moustache and wore a derby hat that the comedienne Martha Ray had sent to him. He knew a bunch of card tricks that he would do when celebrities cam to visit. He was a combat medic. Perhaps you knew him. He was my hero as he was 14 years older than me. He was a combat medic in the battle of Heartbreak Ridge in Korea with the 2nd infantry. He retired to Monterey California in 1969 and went to work at Fort Ord.
I was there in the “open” side of the commo bunker during your time as well. I went to the 42Nd Ranger BN in May 1967 until my DEROS. We would have spent some time together in those radio bunker days.
I’ve just found some old pictures my brother took while with MACV Advisory Team 51. I posted them on my Facebook page looking for anyone that might be interested.
Did you know Nat Richardson?? I found lots of pictures he took while there…I posted them on my Facebook page just this week.
Steve, I was there when you guys arrived for the security assignment. I remember they bunked you in the area that had been our movie theater that was like a veranda in the mansion on the second floor.
Hello again, it has been sometime since I posted here because I forgot about the group. But my grandfather William Harris Taylor was at this camp in 1967-68 and 1970-71 i Believe. unfortunately I’m not too sure what rank he was at this point or I would leave it. A few of you have said you have met him which is excellent news for me. I have many photos of him from this era and up into the 70s and his dress uniforms. If anyone would like to see them to see if they recognize him just leave me your email. but I was wondering if any of you had any photos from this time even not including him. If so please contact my email firstname.lastname@example.org. or Phone number (615-856-3484). anything is appreciated and thank you for your help, God bless.
Sir, My name is Phillip Sounia and I am a Colonel in the Army. I believe my Dad, Arthur Sounia served in MAC-V Team 51 after service in the 101st (ABN). We are trying to find a personnel roster with his name on it during this period but have been unsuccessful thus far. I found the Army documentation that confirmed the, ‘Immediate Destruction’ of about 99% of this unit’s records in 1981 but I am in hope any such documentation still exists.
I’m interested in contacting the following veterans who served on can tho 1962-1963.
SSG Ortiz, Benedict Jr
SSG Monk, Charles
Sp4 Hawkins, Tommie L
SP4 Kellams, James W
Sgt Anderson, Earl A
Sgt Milock, Wayne B
U.S.Army MAAG Team 51 CanTho/U.S. Army MACV Team96
We Set up the communications center at the 21 st Infantry Division HQt ARVN. In
I was in Bac Lieu from June 1963 to July 1964. I do not recall any of the names on the list. I worked in G-2/ Sorry.
Edd do join our Facebook MACV team 51 Group page for pictures and great discussions.
I believe my dad was there at the same time. Do you remember an Art Sounia?
Remember an Art but not that surname. Sorry. Edd
Sent from my iPhone
Thank you for the reply, i belivie i spoke to your mother on the facebook page. she sent me a photo of your fathers squad and it looked very similar to a RT (Recon Team). MACVSOG Covert “across the fence” recon operations into Laos and Cambodia. that would explain the “immediate destruction” of your fathers records. I recently found out that my grandfather was only at Bac Lieu in 1970-71. i think my grandfather may have done similar operations like your father did, but i haven’t been able to find anything this far. Please keep me posted if you are able to find anything, thanks!
I was there from November 66 to November 67 as Sr Advisor to the 9 VN Cav regiment. Served under Wild Bill Maddox. He made MG and commanded by Fort Rucker, Al. My son in law was his crew chief. Had a squadron in Bac Lieu,Soc Trang and one in Cau Mau. Don’t know which was worse, the VC or that damn Boa in Cau Mau I had been wounded in the Korean War and also VN. Loved it there except we didn’t kill enough of them
I was there at the same time. Did you know Maj. Don Alexander…42nd Ranger Team in Bac Lieu? I was his RTO on the Ranger Team after SSG Ken Hargrave was KIA in Dan Chi 279, February 1967. Steve Leighton
I talked to Don as he came in the compound that day. He was angry and upset. Some reporter had asked him how it felt for his srgeant to be killed … Don told him to go f….himself.
I liked Don: a real man!
Did you ever have any contact with Don after VN? I have tried to locate him over the years without any luck. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks…Steve
Never saw him again…Ranger school might have some history. There are “find people” programs on Google that might work also.
I have tried both with no success. Thanks…Steve
Sorry; No recall Patrick
Hello all! i was wondering if any of you knew a man by the name of SGT William Harris Taylor, went by Bill a lot of times. He’s my grandfather and unfortunately passed away before i was born. i’m BIG into vietnam/special forces history. researching, gear collecting, reenacting etc. And his military career in vietnam is very confusing and often confusing. He served three tours. (63/64, 67/68, 70/71.). not too sure if he was a MACV advisor but as of right now it is my strongest lead to his Vietnam service as his first tour was 100% an advisor. if I could put images in a comments I would put an image of the paper I read from December 1970 when he won a silver star. please reply if you knew him! thanks!
Hello, Harris Bunch. Here’s wishing you find more about your grandfather.
I was in Bac Lieu in 1963-64, but do not remember a Sgt Taylor. Maybe he was stationed at one of the westward outposts toward Rach Gia (Rock Jaw), and I would have had little if any contact with him. Maybe if you had a photo of him back then (in your family archives),you might offer it to whoever might remember him, and share it in an email. Also, if you go to findagrave.com and if you know his resident cemetery, you might find some additional information about him there, including an obituary. Or find his DD-214–discharge paper. It could be grasping at straws, but you might find a clue or two, or maybe not. Wishing you good luck in your endeavor.
I am searching for any information on a Arthur (Art) Sounia that served with Team 51 in 1963. He would have been an !!B out of the 101st Abn Div, Recondo and Pathfinder qualified. Have his DD214 but it may have been “scrubed” of his RVN service. Any info, especially orders or unit rosters with his name would be greatly useful in helping him get VA benefits. I am the VSO for Yancey County NC.
My dad, Thomas Sheldon was there in 1963. I posted a lot of pictures that he took on the Facebook page. My dad was 39 when he was sent to Vietnam and would have been 100 this year. Maybe your grandfather can recognize some of the people in the pictures I posted, and maybe even himself! Good luck
Edd Braun here, Bac Lieu from June 1963 to July 1964. I do not remember an Art in 1963. Possibly he was there before June 1963. I worked in Division G-2. The best to you in your search.
let me clear some things up, i believe he was only at Bac Lieu 70-71. he was awarded a Bronze Star for his actions during an attack on the base December 14th, 1970. i can text/email y’all a picture of the paper he got about his actions that night if you’d like. maybe i could hog your memory, thanks!
Hi, I was with team 51 67-68 and the name sounds familiar. Do you know of he was an officer in korea?
Yes he was sir, believe he was there in 68.
Hi Harris. I got to the team on 12/24/67. I remember meeting him shortly after. Unfortunately we were not close friends (I was a 20 year old PFC and I believe he was a SFC). I spoke to him many times outside the hq building. He was always very friendly to me and told me he had been a major in Korea but when the war ended there was a reduction in force RIF. Do know if he loved playing hearts or spades?? When I made E5 I played cards with a group of senior NCO’s in the NCO club.
I’m so sorry, i just saw this email. I just want to make sure you knew him. He was a shorter skinnier guy dark headed and tan skin. I just spoke to my mother about it and she said he liked to play cards, so I’m pretty sure you have the right guy!
Bob Hope Xmas show at Bien Hoe. You there?? I was
Sent from my iPhone
Yep—-I was there as well. John Myers
Did you also have Thanksgiving dinner with Martha Raye? Mess hall was small as I recall. Then I think we all danced at New Year’s Eve. Amazing what beer can do with you.
I was happily at home for Thanksgiving that year! Maryha Raye was there while I was there though…must have been an earlier trip. I missed her as we were in the bush! She was the best!!
Have you ever heard from Ed Ward?
Was in York, Pa awhile back, and no one seemed to know anything about him.
Hi Ken. He is a member of Hugo’s tm 51 website. I think he is still in Pa. The.dogs name.was useless
Ed Ward had a dog named Dumbass, he was good at catching rats.
I don’t remember you, but in the spring of 68, I had gotten 4 boxes of Appian Way Pizza. We got permission to use the oven in the mess hall on a Sunday afternoon. Used a whole cookie sheet, but it was gone in less than a half hour.
Spc5. Ken Reinoehl.
Ken, I remember the pizza well, also the spaghetti in our hooch
Bill, it’s good to see you are still above ground. How have you been!
Can’t complain, the.old.bones are just aching. Hope.you are doing well
First time to this site.. just wondering if anyone knew my dad LTC Faris Farwell who served as Senior Advisor on Team 51 during some of the intense Uh Minh battles 69-70.. thank all for your service.. incredible to scroll through what you all did.. I served 30 years in the Navy and while I did my share of “combat” in the Persian Gulf, I pretty much had a hot shower, hot meal and an air conditioned bunk every night.. so, my utmost respect to all for what you achieved! best, Faris Farwell Jr.
They weren’t usually suicide missions. After Tet I worked for that man.
And I think I met you at a CP during a ballgame
Please also find us on FaceBook where Team51 has a group page.
Welcome. Hope you’re in good health
My brother Sergeant Joseph Powers from Worcester Massachusetts did. He was a bartender at the enlisted man’s club when he wasn’t on duty. He wore an old time costume and he wanted a derby hat. She sent him one from Hollywood. The did a story about it in Stars and Stripes. Here’s his picture. (I can’t figure out how to attach the picture). There was a couple of pages about it in the book “Maggie and Me”. It lists him as living in Salinas CA because when he retired in 1969, he went to work at Fort Ord.
Delighted to find this page;…………..I was Sr. Advisor to the 212th Artillery Battalion off post in Bac LIeu; Lived in the compound for 6 months; then transferred to the other location in Soc Trang for the last 6 months.. Left somewhere around January 68, about 30 days before Tet. My boss was named Bill Aguilar, an LTC at the time, I think, The Battalion commander awarded me the Water Buffalo Horns; (their award for being unstoppable) for which I am very proud and they hang on my wall to this day.
I remember the snake and someone had a pet otter that we played with a lot in Bac Lieu. My Vietnamese language was pretty good at the time so the CIA guy, RFPF, tried to recruit me to stay another year and execute clandestine suicide missions in civilian clothes across the border. I thought he was nuts since I had two little girls waiting at home and passed up the offer.
Moved the 105’s, 2 each, frequently supporting the Division using Chinooks from Vung Tau.
Names are all slipping away now; I remember Bill Breen, and the ranger guy who lost his NCO on a mission, Bill Maddox, I didn’t like. (The USO girls spent the night in his hooch.)
Gambled almost every free night in the club; Learned how NOT to play poker.
I went back to Nam after a year in the states and commanded a Target Acquisition Unit on the DMZ, and once again, left about a month before the Invasion.
Going to Arlington in December for my wife’s internment into the grave where I will join her one day.
Best wishes and God bless you all!!!
I am glad you found us. Sharing experiences and photos helps us keep connected with memories. We left Bac Lieu the same month, Jan ’68, so any photos I have submitted would be from your time, too. I the AF intel guy attached to the FAC’s. Take care and stay safe.
Just caught your post here. I was there during your time as well…leaving late October 1967. I was on the Ranger Team as the RTO. Some time before my departure…around September 1967. my senior advisor on the Ranger Team was Maj. Don Alexander. Do you remember him? I have tried to locate him over the years, but have not been able to do. I had a very interesting story (filmed by the local CBS affiliate here in Minneapolis…WCCO TV) of going back to Bac Lieu in 2007 looking for any of my VN Ranger Counterparts. Long story short, I tracked down my two closest friends…both have survived many years in re-ed…and then immigrating to the USA. One lived within 20 miles of me right here in Minneapolis and the other in San Jose, CA. I have since lost the one here in MN as he passed 2 years ago, but still see the one in San Jose at least yearly. It was AWESOME finding them alive and living here in the USA. Anyhow, please let me know if you knew or remember Maj. Don Alexander. It has been great re-connecting with some of the “old gang”! Thanks for your service! Steve Leighton
OK…you were there during my time. I was the RTO on the Ranger Team (42nd Rangers) during part (April-October) of 1967. I think the NCO Ranger you are referring to was SSG/SFC Ralph Banks (deceased). Ralph was on the Ranger Team for 2/1/2 years, leaving in late 1967. I replaced SSG Ken Hargrave (KIA, Feb. 1967 Dan Chi 279). The Sr Advisor on the Ranger Team was Maj. Don Alexander. Do you remember any of these names? How about February 1967 when we got mortared (actually they were 75mm recoilless rifles) 3 nights out of 4. When the first rounds hit, I took some rookies outside the main commo bunker to let them hear the outgoing 105’s! Ha…that joke was on me as they were incoming!
Wow: what a memory and data. Yes, I was there exactly then. Don was very upset about that. I left Soc Trang 10 days before Tet on a compassionate reassignment. I remember the mortar attack too, my first. Thank you for the response.
Do you of any way to try and track down Don Alexander? He must have a military record? I can’t find a trace of him. Thanks…Steve
I was there which commo bunker was it in bac Lieu 1967 and sgt in of commo center February of 1967 just before I shipped out
Mike Curry Sgt. bac Lieu all of 1966 part of 1967
You were in the teletype side and I was on the single side band on the other side of the bunker. You did real work while we just maintained and monitored the division net. Commo checks with the sub sectors, etc… It was quite boring which is why I switched to the Rangers. I was never bored with the Rangers!! I was lucky to have survived my time with the Rangers. While we were never in any major battles, we lost troops every time we were in the field…booby traps and snipers mostly. Some small battles but nothing like Dan Chi 279. Where do you live today? Welcome home!
Mike…were you there during our mortar attacks in February 1967?
Yes I was their thought it was friendly fire at first when second one hit next to Como bunker bunker knew it was for real had to take m-60 out to
our generator bunker and set to cover front gate. officer in charge joined me in our bunker and said what about all this gasoline I said welcome to the army.
I was there in the main commo bunker wit 3 new guys training them in on the radios. When the first round hit I brought them outside to hear what I thought was out going 105’s. The second round hit fairly close and shrapnel was flying everywhere. We scrambled back into the bunker as COL. Maddox and others came piling in. What great fun…NOT! I remember an officer had to go outside and determine the direction and type of round they were firing at us by inspecting a bomb crater. Did not envy his job! It did not take long for puff to show up and put on a show. That was quite impressive but not sure they hit anything worth while as the VC would hit us again 2 out of the next 3 nights. One of the later strikes would destroy the Ranger compound across the canal while the Rangers were up north on a training mission. I think it was pay back for Dan Chi 279 when the Rangers and others killed so many of them. (333) to be exact. SSG Ken Hargrove was KIA in that battle and I eventually replaced him on the Ranger Team. Funny how I can remember that stuff like it was yesterday, but can hardly remember what I did yesterday! Ha! Be well…stay safe! Steve
I posted some photos from mortar attacks in 1967 onto our Facebook page. I sent intel reports to the AF DASC at Can Tho and included photos of equipment they used. I remember the MARS station took a near hit on one occasion.
My brother Sergeant First Class Joseph Powers was awarded a bronze star for evacuating the dependency area during the attack. He told me that the Vietnamese women and children were located near the ammo dump and that he helped with getting them out of danger. I saw a photograph of General Westmoreland pinning the medal on him. He was also given an award by the Vietnamese Government. We found this out in the local newspaper in Worcester Massachusetts when it happened. The last time that I saw Joey before he died in 2010, I asked him all about his service. He was a combat medic in the battle of Heartbreak Ridge with the second infantry in the Korean War. He served for 21 years. From 1948 to 1969.
You are mostly correct. The VN Rangers had their families living with them at their base. Everyone had to be responsible for a certain amount of ammunition and it was stored in their living area. When a round set of one storage area the rest were history. It was a real mess and many died that night! Not one of my best memories! Steve
Sent from my iPhone
Mr. Leighton, I am excited beyond belief to have discovered you and your comment here. I have searched for many years to find any information at all about the uncle I never met, who gave his life for our country in Viet Nam. According to the other meager information I have, I am sure my uncle was the SSG Ken Hargrave you mention right here. His brother, Lester, was my father. All I have ever known is that he served with honor. If you have any information, or personal recollection that could expand on “killed by small arms fire” I would be so very grateful.
Thank you, so much!
Hi Kelly, I got a call a few years back from Ken’s grandson. We had a long conversation about Ken. I knew Ken fairly well but never served with him directly. I replaced him on the Ranger team and they gave me his jump boots. I was not with him the day he died, but served for 5 months with the guy that was with him and do know the details. I am currently in Mexico for the next 2 months but have complete phone service here. I would love to talk to you. Let me know how you would like to proceed. Thanks. Steve
Let me know if you got my reply. It did not look right. Thanks Steve
Please let me know if you got my response to your request. Also, send me your email address or phone number so I can communicate with you directly. Thanks…Steve
I was in Bac Lieu in late 1966, also a commo guy like you. The guy I remember was Wayne Murray, also a commo guy that made runs to the airfield to daily in a Jeep , or 3/4 truck, to meet a air force caribou aircraft. Do you have any other info about Bac Lieu, I left Vietnam in Dec of 66
As I mentioned, I was in Bac Lieu from early November 1966 until late October 1967. Commo for 6 months in Bac Lieu and then with the 42nd Rangers for 6 months or so. What would you like to know? I can fill in much of my year. Please let me know and I will start my “book”. Steve
I was just on the Facebook Mac V-51 site and Hugo Trux asked if anyone remembered any pets in the compound. I replied: This is Torry Kirksey – I remember the large python, but the only other “pet” that I remember seeing was a rat on a string leash, held by a young Vietnamese kid. On another note: I used to go out after having a couple drinks and do a Tarzan yell. Sometimes someone would yell one back. Did you ever hear that?
We had the two monkey’s (Jake & Sylvia?) back in 1966/67. Our motto was BYOM (Bring Your Own Monkey). Don’t remember a snake, but there were MANY rats running around the area at night. Always wanted to get a pellet gun and plink them.
Steve, I was there just after you had left. Someone in our hooch had a Wammo sling shot, and we would plink at the rats using “oo”buck shot.
Now your talking. That would be great fun. Wish I was still there for that. Did not spend much time in the compound my last 6 months. Most was in the bush by then. Early on, I could not believe how many would run around at night. There had to be hundreds if not thousands of them. I had hardly seen a rat before I arrived there.
I was there in 1970 that sign hung over my bed. Didn’t h know what it was all about till just now.
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I gave a picture the BYOM some where
Sent from AT&T Yahoo Mail for iPhone
I was in Bac Lieu the late 1966 as a commo guy, I remember Jake and Sylvia, I used to tease them when I walked by them every day, But one day Jake opened the cage and attacked my and bite me in the leg and continued to the officers quarters and tore up their quarters.
Yep…old Jake was unpredictable!
Have many pics of Bac Lieu compound and airfield, village and Can Tho from 69-70 to including monkey, python that we scanned from slides. Took a while but finally done how can I share the with you guys? Bob Moore, Air Force FAC Team, Intel
Bob , This is Torry Kirksey, I was Air Force Intel for the FACs from Sept. 67 toSept. 68. There is MACV team 51 site on Facebook,where you can post pics. Would love to see them.
My brother who left us 10 years ago was stationed in Bac Lieu in 66/67. He was SFC Joseph Powers from Worcester Massachusetts. He was awarded a bronze star for evacuating Vietnamese dependants during a mortar attack. Did you know him? He was a combat medic. He retired in 1969 after 21 years and went to work at Fort Ord.
Hello DAN, first I’m sorry for your loss. No I did not know your brother. I do remember there was a bad attack away from the base that I think were Arvin homes, and they had a lot of explosives there.
I remember a pet python in front of our mess hall. Someone put a chicken in the cage. The chicken walked all over him for a couple of days, and did his business on him too.
One day no chicken, just a big lump in the python.
My father, Capt. Jim Kelly was a FAC from this location 66-67. I remember him telling the story of the chicken and the python!
Do you happen to have known my Dad?
Jim Kelly (Jr.)
What year/months did your father do his tour. Depending on the time, I may have had a conversation with him.
Nov 1966-Nov 1967
I am glad you found this site. You will find photos of the period your dad was in Bad Lieu. As I did know him, I have not seen any photos of him. When I get home I will search my collection as I do have a photo of the back of his helmut on one of our missions.
Is this Bill Gillespie? If CPT Kelley was there around August 1967, I have a funny story for you.
I was there at that time. Capt Kelly was the FAC when I arrived in Jan 67. We worked together until Captaincies Deichelmann replaced him in Oct timeframe.
Good to hear from you. So he would have been there during my time. If I hear back from his son, I will post a funny story that may have been from him. Hope you guys are over the fire season now!! Be well…Steve
It’s great to see comments from service members who were in the same area of Vietnam from which my father served.
Dad, retired as Maj. In Warner Robins GA. 22 years AF. Then 22years in vocational rehabilitation for adult handicapped. Then more than 22 years retired. He passed away last year just a few months after my Mom. They were married 62 years. 7 kids. Lots of grandkids and a couple great grandchildren as well. He was humble, steadfast, faithful and loved a great deal.
He was always proud of his fellow servicemen and spoke highly of the Vietnamese people and fighting forces.
My family has some photos of Dad that I hope to have posted on the Facebook page.
As a side note, I flew C-141B’s and C-23’s 1984-1991. And with a little prompting from Dad, I graduated from AF Academy in 1984. I know he always prayed for the Airmen who replaced him over there. You’re all hero’s to me—the lost are just a bit more heroic.
Godspeed to all of you and your families.
I assume as a FAC, your Dad flew bird dogs? If so, around August 1967, I was with the 42nd VN Ranger BN heading out on a typical search & destroy mission. We left Bac Lieu early in the am before day break and were in a convoy going south towards Ca Mau. Our mission was to get to a LZ for the assault into our objective. Because it was still dark, we had a bird dog flying cover over us as we convoyed down the road. This could have been your father…but as the RTO, I was killing time shooting the bull with him. I had just gotten a new strobe for night activities and asked him to check it out from the air for me. When I turned it on, he said it looked exactly like a muzzle flash. That was the last time I carried or ever turned that strobe on again! We both had a good laugh over that one, but am glad i decided to test it before using it. As an aside, my father was a full colonel in the air guard as a pilot…flying many different kinds of equipment. He sponsored two of my second cousins that went to the Air Force Academy as well. One took his commission in the Marine Corp and flew f-18’s until he retired and is now a pilot for Delta. God Bless your father and all those that served us ground pounders so well! May he RIP! Steve
I sure was.
Yes—I knew Jim. Very nice man.
“Nice man” would be an accurate way to describe my Dad.
div dir=”ltr”>He didn’t give much deta
Yes we did i became their keepers when Sgt O Seannessy left we also had A python in cage over by generators we trapedm. and fed him the rats
monkeys names when i was there were Jake and Sylvia . Got drunk one night Jake bit me so I climbed the Tower and tried to throw Jake off
my mistake he was in his natural habitat not so much for me lets just say he won I lost next day he was picking whatever out of my hair
which i do not have anymore
We played with someone’s little otter. Cute and playful and occasionally bit the hell out of me!
Not Part of Blog but I served in Bac Lieu as Signal support from late 1965 to April 1967 put a lot of calls home for many of the enlisted men and officers. Sgt. Mike Curry
Hi Mike. You name is familiar and I served in the command radio bunker during your time in Bac Lieu. If you worked at the MARS Station, I would have know you as well. Do you remember Jim Hildebrant? Please let me know. Thanks…Steve
Hi Mike, I believe we bunked in the same Hooch and went on R&R together to Bankok in 1966. I worked in the radio room, then in the secure teletype room and then clerked for our Lt. I left in January 1967 as a Sp4 and made Sgt E5 at Fort Sill before mustering out in August of 1967..
Hey Chuck…do you remember me? I worked in the radio bunker next to the teletype radio you operated. I arrived in November 1966 and was in the radio bunker before joining the Ranger Team in May 1967. Mike would have been there at the same time as well. Best to you…Steve Leighton
Hi Steve, Right around that time, I think I had rotated into the Lieutenant’s office as his clerk, and then headed home in January. Finished up my tour of duty at Fort Sill with the III Corp artillery. Those were interesting times. If I remember right the Vietnamese 42nd Rangers took a hit shortly after.
That is correct. In February 1967, they ran into a major battle with the VC. SSG Ken Hargrave (RTO-Ranger Team) was KIA. I replaced him on the Ranger Team. As I recall, our signal officer was CPT. Kind. After leaving the signal guys, my Sr Advisor (Rangers) was MAJ Don Alexander along with SFC Ralph Banks and SGT Bob Lass. Do not remember the CPT’s name that was also on the team at the time. Pat Miori was in the BQ building as a clerk as well after being an RTO. I left at the end of Oct. 1967. Just after I left, the Rangers took another big hit with our BN CO (MAJ KIET) KIA and the American Advisors were all WIA. I have since reunited (2007) with two of my (VN) Rangers I served with…one here in my home town and the other in San Jose, CA. Good stuff! Hope you are doing well. Welcome home! Steve
I dug up some pictures I took while in Bac Lieu and from my R&R in Bankok. I just requested to join the MACV Team 51 Bac Lieu Vietnam Facbook group so I could share. Hope you are doing well. Chuck
yes we went on R&R together to Bannock had a good time I don’t know what happened to the others of or team but I put 40 years at phone company . Just lost a close friend of 30 years who was also Viet Nam vet. this made me remember all of the soldiers I served with he was one of the only ones I ever talked about our service in this theater. God Bless us and Keep us all.
Michael T Curry
yes we went on R&R together in Bangkok been trying to find you for a while are you still in Utica, New York was up that way in 2016 and 20i8
on vacation i m not on Facebook our anything just E-mail And text to my cell. would like to hear from you and see if you remember some of the other that served with us. Mike Curry
Hi Mike, Linda and I moved from Utica, NY to Palm Harbor Florida in 1995. I retired in 2008 after a long career in the Insurance industry. Then went back to work part-time at a Harley Davidson dealership in 2017 to occupy some time and the employee discount, because I still ride..Then in 2019 we relocated to Denver, NC to be near our daughter and her family. You are much better at names from the past than I am. I do remember a Paul who bunked with us. Worked previously at a movie theater as an usher in Atlanta, I believe. Also, a nice guy from Chicago, Zygmunt Bulgajewski was his name. Then a guy from the Panhandle of Florida with a wicked southern accent. I remember another guy who went home on a leave for a funeral came back with some booze and we got awful drunk that night. I remember the monkeys, attacking you when you are sleeping,, hated them then and still hate monkeys. I still have my hair, but it is white now. It would be great to catch up with you. Not sure the best way. My email is email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you.
Chuck been looking for you for a long time do you still reside in upstate New York also looking for another of our time Jim Mast
and Brian Cox and Murphy from the Crypto room
Hi Mike, Linda and I moved from Utica, NY to Palm Harbor Florida in 1995. I retired in 2008 after a long career in the Insurance industry. Then went back to work part-time at a Harley Davidson dealership in 2017 to occupy some time and the employee discount..Then in 2019 we relocated to Denver, NC to be near our daughter and her family. You are much better at names from the past than I am. I do remember a Paul who bunked with us. Worked previously at a movie theater as an usher. Also, a nice guy from Chicago, Bulgajewski was his name. Then a guy from the Panhandle of Florida with a wicked souther accent. I remember another guy who went home on a leave for a funeral came back with some booze and we got awful drunk that night. I remember the monkeys, attacking you when you are sleeping,, hated them then and still hate monkeys. I still have my hair, but it is white now. It would be great to catch up with you. Not sure the best way. I joined Facebook recently after learning that was where Vet’s were finding their past friends but didn’t see you there. Check me out there and we can private message to get each others emails and phone numbers. Good to hear from you.
Yes, I know Captain Eric R Petersen Very Well. He was in Air Defense-Artillery for Military Assistance Command VietNam. He worked with Major/ColonelTho in BinhThuy VietNam. Moved to Bac Lieu with the Unit and Worked with Major Sutton. Then, he moved to MACV unit in CanTho, VietNam in Mid 1970’s where he worked with Colonel Wallace , Major Thompson, and Capt. B.
His family would like to keep in touch with all of you who know him. If you have memory or picture of him, please share.
Thank you Very Much
Iam looking for anyone who serve at Team 51
During the period 1967-68 The senior advisor was Col Tom McKenna. Served briefly as G1 transferred to on of the Infantry Battalions.
I served there from Sept 67 to late August 68. Was a Army Spec 5, Intell Specialist. Got a CIB playing radio operator walking the delta when not doing intel work.
We were there at the same time. I was the Air Force intel guy who worked with the FACs in the G2/3 Air. I also worked with Capt Long. Have you looked through the photos at our Facebook page?
Hey, Bill. This is Torry Kirksey. Lloyd Swisher was my best buddy that I was telling you about.
Hi Torry, good to hear you have contact with him and especially in this forum. Bill
Hello Torry. I believe we served in Back Lieu at roughly the same time. I remember you working-out and as one of the few that really exercised the abdominal muscles. Those were the days! Former Lt. Ray Anderson
Ray, yes I was the Intel Airman for the FAC’s in Bac Lieu from late September 1967 – September 68. Someone in the Officer’s area used to let me and Swisher use their weights to workout with. Was that where you ran into us?
Yes, Torry, I believe it was.
Hello Bill, I was USAF Adv Team 51 from Oct 68 to 69. I was a Radio Operator for the FACs of that era. You mentioned a FB page. Can you lead me to it. Thanks.
Do a search on advisory team 51. Good to hear from you. I will be in Bac Lieu tomorrow
Thank you Sir, I found it. Have a safe and interesting journey to VN.
T.J., This is Torry Kirksey. I was in USAF Intel for the FAC’s. I left in September of ’68. Do you remember the names of any of the Air Force personnel that were there when you arrived? I probably won’t remember them anyway because the guys that I spent my year with had probably gone home by the time I did in September. You never know.
Yes Torry, let’s see, There was Bud Burton, Tsgt. Floyd Swinford (Aircraft Mechanic) , Tony (can’t remember his last name) he was a radio man, Roger Roo. That’s the best I can do for now. Will look through some old photos etc, and see if I can remember more names.
TJ, why not share your photos on our Facebook page.
As I was afraid, the names didn’t ring any bells. I don’t even remember anyone sent to replace me. The only one I can think of that might still have been there when I left was an AF radio operator named Bullard. I don’t remember his first name. Anyway, thanks for the info. Torry Kirksey
Tom, Bob Moore here. wondered what happened to you. I was Intel Feb 69 to Feb 70 and have lived in Colorado for many years. I have lots of slides and pics of the area as well as You, J. C, Floyd and the rest of the AF team. I am currently digitizing them and would be happy to share once it’s done.
I ran the Postal Unit from Jan 70 – Dec 70
Please add them to the Facebook page, too. Thanks Life is short. Bend the rules. Forgive quickly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably. Be grateful daily. And never regret anything that made you smile!
Hey Bob!! It is great hearing from you, here in Lutz, Fl (Tampa area). I am dealing with some issues with my mother, she is 97, and as soon as I can I will get some of those pictures I have and share them.
Hello Major Swisher. Larry Yohe told me about this website, and I know he contacted you. My congratulations on your military service, Sir! Those were the days, and I remember you well.
Hey Ray…maybe you were my replacement! Ha! When you were in the bush getting your CIB, what unit were you with? I served on a 5 man team with the 42nd Rangers. ..departing in late Oct .67. Would love to connect with someone that served with the Rangers right after my departure. They got shot up pretty bad in December ’67 and the BN CO (VN MAJ Kiet) was KIA. Never got a straight answer on what went on that day. Did visit a CSM at Bethesda after that day, but he could not give me much in line of the particulars as he was put out of commission. (WIA). Steve Leighton
Hi Steve, I was strictly MACV in Mil Intel, but was in the field a lot. Overall, I was with the 21st Inf Div, known as the Paddy Rats.
Hi Ray…I understand that. The 42nd Rangers were part of the 21st Div out of Bac Lieu. There was a Ranger hootch on the compound (enlisted side). I was replaced by two people…a Sgt Maj and a 1st Lt. Don’t remember their names, but they were both injured in a battle in December ’67…after i had rotated. Was just curious if anyone remembered them or the “incident”. Thanks…Steve
Hi, Ray. I, too, was strictly Mil Intel, but lots of CQ and guard duty to “earn” all that combat pay. Good to read about all you later replacements. Thanks for your service.
Left Bac Lieu in July 1964, a civilian ever since after an early out. When I left Bac Lieu 55 years ago, in-country troops were down to 12,000 from a high of 16,000 when I arrived. Phasing down–for just a month. Then August 1964 was the Gulf of Tonkin, and we know the rest.
Still have my Paddy Rat “award”, loaned to the local Vet Center display, along with other souvenirs from “rice-land”. Reaching the Eight-Oh milestone next month, oldest one at the Vet Center by at least 8 years. Now visiting there with Iraq-Afghan vets who are young enough to be my grand-kids (oh, h–l, my great-grand-kids).
Looks like I replied to the wrong guy. Just sent a note to Ray, but maybe it should have gone to Melvin Swisher. Sorry…Steve
I served at Bac Lieu sector headquarters from Oct 67 to Oct 68. Lt Ray Anderson at that time. I recognize Mr. Swisher and Mr. Kirksey below.
I was there then. G2 and other assignments. check my FB MACVTeam51 group
seeking any info on SP4 Clifford J. Constantino. ADV TM 51. MACV. Died Sept. 4th, 1969 while on guard duty. If you knew of him, interested in any story you may have, since I (his brother) was only 9 when he died. Thanks
I was Sr Advisor to the VN 9 th Cav Regt in BacLieu in 66 and 67. Wild Bill Maddox was Team CO. He made MG and commanded Ft Rucker, AL. I was wounded in March 67 in Vi Than. Pete Blair LTC Army Ret
That was during my time in Bac Lieu. I did spend a day in the bush with the 21st Recon Company some time in January, 1967. We were on APC’s…I assume that were driven by the 9th Cav. I was just an RTO for the day filling in for someone else. That was before I joined the Ranger Team in May, 1967. Do you remember Maj Alexander? He was the senior officer on the 42nd Ranger BN Team and my CO at the time. Good to hear from you! Best, Steve
Thank you for your service. My father also was an advisor in 66-67. Do you remember then Maj Jethro “Jeff” Davis? He retired as a Colonel and now lives in Palmyra, PA.
I was there then too. I was with the Air Force FACs, but was also a ground FAC and “rode along” with the Cav units. By chance, does your father have any photos of his time with the the 51st?
Yes, we have some. I will dig them up and post them on the MACV Facebook page.
Greetings. My father was a member of team 51 in 71-72. He was a 2nd Lt named James Short. Curious if anyone remembers him. Thank you for your service.
I remember Jim Short. I was with AT 51 from Oct 71-Oct 72. I may even have a picture or two, but would have to spend some time searching to be sure. My recollection is that he was the S1 (personnel) on the Sector staff.
Sorry, Ted. I was in Bac Lieu in 1963-64, so didn’t know 2Lt James Short
I am not sure if anyone knows him here, but my grandfather’s name was
Last name: Thach
First name: Uyen
He was from Bac Lieu was with Southern Vietnamese forces and worked with American forces. He was killed in the war around 1970. If you know or remember anything I would be interested.
My condolences. I was home a,ready. Do try the MACV TeM 51 Facebook group page too. It works a bit better
Maybe get on 23 and me or ancestor.com and submit your DNA. Maybe your dad is looking for you too. Good luck.
I was a spc4 in the comcenter from nov 66 to sept 67. my sargent was taylor . anybody from that time still out there? remember cole or tucker, we had the bunny club.
I was in the command bunker as an RTO from Nov. ’66 until spring ’67 when I joined the Ranger Team. The senior NCO was SFC Jones. Did you live in the commo hootch? The one that got hit with shrapnel in Feb. 1967? Steve Leighton
Oops again. I was right.the first time it’s Ken
Yes it’s Ken. I remember you too. Ken and I are in Ohio. Where are you?
Ps. I have a Team 51 FB page/group where we can post pix too.
Oops, I meant Ed Reinold
My name is Mike Nickolich, I was Stationed with advisory team 51 ,66/67 in G2.my Superiors were captain young and second Lieutenant Philip Benning and a Master sergeant Mack. Does anybody have any information of what happened to them or where they are today.?
Hi mike, I got to tm 51 G2 in Dec 67. They were gone. There is an Ed Rienold from G2 the posts once in a while and he was there when I arrived so he may know something. Go.back a couple of months and there may be an email for him. Welcome home
Ditto. Got there oct 67. They were gone. After a Tet I was on assignment off compound and didn’t meet many of the people.
was there a Capt Sullivan in the G-2 shop at that time? I was S-2 in An Xuyen and made several trips up to Bac Lieu for meetings in 67/68. Also remember a Lt who shared a hooch with the Navy ensign who died in the camp.
Capt Sullivan was there, he interviewed me. Said I was going to CaMau then he saw I went to language school and decided to keep me.in Bac Lieu to go on dagger tm with LtLakian
I was there 67/68 and worked in the Air shop with Cpt Long. Anyone remember him? He caught some shrapnel on one of our missions.
Bill, This is Torry Kirksey, I’m convinced you are the one I replaced. (even though you had 2 or 3 months left on your tour when I arrived in Bac Lieu – at the end of September or the first of October of 1967.) We didn’t live in the same hooch. I was in with the Air Force Radio Operators – A guy named Hanna (Ron), a guy named Bullard and one named Nosa and an Army Intel guy, Lloyd Swisher, etc. I have a lot of questions and would like to talk. I’m not a computer guy, but with my wife’s help, we could exchange phone numbers via email, that is if you’re interested.
I live overseas, so calling will be difficult. PM me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My last few months were spent visiting each of the FAC Airmen in IV Corp, so I was probably not around much. Have you looked at the photos I posted on the Facebook page? Cheers, Bill
Hi Torry. I left you a message above, or elsewhere here. I remember both you and Swisher. I’m also in contact with Larry Yohe. Hope you are well. Lt. Anderson, at that time, all those years ago.
Ray, I replied to your post yesterday, Sept 11th. I guess you didn’t see it. It’s about the 7th or 8th post that you see after you open this site. If you don’t find it, contact me by email email@example.com. Torry
Hi Torry! Please excuse the delay. I’m not good at this. I remember you well. You believed in working your abdominal muscles and had the best Abs in Bac Lieu! Those were the days. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I’m in touch with Bob Horan and Larry Yohe. Yohe is in touch with Lloyd Swisher. Stay well.
Re Lt Lakian: Was he the Harvard guy?
He was a good guy. But didn’t get promoted and had to go back to his perms this rank as EM
Bill, I believe you are confused with me, Ken Reinoehl and Ed Ward (he was from York Pa.) We were both there when you arrived .
Good to read all the comments about Bac Lieu, especially G-2. Years before you (1963-64), I served in G-2 21st VN Div. Major Simanski was our chief. Anybody out there from that era?
My dad was there early 63/64 ish Sgt Major Tom Sheldon
Thanks for responding, Ellen. Hoping to hear from others of that era.
Edd Braun LHC AZ
Good to hear from you. Waiting to hear from more Bac Lieu Veterans in 1963-64. Was there from June 63 to July 64. Edd
Are you the Edward Brain that served in the MACV Construction Directorate 1971-1972
Sorry, Bruce. I was with MACV G-2 in Bac Lieu only from June 63 o July 64. Last name is Braun, not Brain. Got out of the Army upon return to Oakland CA in early August 1964. Civilian since. Edd Braun
Chuck Burkhardt was in Bac Lieu 63/64 when President Kennedy was killed. I was with the 73rd at the airfield. 3/4 Ton Truck with the radios, C.P. Tent and a Conex Container was all there. We were the first of the 73rd to activate the Bird Dog FAC support. Remember when they blew the fuel dump? JP-4 and Gas in 55 Gallon drums blowing in the air 100 feet or more. Interesting night?
Just wanted to say hello.
When JFK was assassinated, I was on R&R in Bangkok. Black arm bands were handed out to some of us to wear. Edd Braun 6/1963 to 7/1964
P.S.: Now retired in Lake Havasu City AZ
Holy crap. Hello Chuck Burkhardt. How are you doing? It was you, me, Ralph Fint, and Bill Caruthers in the 73rd AVN. In the past few years I have actually talked on the telephone to Dave Rooks, and Ralph Fint. I hope all is well with you. I am doing well except for being an old guy. My wife, and I, are retired, and living in Boquete, Panama. Yes, the country of Panama, and living the good life. We have a Magic Jack telephone, which is like calling us in Florida – 772-519-9191. Stay well old friend.
I was on R&R in Bangkok from Bac Lieu G-2 during the time of the JFK assassination. Edd Braun
I recently posted pictures on the Facebook page that my dad took during that same time period 1963/1964. He was Sgt major Thomas Sheldon
I was in Bac Lieu from May 63 to April 64, in the 39th signal bn. detachment. Our CO was a Lt. Grant, later followed by a Lt. Mckee, then a Lt. Hill. The senior advisor was Lt. Col. Cushman (most of that time). I went there an E2 and left an E4. Very interesting and memorable experience.
I was in Bac Lieu from May 63 to April 64, in the commcenter as part of 39th signal bn. I remember some guys from G-2 back then, a couple of sgts, Martin and I think Whiteley. Lt Col Cushman was sr advisor, later Col. Kiersey. I don’t remember your name or Simanski. It was really a different world there.
Your name is vaguely familiar, Bill, but can’t place the face….of course, 54 years later faces have changed also. I prepared lots of correspondence for Major Simanski’s signature while I was there from about June 1963 to July 1964. Also remember a SP-6 Parsons who worked with me, but can’t remember the names of a couple of G-2 Sgts–E-6 and/or E-7–and a 2nd Lt.
After Major Simanski’s L-19 observation plane crashed (upside down) in a rice paddy next to the airport, I was the first to be assigned guard duty at the L-19, accompanied by a radio guy (another name which escapes me). After being left on guard duty for 12 hours instead of the planned 2 hours (no guard relief occurred), the 1st Sgt told me the next day that I would no longer be required to stand guard there.
But guard duty continued in the compound and to/from the airport when on CQ duty. Once, driving a jeep from HQs to/from the airport found me purposely dodging a small pile of dirt in the roadway (my Dad had taught me to dodge anything in the road so that I wouldn’t ruin a tire $5 to $10). After getting back to HQs, an ARVN Lieutenant on CQ duty had left to check out the airport, did not dodge that small pile of dirt, and his jeep was flipped over, and he was injured rather badly.
I do remember a SP-5 Bob Baden–who recently retired as a priest, a David Butters, and a Roy Cook. I might have other names in my “archives”.
We enlisted lived in the converted old French style villa on the canal, while the officers had their 2-man hootches in their compound closer to HQs.
If anyone can provide me info on any of the above mentioned persons and anyone else stationed there during my time there, please let me know.
Edd – I was the Radio Guy with the 73rd Aviation Co (L-19), and I was at the Airfield when the L-19 crashed, and flipped in the rice paddy, near the road to town. I spent one night guarding the scene, but I was alone. There were four of us enlisted men with the 73rd in Bac Lieu, me, Bill Caruthers, Ralph Fint, and Chuck Burkhardt. I was able to find Ralph about one year ago, and spoke to him. I also found David Rooks, one of our pilots, and spoke to him a couple of years ago. He was a career guy, and did three tours in Nam.
Harry Halbert, Wow, glad to see you’re still with us. I ran across this site by accident and here you are. Lt. Lindsey was the pilot of the L-19. He survived and was in Nha Trang. I went to see him when he was healing. Very lucky man to survive his stall on take off.
Bill and Ralph, Harry and Chuck. What a team we were! Now we’re old guys with stories. Lucky I guess?
You were obviously staying in the same place I was. What was your rank? What floor was your bunk on?? I must have known you at some level. There weren’t that many of us.
Hello, Bill. You left 3 months before I did. Me: E-4, tall, slender, 6’5″, Worked in G-2. Located in our “villa” on 2nd floor room of about 5 troops, south side, “view” overlooking the canal and villa entrance. Many of us had reel-to-reel tape recorders (my son still has mine). Some of us played basketball within the villa’s courtyard. The villa had a short-legged black dog called “Benny” who sometimes “went to work with all of us”. Plump, he made some of the natives eye him strangely. You being in the signal battalion, your “office and equipment was located between G-2 where I worked (near the mess hall) and Division HQs. If you werre there for Easter, you might remember our mess sergeant gave very detailed instructions for his staff to make Easter eggs. All went well except: They peeled the eggs before dying them. Nothing like a purple, pink, or green egg. Still tasted good though. Hope all that helps. More questions and comments? Send ’em my way.
This might be a repeat. I prepared a reply, Bill, but it disappeared. Now to remember what I completed recently.
I was in G-2 21st VN DIv from June 1963 to July 1964. I extended a month after I heard arriving stateside with less than 90 days remaining in an enlistment would preclude being reassigned stateside. When arriving stateside, I had about 85 days left, was discharged at Oakland CA, and took about a month’s travel before arriving home in southern Indiana. Also, in San Francisco, visited my future wife before she headed back to Boston, and then to Indiana where we married a year later. She passed away in 1996.
I remember Major Simanski. He had recommend me for the ACM, which I received a few months after I was discharged. I do not remember the names of the 2 sergeants in G-2 nor the Lieutenant’s name. (Approaching age 80, that might be a reason, or at least an excuse.) I do remember a SP6 Parsons in G-2. I do remember the 2 senior advisors–Lt Col Cushman and Col Kiersey. Also remember a Roy Cook, David Butters, and SP5 Bob Baden.
Bob Baden and I collected money on paydays for the Bac Lieu orphanage, and visited it monthly.
Bob Baden was career Army, but took a discharge at Oakland, worked as a civilian with the Dept of Army while attending U of San Francisco (a Jesuit university?), was ordained a priest in the Rapid City SD diocese, before returning to the Army as a Chaplain, retiring as a Captain. In South Dakota, he served in Buffalo, Wall, and Lead, and was a “circuit priest” in some small western SD parishes.
My family and I kept in touch with Fr. Bob over the next several decades. My wife and I (Lutherans) asked him to be our son’s baptismal sponsor in 1970. To this day, our son says he “has a REAL GODFATHER”. My current wife, who considers herself a “recovering Catholic” me Fr. Bob about 20 years ago. Told Bob and me, that if he’d been her parish priest, she’d probably still be a Catholic.
Last summer, I no longer heard from Fr. Bob. In December, I found he had passed away on September 12, 2018, in Ballinger Texas.
Hope to hear from anyone else of that era (1963-1964).
Lake Havasu City AZ
Hi Ed, I was there from May 63 to May 64, with the 73rd Aviation unit. Lived in the old French Mansion on the river. The other 73rd enlisted guys were Ralph Fint, Chuck Burkhardt, and Bill Caruthers. Our pilots were Phil Bauer, Magnus Lindsay, Dave Rooks, David Dresser, and Adolph Catulan. Not sure all the spelling is correct. In the last few years I have found, and talked to, Dave Rooks, and Ralph Fint.
Last heard from you, Harry, back in August. The names Burkhardt and Caruthers are familiar, but can’t place faces (which probably changed almost drastically since 1964, you’d think). Edd Braun
Just saw my note back to you last August, and had completely forgotten about it. Duh ! Getting old is a bitch.
That’s okay, Harry. I’m 79, so get to watch a lot of old TV reruns, and might remember them by the time the show is over….or not. It’s good though to have a dialogue with someone in my life more than 50 years ago–whether faces and details are still remembered. And getting older is supposed to be better than the alternative. Edd
Hello Harry and Ed,
Just saying hello to two old guys from another old guy. I hope you both are well and living a good life.
Hello, Chuck and Harry.
No choice but to be old guys 55 years after “livin’ the good life” in Bac Lieu, where the airport runway was 2 feet above sea level during dry season, 2 feet below sea level during wet season. (Or that’s what the Airport sign informed all who entered there.) I remember seeing large fish (mostly carp) during a monsoon rainstorm flopping sideways across that runway, being killed by Vietnamese guards using clubs.
I turn 80 in October, and have lived in Lake Havasu City AZ since about 2003. It’s 104F today with 10% humidity.
Do you remember SP5 Bob Baden who worked in Div HQS there in 1963-64? Became a priest, retired several years ago, and passed away last September in south Texas. He had rejoined the Army after becoming a priest, and was a chaplain until he served 20 years or so. Lived most of his time in South Dakota, mostly Wall, Lead, Rapid City. He’s the only one stationed there with whom I kept in touch.
Several of us used to play basketball in the courtyard of the French Mansion on the river/canal.
Edd Braun, G-2, June 1963 to July 1964
Hello Edd and Harry,
Yes, I feel fortunate being this old. I’ll be 75 this Dec. I’ve had a good run since Bac Lieu, in general. I own a small home in Prescott, AZ and have the homestead in Norco where my wife and I raised five children. We go back and forth, but soon need to settle somewhere for the final ride.
Very nice running across this site. Old names pop up and now here you guys are.
Have a great Fathers Day and be good to yourselves.
Just Old Chuck
Yes, Chuck, we can all feel fortunate being this old. I’ll be 80 in October, and still pluggin’ away. Living in Lake Havasu City AZ after careers in Cincinnati, Denver, and St. Louis. Enjoying the good life, even when it’s 110F+ here and 10% humidity. You might consider LHC, Chuck. Great place for veterans. Worth a try. Edd
Hey buddy this is Jim Lovelace. We were in the same hooch. I was there March 67 to March 68. Worked in admin. I’m in Columbus, NJ and doing fine.
I remember you Mike. Were you from Ohio? My name is Dave Riebau. I don’t remember names well, but Mike Sutton was in our hooch and I remember Sargent Mahoney sitting in a blow up kiddie pool. I was there until August of ’67.
Mike Sutton worked in the radio bunker next to me. He had the “heavy” gear and even I was not allowed in that portion of our bunker. I think m
Mike is an author…well at least one book…and I have connected with him a few years back. Google him and look for him as an author and you will likely find him. Steve
I thought Sutton was from Chicago. I’ve tried to make contact years ago but no luck. After I got out, I got married and divorced pretty quickly and she took my address book. Just a female thing, or I would have had numbers and addresses. I don’t remember you Steve, but that was a long time ago and I’ve lost some brain cells along the way.
Hi Dave, good to hear from you. After all those years my memory is not good at all. I can’t remember faces , But when I see a name it
Rings a bell in the back of my head. Your name was one of those a-ha moments. So I do remember your name especially your last day. Did you work in G2? I think I remember Mike Sutton? Wasn’t hehe a very large person with short red hair Who worked in the signal bunker? Where are you living now? Are there any plans for Team 51 to have a reunion ? Good to hear from you my friend, stay in touch.
I was in G2 and yes Sutton was large and not sure about the color of his hair. I live in Ohio and for some reason thought you lived in Akron. Do you remember when we cooked the fresh water crabs with Sgt. Maloney? Someone was sent 2 boxed pizza’s and we made them with some oven thing made of bricks. We didn’t have oil so we used gun oil. Good to hear you are hanging in there.
Hello Dave, sorry for the very late reply!.I Believe you trained me in G2 prior to you leaving.yep I remember Mahoney and also that pizza! When I came back home to Akron I got married Then moved to Florida.I became a Christian at that time,(I know I had a mouth of a sailor)But God has a sense of humor,thank God)! I began working with a Christian org. Called YoungLife, I began to work with black gang kids? Keeping them in school, tutoring,finding jobs,providing adequate housing ,teaching a Bible study and taking them to camps for the summer! All the while finishing up a B.A.degree.then we moved to Atlanta Ga.to go to Emory University for a Masters Degree in theology.graduated in 1996 then was appointed to pastor in Ga.Retired in 2018 moved to the Ga Mtns .stayed there for a while, then moved back to Ohio this past September , we now live in Stow Ohio. Give me a call770-815-2682 maybe we can get together. Great to here from your Dave.
I’m happy that you made it home and had a remarkable life. I know God watched over me too and I didn’t deserve it. I wasn’t worried about anything back then and when I got home I didn’t feel like I belonged their either. But that was long ago. Thanks for the reply and I got your number. I live in Norton, so we are pretty close.
Hello my name is Hank Petrucci and Mike was our team chief when I joined that team around sep ‘66. We worked in the com bunker radio teletype. I took over team chief until around sep ‘67 when I rotated home. Yes, mike had red hair.
Mike was the only person I ran into After Vietnam, at an ibm class in downtown Rochester ny, He was giving a presentation on an ibm software product. I was working for Xerox at the time as an SE.
Currently retired in Florida.
Hank, this is Jim Lovelace we were in the same hooch, Tom D’Anna, Warren Stapleton, Jim Beavers. I was in the Admin section. From New Jersey and still here. I remember you were from New York made Long Island if my memory is correct. I was in Bac Lieu March 67 to 68. Now retired in NJ and Florida in winter. Would like to hear from you. Jim Lovelace
Hello Jim, we were usually a 3 person team, accept when one of us became a short timer, then we got a 4th person as a replacement. I remember warren because I recommended him as the next team chief. I think Jim was from Kentucky and was also on our team. I really don’t remember who the replacement was, unless he was Tom.
I remember our hooch had one person that ran the airfield, and one our PX.
I think I remember you Jim but it’s been a long time. It’s great to here some familiar names. We had the only hooch with a bar. I think we had a local build it for us for around $50. Somewhere in these chats I seen a picture of mike Sutton sitting at our bar. I didn’t recognize the other person.
Yes I was the one from NJ and besides Admin I ran the PX for awhile. Can’t remember how long I ran it. I remember you, Stapleton, Beavers and myself sitting outside the hooch in chairs. Yes, we had the bar. Gets tough to remember something’s anymore. I do remember the Vietnamese lady that had the shop in the PX building, her name was Betty. Jim
Just a quick hello incase you remember me. I remember you and I remember the party we had when Sutton left. I have a picture of you with a Vietnamese hat on as we were all acting the fool and having a good time that night. Jim Lovelace, Mike Nickolich, Mike Sutton, Warren Stapelton. I remember Lt. Benning too and when he made 1st LT. There was another LT that came in but I don’t remember his name. He was a 2nd LT and was going to replace Benning when he left.
Hey Hank…do you remember me? Steve Leighton…in the commo bunker attached to your bunker. I was an RTO on the other side of the sand bags from you in your teletype van. We used to shoot the bull most of the night to kill time. Later on, I replaced SSG Ken Hargrave on the Ranger Team. If you recall, Ken was KIA in February, 1967…Dan Chi 279 near Can Tho. After joining the Rangers, I did not have much time to hang around the bunker anymore. Seems to me you may have been on duty in Feb. ’66 when we got mortared for several nights. If you remember me, drop me a line. I went back to Bac Lieu in 2007 and could barely recognize much of it. The old water tower is still there and has not changed, but everything else…well that is another story. Best…Steve
Well you guys had the only coffee pot, and teletype didn’t work that great at night. I could get quon tre up by the Dmz but not soc Tran 50 miles away.
I didnt get to bac lieu until sep ‘66, so I missed your mortar attack, but we had enough later on. Thanks for puff the magic dragon to stop those attacks. A remember hearing about a ranger that was a radio operator that was back for another tour and was kia out on patrol. Not sure if I knew him but r.i.p to him. Thanks for the update on bac lieu base.
Huge!! I remember we gave you a lot of flack. We actually didn’t believe you were undercover. I also served fro Aug 67 – Aug 68. I remember, Bill Ballou as well as Ed Ward and Jan DeGorgio. We were “targeting specialists”, and actually disseminated intel reported by the troops, civilians, air support, etc. The last four months of my tour, I was the projectionist for the officer’s club.
I was there at that time, but spent all my time with the Rangers. Did not know many of you at base camp in Bac Lieu. Does anyone remember a guy buy the name of Pat Lewis…a buck SGT from the 101st that did compound security? He was one of my best friends and extended in VN to get an early out. I DO NOT remember a pool!!!
Hi Ken, it is great to see your post. The last I saw you,Ed or Jan you guys were over to our trailer for dinne. Do you ever hear from Ed ou Jan?
Unfortunately, NO. My wife and I were in York, PA with some youth on a Mission Trip, but it has been so long, no one ever heard of Ed.
Up until today, I was unable to find anybody. Today I happened to Google, Ad. Tm 51, and found this post by Hugo. This is the first contact I have had with anyone since August of ’68. How are the wife and kids?
Marge is doing pretty good, we have a daughter that is a teacher and our son followed in my footsteps and is a cop. Before we left ft Bragg I heard Ed re-uped and went back to Nam. It’s funny, yesterday I was thinking of the 4 of us. Other than being In Nan and TET, the 4 of us sure got along great
Remember the Apian Way Pizzas that were sent to me and we got the cook to let us use the oven one Sunday afternoon?
THAT was almost heaven!
How about Ed Ward I was there with you
Hi Ed, are the Ed that was in G2 67’68. Did.you bunk at the end of the hooch with me?
Hi Ed, were u on G2.67-68. Lived in the hooch at the end with me?
Ed. I also have a FB group for us MACVTeam51. Welcome to join us
Hey, Ed! Was in York awhile back & no one had ever heard of you.
I can believe that, I left Jan 9, 1967 and
Have not lived there since. I still have
A few friends there . All the family has
I am now in N. Canton, Oh, Where are you?
Where are you now. I am still in Ohio.
I live in Las Vegas
Wondered what happened to you. Had yourlast name mispelled. You re from Mansfield and dad was a minister right?
I started a MACV team 51group on Facebook where we can share pix welcome to join us there too
Just a little confused, Hugo. I was from Massillon, and I had aspirations for the ministry. “I got that project” sidelined for a while, but am now pursuing that line of work, as we speak. For the last ten years, I have doing Pulpit Supply in the Northeast of Ohio. (Filling in when the pastor is on vacation or otherwise “out of town”. I retired from school custodian in Nov. of 09, and for the last 6 months I have been ‘long term’ supply at a church in Sandyville, Ohio.
Hello, first and fore most, thank you all for your service. Please forgive me for my ignorance on military lingo as my father (Charles H. Smith Jr.) would not allow me to serve in the military. Also, he will not speak much about his time over in Vietnam. I saw this site and just thought I would ask if any of you knew him? I don’t know much but I will throw out what I do know and see where it gets me. He was a Sergeant and was in BAC LIEU 68′-69′.
sorry I don’t. I only really knew the 6-8 MI group I worked with, and that said, spent most of my uniform time at command posts in the field, and the undercover work in civies with the VNese people. I also have a FB MacV Team 51 group that supports pictures.
Hi, any one in Team 51 in 69-70 when I was there… Frank Burner
I WAS THERE 67-68 SO YOU SWAM IN MY POOL THAT I PROCURED.
I was there at the same time. I was one of the Air Force guys. I worked with Cpt Long in G-2/3 Air.
Remember him. Didn’t know anyone swam in that pool. And supplies for the pool didn’t survive Tet.
I also started a Team51 Facebook group. You’re welcome to visit there too.
POOL??? Not during my time!
Dec 67 to Dec 68. I never saw a.pool
it was right outside the fence, on the south side (I think) of the team compound. It was unfit to use. I do have a slide of it.
I too, was unaware that there was a pool. I also don’t remember you. Did you stay at the compound?
There in September 1969 for one year – Team 51
My name is David Williams. I ran the Postal Unit in Bac Lieu from Jan 1970 till mid Nov 2970 then was transferred to Dion
Hi Dan, I am Kevin and was born in Bac Lieu 1971. I believe my dad is an American because of my appearance, and I have never met him. I was given up for adoption when I was around 3-5 years old, so I don’t know my biological mother too. I am currently living in Northern California and have been in the state for some 30+ years. I have lately has the urge and desire to find my biological dad, so after surfing the web, I came to learn about Team 51 in Bac Lieu. I don’t know what to do from here. Do you have any suggestions? – Kevin.
Dave…Bud Ingle here. In charge of Shotgun Tower at Bac Lieu airfield. I have a picture of you sitting in a Bird Dog airplane. I received last minute instructions to pack up and head for Can Tho to clear out and head home one afternoon. Didn’t even have time to look you up and say so long. Glad to know you made it home ok!
This is Bill Rutledge. I was assigned to Team 51 from October ’68 until September ’69. My assignment as a captain was as G-4 advisor to the ARVN 21st Infantry Division. But I did a lot of other stuff. And I have not been able to locate many of my good friends from that time in Bac Lieu. I am a lawyer in New Albany, Mississippi, if anyone responds. Everybody called me “The Judge.”
Thank you Sir for your service. My father Major William James Elsten served on team 51 at the same time as you. If you knew him I would love to hear stories.
Do you remember Captain Eric R Petersen?. He was with Air defense Artillary unit? He was in Bac Lieu at approximately the same time you were there?
He moved to MACV Unit in Cantho Viet Nam in Mid 1970’s
I guess I was just leaving as you got there. I was FIGMO. Check out Team 51 FB page too.
I was assigned toTeam 51 from May 69 May 69 to May 1970. I was the Admin NCO and CPT DeWitt Vance was the Adjutant. He was later replaced by 1LT McMillan when he died in Dec 70. I was a Staff Sergeant during that time and retired as a Master Sergeant working for the DCSOPS at the Pentagon.
Hi, I was there the same time 69-70. I was the radio man in the Command bunker, at 1st I was at the security guard
Anyone out there that had Thanksgiving dinner with Martha Rae?? 1965.
Sent from my iPhone
Yes I do I was radio and rely operator at that time and just a e-3 then She not only went to officers club but spent a lot of time with the enlisted men. Martha Rae took names and phone numbers of all of that were their at that time and when she got back the States she not her staff called and talked to our parents or wife’s to tell them we were still safe I doing our duty. My Dad and Mom got the call from Her and couldn’t believe it that someone had seen me alive and doing well under what we were going thru. My Dad and many of my uncles all have serving in WW2 and Korea thought this was great and unselfish act of kindness by her. I understand that She held the as a full Bird Colonel after WW2. I have gone on way to long however as you can see she made an impression on me Sgt. Mike
She sent my brother a derby hat from Hollywood. He wore it tending bar in the enlisted men’s club. His name was Sergeant First Class Joseph Powers of Worcester Massachusetts. He was mentioned in her biography “Maggie And Me” and in an article in Stars and Stripes.
Gosh. I think the Sarge that went out on operations was a Sgt Powers. He rode in the Jeep ahead of us. Let me know if this is the man. Was a nice guy. How’s he doing ? I was AF he was Army.
He died in 2010. He retired from the army in 1969 after 21 years. He retired to Salinas California and went to work as a civilian at Fort Ord until the 1990s. He was 14 years older than me and was my hero growing up. He was larger than life and always had a story to tell or a card trick to show. Besides Martha Raye, he showed me pictures of him with James Garner and Arthur Godfrey at Bac Lieu. He was a medic and told me a story of VC sniper trying to kill him. He showed me the bolt action rifle that the sniper used. It was the last time that the sniper ever shot at anyone.
Hey Dan…the more you talk about your brother it comes back to me. I do remember him and spent many hours with him in the club…before my time with the Rangers. He was a good guy and looked out for several of us. May he RIP! Steve
Thank you Steve. He was a good man. He spent his spare time near the end driving other veterans to the VA Hospital in Palo Alto from Salinas where he lived.
Happy New Year old man. We need to talk. It has been over 50 years. My email is email@example.com. Hit me there and I will swayp phone numbers with you.
Hello Sgt Mike. I’m not sure I remember you, but I was there for Thanksgiving 1965. Was Spec 4 at the time and worked in Team 51 admin office. Martha Rae was really special. I think in July or Aug she came down to Bac Lieu for a little rest for about a week. I had the privilege of giving she and her entourage a private viewing of the film Cat Balleau in the officer’s club.
I was at the dinner that you speak of. Was an E4 AF radio repairman. Never heard of Martha calling relatives and as far as I can remember she never asked for my phone number nor did my mom ever get a call from her. Where you at the New Year’s Eve party that year. Never can forget it. Also did you go out on any of the operations with the 21st Rangers? You’re the first guy I’ve run into that was there when I was.
Yes please! And if possible add team21
Did that, BTW
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/
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
Sorry wrong year 12/70 to 12/71 for me.
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
Hi Ellen – my e-mail is: Harry.firstname.lastname@example.org. We have lived in the town of Boquete, in the country of Panama for the last seven years. Feel free to contact me any time
Hello, Harry. I did not remember your first name, but remember “Halbert”. Of course, the Army “labeled” us with name tags, last name only. I live in Lake Havasu City AZ since about 2003 and “summered” in Indiana, then Flagstaff AZ, before full-timing it here in Havasu. If you or anyone of the 1963-64 era would like to contact me, my email address is email@example.com. Hope to hear from at least a few “old men” out there.
I new a Sargent Major .we called him Mack? Anybody remember?
Hello, Harry. I was in Bac Lieu from mid-June 1963 to late July 1964. Didn’t remember your first name, but somehow remember your last name. Of course, we knew almost everyone by their last name–must be the name patch on our fatigue shirts. Right now, cannot place a face either. I remember the French Manson on the canal (or maybe it was a river). Had a one lane bridge a 1/2 km to the west of the “barracks”. Two of us used to cross that bridge to deliver money collected from GIs on payday for an orphanage almost directly across the canal from our “barracks”. Trying to remember other names there. Worked for Major Simanski, and with SP6 Parsons, and a Lt plus couple of Staff Sgts (can’t remember the names offhand after 54 years)–imagine that. Others remembered there at the time were a Roy Cook and a Dave Butters, plus current friend Fr. Bob.
I must have known you as I was there at the same time. I remember a guy from the 73rd who had black curly hair, pretty friendly guy, but I can’t remember his name. I think there was 3 or 4 of you right? I was with the 39th signal bn, in the commcenter near the officers quarters. I lived in that old mansion (or was it a bank?) too, it was kind of funky when I got there but was remodeled later on.
Hello, Ellen. I remember Sgt Major Sheldon (dark rim glasses, too). He arrived in Bac Lieu after I arrived, and he replaced the Sgt Major (cannot remember his name) who rotated back to the states–I think Fort Knox KY. SMaj Sheldon was a good leader, and played no favorites, as long as one did his job.
I worked in G-1 (Intel) for 13 months, from mid-June 1963 to late July 1964, and prior attended Special Warfare School in Ft. Bragg NC (April to June 1963). Returned stateside early August 1964, had less than 90 days remaining on enlistment, discharged. Edd Braun
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.
Sorry Bob, after my time. Hope you are doing well. Best, Steve Leighton
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 .
Sorry to say our Steve K passed away from prostate cancer years ago. Ron
I was there at that time and font remember the same.
I was also there at the same time, working with G2/Air. I worked with a Capt Long. I wish we could exchange, or show photos.
I will look for picture, my e mail is
I’m the event you would like me to send you what I find.
I have sent you a photo to your private account. The world keeps getting smaller and smaller.
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.
Sorry Bill, don’t have a clue what they do/did with that stuff. Steve
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.
Wanted to pass some info along. Email me, email@example.com.
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.
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.
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.
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…
Do you mean in the photos I am looking at, Mr. Gillespie?
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!
Well, one of the photos is of a group of men….a few from Mobile Advisory Teams, a DSA, CDO, OPS Officer, DDSA, then two from Phenix….Lt. Schaberger and Lt Turner….Turner is annotated DIOCC
This guy is writting a book about Pheonix and would be interested in your photo. firstname.lastname@example.org
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…
Thank you for your service. My dad was in CORDS he was an advisor on MACV TEAM 51 in Bac Leiu.
. He served there from May 1968 to January 1969 when he died. His name was Major William James Elsten. I have very little information as to what he was doing, or what his job was. I have been looking for information and trying to find someone who knew him. We were stationed in Taipei, Taiwan for a couple of years before he went to Viet Nam. His MOS was 2162-Operations and Training Staff Officer (G3,S3). I am not really sure what any of that means, but if you or anyone else reading this knew him I love to know more.
Pat, I met him once but we weren’t friends, and don’t know much about him.
My MACV Team 51 Facebook page is easier to use and has pictures. You might like to peruse that too. We can also chat more
Thank you for the reply . I believe I’m in the Facebook page as well . I just am not sure how to research this . Again , thank you for your service then and now . There is so much unknown about what exactly was going in in Vietnam, and I have always wanted to know more . I do know that my dad was fluent in many dialects of Chinese, and that when ve lived in Taiwan he was very accepted and honored by the locals . We traveled all over Taiwan with him and he always made sure we honored the customs and traditions of the local people. We as a society need to do more of this .
Sorry, don’t remember the name. Steve
I have what may be a dumb question…is a MACV the same as Mobile Advisory Team?
See above, starting with No
I have my Patty Rat Certificate. Never have framed but I think I will.
I have my Paddy Rat Certificate, framed, and loaned to the local Vet Center. Mine is dated July 1964. It’s quite an accurate tongue-in-cheek description about our “adventures” there in Bac Lieu and surrounding area. Do you remember the sign at the airport: It read “Bac Lieu International Airport; Dry season 2 feet above sea level; Wet season 2 feet below sea level.” Next to rice paddies, monsoon rains would raise paddies’ water level above the “metal plate” runway at the airport. Actually saw Vietnamese guards use clubs to kill large fish, mostly carp, flopping sideways across the runway. Extra food for the guards and their families.
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.
I still have my Paddy Rats certificate and lapel pin
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.
Hummm, I do not remember two of us there at the same time.
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.
I worked with the G2Air 67-68 as the AF FAC intel guy. Your name is familiar
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?
I was an analyst I did dagger teams with Lt Lakin and VCI for cpt Schnitzer as well.as some G2 air
Bill Ballou I was there Oct 67 to oct 68 I remember your name
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.
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
I live in Palm Harbor, Fl which is just west of Tampa, fl. Can I be kept in the loop of the reunion location plans?
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
Yes, thank you
excellent idea, I have many photos that my Dad brought back from the early 1960s that I would like to scan and upload, one of them is with Raymond Burr who was visiting at the time
Hello again, Ellen. When returning from Saigon to Bac Lieu after a dental appointment in 1963 or 1964, I saw Raymond Burr at Soc Trang airport (if I remember the location correctly). He was there to see the troops, and spent as much time as possible with each. Many pictures were taken with each troop’s camera. Played Perry Mason and Ironsides in TV shows.
Excellent idea for the facebook page, much easier format, plus easier to find for those searching. I have several photos that my dad brought back I would love to upload, one of Raymond Burr (Perry Mason, Ironsides) visiting the troops
Good idea. Count me in! Biet Dong Quan Sat!
Go for it! Steve
Seems like it might be easier to stay in touch and share information, pictures.
I was with Adv Team 51 from 11/64 to 2/66 ( I extended tour in order to get out upon return to US.)
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
I was there at the time but the name doesn’t click. Was he a large stocky guy with gray hair?? I remember a sgt/major of that description.
Bill (and Ellen), that was Sgt Major Sheldon you described. He relieved the prior Sgt Major (sorry, can’t remember the earlier one’s name) who was reassigned to Ft. Knox KY stateside.
Yes we posted a picture of my dad in Vietnam on the Facebook page of this group. I will try to upload it here as well
I am not on Facebook. So forward anything to my email address email@example.com. Thank you.
Bac Lieu VN June1963-July1964
Sorry Paul. After my time. Keep posting though, things will sometimes surprise you.
Anyone out there that was at 51st during 65-66???
Sent from my iPhone
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
I remember you. I was 525 MI to Phoenix Program at Team 51. I was mostly in civies
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.
I worked with you. My name was Spec 5 Lloyd Swisher. You were a 1st LT. You and Lt Anderson were 2 of the best officers there. I got out, went to Purdue ROTC, got my 20 in and retired as a Major. Could not make LTC as they said I had too much enlisted time and they could stretch me out to retirement but would have to force some other Major out if I took the LTC slot. Was not happy about that but did earn 2 Masters degrees in education and then retired as a teacher. Got a 80% disability rating for agent orange issues, PTSD and hearing loss. Best of luck to you.
Lloyd…wrote you on LinkedIn
Also check our FB MACV Team 51 group
Good to hear from you after all these years. Send me your email address so I can bring you up-to-date on my end without cluttering up the Team 51 page. Mine is firstname.lastname@example.org I see Hugo Trux mentioned the Team 51 Facebook page. If you haven’t looked at it be sure you do as I’ve posted some photos on it from our time in Bac Lieu.
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.
If we could post pictures we would most likely remember faces faster than names
At our age our mind can probably connect quicker with pictures than names. I have to wear a name tag to remember mine.
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.
Do you have any pictures of the MACV compound. I was there in 1970 and would love see some pics.
I have a few maybe 1/2 dozen. I’ll gather up what I have.
Great my Email is email@example.com
You from Louisiana
Hi David, I was in G2 air from Dec 67 to Dec 68, I was an 96B. We had to have met. I worked for Lt Lakin on dagger teams and for SFC Cabell until I took his place
I was with team 51 from September 69 to July 70. I was a recon advisory with if I can remember 1st lieutenant Tyrell and Col Ewald .
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.
I was a bird dog crew chief in 1965 1966
I was Air Force type who flew with the FACs in 67-68.
I was in Ca Mau at the same time. You may have met our two FACs Ed (?) Garanowski and Charlie Lavorne
Yep…some people loved this war and made a bunch off it. Crooks!
I said thank you for your answer to my brother’s passing. He was my hero. He was 14 years older than me.
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
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.
Remember that night well. Did not know what Joe was doing…had my own tasks to deal with. Good for Joe…may he rest in peace! Steve
What do you say?
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.
I liked “33”. A few years ago I found some in a liquor store in Metarie, La. Didn’t seem to taste the same. No rice husk around the bottle. HaHa
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.
The other beer was Bier LaRue (unsure of spelling). “33” of course was “Ba-Muoy-Ba” meaning “Thirty-three”. I left Bac Lieu in July 1964. There was plenty of American beer and liquor at the EM Club in the French Mansion. However, many drank “33” and Bier LaRue at a local restaurant and bar called the “Milk Bar”. About a month before I left for the States, a canteen bomb was set off outside it. No GIs injured, but the owner’s family I heard had injuries.
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.
I will do some sorting through my photos to look for him. I cannot off-hand recall him.
I remember him. Great guy! Steve
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.
Sorry…that was long after my time. Wish I could help. Steve
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.
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?
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.
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
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
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 ”
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.
Sorry…do not recall the name Gannon.
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!
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!
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.
Yes Joe, I remember. I also remember the NILO who died tragically in his hootch.
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!
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
Before my time…sorry!
I was in Bac Lieu when Milk Bar was bomb imbed. I don’t remember hearing about civilian injuries or casualties.
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.
Did you see my last email? Did you wok in that como bunker? Thanks…Steve
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.
I think that was the time my dad was there. Sgt major Thomas Sheldon. Would you have known him
Did you know my father. Tom Sheldon. He was there in that time period as well
I knew a Hannon in the 39th in Bac Lieu….. was that you ??? Remember Sgt. Jordan ? You were the guy that told me that Estep had accidently shot Woolard ???
I was in Bac Lieu Jan 70 – Nov 70. I knew Col Felders & Jerry (Trees) Forrester.
The Paddy Rats shirt patch..I found mine, but do not know how to attach it to these replys.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
I got to Bac Lieu around the 10th of Jan 1970. I don’t the name. Of course I was very green then.
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.
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.
Sorry Karl…before my time. Thanks for your service. Hope your advisory experience was a great as mine. Steve
did anyone know sp4 cliff constantino he served with team 51 in 1969 as an interpiter
Sorry…after my time there.
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
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.
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.
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, 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?
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.
Steve , I was assigned to advisory team 51 in G2 from 66-67 . It appears that you were there the same time I was? After duty time, I was a bartender in the EM. I met with Robert Mitchum and he came back to hootch for more drinks,also the same with James Garner.do you remember a Lt.philip Benning who was also in G2 ? Been trying to locate him.
Hey Michael…good to hear from you. I must have known you back in the day…when not in the bush, we spent many hours in the club. Do not remember the officer you are looking for. The guys I remember were on the Ranger team. Sorry. Got and good pictures to share? Thanks…Steve
Greetings. In 66-67 I was with the 121st AHC at Soc Trang. We went up to Can To and picked up Robert Mitchum and his escort. We spent the day going around to every mud fort in the Delta I think. We would spend 20 min on the ground, Mitchum woukd drink a beer with the guys and we wound be off. We never did get a beer !!! LOL Was a fun day, I asked the AC if Mitchum could shoot my M-60. He burned up a couple hundred rounds and allowed as it was not like Hollywood. Those were the days.
Great story about hauling Mitchum around for the day! We did have some fun days over there! Anyone ever speak to a high school class about your experiences in VN? I have done that several times over the years for my niece/nephew and grandkids American History classes. Good stuff. Just did three classes last week and received 79 “thank you notes” from all the kids. Some interesting comments…all good! Should share some of your stories with our future generations! Steve
Here in Cambridge, Guernsey County Ohio. We have the Guernsey County Veterans Council. We provide Military Funeral Honors for Veterans. We do about 100 funerals a year. We get a two man/woman flag folding team for whatever branch of service we are doing the funeral for. Its a humbling experience every time I do a funeral and I be doing it for eleven years now. During Veterans Day week we attend school programs around the county, about nine I think. The school puts on a program and all vets are welcome to attend. There is hope for the future in those smiling young faces after all. The Council members all go in uniform and we explain what takes place at a military funeral and demonstrate how to fold the flag. Its a good day although shaking 300 grimy little hands can be as scary as an ambush, LOL. We have a website, Take a look. guernseycountyvetaranscouncil.com
ALL that is good stuff. Time to give some back…especially for the Vets! Happy Easter…God Bless!
Yes, it is good therapy. I have done it for History classes when I taught in the states and the same for AU history classes at schools I have taught in. In AU, it gives another perspective on the war.
A good mate of mine here, born the same year, served in VN the same years and as a real coincidence, was on the same R&R flight to Penang. We checked our diaries to be sure.
I remember Lt. Benning. He made 1st LT and another guy came in 2nd LT but I don’t remember his name. He gave me a slip of paper to call his wife in Cambridge Ohio and tell her I was with him and he was OK, I called her but she acted funny like I was scamming her and kept telling me I had the wrong number.
Dave, check the FB photos. I put one up with a photo of Mitchem at the bar. I was their at the same time, you may be in the photo.
I’m new here Bill, as I just found this site so I don’t know where to look on Facebook. I entered Adv team 51 and Bac Lieu. Where do I find the pictures on Facebook? Were you there when James Garner was there? Hard to believe people would come to such a small camp. If I knew where to post I could post a few pics of Bac Lieu. I was also in Soc Trang and Vi Than on operations. Thanks for the response.
Type MACV Team 51 in FB search engine
Hi, I think you have a reply from Hugo with instructions. I was also there when James Garner came through. I was sick, but he sat with me to have a chat. I have his autograph. Do you remember Jonathan Winter’s visit.
Well here goes, I was there March 67 to March 68. I remember 1st Sgt. Mack, Col. Mckenna was CO. I was in the hooch with Jim Beavers, Hank Petrucci, Warren Stapleton and Nickalich. I remember you Dave and Sutton. Also, SFC Jim Ayers. Also, James Garner and Chuck Connors visit and Martha Rae. Those were the days. I was in Admin. Also, kind of ran the PX. Jim Lovelace from NJ.
Hi Jim. This is something else after all these years. I remember you and also Chuck Conner’s coming. You had been trained as a massage therapist as I recall before the military and had to work on ladies with sore muscles. Poor guy. ha! I appreciate hearing from you and I remember Petrucci. Do you remember the bunker party we had for Uncle Ho? Someone made a poster with a picture of Ho Chi Minh and a candle on his head with the wax melting down his face and the sign said Happy Birthday Uncle Ho. We sat in the bunker drinking because we were suppose to get hit that night, but it didn’t come until about a week later. That was crazy and funny. Good to hear from you.
Dave, your absolutely right. I remember the Uncle Ho party and man did we drink. I have pictures at home of you and Jim Beavers at our bar in the hooch. Another guy was Tom D’anna from California. Where are you living now Dave? Great to hear from you. Jim
I have a picture of you at the hooch bar too. We got a case of small bottles of champain (sp?) someplace. We had a ferret in there too. Jim Beavers I know and I would never have gotten Bob Meandor’s name. He gave me his address and said to look him up in Cincinnati Ohio and he would introduce me to Connie. She still looks good, but all the old chicks do. lol… I live in Ohio west of Akron. I was married twice. First time to a girl from PA and now to a girl from WVA. Both times the in laws were out of state and that worked out good. Where did you settle down?
Settled in New Jersey. Right now in Florida for the winter. This year is our 50th wedding anniversary.
Wow, congrat with 50 years. I’m working on 41 years so I’ll never catch you. Not many people make it 50 years. Many don’t even get married now days. You are lucky to be in Florida for the winter.
Dave, I remember Connie Smith’s brothers name, Bob Meador. Jim
I remember Johnathan Winters and he was late getting there but now I wonder why a man like that would even bother coming to such a small camp. I really give him credit. Same with Chuck Conners and James Garner. Your name sounds familiar and I know that I know you, but can’t place you. I’ll have to dig out some photo’s. Boy, now days we could have taken more pic’s and not a problem to get them developed like when we were in.
Hi, I was the AF intel guy who worked with the AF FAC’s.
Did you know my brother Joe? He was there at the same time as you and tended bar in the enlisted man’s club too. He wore a gay nineties costume when tending bar. Martha Raye sent him a derby hat to wear when tending bar. His name was Sgt 1st class Joseph A. Powers from Worcester Massachusetts. He was in the army for twenty one years, he retired in 1969 and went to work at Fort Ord in Monterey CA.
I do not know him. I drank alone in my hooch every night as I didn’t care for the club. I know Mike Nickolich because he lived in my hooch, and he worked at the club. Sgt Maloney was a Sgt. First Class and I don’t remember any others as there wasn’t many of us. A major, a captain, 2 LT’s. Guys came and went but we never had many Americans as we lived on the ARVN compound. I remember Connie Smith’s (country singer) brother was in another hooch, but I don’t even remember his name. I think we called him Boob, so it may have been Bob. His last name wasn’t Smith and he got tapes from Connie from her concerts. She talked like a letter and then they had songs on real to real tapes. I was young and just doing my time. I drank all I could and didn’t make allot of friends. I would do it different today.
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
I would like to post photos also. I have one of the MARS station after a mortar attack in 1967.
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!!!)
I’m leaving out names four now, did she marry him in Back Lieu , if it is the same person, I attended their wedding
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.
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?
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 email@example.com If you send me an email, I will email the picture to you.
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”.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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
I worked with CPT Vance. And the guys name was Jerry Forrest
Frank and Thomas,
This is Bill Rutledge in New Albany, Miss. If you mean Cpt Joe Vance, the MD, he and I were really close friends at Bac Lieu. I was with the G-4 Advisor bunch, but Joe and i ran around together; as far as one could run in Bac Lieu. I also remember Forrester, who was enlisted, and we all called him “Tree.” No idea where Tree is, but Joe Vance is an orthopedic surgeon in Owensboro, KY. I communicated with him for a year or so after we returned but have not heard from anybody on Team 51 in a long time.
I was on the team from December 2, 1970 thru December 2, 1971. Originally worked in the team orderly room but Col Joseph Ross Franklin had me replace Major Jesse Alexander who was KIA in April 1970 so I was advisor to the 3/33 RCAT. Sorry I don’t know anybody outside of that time frame. CSM SENECHEK was KIA while flying with Green Delta 747 the Senior Advisors Helicopter and the renamed the Bac Lieu base after him before the unit went North in December 1971.
Ronald, Did you know my grandfather SMAJ John Senechek? I have a big collection of photographs and the only reference i can find to “Senechek Firebase” is a picture of the gates that an officer sent back to my grandmother. My understanding is that there was a bullet ricochet from ground fire in the cabin while riding with the doors off. That’s as much as I know about his service since none of his 6 children like talking about that incident. I have found a LEgion of Merit in his shadow box and I’m curious if this was posthumous or given before his death.
I have multiple pictures of him at the MAC-V compound including a Christmas 1970 photo of him and other soldiers enjoys beer and relaxing. I will be sure to share them with the group once i make another trip to my mothers house.
Hi, was there 69-70,. Frank Burner Spec 4
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hello, again, Harry…. You mentioned the L-19’s assigned to support the Vietnamese 21st Inf Div. Major Simanski was head of G-2 at the compound. I worked for him. Sometime in 1964, the Major was being flown in an L-19 which crashed in a rice paddy next to the Bac Lieu Airport. He was injured, flown to Saigon, and later returned to duty in Bac Lieu. I was on the first shift (along with a radio man) sent to guard the upside down crashed L-19. I was not relieved until 12 hours later. The L-19 was eventually retrieved. Because of that, the 1st Sgt (sorry, cannot remember his name) told me that I would no longer guard the L-19 on later night shifts. Sure was quiet out there. The moon was bright enough, so the plane was easily watched.
Hope your son is safe at home well before now.
I remember that plane crash. I took a picture of it.
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 .
Good Point Steve, No how many firefights the person that received it knew they earned it !
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 !!
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.
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?
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
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!
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
Soc Trang Pathfinder 67 to June 68, then Door Gunner on Viking Gunship 68 to June 69
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
I was originally stationed in Bac Lieu, then Ca Mau, then the UMinh forest as an RTO.
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 !
Do you remember a sp/5 Ron Martorana rto / tm 20 bac lieur
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.
does anybody know anything about kien long choung thien providence
That is a big question. What specifically are you looking for? Steve
Forgot to add, one of my students’ grandmother was from Bac Lieu.
Hey Bill…send me the name at my regular email and I will see if my guys remember her.
Hi Steve and other distinguished members of AT 51. I was the Air Force/FAC intel guy 1967-68. Great memories.
Back home again. Send me an email with your email. email@example.com
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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,
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)
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.
Paul, I have photos of our arrival in Vietnam and hopping rides down to Soc Trang! Looking forward to hearing from you. Email me at email@example.com
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.
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.
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?
I was with the 21arvn, but not with that regiment….I was the radio operator in the compound in Bac Lieu 68-70
Sgt Mike Zalewski, Bac Lieu 1968-1969. Do you recall a radio operator Richard “Bone Comb” Gannon?
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.
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.
I do not remember the names of people in the Ranger group.. I was the radio man & security guard at the 51 compound..
David….I did know Jerry Forrester. also I knew knew Col Knight & Felter. And Captain Vance.
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
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?
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.
Opps, my name is David Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org. Sent the last message to Frank
I was there 1970 worked for col e-all-in-one also SFC JONES MY NAME WALTER LEVASSEUR MAILING
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
Email is on the way. Thanks for the contact!
I was only in Soc Trang over night before being sent to Bac Lieu
Did you know Wayne Garber in Soc Trang ?? He was with one of the Inf Bat’s
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
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.
Contact me I have the roster for Viets in the 9th Cav also a few advisors
I have friends that worked with the cav. I will try and get them linked into this page.
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
I lived with three Marines in 1970. I was Army however they had no RTO for Naval gunfire so I filled in.
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!
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: email@example.com
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
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.
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.
Must have seen you sp/5 ron martorana
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.
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.
I was in bac lew from Dec 69 to dec 70.I was with division recon.
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.
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?
Team 20 was a CORDS team in Bac Lieu
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!
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.
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.
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?
Welcome Home, LOL Yes, please give me the 121st info. My Email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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.
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!
Can anybody scare up some pictures of SFC,SSgt Ralph R.Banks? Send to email@example.com This would mean a lot to us.
Steve, Ken Hargrave was my grandfather. Anything you can tell me would be great.
If Ken Hardgrave was KIA in Feb , I did not know him, since I didn’t arrive in Bac Lieu until Aug of 67.
OK…got it. I replaced Ken on the Ranger Team,
I served on Advisory Team 73 stationed in Vi Thanh, Chuong Thien Province in 1969-70, and am amateur historian on the province. Your grandfather was KIA in Chuong Thien. I do not not know the circumstances of your grandfather’s death, but I have a link to a report that was written by a Major with some knowledge of the operation in which he was KIA. The link is:
Did I talk to you before about Ken Hargrave? If not, I am happy to tell you what I know. Steve
SSG Ken Hargrave was KIA in February, 1967 on Dan Chi 279. I attended his funeral service at the Chapel in Bac Lieu and I have the after action report and know all the details of his death. I was not in the field that day, but when I replaced him on the Ranger Team, they gave me his jump boots. I had to replace his name in them with mine before wearing them. Not sure why they were never sent home with his personal effects, but that was not my call. He was with SGT Bob Lass on the day he died…who later became a CSM before retiring (so I’m told). I have never found Bob Lass, but have talked to people that knew him. I spent many days in the bush with him (Lass) on the Ranger Team. I see my Ranger Counterparts quite often…especially the one that lives close by me in MN. The other one lives in San Jose, CA, so I don’t see him as often. One more VN Ranger lives in Grand Rapids, MI that i have talked to on the phone, but have never made it over there to see him. If you want to give me a phone number or personal email, I would be happy to tell you what I know. Steve
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
I WAS IN BACLIEU FROM JUNE 1966-JUNE 1967.
Dr.Richard H. Short Ph.D.SFC ret Army combat vet. Came in from Thoi Binh July 66 must have passed by. Left for the states.
Do you remember a Major Jethro (Jeff) Davis? He was there until Feb 1967.
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.
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.
That I can recall we had no US or civilian KIA. There were ARVN casualties by the generals compound.
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.
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.
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
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 email@example.com.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Steve I live in Bloomington MN would like to see film of Bac Lieu that WCCO did.Thanks Bill
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?
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.
Ron- This is Bill Rutledge in New Albany, Miss. I was a Capt. on Team 51 during the time you were there and lived in a hootch near Lt. Dave Fritz. He was a really good friend of mine there at Bac Lieu even though he was not actually a member of Team 51. Dave moved back to his home in Lancaster, PA, where he had a CPA firm. I have lost contact with him, but would love to hear from Dave. He I know is retired, and probably is traveling somewhere, which he loved to do. He used to send summer sausage to me from PA.
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,
Sorry…before my time there. Good luck with your quest! Steve
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.
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!!
During June 1963 to July 1964, I took about an hour’s worth of 8mm film. First converted to VHS, then to DVD. Took too long to do the first conversion, so the colors had faded. The slides should look much better than 8mm. I didn’t see how good (or bad) my movie filming was until I returned to the States. After completing each “2-sided” 4-minute film, I sent them to the States for developing, and the results were sent to my family who viewed them and kept them until I was discharged and arrived back in Indiana. Thank all for your service….from another Vet to all Vets.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hi Charles. I did just see your reply and sent a message via gmail. My apologies as I let life take over…lol I included a few photos that my brother copied over from slides.
I served there a year previous to the milk bar attack. I knew the family that ran it very well. Were any seriously injured ???
Well hello you guys, I was stationed in Thoi Binh when the milk bar blew, Jan 65- Jul 66
when there I was a Sgt E-5. SHORT was the last name. Any Memories?
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.
Remember the The Col’s call sign….. BULLMOOSE
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.
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.
Thank you Steve.
My name is sp/5 Ron martorana team 20 bac lieu 1968 69, Part timer to and clerk typist. Ronaldmartorana@yahoo.com. Welcome home
to anyone who remembers SFC Ralph Banks , please contact me , he was my step dad. i would like to hear your stories..thank you
thats my email thx
hello steve , please contact me when you have some time . SFC ralph banks was family(step father) and i am curious to hear what his life was like serving with your unit email@example.com best regards
My father, Jim Kelly was an AF FAC, O-1’s about when you were in VN. I’d like to hear about your time their during the war and subsequent.
Jim Kelly (Jr)
Hi, Jim. My dad, Jethro “Jeff” Davis was there about same time as you. I believe he was a major at the time. Do you know him?