Team 59 An Xuyen

MACV Team 59 – An Xuyen.

This Page is intended for the discussion of the Military Assistance Command Vietnam Team 59 located in An Xuyen.

133 thoughts on “Team 59 An Xuyen

  1. Greetings. I just came across this site and thought I’d make a comment or two. I, along with a small Air Force team, flew into Ca Mau in October, 1965 to build the radar site. We were TDY from the Philippines – most of us departed in March/April, 1966 as permanents came in. We built the radar tower/compound and eventually barracks for our team (lived in tents for most of the tour). I was one of the power generator guys. Hit in the early morning hours of February 23rd. I was a camera guy back then and have lots of photographs if anyone is interested. Be well.

    • Dave- In March 1968 the tower was hit by a mortar round and knocked out. Elsewhere on this site is a comment from someone saying that the Air Force never repaired the tower and eventually shut down their operations -code name Playboy- on the compound.

      • Strange as it may seem, later in life I bumped into a fellow who was at Ca Mau in 68, and he said the facility had been overrun – either before or after his tour. Don’t know if that’s accurate or not. I know when we were attacked in 66, it was described as diversionary – to keep us off the VC while they overran some remote outposts in our control jurisdiction. And yes, Playboy was our moniker. I spent many a night in the communications bunker talking to other FACPs on single side-band – “Panama, Panama this is Playboy, Playboy” (sounded like a song title at the time – ha ha. Panama if I remember correctly was Da Nang.). Interesting what stands out.

        • I only visited there once in Dec 67, fixing or calibrating weather equipment. I have since found a few reports that provide a bit of history some might find useful, starting with The CHECO (Contemporary Historical Examination of Current Operations) report on Tactical Control Squadron Operations in SEASIA dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a486957.pdf

          • Very interesting reading, thank you for that. I was with 5th TAC out of Clark. The dates of site erection, operational status and attack on Ca Mau in the report are off, though that’s not important. More important is I now have a much better understanding of the broader picture of why I was there. Once again, thank you.

        • Greetings Dave, just wanted to wave hello – I was at 619th TCS det 1 on Phu Quoc island. Call sign Swissboy. In the generator shop.

          • Hi Jim. On Christmas day, 1965 I received some gifts – two Detroit Diesel generators. Were you the guy who sent them to me? Ha ha.

      • Hi Joe. To make it easy to share, I put the Ca Mau pics on Shutterfly yesterday. i just sent you an invite to view that album. If you don’t get it or something doesn’t work, ping me and we’ll try it again. Cheers. Dave

        • Thanks- not much changed between 1966 and 1968 except that we found out that Big John was actually Big Joan. I visited Ca Mau a few years ago and it now has a population of about 200,000 and is unrecognizable. . Only the Province Chief’s house was the same from the 60’s.

          • Yeah, Big Joan. When the eggs showed up (I think there were 28 of them), the cook prepared a large scrambled egg breakfast. I passed.

        • Dave – I was at Ca Mau, ‘ 67-68, on the MILPHAP Team. Am in the process of going through all my pictures. Most are slides and they took a hit from some shrapnel on night so a friend of mine is trying to go through them and digitalize them for me. But due to damage it is sort of a slow process. My Email is CBrown41@Comcast.net and would be delighted to share when its done. Have talked with Joe Gorman about his also.
          Charlie Brown

          • Hi Charlie. Yes, I would be delighted to see your pictures. I understand the slide to digital conversion as I had to do that with mine as well. Most came out ok. I’ll send you a Shutterfly invite to your email so you can peek at mine.

    • Joan,

      If your Father was enlisted then became an officer he would have two numbers. One would start with RA, US or NG, and the possibly with OF or O.

      • Thank you for your reply and the information.
        When he came to from his accident my sister told him that the hospital was having a problem as he seemed to have two military numbers, his response was “I thought that might become a problem, call the VA and they’ll clear it up. ” which, without any explanation, they did. So it made us curious. He also worried that his driver had been assassinated. ..
        Would you have any idea where I could go to find more information on what his role actually was?
        Thank you again.
        Joan

        • I was assigned to Team 59, at Dom Doi and Ca Mau, in 1967-1968. I did not know your Father. Good Luck in your search.

  2. So this is a shot in the dark. My Dad, Major Curtis Goodnight, now deceased, said he wasn’t allowed to talk about what he did in the military. I came across many interesting things he left behind. One was an Advisory Team 59 weapon carry permit and another an Intelligience Checklist. Would anyone have leads on how to find out more?

  3. Lt Thomas Hargrove AT-73,Chuong Thien Province, 1969-70 passed away in Galveston Texas of heart failure 22 JAN 2011

    • I was on Team 59, on a District Team, in Dom Doi, Sep 67 to Mid 1968. When I arrived there the Senior Advisor was Captain Armastoski, who rotated and was replaced by Major Dudley DeRouen. The Team consisted of two officers, a Sp4 Mock; SSGT Clipper and a SFC Medic. Anyone still allive contact me. Bill Leach, then a lst Lt.

      • Bill – I arrived at Ca Mau the same month as you and left in late spring 1968. I was the S-2 in Ca Mau and we most probably met in either Dam Doi or in Ca Mau if you passed through. Was your CO a major from Puert Rico? I thought that Ca Mau was the end of the earth until the day I flew down to DD and realized how isolated and exposed the sub sector teams were. Joe Gorman.

        • Joe,

          I left DomDoi and went to CaMau in the Summer of 68, as the Asst S3, which the S3, a Major name unrecalled, said meant the RF Advisor to the 3 RF companys in CaMau. The S2 was LT. Reese. We occupied our time by going on OPs with the RF. Billl Leach
          Bleach40@comcast.net

        • I left Ca Mau in June of 1968 as a 1/Lt USAF MSC. Our Hospital was leveled during TET and we basically moved into the Chinese School downtown. We recommended to 7th AF and USAIDE they pull our team out but leave some medics to take care of US MACV forces left, which would have been about 45 folks or so. The Vietnamese Health said they were going to rebuild but we all doubted it and their assigned personnel could give a sh…..!
          Could you tell or give me any info? I know Big John became Big Joan and a little one a year or so later.
          Many Thanks
          Charlie Brown, USAF, MSC, Col (Ret)
          cbrown41@comcast.net

          • Charlie- I left in April 1968 before you and before Big John decided on a gender re identification. Somewhere among the Team 59 comments below is one from your replacement and it seems that the hospital was never rebuilt . I went back to visit a few years ago- a waste of time and $-and there is now a modern hospital in Ca Mau which has a population of about 200,000.Only our old compound and the PC’s house are recognizable. Do you remember the names of the two MILPHAP doctors which were there when we were? I think that one’s last name was Comstock and the other first name Dale. I had a lot of respect for them because of all the trips they made into the boonies to bring some type of medical care to the remote hamlets. Joe

            • Joe – I was in Ca Mau in 69/70. You mentioned you were in Ca Mau and that the compound was still recognizable. Do you have any pictures of what it looks like now that you would share?

              • I’ll check. There was a guard at what was the main gate and who was very touchy about pictures being taken but I still may have taken a few.

              • I looked through the pictures which I took and there isn’t any of the compound. The guard at the main gate was insistent that we not take any and our tour guide seemed nervous if we tried to. You can get a good idea of what it looks like from above on Google earth. You can also see how much the town has grown especially the area behind the TOC which was open space when we were there.

        • Joe, I was the Phoenix Adviser in Dam Doi Jan 69 -Nov. 69. Capt Martinez was from Cuba he was the District Sr. Adviser arriving in the summer of 69. I returned to CA Mao and Dam Doi last Nov. Do you remember Co Ha who was a barmaid at the O Club in Ca Mao..she lives in Fla. and I have been in contact with her since Nov. last year.

          • During my time in Ca Mau (10/67-4/68) the O club bartender was an elderly one legged Vietnamese man whom we called Ho Chi. Beer for 5 cents and hard stuff for 10 cents.When I got home I went into a bar and bought a beer for myself and a friend. Gave the bartender a dollar and waited for change until I realized the beers were 50 cents each. Shocker. One of the many adjustments after getting back to “normal” life. If I remember correctly Dam Doi had only 5 or 6 Americans in the middle of nowhere.I once calculated that the “combat pay” bump averaged about 7 cents per hour. I thought that you guys should have gotten at least 9 cents per hour.

    • Have you read “I Remember Honda Rice”?

      I was an Air Force Weather Equipment Technician, who’s first of many field trips was to Ca Mau (Playboy Radar), and about 60 other sites I could remember, throughout Vietnam and Thailand. I only got to Ca Mau once, I think in Dec 67, but most often stopped at Tan An overnight (on trips that might stop at 2 or 3 other sites per day). I have trouble connecting the names of very closely located sites (with different names) since it seems the Air Force used names for air fields while the Army used names for ground units (seemingly more connected to the names of the towns or cities).

      Anyways, I think my first field trips (all as far south as we could go, back to Saigon) was at least helpful in giving me clues on how other units coped with situations and travel in territory that would make many think twice.

      (I’d read Tom Hargrove’s “I Remember Honda Rice” shortly before seeing the movie “Proof of Life” about his capture by FARC in Columbia.)

      My later interests (after getting back) included reading Bing West’s “The Village” (about a Marine CAP, Combined Action Platoon program, unit) in an interesting small part of Vietnam, south of Chu Lai, including where Joe Galloway’s mentor Dickie Chappell (who’d made her bones reporting on Iwo Jima after helping out in medical aid stations) was killed. Binh Nghia was the “Village” where a Marine Squad lived with the 6,000 villagers (who maintained the only memorial for American Soldiers, as the Communist victors were able to remove all others, including the haunting markers of the French Group Mobile 100 in the Mang Yang Pass). It was only a few miles from My Lai, too.

      “The Village” seems one of the most palatable to the public, revelations about the problems faced Advisory Team type units in the mixed bag of such different situations each team might encounter. Other sources are the now declassified Air Force Project CHECO (Contemporary Historical Examinations of Current Operations) and I assume similar reports from the Army and Marines that Bing West referred to, and confirmed by Daniel Ellsberg when I asked him in person. Bing West was an Assistant Secretary of Defense (after serving in the USMC) and a friend of Ellsberg, as was retired Army Col George Jacobson, who headed the USAID Pacification Program ( the guy the MPs threw a .45 to, threw a 2nd floor window, to clear out the last VC in the Embassy Compound).

      I’m aware of the higher percentages of places where the programs didn’t work as well, and don’t go into them with people who will misuse the information, but would appreciate clues to places where they were more successful. Binh Nghia is the best I have heard of, and can point people to, but I would like to be able to point to some others, and give an honest bigger picture where our best efforts weren’t as successful, for whatever reasons.

  4. What’s the chances of getting a personal copy of the picture?

    I don’t share if people don’t want me to, but so far only have a very few things I’ve been asked not to share, mostly to not share negative speculation with family members. Keith William Nolan is the best author I know for being kind with a deeper truth than most can ever tell. I was able to share some unpublished details with him regarding “Tet 68: The Battle for Saigon.”

  5. My first field trip, fixing weather equipment all over Vietnam and Thailand, was to Ca Mau, where I think two of us bunked overnight in the radar barracks. I heard a .50 cal firing and asked if we needed to do anything, and was told,”Na, that’s just over at the airfield chasing off a local that got too close (perhaps like they chased away one from a mine field when I was at Tan An later). I went back to my nap when there was the loudest blast I’d ever heard, really close, causing me to rise about 3 feet while still horizontal, enough so that I could see over the open vent area at the top of the wall and see a guy in a towel casually returning from the showers. When he saw my concern, he pointed out the 105 on the other side of the barracks that had fired a round supposedly to assist chasing off any threats to the airport.

    In all, I think I eventually traveled about 60,000 miles all over Vietnam and Thailand, often by road but usually by chopper or fixed wing aircraft, but with a much better understanding of how to trust the guys that dealt with areas that many would be afraid to visit. I had a relative picnic, never getting caught in anything serious, no matter how hard we tried to be anywhere we thought anyone needed us (even into Saigon during Tet 68). I had built up some trust with Vietnamese (even being given a Mot Dong note that a 7 year USAID Veteran said was used as a sort of safe conduct pass by both sides that didn’t want to make trouble with ordinary Vietnamese just trying get on with their lives). The mother of two Vietnamese Police had given it to me for intervening when a bigger American soldier had chased her daughter towards another house, with the two brothers, knives drawn, quickly getting ready to intercept him once he got in the house. They and several other Vietnamese, like a much later Vietnamese Marine Recon friend, always gave me advice after that, in addition to some I got from USAID people who seemed to know even more about how and when to get around safely.

    Have any of the people stationed there come across the Thomas Hargove story, “I Remember Honda Rice”? See http://ricetoday.irri.org/i-remember-honda-rice/ He was unaware that as an Army Intel Officer posing as a USAID Agricultural Adviser, he was living with a VC commander. Anyway I’d think anyone stationed in the area would find it interesting regarding who the locals thought were their real enemies (outsider communists or outsider government officials). Hargrove was later captured by the FARC in Columbia and a dramatized version of the story was made into the movie. “Proof of Life” starring Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe.

    One thing that has always eluded me, is any pictures of the Playboy Radar (or the camp for that matter). I’ve found countless other pictures and contacts, including meeting a guy that was at the Binh Tuy radar site near Can Tho, and probably stayed at the 1st CEG/SAC ADVON hootch 752 that was hit by a 122 rocket on Feb 24, 1968, right across the street from where I stayed we were in from the field.

    Can anyone point me to pictures of Ca Mau and the radar? It was probably Dec 1967 when I passed through there, vaguely remembering a tower and shrapnel damaged wave guide pieces, I thought wer from the radar but might have been from a microwave communications installation.

    P.S. We were there to fix weather equipment (almost always having to replace barometers susceptible to concussion damage), not anything to do with the radar, other than bunking with them.

  6. I received a note yesterday that Henry Dagenais passed away at age 84. Henry was on the Hai Yen district team and has several posts below. He wrote a book titled Sea Swallows which describes his time there and the remoteness endured by many advisors.

  7. We only saw a few rice paddies around Ca Mau. Most of the have been turned into fish and shrimp farms. There also seemed to be a lot of locally grown vegetables in the Market.

  8. I was in Viet Nam, including Camau, this past April. I could not believe the growth and urbanization everywhere. Driving what we knew as Highway 4 (now Highway 1) we were in urban sprawl all the way from Can Tho thru Soc Trang and Bac Lieu to Camau. The “new airfield” is now a pretty nice small airport. The “old airfield” is now 2-3 story houses and businesses. One old timer told me that the VN military had build a new base north of the city and pointed to a Catholic Church being built where the MACV compound was. Based on the rivers and canals, I believed it. I suspect there are probably 250,000 people there now. Nothing looked familiar–few rice paddies but lots of fish and shrimp farms.

    We drove to Tan Than and Nam Can on paved roads and traveled by boat to Tan An near South China Sea. Power lines, cell phone towers and satellite TV dishes everywhere. There is a memorial at Tan An that says over 200 boats/ships landed supplies there during the war.

    Found out they make sampans in Camau out of either fiberglass or composite materials. All blue and white.

    Audley Travel out of Boston arranged the trip for my wife and me including hotels, guides and drivers, and transportation. They did an excellent job.

    • Seems like the “Rice Rich Guerilla Infested Mekong Delta” is a happening place. Don’t think I will return to Bac Lieu or Thoi Binh. Wonder about the area west of Kien Long where I got my ass kicked in April 1964 ?

    • From what I could find out, the old MACV compound has been torn out and a new military base built north of the city. there was a church under
      construction there.

  9. 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.

    • The ARVN 21st division covered the lower third of the Mekong Delta which included 4 or 5 provinces. One of the provinces was An Xuyen which included the town of Quan Long. So Team 59 is a good place to start to look. You may also want to post on Team 51 which was located in Bac Lieu, the headquarters of the 21st.If you have the time and are somewhat adept at using the net, Texas Tech has a huge archive dedicated to the Vietnam war and may get you some results.

  10. I don’t know what the problem is, the email address is brownbootr@comcast.net. I have been using it for some years.
    Your comment of “Too many VC” was interesting, most of them were still there in 1967.
    Hank

  11. In response to Fielding L. Tyler
    It’s with great pleasure that I read your comments on Hai Yen and my book. Wow, You visited Hai Yen in 1964, 3 years before I took a MACV team in there to replace the Special Forces A Team. You mentioned that you have one of the Sea Swallows pin. I’m sure noted that it is on the cover of the book. I believe that in 1964 the province and district teams were under the Advisory Team assigned to the ARVN 21 Division headquarters located in Bac Lieu. In 1967 when I arrived in Ca Mau they were under CORDS at Can Tho. Were you a District Advisor for Thoi Bien? What U.S. team was at Hai Yen when you visited there? The A Team?
    I will be anxious to hear your comments after you read the book. If you want to chat directly, my email address is: brownbootr@comcast.net.
    Hank

  12. Rich,
    Thanks for buying my book. Hai Yen was the Chinese name for their camp. It was in the hamlet of Binh Hung which is still on the current map. It is in the Phu Tan District which in the old days was a part of the Cai Nuoc District. Reportedly the name Hai Yen came from a Sea Swallow that migrated from China southward and returned to China each year. Father Hoa developed a regimental insignia, shoulder patch which the wore and a flag that they flew. I used the design on the cover of my book. The Chinese always said that, like the Sea Swallow they were going to return to China.

    My email address is:brownbootr@comcast.net. I would be glad to chat with you.
    Best Regards
    Hank

    • Just bought your book and am settling down with a good bourbon . Should be a fun read. Just went into my desk and found a sea swallow pin given to me at Hai Yen in 1964. I was stationed at Bac Lieu and Thoi Binh. Did a boat trip to Dam Doi-not a fun place

    • Hank: I am still on the radar and after I finish your book I will respond to your e-mail. In 1964 everybody in that area were advisors to the 21st Infantry Division at Bac Lieu. I was Senior Advisor to the 3rd Battalion, 32nd Regiment. There was nobody at district or province level. Too many damned VC.

  13. Gentlemen I met Col. Culpepper in ’68 when he and his wife moved next door to me, which was in Oceanside, Ca a few miles south of Camp Pendleton U.S. Marine Base. Through the years I got to know the Col. very well. He and his wife became very good friends with me and my family.
    Now present day a couple of us in the old neighborhood are constructing an informal written narrative of some of the neighborhood Vietnam Vets. experiences in country including Col. Culpepper’s.
    This project is for the children, grandchildren, and friends who never knew the Vietnam War accounts of these fine men. Most of these Vets are retired, some deceased, and a few didn’t make it back (their names are on the wall).
    I only knew bits and pieces of Col. Culpepper’s “shoot down incident” he never talked about it too much. At that time, the Col. did not want to cause unneccessary worry and stress on the families of those deployed in country, gentlemen as you well know the war was tough on families back home. So the Col. kept the incident quiet.
    But now thanks to you fine gentlemen, I can pass on the Colonel’s story, and for that we are extremely grateful.
    Below is a comment made by Mr. Henry Dagenais referring to Col. Culpepper as “one of the good guys” I absoultely unequivocal concur that “yes indeed Colonel Culpepper was one of the good guys”
    Gentlemen if any of you want the details of what happened to the Col. Email me and I’ll foreward you the details.
    danie034@cougars.csusm.edu
    God Bless You All, and Thank You

    • I spent New Years eve in the Club at Ca Mau (1967), the Colonel as I remember was in civilian attire, we had a great time, he would holler and everyone would stand and dance. I do recall he was with a bird dog I think that was shot down or crashed but was as you say kept quiet. I was a USAF Medic assigned to the Playboy Control radar squadron. I was a young’un and grew up a lot during that tour. Some great people were with the MACV Advisory Team 59. Don Blume

      • The colonel was a retired marine named Culpepper and the pilot was an air force FAC named Charlie Lavorn. They had been shot down over the outpost in Nam Can. As was the procedure, the air force was sending a team to Ca Mau to investigate whether Charlie could have flown the disabled plane over 75 miles of jungle to an airstrip rather than crash landing it next to the outpost which was under attack. So we were all a bit tense about the upcoming investigation. In the end he was exhonorated. Do you remember the names of the two MILPHAP docs on the team? I think one was named Comstock and the other’s first name was Dale.

      • Don – I was with the 559 MILPHAP Team when you were there in ’67 – ’68 and have been trying to put a few names together. Most of us can remember our Docs except Capt Dale ///. Capt Charlie Comstock was the other doc on our team. I was the Admin Off – Lt Charlie Brown. Our
        little supply hooch was near the base of your tower. Playboy hooches were just near where the maids worked and on the other side is where we slept. Any help you might give me I would appreciate it.
        I was on R&R when Col Culpepper went down so did not here much about it until later.

        MY Email is CBrown41@comcastnet
        Thanks Charlie

        • think one Dr. was Lawson, may have more info. Sorry just returned to this site and read you entry from March 17.

          • Don – Our MILPHAP Team, 559 Med Svc Flt, had two docs on it. One was Dale Morris and the other Charles Comstock, I was the Admin Off for the team. I have recently touched base with Joe Gorman and Dale. Am trying to get a list together of our team members then. .More later
            Charlie

    • Jeff – I was assigned with Col Culpepper, after he retired, in ’67 – ’68 in CaMau, An Xuyen Province, RVN I was on a MIPHAP (Mil Pub Health Assistance Program) MACV Advisory Team 59 and he was our Deputy Province Advisor to the Province Chief and worked for a Col Gillaland.He wrote both my first two OER’s there. Super fine individual and I would be interested in what you may have.

      While there a memorable event took place, other than the war around us, we celebrated the Marine Corps Birthday. Four of us Lt’s put a giant cake on a litter, hoisted it up on our shoulders and marched into our small Mess Hall with a buglar playing the Marine Corps Hymn. Good thing nothing happened that night as we were all pretty much wasted!! My Email is cbrown41@comcast.net.

  14. Dear Mr. Wilson, Mr. Dagenais, & Mr. Gorman,
    Gentleman thank you so very much for providing
    such a detailed account of Col. Culpepper’s ordeal on that day.

    • I hit the post comment tab too soon and did not finish the detailed post in full.
      Anyway, gentlemen when I get back on my home computer I’ll post a detailed account of this research project, and how I knew the Col. I have very fond memories of the Col.
      Gentlemen, I can’t thankyou enough for this info. There are family members who will be forever grateful. I will get back to you all very soon, here’s my email.
      Jeff Daniel
      danie034@cougars.csusm.edu

    • I was in the mac-v compound during the tet offensive til June 1968,it seems like it was the 59th advisory team.I was in the 1st signal brigade. There was a Vietnamese hospital behind and a field separated it from our compound. My question did this compound get over ran?after I left.I know the hospital was destroyed by our Air force that was called in.

      • I was there the same time as you. The attack and occupation of the hospital happened in March 1968. We tried to dislodge the VC with ground troops but after 12 hours a Huey cobra gunship came in and basically leveled the hospital building where the VC were holding out.

        Regarding your other post on this site, the two colonels were Col Gilland who was the senior advisor and Col Culpepper who was the senior civilian advisor. Major Wright was the DSA. The two docs were air force captains assigned to the hospital as part of the air force MILPHAP program. If you were signal, then you probably knew Sp4 Sims who was the camp RTO.

        During my time, the camp must have been shelled once a week but that python in the open cage survived it all

  15. Jeff,
    I was at Hai Yen or I believe at Dong Cung when Col. Culpepper was shot down over Nam Can. He was flying a VR with either a Shotgun ( call sign for an Army 01) or an USAF L19, call sign David. They were circling the area around the outpost at the District Hqs. of Nam Can. The Government forces there consisted of only about 3 under strength companies of RF troops. There was no civilian officials there. They had been under heavy enemy pressure and held no other positions in the district. The aircraft took fire and lost power but was able to crash land in the vicinity of the RF outpost. They were able to run to the outpost just ahead of the VC who were attempting to capture Culpepper and the pilot. Reportedly the troops in the outpost provided some covering fire. They were later extracted from the outpost by chopper.
    Nam Can was abandoned shortly thereafter. Which left the Cai Nuoc District Hqs. located in the hamlet of Dong Cung just across the Song ( river ) Bay Hop, which was the boundry between Cai Nuoc and Nam Can Districts. as the southern most government position in the province and the country. I saw Col. Culpepper shortly after his close call over Nam Can.

    • Mr. Dagenais, from the comments below it’s my understanding that you wrote a book titled The Sea Swallows, which chronicles your experiences in Vietnam.
      I going to purchase a copy, I’m looking forward to reading it.
      Thanks for the info. on Col. Culpepper,

  16. Does anyone have any info. regarding Col. Culpepper being shot down and captured by the VC or NVA, if so can you please email me with any info.
    This is for a personal family research project, Col. Culpepper was my next door neighbor while he was stationed at Camp Pendelton anyone have any info. regarding Col. Culpepper being shot down and captured by the VC or NVA, if so can you please email me with any info.
    This is for a personal family research project, Col. Culpepper was my next door neighbor while he was stationed at Camp Pendleton Oceanside, CA in late ’60’s to mid ’70’s
    Thank You

    FYI: Col. Culpepper (Ret) was killed in a civilian plane crash in the U.S.

      • Thank you Mr. Wilson, that info. means more to me than you will ever know.
        Also, to all the Vietnam Vets Thank you for your service, without people of your outstanding character putting everything on line we would not have the greatest country in the world.
        From my family to yours, a very heart-felt THANK YOU.

    • Jeff give me your email address. I was supposed to go on that early morning flight over Nam Can but col Culpepper bumped me the night before. I was in the Ca Mau ops center when we got the mayday call from Charlie Lavorne the pilot. It was quite a morning. Joe gorman

      • Joe, It was good to see your comment to Jeff regarding LT.Col Culpepper.I remember the incident and hope my recollection as posted was correct. Of course from your position at the time I am sure that you have more information on the Nam Can. I could not determine if I was at Hai Yen or Dong Cung. If it happened after the 24th of May 68 then I was in Dong Cung. If before then at Hai Yen.
        I considered Culpepper as one of the “good guys”. He spent a few days with me at Hai Yen. Also wrote my OER.

      • Mr. Gorman here’s my email danie034@cougars.csusm.edu
        I’m absoultely thirlled that I came across this site, and very grateful that you and others on this site are willing to take the time and respond to my inquiries. There are family members and close friends of the Col. who never knew this story.
        Thank you

  17. Thanks for the post, Henry Dagenais! I’ve just ordered a copy of your book on Amazon. If you are ever interested to talk about it, feel free to email me: dbiggs@ucr.edu. (Riverside CA)

    • David, thanks for purchasing my book. I would be glad to discuss it any time. I do have some maps, photos and a daily journal that I had tried to keep during my year there. The book is as I remember, dates names and events may differ from what may be now known or as someone else may recall.
      I note that in a previous post you are looking for info on Hai Yen and Binh Hung, Also that you have visited there recently. I would love to know the status of the area now and if any remains of the original Chinese are still there. I will contact you at your email address.
      Hank Dagenais

      • I just read your post Henry and I’m excited to hear about your book. I was at Hai Yen in the fall of 69 as an E-4 before being moved to Ca Mau in early 70. I’ve been trying to find out more about the area. As a young E-4 I didn’t really care much at the time but would like to more now. I’m going to read your book.

      • Mr Dadenais

        I got your book and I’m still trying to figure out where Hai Yen would be on a map today. I’ve found a military map from the 60’s at the University of Texas Libraries that shows Binh Hung on the Rach Cai Doi. Would this be the same place we called Hai Yen? I was there in “69” with three other americans, but the only person I remember is Sgt. Jerry Green. If you get this and would like, you can contact me at rdstton@aol.com. Your description in your book of the team house brought back a lot of memories.

        Thanks

        Rich Sutton

  18. No, there were only the 3 NCOS I mentioned plus Lt Bernier, who was reassigned to me from Dom Doi and Lt Hirschler. who took his place

    • You are correct. We had to have met.. Father Hoa’s brother was called “Mr Niep” He had the rank of Lt. and was one of the Co. Commanders, officially. Unofficially was the leader of the Chinese. Any orders given by the Vietnamese Commander were okayed by him or ignored. I read a personality file on him, I believe at the SF B Team Hqs. in Can Tho. He was once an CIA agent operating in the north. The Vietnamese Commander at the time was a Major Nuoc. Crooked. Collected his own “taxes” Threatened locals with firing our one !05 on them. We got rid of him. He was replaced by a Captain who had been commanding a Ranger Bn. A straight arrow.
      Father Hoa did not trust the Vietnamese. Once
      when he was departing Hai Yen to return to Cho Lon he told me that if we were in danger of being over run or captured, to go to his brother.

      Names I remember are few, LTC Gilland, Culpepper, Wright.
      Frank Hardsock,, Moore, Nagota
      I arrived in Ca Mau on the 29th of Sept. 1967.
      I met, ( I think Larry Craig and Morgan Jellet.) I believe a Major Stuart was the DSA for Quan Long District.

      You have probably noted that my typing skills are poor. Even misspelled my name. It’s Dagenais, not Dad! enais.

      Henry aka Hank.

  19. This my first comment on this web site. I only learned of it yesterday, the 25th of January 2015. I served on Team 59 as the Senior Advisor to the Cai Nuoc District from September 67 to September 68. The problem was that upon my arrival at Ca Mau there was not nor had ever been a MACV team assigned to the Cai Nuoc District. Of the 6 Districts in An Xyuen Province only four Thoi Binh, Song Ong Doc,Quan Long, and DOM DOI had teams on site. Cai Nuoc and Nam Can, the southernmost districts, were without any assigned advisory support. In October 67 I took a MACV team of 5 in the Special Sub-Sector of Hai Yen, an enclave of old Chinese Nationalist Refugees led by their Catholic priest Father Augustine Nguyen Lac Hoa. We were replacing the Special Forces Team-A 411.Hai Yen was located in the hamlet of Binh Hung within the Cai Nuoc District. In May of 68 two of us, PSGT Johnson and myself moved to Dong Cung the then location of the Cai Nuoc District HQs. Dong Cung was on the north side of the Song Bay Hop, the border between Cai Nuoc and Nam Can Districts. The Nam Can had been abandoned by the Vietnamese some months prior to our arrival in Dong Cung. We were the southernmost government position in the province. Our largest weapon at that time was a French 60MM mortar.

    I remember well the U.S. 75MM pack howitzers and the Japanese 70MM one. We were shelled by both in Dong Cung. In a night raid to capture the 70Mm, we did not get the gun but ended up with some ammo and a wheel off of it.

    I remember LTCs Gilland and Culpepper well. Culpepper wrote my OER. I remember the big snake and the FACs and Shotguns.
    My team included PSGTs Brown, Bailey,and Johnson. 1LT Bernier started with me and was followed by !LT Hirschler.
    In Feb. 2014 I published a book titled THE SEA SWALLOWS. It is concerned of my tour in An Xyuen and with the Chinese in Hai Yen who were know as the Sea Swallows. It is available on Amazon Books.

    I have a great deal of information on Hai Yen, Father Hoa and the Chinese. I would be more than happy to share it with any one that might be interested.

    Oh by the way I returned to the Delta in 1971-72 in Vien Binh Province.

  20. Dear Team 59/80 Vets:

    I’m doing a history of the Binh Hung / Hai Yen Special Zone, also known as Tactical Zone 33. Binh Hung was within the area of responsibility for the Advisory Team, and I have found some documents on this from the Team’s records at the National Archives in College Park. I’d be especially interested to know more of your experiences with this embattled outpost lying just below the U Minh III and II. I’ve traveled to the area in recent years, even visited Binh Hung as well as the old airport and the Ca Mau area. Thanks for any help.

  21. Several years ago I came across some documents in the Colorado State University Library that backed Joe Gorman’s story of the 75mm howitzers being provided to the Viet Minh to fight the Japanese. They said the guns were hauled in by PT boat and delivered to the Viet Minh in the Nam Can Jungle.

    That also confirms that we, on the ground did get good information once in a while dispite what J2 and their civilian counterparts might try to tell us. Steve Hopkins

  22. I recently had an interesting experience regarding Camau. In ordering a duffel bag from a mail order outfit called Medals of America, I asked them to embroider the word “CAMAU” on it. I got a phone call from them wondering if I had made a Typo because now one there recognized that ACRONYM.

    • Good story & not surprised. Unless you were assigned to a team even those in-country have never heard off a Vietnam advisory team let alone CaMau. Imagine me trying to explain to an Air force buddy what a AT 59/80 MIILPHAP team was.

      • I was in the mac-v compound during the tet offensive til June 1968,it seems like it was the 59th advisory team.I was in the 1st signal brigade. There was a Vietnamese hospital behind and a field separated it from our compound. My question did this compound get over ran?after I left.I know the hospital was destroyed by our Air force that was called in.

        I arrived in camau in the middle or late 1967.and it might have not been a mac-v advisory team,but there were officers that done something with the arvan or Vietnamese soldiers. The day I arrived I saw the big python snake.and I met the two officers who worked in the Vietnamese hospital. I also remember two Col’s I believe, one a tall white and one a tall black man.we also had a couple of men who flew the small pyper cubs that had the small rockets one on each wing.

  23. I have recently obtained an envelope from Sp/5 Sammy Nayjan(Spelling?) jr. from 1964. The return address is APO 300, Bac Lieu. For my own information, I am trying to learn the history and activities of the Advisory Teams. Thanks
    rich

  24. I was in Camau with Team 59 from September 67 to July 68. Carl Everett was a very senior captain when I arrived but shortly after that he was promoted to major (about 3 weeks before his DEROS). The G-2 senior advisor at 21st div was also a captain and called MAJOR Everett offering to trade positions. Everett declined.
    At TET, I skinned my knee running for my bunker. At the March 68 attack on the hospital, the VC, as I recall, broke out a couple 75MM American pack howitzers. I still use one of the fuses as a paperweight.
    There was another major fight southeast of Camau in May 68. The ARVN RAG group loaded with 2/32nd troops was hit. Several advisors were wounded and medivaced out after more than an hour of fighting. The district advisors in Quan Long put a microphone near the speaker of their radio and taped it. I am fortunate to have a copy of that tape. I think this was the first time Huey Cobras were employed in Camau

    • I remember seeing at least one of those captured 75s during my tour which started in early June 68. Story was that particular one was lost by us during the Korean War to the Chinese and eventually found it’s way to the Delta. I also saw a couple old captured German MG 42 anti aircraft
      guns as well. Best guess at the time was the Soviets captured the weapons on the Eastern front during WW 11, the Chinese got them from the Soviets, and eventually the VC got them. Who knows.

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

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

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

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

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

    Could he have been working on an Army plane?

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

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

    Thanks,

    Ed Toussaint
    Potomac, MD
    Etoussaint44@yahoo.com

  26. I am putting together a memoir and looking for anyone with knowledge of my friend’s death: 1LT Charles H. Emery Jr. Date of casualty 28Sep69.

    I have his personnel file, but his exact team and location at the time of his death are confusing. Some records show Adv Tm 68 while others show Adv Tm 80. He may have been with Adv Tm 80, but MAT Team 68, or vice-versa. And even the location is questionable. They mention An Xuyen Province in the paperwork, hence I am trying here (Team 80 – An Xuyen)to see if anyone from this province knew him.

    I am reasonably sure he was killed in Thoi Binh District, although even the paperwork states Thoi Binh Province (there is no such province). If anyone knew my good friend or had knowledge of his KIA, please let me know. Thank you in advance.

    Bob Amon
    amon@comcast.net
    (908) 451-2123

  27. 5 March 1968, An Xuyen Province, VC U-Minh 2 local force Bn entered the town of Ca Mau at 8:05 and attacked the provincial hospital. A small band of enemy soldiers moved thru the city comitting acts of terrorism. 32nd Regoment 21st ARVN Div mounted a counter offencive to clear enemy from town. By 16:00H enemy had been cleared from all parts of town . Pursuit operations were initated and contact was maintained with fleeing remnats of enemy until after midnight . Army helicopter gunships were used to provide close air support. Air Force tacticle air crews struck the enemy support positions and escape routes . Enemy KIA 275, RVNAF troopers captured 44 individual and 18 crew served wepons.

      • Joe Harmon: the placque I received when “going out the door” had symbol of sort at the top. Basically it was an outline of the Province with some rice shoots and a large fish superimposed over the top. Send me your e-mail address to hsacomfine@comcast.net and I will send you a photo. Maybe we should design out own patch. Ken

  28. Ken; Were you the Doc that came out to our field CP when Nick Rowe landed? I was a 2LT and one of the two MI officers out there and when the pilot radioed back to us that he had picked up an American POW. COL Gene Walters (21st ARVN Div Senior Advisor) sent one of the enlisted soldiers into Ca Mau get a Doc, and as I recall, it was an Air Force MD. Right after Nick landed, and the “welcome homes” were over, we got him aside for the Doc to check. As I recall, the Doc (you?) said he was ok but was malnourished and probably had a number of troical diseases. Right after that my boss (CPT Dunning) and I did a quick debrief to ascertain if there were any more American POWs out there. It was at that point that we learned from Nick that he was the last survivor. Shortly after that we put him on a chopper out of there.

    • Don’t see my earlier reply. We had three physicians: Schlisher, Kingsbury & Stinnett. Stinnett was OIC. I believe he was the physician who responded. Ken

  29. I was on MAT IV-74 after Team 59 was changed to Team 80. Was there from March ’69 to March ’70. Our team was in Hai Yen Vam Dinh, Ca Mau, both Old & New Song Ong Doc, Rach Ran, and Rach Ban and some places without names. 1Lt Gary Findlay was our team’s Senior Advisor.

  30. Dear Joe,

    Thank you for the post.

    I think I have an old photograph of Captain Everett smoking his pipe. I served with Harry Tucker, Neal Manley, Ralph DiSenzo and Ron Konicke. Great friends all. Did we suffer casualities during Tet?

    Dan Brandt

    • About 1,000 VC including the U Minh II hit us at around 11pm .a small group hit the town on the other side of the bridge with the main force coming at us from across the field behind the TOC as well as coming down the road from the airstrip. They got into the camp just behind the mess hall as well as being on the road between the TOC and the PC’s house. When it ended the next morning the VC left behind over 400 bodies; we lost almost 100 ARVN but only 2 advisors were seriously wounded. ARVN fought well .
      . S-2 guys there in my time were Bill Garret, Dennis Anhalt, Fred Winkelman Steve Hopkins and Jeff Radford. I went back last spring .Ca Mau now has over 200,000 residents and is unrecognizable.

      • Was there from June 68 to June 69. Upon arrival was told a out the March (8?) 68 attack. Was told the attack was a major blunder by the VC. Basically, with nothing going on elsewhere south of Saigon, plenty of air support was available for the fight. Might be bs but that is the story we were told. Also told the open field between the TOC and the province hospital became a virtual killing field. Again, I was not there. Just repeating what I was told. Ken

    • Not that I recall. A few scratches but no one serious. We lsot a couple of guys but in isolated incidents dut not during TET through June 68.

  31. I was assigned to TEAM 59 in Ca Mau from October 1967 to April 1968. The team’s main purpose was to suport the An Xuyen provincial forces under Col. Nghi. The senior military advisor was Col Jim Gilland and the senior civilian advisor was retired USMC Col. Ted Culpepper ( or as he referred to himself -T.T. Culpepper, colonel, USMC, retired) Also located in our compound was two Air Force FAC’s ,the USAF Playboy radar unit of the 505 Tactical Control Group and two shotgun pilots from the Army’s 221st Aviation Company. We were so far south in the Mekong Delta that we were litterally at the end of the road in Vietnam. The only team member I’ve been in touch with is Col. Gilland who is living in Atlanta. My foremost memory has always been that first night of Tet. I still can’t believe that we survived it. I have a partial duty roster from those days and see names I recognise but don’t actually remember people I knew- time tends to grind down the memory.Joe Gorman

    • I was assigned to Team 59 from approximately March 1967 through July 1967. We had a rather large python named advisor 591/2. He fancied whole chickens. I was an intelligence analyst and also did some interrogation. Dan Barndt

      • Same snake was there in 68/69. About once a month someone threw a live chicken into the pen. You can guess the rest. We had a dog for a while. He disappeared right around the Chinese New Year celebration. You can guess what happened. Ken

        M

    • The USAF shut down “Playboy” a month or two before I arrived in early June 68. Was told the USAF considered the site too hot as reflected in the Mar 68 assault on the compound. I suppose they considered the USAF 16 man MILPHAP team expendable. Ken

      • The Playboy radar tower was knocked out by a mortar round during the March attack so maybe that had someting to do with the close down . The VC lost a lot of “face” in the province when their attack failed at Tet so the March attack was sort of face saving for them. Since they lost so many men at Tet, the March attack was mostly artilery except for their inexplecible occupation of the hospital so close to the compund. When you got there the place must have still been in ruins. The tradegy in the March attack was that when they withdrew, they set fire to all the thatched houses lining the road back to the airport. The civilians in the houses had the choice of fleeing and being shot or staying inside and burning to death. Both sides of the road were burned to the ground and well over 100 ciilians died. I walked about 100 yards up the road and thought that I’d seen it all at Tet but this was too much, especially the kids. The PC asked that no one go into the area because the grief was so overwhelming.
        The two FAC’s in my time were Charlie Lavorne and Ed (?) Garanowski. Charlie had been shot down over Nam Can but was rescued in a pretty dramatic way.

        • AS I recall, Playboy got a new tower from the Phillipines, along with a pallet of San Miguel beer! So they must have actually closed it after summer of 1968. There was also a bomb planted under the rear fender of one of my jeeps which parked right near the tower in front of our medical supply hooch. The old French water tower fell down through our old hooch in the center of the compound so we moved into a hooch near the tower. The blast went toward one of the tower legs and it came down. Blew the ass end out of the jeep but did not deflate the tire. Bomb maker knew what he was doing. Long story as to how it got there. More later.

      • Joe: yes, the hospital was largely in ruins when I got there. The locals were still working on repairs when I left in June 69. The drive between the compound and the air field (calling it an airport was a “stretch”), could be a Challenge. I had to drive a 2.5 ton truck out there and pickup compound medical supplies. Was told to never stop the truck either direction no matter what. Well, eventually the “what” happened with two kids, who were used to Americans throwing them candy from moving jeeps/trucks, ran out to the truck and bounced off the side. Injured but not killed. I did not stop which incensed some of the elders who ran out onto the road. An hour or two later a delegation showed up at the front gate demanding my head. The PSA settled the matter ($), I was sweating a reprimand but didn’t get one. Ken

        • I met a couple guys who were with air force radar at Ca Mau playboy. One was Puerto Rican, and the other guy played guitar and had a song he sang to the tune of Battle of New Orleans. Im trying to remember some missing lines. Can anyone help me? There are missing verses, I hope to pull this together and play it one of these days.

          I was Det 1 619th Phu Quoc island FACP Swissboy 1968-1969

          In 1968 my CO said to me
          Ive got a set of orders here to send you overseas
          I packed up my duffel bag and over I did come
          And finally end up stationed out of Trang Sup Vietnam

          We fired our guns and the VC kept a coming
          There wasnt quite as many as there was awhile ago

          ????

          Well they ran through the wire and they ran through the minefield
          And some of them made it through the concertina wire
          And if you were to ask why everyone was running
          Some silly mother went and set the bar afire

    • Joe – Remember TET and next few months very well but as with you memories of names fade. I remember Lt Col Gilland made me service the the “O’Club room every afternoon as I was the most Junior Office (2/Lt) in the compound. I finally got my boss Dr. Dale ? (Can’t rmember his name right now but need to dig into some of my paperwork and get back to you) to tell him enough was enough. Retired Marine Deputy CO Culpepper was fun and our immediate boss for OERs etc. The Army housed and fed us, The AF was responsible for our pay, personnel records and USAID was our boss for operational policy). We celebrated the Marine Corps Birthday in a downpour but we got a cake, roughly 3′ x 4′ on a litter and someone played the Marine Corps Hymn on a bugle and four of us Lts carried it into the chow hall. Good time was had by all but we were all drunk so glad nothing happened that night.
      The other Doc was Dr. Charlie Comstock. Both docs were fresh out of Lakland as new docs. They got more surgery experience in our time there than most surgeons in their first year of residencies. I use to fly in the back seat of an Army Birddog and the pilot was Erine Stutts. We logged about 200 hours together. Most of this time came after our hospital was leveled.

      • I remember the Marine Corps birthday well – November 10th- the cake being brought in as we stood at attention, Col Culpepper making a speech and how blitzed everyone got later with the Suntory whiskey provided by the province chief. About 5 years ago I visited Col Gilland at his home in Atlanta- I believe that he is in his mid 90’s now. Our Air Force contingent took some hits during our time- the Playboy radar got knocked out, the hospital got leveled and our FAC Charlie Lavorn got shot down on the coast with Col Culpepper as his observer. Both were rescued and the plane was eventually retrieved. I also logged hours with Ernie and it was never dull. I don’t think that any of us who went through that first night of Tet will ever get over it . I think that somewhere I have a picture of you from the following morning and as I remember you looked tired and not very happy Will look for it.

        • Joe – Think Dales last name might have been Evans. I have a boat load of pictures I took and some other paperwork from that year but have never really looked at all of them. Guess now is as good time. Am so glad I stumbled on to this website. Never knew of one before. TET was a little wearing on all of us even though the VC took it in the shorts. March was another thing however. That is when we lost the hospital. There was a suicide bunch, about 40 or so, and the only way to get them out was to turn a couple of F4s loose on the place. I remember seeing supplies, paperwork, bits and pieces of concrete etc all flying up in the air. We found bits and pieces of arms and legs but I imagine some VC made it out. If I recall right there were some Willy Peter Rockets in the PCs parking lot that was shipped to them by mistake. They were just stacked up not far from our hooch and Playboy/ Something hit it and shrapnel was flying everywhere. I got hit in the back but was saved by my flak vest but got knocked to the ground. I remember right after Charlie got shot down he was in the make shift couch laying down with a beer in his hand!!! Would like to see the picture. As AI said I have a ton and I guess I better get off my duff and go through them.
          By the way, MY Email is cbrown41@comcast.net. Telephone is 719-481-3029. Monument, CO Spent 30 years in the old AF.
          Thanks
          Charie

          • Charlie, you and Joe Gorman and I were in Camau at the same time in the ’67-68 time frame. I went to Camau in April, 2015 and could not find any evidence of the MACV compound. With the help of a hotel clerk interpreting, one old timer pointed to where a Roman Catholic Church was under construction as the location and the clerk told me that the Army had just recently completed a new base just north of the city.

            The “old air strip” was now e and 4 story buildings. I estimated the city to be about 250,000 population. In addition, it seemed that every canal, river, and road had been built up and added thousands more people.

            My wife and I and our tour guide/interpreter drove from Camau to Nam Can on the paved road–saw very few rice paddies but did see mile after mile of fish and scrimp ponds. From Nam Can, we went by “water skiing boat to Tan An, about 40 minutes. The way the local people there looked at my wife and me, I suspected we may have been the first Americans there “since John Kerry dropped off a Seal Team.”

            Most amazing of all were the paved roads, satellite TV dishes, power lines nd cell phone towers nearly everywhere. Unfortunately Camau is not very photogenic.

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