Team 58 Vi Thanh – Chuong Thien

MACV Team 58 – Vi Thanh – Chuong Thien

This Page is intended for the discussion of the Military Assistance Command Vietnam Team 58 located in Vi Thanh – Chuong Thien.

56 thoughts on “Team 58 Vi Thanh – Chuong Thien

  1. I was with TM 58 in Vi Thanh 3/31st (asst. Bn Advisor 1st Lt Bill Lewis) from late Dec 67 until I was wounded in March 68. I lost all my notes from my time there and do not remember the Regimental Advisor or the ARVN commanders during my time there. I returned to the BN in mid April of 68 and in May transferred as Sr. Advisor to the 1/9th ARVN Cav Tm 51 in Bac Lieu. I was with them until early Dec. 68. The Sr advisor to the 3/31st was Cpt Frederick W. Harris. H was wounded during Tet after we took back CanTho University and were chasing the VC out of the area. The two Sgts. with the Bn were SFC Joe H Thorn who was wounded during the same engagement and SFC John Bethea, who rotated out around mid Sept. 68. If anyone has any information on any of these individuals after they left or the Reg. Advisor, please let me know

    • Bill, I left Vi Thanh in Oct 1967. Spent an entire year there. However, I cannot remember any of our group that was still there.
      Good luck. Terry Montei Ret. LTC

  2. Excellent synopsis by Colonel Short. It cleared up a lot of what I was told by the 2/31st soldiers and officers when I was with the unit in 1966 and 67. Thanks for the great detail.

  3. This message is for Colonel Short: If you were in Chuong Thien in 1964-65 then you must know something about 2nd Battalion 31st Regiment Captain King who was killed in an ambush in 1964 and his NCO MSG Johnson who was captured in the same ambush.
    The ambush took place at the road junction of the main highway going north to Can Tho with the local road going southerly toward Duc Long. The bad guys were the Viet Cong D2 Regiment.

    Will King, 2/31st 1966-67.

    • Will, saw your comment about Cpt King and MSG Johnson. Any relationship to you?
      I remember ole Duc Long, and the Desert Fox that was the Sr. Advisor there in 66/67.
      He was an Armor Maj Wagner. He raised cane with the then SR Advisor for Choung
      Thien about about his evaluation upon departure sometime in early 67. Ran into him in
      I Corps in 1971. He was a LTC at the time and SR Province Advisor. Made MG and was
      know as the one who reorganized HS & college ROTC. He has passed.
      Merry Christmas Will, to you and family. I remember you in Heidelberg when you made a
      visit. By the way, how was your second tour in CT—as you make a swift departure!*^etc
      Terry Montei

      • That Captain King that was killed in 1964 was no relation but our 2/31 soldiers who were in that ambush all spoke highly of King and Johnson. I got a very detailed walk-through of the ambush by the 2/31 battalion commander (Le Van Hung) together with exactly how Johnson was captured. We used that walk-through more than once to educate new soldiers on reaction techniques and it was quite successful; we never got ambushed but did trip up a couple of them.

        I read a number of intel reports about MSG Johnson who was captive in our AO with Lt Rowe, SSG Jackson and SFC Pitzer all the time i was with 2/31. In late ’67 Johnson was released by the VC because he was near death; they also released Jackson and Pitzer who might still be alive somewhere in the US. We all know about Rowe who was sprung from captivity later on in ’68.

        This is becoming too much information so I will stop here.

        • Will,

          I believe CPT King was with a CPT Kidd who were both KIA on 12/11/1964. Can you confirm CPT Kidd’s circumstances? Both King and Kidd were in some Special Detatchment from HQ, MACV at the time they reportedly were KIA. I had not heard about MSG Johnson being captured. It sounds like he accompanied CPT King? Would like to know more about this.

          There were several KIAs (CW2 Hargrove-pilot and SFC Lewis-5th SF) in Chuong Thien Province on 10/18/1966 trying (unsuccessfully) to rescue Nick Rowe.

          • John: I don’t know about Captain Kidd but the ambush at that road junction was a transforming event for Major Le Van Hung (later Brigadier General). So much so that he gave me a complete briefing on it on the ground. I think my name being the same as the other King may have prompted him. He presented King and Johnson as his advisory team so I can only assume that they may have been on the roster of some advisory team with a Saigon address; later we became individual team numbers in the provinces and battalions…just a guess.

            As for MSG Johnson, he came from Seaside, California, was very senior and older than the others in the POW camp. He became quite ill in late 1966 or early 1967, the witch doctors drilled holes in his skull to release the omens but it made him sicker. They decided to “release” him with SSG Jackson and SFC Pitzer; all 3 were transported by sampan out of the U Minh and up into Cambodia for onward movement to Ha Noi where they were released with ceremony. As I remember, Johnson died shortly after returning. I do know that Rowe, who was retained, became despondent and there was greater urgency to try to spring him.

            During my time in 66-67 there were several attempts made to get those 4 US soldiers. The operations involved special ops units and used 21st Infantry Division battalions for blocking, screening and flank security. One of those operations was just north of Vi Thanh village where Hargrove and Lewis were killed along with several of their Nung soldiers. My team listened to their final moments on the radio and walked through the area after the fight. In fact we also listened to a SP5 door gunner in Hargrove’s chopper as he described Hargrove’s grave condition while he (the SP5) was hiding up in a tree and able to observe the end of the fight. He would be an interesting guy to find.

            It was one of many poorly planned but similar operations that kept telling the VC that they must have some very important captives. On one such operation in the twin rivers area south of Vi Thanh our battalion (2/31) recaptured 68 Viet Nam soldiers who were released as we got close to the Americans. The sudden appearance of some of our unit’s former soldiers running out of the treeline just stopped the whole operation and allowed the VC to successfully escape across the river with the 4 Americans; our helicopter guys witnessed the escape but could not engage them for fear of killing the captives. Very sad day.
            .

  4. I am Albert Short, then 1LT, and served with ADV TM 58 in Vi Thanh from late SEPT 64 to SEPT 65, as Sector PSYOP/CA Officer and assisted with 2/31st Inf BN (ARVN). Went on to serve 30 years and retired Colonel, 1992. Now living in northern Virginia. 571-218-6690 cel

  5. Will, good to hear from you. Ole Vi Thanh was some place to be. Wasn’t Maj. Murphy the Bn Sr. Advisor? Never forget LTC Armstrong’s laugh. I remember seen you in Heidelberg in DCSLOG back around 1976,77. I believe your logistics leader was BG Reader? He was quite a dude because I dealt w/him through Col/BG Welch.
    You also relived VT I remember. 2 times around. Not a wonderful place to be.
    I retired in 1985.

    • Update on Captain Dennis Nicolas, KIA on January 15, 1967. I was with him as a 1/Lt Infantry when he was killed and I was the summary court officer that returned his personal belongings to his family. At the time we were in the 2nd Battalion, 31st Infantry, 21st Infantry Division; that battalion was extremely active due to the unusually competent and aggressive leadership of the commanders.

      About 15 years ago I found Nicolas’s daughter in Virginia and visited her to help her get some closure on a father she never knew.

      Terry: I remember you from the many visits I made to the MACV compound in Vi Thanh. Nice to see you are still kicking!

  6. Mike, Sorry I made mistakes I did not mean. I am on some pills that make changes.

    I recommend you look up: (1)TM 20, 21s ARVN Div Hq, Bac Lieu (Delta) Div Hq assigned(31 and 33 ARVN Regiments and Rnr Bn) . TM 58, Choung Province (Nick an I were in Vi Thanh same time; TM 59, An Xuyven Province (below Vi Thanh); TM 73 in Vi Thanh, Choung Thien Province -formed after TM 58 was deactivated;
    This may give you some leads on what you need.

    I will call you soon, maybe tomorrow, and I can make more sense. Let me know when is good time.

    Did you get a copy of Nick’s full data sheet? Terry

    • I want to correct two words I used a 15 June 2015 comment. There is a definite need to correct those word used in two places. Those words were “Bros” and “Bro”. They must be changed as soon as possible.
      First, I used “Bros” toward the last part of the text to describe how I got information sheets on those that were killed in VN (Data Sheets commonly available in the 1990s). This word must be changed to “Brothers”. They sacrificed their lives in valor for their country. They were truly Brothers and need to be so honored.
      Second, I closed the comment with “Bro”. Delete this word totally

      • Ops, TRM made a mistake on comment date referred to–comment date was 19 Jun 2015-not 15 Jun 2015. Some other typo dates, but the one just mention is essential. Also, I was gathering data on soldiers KIA that I knew or knew of.

  7. Mike, I believe you are a lawyer. Why is comment above “Awaiting Moderation?” If you know, I would like to know. terry Note: I live in Prince George, County, VA, email address is: tmontei@msn.com I just noticed the comment this morning.

    • Mike, I have reviewed the text of 19 Jun.
      I apologize for two words “Bro” used at the end of the text. The word “Brothers” is the proper word. It is much more meaningful and thoughtful of our Brothers that gave so much to this country. I used it poorly as a reference for me also.

      I do not know if someone else in the MACV organization is correcting the text or not. Could not determine how this was to happen considering the words “awaiting moderation”. I saw nothing wrong with the remainder of the text. I could NOT make the word correction.

      Call me if you like. 804-458-7115 LL; 804-586-2404 Cell

  8. Terry, thank you so much. Is there anyway for me to locate any of his close Team members too? Many thanks again.

    • Mike, Have you been able to get the Personnel Sheet on Dennis. If available, it covers almost all on him. I got them from http://www.no-quarter.org/cig-bin/details.cig. Got them in 1995, but they may not be available anymore on the net. I should have told about my source. Perhaps this data is available on the info sent to you some time ago from US Achieves. I think you have most everything on him-but this sheet is complete.
      I do not have a sheet on Dennis, unfortunately. This sheet would tell you where he was killed on 15 Jan 67 (the Province). I have tried to remember the province. I do not think is was Choung Thien. The VN 33 Regiment operated in other provinces in the lower Delta. His replacement may know. terry

    • Mike, I made a mistake to you in the past on Denis. Got the Virtual Was sheet from Fl. generated on him. Denis was killed in Chuong Thien Province–which I stated to you in a email before this e-mail. Bad memory on my part. Terry

  9. Trinh Le
    Mike Wilson, I was in Kien Long 67-70, you were youngest in team?.sorry I don’t remember you were wounded ?, do you remember Rocket connect got hit VC mortar and explored right on way get in administration district, MacV compound was collapsed in 1968, You bough the snake from Vietnamese solder and snake bite your finger then you killed him? I forgot Senor Advisory Major’s name? if you recall something please let me know!.

  10. Trinh Le
    June 13, 2015
    le_trinh1967@yahoo.com

    Hi Terry M.
    My name Trinh Le who was the Interpreter of Kien Long district Mac V team from 1967 -1970
    I remembered I reported you duty on 1967 ?. District chief that time was captain SU and after he left Major Dung came, 1968 District ‘s rocket connect got hit by VC mortar and explored destroyed all compound building. I escaped out Viet Nam by boat 1979 and came Texas Jan/1980 and now living at Fort Worth Texas. I would like my name on the team list. and would like to contact all partners of team year 67-70

    • Trinh Le, I was in Vi Thanh the years 1966-1967. Visited Kien Long on several occasions. I do not remember your name, but you should be able to make a team list (Districts part of TM 58 at that time) if you sign up. The VN soldiers and you were hard soldiers and did their job well. Maybe you can sign up to get messages. Terry Montei, Cpt, Vi Thanh, Mekong Delta.

    • Trinh Le, Some of the Americans you served with at Kien Long were: CPT Al Bundons (deceased), LT Al Miller (deceased), SFC Hershel Dick*, LT Geoff Lanning*, SP4 Don Dennison, SSG Harry Dwyer (deceased), MAJ Dave Hughes, LT Paul Kronheim*, SFC Harry Palmer, SP4 James Whaley*, and SP4 Mike Wilson*. I have contact information on those starred (*) names. Although I served in Vi Thanh from July 1969 to June 1970, I spent a week down at Kien Long in August 69 when I was sent down to repair the damage to the airfield caused by mortar or recoilless rifle fire.

      Remember, that the US Advisory teams in Chuong Thien Province were Team 58 from about 1965 to September 1968, after which time it was renamed Advisory Team 73.

      I have the names of approximately 425 military (mostly US, but several ARVN-mostly interpreters) and civilians who served in Chuong Thien Province. If you would like a copy of the list, please let me know.

      Our advisory group has held four reunions so far, and are planning one for next year (2016) in Washington, DC. I would enjoy talking to you and you can call me at 217.553.4498 .

      John S. Raschke

      • Hi John
        Thank you very much to let’s me know the information about Kien Long’s Macv team 58, yes I would like to have a copy of the list I may find all my friends these was not contacted after 1970.
        best regards. Trinh Le .

      • I was in the Advisory team 58 from #/67 till late 2/68. Left while TET offensive was still going on. A few close calls. I was the radio officer and youngest member of the team.

        I would love to have a copy of te list of people that served there. Some Great me were there while I was there. I’m living in Eagle
        IS so attending the DC reunions is not going to happen for me

        glennknudsen@yaoo.com

  11. I was at Choung Thien from Oct 66-Oct 67. As I said in previous msg., I was at Kien Long several times, remember a US Major (unk, District Chief; I was a Cpt at the time), and vaguely remember some action there–but can not place names or cbt actions of any significance. The Major (if you remember him) and Cpt you remember may help you to prove your case w/VA. Good Luck. t

  12. I just re-read your comment. When were you at Kien Thien District? The 68 could be in 1968 or the District Number at that time. Different time frame. Sometime paperwork is available to make your case.

  13. Sorry, I left CT in 1967 (oct). I was there from Oct 66 to Oct 67. I was familiar w/Kien Long–but out of my time zone. I do remember a Maj down there in my times. Good lusk. tmontei

  14. my paperwork says I was assigned to team 58
    I was in kien long 68
    does anybody know anybody or anything about kien long
    I was wounded by a mortar
    the major put me in for a purple heart
    I recieved it lost paper work
    does not show up on dd 214
    I need it for va hospital
    the only person I remember is
    captain Edward ( ted ) Alling

  15. Beware There was a Mats Team 58 in V thanh 1971-1972 A 2 man team 1 officer and 1 nco , with 5 Viets takeing the place of the American Mats !

  16. Karl Bitel and Don Sullivan,

    i have an extensive list of names (~430) and in some cases contact information on military and civilian personnel who served in Chuong Thien Province throughout MAAG/MACV’s involvement in the advisory effort. If you are interested in being added to the list, please contact me by e-mail. We are having an advisory team reunion this comiing November (2014) in Las Vegas..

  17. Mike, I do not know if he is alive or dead. I checked Counterparts, an organization of advisors of which I am a member, for his name. No luck. There were/was a Sgt or 2 also on the Regmt team. Forgot their names.
    Tough to loose a brother. montei

  18. Don, thank you so much. I have wondered for over 45 years how Denny died. He was like a big brother to me at VMI. Do you know where the records for MACV Team 58 might be located now?

    Mike Murphy

  19. An attempt to clear up Tm 58 some (maybe absolutely wrong but relatively correct). This Tm became Tm 73 sometime after I left in Oct 67.
    This team was formed abt 1964 out of 3-4 other provinces in the middle center of the Mekong Delta–and designated Choung Thien Province. This was to improve command and control.
    The VN/NVA never accecpted its provincal designation. ViThanh was the capitol–a rather primative town. Sub districts were Duc Long, Kien Long, Kien Thien, Long My-best estimate here. It was, by definition, the most insecure province in VN when I was there. Not much
    pacification outside of the lines of communication (a road and canals).
    Some key personnel–The Desert Fox, MG Robert Wagner; MG Hoisington–his sister, Elizabeth, was the first female GO not medical branch; LTC Lones Wigger (known as The Farmer)–perhaps the best small bore rifle shooter in US history (Pan Am games and Olympics)-ranks are highest I know, at the time Wagner was a Major, Hosiington a LTC; and Wigger a Cpt.
    Hopes this helps out.

  20. mike murphy,cap nicholas was killed during an operation in mid 67. his unit made contact and was under fire when he rose up on one knee to asess the situation and was shot in the head. that was the report we received at the compound.don sullivan vi thanh 12/66-8/67

  21. Hi Terry, I was in Vi Thant from 16 Dec 1965 to 25 Feb 1967. Part of that time I was based in Duc Long. I am the tall E-5 who was the Communications NCOIC for Advisory Team 58. I used to hang around the big radio bunker next to the mail room.

    Karl Bitel

  22. I am Terry Montei. I served in Advisory Team 58 from Nov 1966-Oct 1967. I was in Choung Thein Province, Vi Thanh. I knew Cpt Denis Nicholas who was an infantry advisor to the 31 Arvn Inf Reg, 21st Inf Div. He was killed on 15 Jan 67 in an operation that began in Vi Thanh but I am not sure where he was killed. Vi Thanh was in the most insecure province in VN. Denis worked for a Maj Murphy, who was the Sr Advisor to the Reg.

  23. I arrived at MAC-V Advisory team 58 in in Vin Phouc Vietnam 3/1967 and left about 10 days after the Tet offensive started in 1/30/1968. I served with SFC Les Haley, Sgt Bright Cpt. Newman, Major Wilfong (SP?) and Col Wright. I know there were other, but my memory is not that great so the names may not be spelled correct. I lost touch with all the fine soldiers I served with and under. It was a privilege to serve with these fine men. They made a huge impact on my life that I will be eternally grateful for the value they added to my life. Too bad the public didn’t understand all we were doing for them as they are now showing appreciation for the VETS returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

  24. Mike, the name Jim Waters is somewhat familar. I didn’t really know him, but I think I remember the name as someone who was an advisor to a unit of the ARVN 21st Inf Div who had passed through Vi Thant.

  25. I was with MACV Advisory Team 58 in Jan 1967 based in Vi Thanh in the Mekong Delta. I do not recall a Denis Nicholas nor do I recall any member of the team dying in the early part of 1967. I came home in Feb 1967.

    • Thanks brother. Denis would have been killed in 1965-66. You know Ranger Jim Waters, an E-6, maybe then?

      Mike

      *From:* MACV Teams [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com] *Sent:* Friday, February 14, 2014 6:20 PM *To:* mkmurph@mkmlaw.com *Subject:* [New comment] Team 58

      Karl Bitel commented: “I was with MACV Advisory Team 58 in Jan 1967 based in Vi Thanh in the Mekong Delta. I do not recall a Denis Nicholas nor do I recall any member of the team dying in the early part of 1967. I came home in Feb 1967.”

  26. Does anyone have information about MACV Advisory Team 58; I’m looking for details of a close friend’s death by small arms fire on January 15, 1967 while serving with that team. My friend’s name is CPT Denis Nicholas? I’m Mike Murphy, VMI ’64. I served in RVN as an Infantry officer with the 199th LIB 1967-1968. Denis was a 1st Classman at VMI when I was a “Rat” and was like a brother.

    • Mike, this is TM. I remember one event that involved Denis—it may have been the one in which he was killed.
      Maj Murphy, an NCO, and Denis were drawing up a Op Plan for the next days battle. It was being staged out of Vi Thanh. Thinking back, it may have been the day before he was killed. I will check the net and see if I can find out where he was killed. Would have been in the Delta area of provinces.

    • He was definitely killed on or about that date, as I was his replacement and I arrived around January 20, 1967 — his personal effects were still being sorted. He was awarded the Silver Star, I believe.

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