Team 67 Song Be

MACV Team 67 – Song Be.

This Page is intended for the discussion of the Military Assistance Command Vietnam Team 67 located in Song Be.

448 thoughts on “Team 67 Song Be

  1. I have no clue if anyone gets to this site anymore, or maybe we have all died off 🙂 But, there just might be someone who can help me. My name is David Gauntlett. I was an Air Force E-4 radio operator for the FAC detachment there Feb-Nov 1969. Within the last two years, evidence that a Bronze Star with ‘V’ was submitted in 1969 has been found but retroactive awards are exceptionally difficult. I have evidence and a witness statement from the original submitter who I found on this site. My problem is I need statements from others. The incident took place between 12 and 15 May 1969 when Song Be was under heavy mortar attack and the VC were pushing. I spent most of that time manning the radio jeep in the compound coordinating air support. I took a mortar fragment and apparently did some stuff that got me the recommendation. If anyone at all was within sight or hearing of that event and has any recollection that I was there then, please let me know. After 54 years this would be a long shot, but worth taking before I join the great beyond. The rules for retroactive awards are beyond comprehension. Thanks. And for those brothers in arms who served, especially in Beautiful Song Be, I salute you.

      • People do get to this site ! I can’t help with David Gauntlett’s request, as I was only in Duc Phong, then in 70-71. I recently revisited the area. Dong Xoai, then a helipad and a few hooches, is now a city of 50k or so, w/ 4 lane paved streets (and a great Korean restaurant on one of them). DP now has a couple of banks and ATMs, a small hotel, and is totally unrecognizable. The MACV compound at the top of the hill is gone, now a Buddhist pagoda (which it had been before MACV). Our guide found a couple of people who were there when I was. We had dinner at the home of a Montagnard chief (I ate as little as possible) and ran into a guy who knew various people I knew (including the District Chief) and the son of one of my old contacts. We wanted to meet the former VC chief (now 83). As the last intelligence operative in DP, I would have loved to meet this guy, whoever he was. Who knows, maybe he worked for me and fed me bad intel. Alternatively, we would have known a lot of the same people. I did learn that one of the former US agents had been executed. Another one — who worked for me– was condemned to death but somehow escaped. The Vietnamese interpreter (not Pham Si Che) –who worked for the District Chief– got off by an act of mercy.

        Capitalism in VN has run amok. The place is barely recognizable. Roadside development all the way from SGN to Duc Phong. In Song Be –we just drove through– I could recognize Nui Ba Ra but nothing else.

        Pete Beaman


        • Thanks Peter for posting. I’ve often thought of going back but from reports it just is not the same place and there would be no nostalgic value except seeing another foreign country.

          I’m sure I could run down people that I knew during my time in Duc Phong 68, early 69, especially the family of the soldier we lost.

          I have no input for David, have no recollection of exact time frames and dates. Best bet would be for Richard Gerry to see if something is written in his logbook.

          A lot of us are still alive and well, many friends, acquaintances have never been found. Doesn’t mean they’re gone from the earth though.

          Just a passing note here,

          every time I smell jet fuel burning. It reminds me of refueling the helicopters with JP4 at Tay Ninh before proceeding to Saigon, and the lingering smell of burnt fuel following the Cobra pull ups.

          • Don,
            I have a dry sense of humor, and my comment was meant in jest, inappropriately. Believe me I raise a toast for those who fell, and those who we have lost.

            • It’s time for me to jump in. Familiar names occasionally pop up, including some I’ve communicated with on this site.

              For the record, and to make this process easier for Dave Gauntlett, I was the ALO/FAC who submitted Dave for the Bronze Star Medal (with “V” device). A month and a half later, my tour in Vietnam was over, and I left on July 4th, 1969. It was by sheer chance Dave was on this MACV site, and I happened to be going through my old paperwork and saw the rough draft of the write-up I had formally submitted in February of 2021. I then asked Dave if he had been awarded the medal. He said he didn’t know he was put up for the award. Somehow, the request fell through the cracks and never reached the proper authorities. That’s when we sprang into action. We resubmitted it, and Dave can fill you in on the rest.

              If there’s any way we can help Dave Gauntlett get the medal he deserves, let’s all do whatever we can.

              USAF Captain Dick Gerry/ Rod 11 Song Be (August 1968 – July 1969) Photo attached (outside my quarters, MACV compound, Advisory Team 67


    • I remember you. I was Song Be Arty . We worked together in the toc. After the toc got blown up I was in a bunker at the front gate. It took balls to sit out in that jeep. I was in Song Be from Nov 68 till Sept 69. You may contact me directly at

    • i was in song be around that time and was awarded BSM with a “V” device whilst stuff was going on. i was in the compound alongside the pc’s compound overlooking the valley below.
      i’ll look for the date on the citation . . .

  2. After all these years I just came across this site. I served in Vietnam from 70-73, and one of the things I did was I functioned as a courier & crew member with Air America. I had many experiences good and bad at both ends of the spectrum in that capacity, especially flying unto Song Be strip with our STOL each time we landed and took off was truly an experience! I sure do miss those days of flight.
    The civ pilots, you can’t find anyone like them today, were courageous, extraordinary human beings….

    Chris Minters

    • Chris,
      I was at Dong Xoai in 1971 on MAT 111 along with a four man district advisory team. We flew Air America’s Porters for routine flights up to Song Be and south to Ben Hoa. On more than one occasion we used and Air America Huey to deliver supplies to remote outposts when an American chopper was not available for the mission. My DEROS flight from Song Be to Ben Hoa was on Air America. 1971 was in the heyday of Vietnamization so American air assets were becoming scarce during the last part of my tour. Your presence was more than appreciated. Welcome home…

      • Thank you, Mr. Jim, and the same to you. Bien Hoa AB was our flight operations/staging point, we flew different routes north and south. I interacted with very interesting people during those flights, but one memorable incident for me was my afternoon flight baptism; for lunch I had warm lemonade and something cold; well after much air turbulence that afternoon,…need I say more? Those were long days indeed but the experiences were well worth it!

          • Hey guys, Dennis Finley here….2nd CA Co….was in Song Be from May 68-Jan 69…..flew on many Air America flights down to Bien HOA….pilots were really cool……. taking off from the strip in front of Nui Ba Ra was always treacherous, aircraft had to gain altitude quickly….mostly porters & occasional Beechcrafts….some flights got pretty wild….. Happy New Year to all

            Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

                  • Happy New Year to all the gentlemen who served at Song Be (Camp Suarez) with me In 1969 and 1970. I’m glad you’ve all made it this long. I was just one of the lowly Engineers. I can still see Nui Ba Ra in my mind after all this time.

                    Sent from Dave’s iPhone


                    • Happy New Year to all y’all as well. i still remember the one Air America weekend flight to Tan Son Nhut and back. i was nabbed by the MP and was sitting on a bench waiting to be processed when the pilot showed up and motioned me to go with him. that was my only vacation whilst in Sunny Southeast Asia and it is a memory i cherish to this day . . .

                    • I was also in Camp Suarez 1969 to 1970. I was the Team 67 S-2. I remember LTC Hayden (PSA), Major Deibold (S-3), Douglas Pike (S-1), Van Deacon (psyops), and Ralph Franco (S-4). Also, Mort Dworken on the civilian side of the team.

                    • Happy New Year Ed. When did you leave Song Be? Did you know Keith Leinauer in SB? Joe Langlois? Or Tom Smith in Duc Phong? Did Doug Bolick replace you as S-2 in SB? I was with USARV 525 MIG arriving on Air America Porter in SB (with a nun in blue habit and some shady spooky looking types), and then in DP by Loach in late May 70, replacing Tom Smith, who DEROSed shortly thereafter. I remember Mort Dworken well. He went on to have a long State Department career, which you can google. I used to stop up in SB from time to time and stayed in the CORDS compound with Leinauer or Jim Boyd and Jim Flannery. Colonel Hayden was there and was known for his blow-ups, one of which resulted in him telling me: “This is the last sunset you’ll see in Phuoc Long.” But I was not in his chain of command; anyway I think he forgot about it. Pete Beaman

                    • Ed, I’m going to assume LTC Hayden replaced LTC Suarez who was killed in Feb ’69. Immediately after his death, Major Webb took charge until Hayden was assigned there permanently. Please correct if I’m wrong (that is, if you remember). I was Rod 11, AF FAC from Aug 68 through Jun 69.

                    • I think that is more or less correct. I did not arrive until early November 1969 – 8-9 months after LTC Suarez’s death – and Hayden was already in command.

            • gary durbin here yes i was coming back from sigon with suppys on air amarica and we ran into a monsoon ran he tried to get low but couldnt see any thing so we returned to saigon for a nother day and help me out in jan -feb tet offence we lost col swares and a caption that early morning what was the captains name

              • I was at Song Be in April 69. I can also confirm doing all the flights in and out
                I was working with the crews pouring concrete on the roof of the new operating room at the hospital
                I also helped coordinate bringing in IR 8 rice seed for the Montainyards. I also never drove a jeep outside the town. I always traveled by 3/4 ton or 2 1/2.

              • what state was ltc suarez from and cpt callahan they both got killed in feb 1969 im going on a honor flight and i want look them up on the wall and also sp4 robert cevallos who i know was from texas nay help would be appreciated i want to honor them with my thoughts and prays thank you

                • Gary durbin: hi you don’t know me but I am a relative of Robert Cevallos and I have been in and out of this site in hopes of running into someone who may have known Robert. If you did know him and were there when he died I and the Cevallos family would very much appreciate you texting me back. I am attempting to put together information of Robert in Vietnam and his daily routines. I have talked to his nieces and nephews about Robert but to them he was just an uncle who died in a faraway place called Vietnam. If you have any photos of him that would be a big plus for them and his still living brother and sisters. You have been the closest person to have brought up his name along with one other guy but you seem to have had a close representation with him. Please let me know and anything would be appreciated. Thank you very much.

                  • i was on leave for my gradmas death when i came back they said he got killed in a motor atacack im 73 now have pictures but im not sure which nones are who im sorry but thanks for replying

    • I read and enjoyed your book on “33 Quebec” and passed it on to my old friend Doug Bolick who was S-2 for a time in Song Be. I was in DP May 70-May 71; am going back there shortly for a visit. Will stay overnight in a “hostel”. I hear things have changed!

      • Pete. I am glad you enjoyed the book. Proceeds from sales go to a veterans outreach organization here in Western Pennsylvania called “The Veterans Breakfast Club.” With the pandemic and Zoom, they now reach far beyond this area. You should check them out on the web.

        Things have definitely changed there. I posted a “then and now” video on my YouTube channel, “Brief Alarm” that shows Dong Xoai in 1971 and in 2018. I was able to maneuver Google Earth into almost the same position as that of the Huey from which I took the ’71 picture. If I could go back to 1971 Dong Xoai, I would leave tomorrow, but that place is gone and is of no interest to me today. Some of the territory I operated in is now underwater flooded by a dam they built. If you have not done so, take a look at your old AO from Google Earth to see what is there today.

      • Dear Pete:

        I was the Team 67 S-2 from November 1969 to October 1970. I think I knew Bolick who was the intelligence guy in Duc Phong. I liked him and had him elevated to Team 67 S-2 when I left in October. I recall that he did not particularly appreciate the promotion since he was happy in DP. If you are in touch with him say ‘Hello’ and apologize on my behalf.

        Ed Wood

  3. Mort Dworken. Some of you may recall Mort, who was the CORDS rep in Song Be for Phuoc Long province from 69-71. He was a great guy. He describes his adventures there, including a dinner in Duc Phong which I must have attended but can’t remember, in the following webpage starting at p. 21 or thereabouts:

    If you are interested in Duc Phong at that time, read my book, “Letters from Duc Phong District”, which can be had from various dealers by web search.

    Pete Beaman

    • i just skimmed through the pdf. you posted earlier today and found it to be very interesting, thank you

      • I also liked at the interview. During my tour that kind of ‘management’ was way above me. Was visited by a few CORDS operators and a Phoenix Dude.

        I was aware of the SF A Teams moving along the Cambodian border and monitoring main force NVA that were near Duc Phong.

        B 52s were the major offensive force in the province in 1968.

      • I have been searching for any info on Robert Cevallos and this is the first time I have seen his name mentioned on any blogs on this site. If you have any pictures or any stories of Roberts life while there we would very much appreciate it. The family only has what the Army at that time gave them but me also being a vet know that his friends at that time have another prospective only they know. Mr. Harrison if you have any pictures of Robert or know of any of his Nam vet buddies I would really be appreciative of this. I am collecting all the blogs I can to pass to the family especially his younger family members who have no idea what the Vietnam war was all about. Thank you ahead of time and I await any and all info you can pass on to me.

  4. Looking for any information on Sp.4 Robert Cevallos. He was a medic and was killed on or about May 12,1968. He was attached to Team 67. Would like some photos of him during his time there since the family hasn’t any of him before his death. Any information would truly be appreciated.

    • Roy
      I was in the compound at that time.

      We were just torn up when we were informed a small piece of shrapnel hit him in the wrong place.

      I’ll reserve more till we hear from troopers that knew him better than I.

      Hope someone can say something because, it was a shame to hear he wouldn’t be going home (I understand he was a short timer, < 90 days) to meet his loved ones.

      Don RTO,
      TOC & Duc Phong

      • We usually played some volley ball or basket ball after lunch. I was in the field at one of the nearby hamlets when the attack took place.
        We had a memorial at the flag pole a few days later. I asked the colonel after the ceremony why we were not flying the Stars and Stripes during the event. He replied that we were attached to a Vietnamese unit and had to fly their flag. That upset me for a long time and I wrote an article about it for our VVA news letter.
        I will try and find it and send it.

    • Roy, I was in the compound during the mortar attack that killed Sp.4 Cevallos. I was an Air Force FAC attached to the MACV Advisory Team 67. During my one-year tour I kept a diary of my life while there. Do you feel the family would be interest in the days surrounding May 12, 1969? Although I have a few photos of personnel in the Compound, I wouldn’t recognize him unless a note on the photo identified him. It’s very possible someone has a photo or two. Don’t give up.

      • We would welcome any and all comments and pictures of Robert and his teammates. I would also appreciate your notes before and after the attack. This is more than any of us have had about his life in Vietnam. I hope this doesn’t bring up any bad memories for you about the past but that is all we have now, is memories of him. Thank you Dick for stepping up for Robert this will be a great leap forward. And to you sir I also say,”Welcome Home”! Job well done.

        • Roy, my email is This site doesn’t seem to allow attachments to our messages.
          Email me and I’ll provide what I can for you. Don’t worry about bringing up bad memories as I’m in the process of writing a memoir of my one-year experience in Vietnam. Much would have been forgotten had I not kept my diary and letters written to my wife.
          If you would like to contact me, my mobile # is 360-306-7502.

  5. Good afternoon, a few months back we were going through some of my grandfathers stuff and we found a plaque saying “Maccords Advisory Team 67, Phuoc-Long Vietnam 1971-1972. My grandfather was Maj. Barney Darby Jr, 1st Cav. If anyone knew him, happens to have pictures, or served with him/on team please email me at Looking for any info I can find, thank you!

    • Hello, The name sounds familiar, Major Darby. I was with team 67 during 1970-1971. A pfc in the messhall. We drew our rations with the First Cab. I drove the messtruck there to get them. The First Cab moved out of the area half way through the year of during 1972, asI recall. After they left, I drove to the abandoned airfield once or twice a week, I think, to meet a plane carry our rations. Hope that helps a little.

  6. hello, my Uncle Paul Mathewes, Jr. served 10/16/67 to 7/16/68 with SF. wondering if anyone knew him ? he passed 3/14/99 and I would like to know more info about his service (like his team # during that time). from what I can find it shows Command & Control South – MLSS (song be/Quan loi launch site). he would talk about the Montangards and how they were loyal warriors. curious to know if he went into Cambodia. any info would be appreciated and I want to Thank you for yall’s Service !

    • It’s hard to appreciate whether or not your SF uncle went into Cambodia.

      If he served in Duc Phong he most certainly lead patrols with a group of Montagnard soldiers.

      Or was on the patrols that often skirted the Cambodian border and went deep into the jungle where there were no roads within probably 20 klicks. I was common for them to be out 5 nights.

  7. Hello All, I just stumbled on this page and wanted to say Hello. I was the last Milphap Doc at Song Be between Feb 70 and May 71. Many great memories and still hope someday to go back to take a look again.

    Dug out some slides which I have not seen in years, but need to digitize them first.

    Best to All and hopefully my Medic, MSG George LaCaze.

    Robert (Bob) Irwin, Cpt, USArmy MC

    • Would like to see your slides and will see about digitizing my few photos.

      In Duc Phong then Song Be mid 70 to mid 71. MI.

      • Hi Doug .. Only mixed success with my slides. Seems my best have been lost and can only find a few. I used a simple digitizer for some. Not too bad. Posted a couple to FB group. Bob

      • Doug – my name is Joe Bluth. I was in the 1st Cav and detached to support a 5 man MACV team in Duc Phong from Oct 70 to March 71. I honestly don’t recall the names of the team (they obviously were close with each other and I really didn’t know much about MACV). I have some pics of them and the compound. I was the only 1st Cav support, but 4 guys from the Cav came to replace me, and I don’t know what happened after I left or what was the reasoning behind the increased support. I had only 10 days left in country and I went back to FB Buttons and was then sent out for a four day stint to open up a new LZ further west. Let me know if you might know the names of any of the MACV guys or if you have photos we might exchange. I’d sure like to know what happened after I left. They were really great guys to work with … very professional. BTW – I was briefly in touch with Jim Roberts (but communications got interrupted by some medical issues I had). I got to see his video A Very Lonely War. I highly recommend it, as it helped me understand what exactly MACV was about. Regards, Joe Bluth

        • Were you at the MACV compound or with the SF over in Vinh Thien? I was with 525 MIG and in the compound at the times you described. I’ve written a book about it, hopefully soon to be self-published. Would love to see pix. I was in DP from May 70-71. Thanks, Pete Beaman (1LT)

          • Pete

            if you send me your email I can exchange some pictures of the resettlement camp for the Montagnards, the celebration and dedication that took place, and other pictures of the compound including the 60mm mortar pit.
            Wish I took more pictures of the personnel I serve with in 68 & 69.

            Also you might be interested in the first team to Duc phong headed by Cpt ‘Big Jake‘ Holland. Read about it In the book Vietnam Military Lore – Ledgend Shadows, and Hero’s by Ray Bows.

            Have a few pictures of the song be compound during the memorial service for Suarez and Callahan.

            • Here’s a note from the FAC that helped save our ass I. Duc Phong.


              I’m not sure what went wrong, but I saw your conversation with Pete on the MACV group site.

              I tried to join in but the site said I have to sign in and I see no way to do that.

              Nevertheless, like you, I was at the MACV Compound for the memorial service honoring Suarez and Callahan. That was March 3rd, 1969. (The attack on the compound and TOC took place on February 23, 1969) Like you I have some photos plus some degraded video including the 21 Gun Salute. No sound. Amazing that we were both there at that service.

              I would very much like to obtain Pete’s book when completed. I’m ready to write the check.

              Feel free to share my email address with Pete and that I was an Air Force FAC (Rod 11) living in the compound during that time period.

              Thanks Don,

              Dick Gerry

            • My email is: I see a lot of names in these notes which are familiar. Did you know Tom Smith? He did 27 months in Phuoc Long (mostly in Duc Phong) and left in May or June of 1970. Died I think in 2006, unfortunately. I replaced him as the local 525 MIG intelligence agent in DP, though I was ostensibly the Deputy District Senior Advisor and a signal officer under Captain Barton and various successors throughout the year.When I left, in April 71, my operation was shut down. I don’t know how long the MACV Team remained in DP, but I suspect not much longer. DP and PL were the “Siberia” of the unit. Jim Flannery and Jim Boyd were my counterparts in Song Be. My book is a kaleidoscope of old letters (copied in pdf) and pictures, with a retrospective (2015) piece with more photos. Waiting for approval from BookBaby to publish the thing. 1970-1 was much quieter than what you experienced, due to the “Cambodian incursion.” I was lucky. PHB

          • Read your book
            it was great
            I was in Duc Phong district two times in 69
            I was Civil Affairs Engineer officer
            once to arrange for rice seed delivery to district and once to deliver payroll.

              • I still have my AKAI 1800 tape recorder. We used it at a VA mental health summit where we had 4 of us talk about what Viet Nam was like. I made a list of the tunes we listened to on the tape player.

        • Hi I was assigned to QUAN LOI LAST OF 69 then I replaced a sgt. ??? In song be 67 MACV team I was with the 425th. Sig and ran the P.C.M. RADIO , AT SONG BE AND the 425th. At fire support base BUTTONS, LEFT IN SEPT OF 70 also a short stint in Cambodia trying our XFER ANT. IN THE BUSH, anyway I new JOHN AND DAVE FROM H.Q. AND JOE FROM TOC. LEE FROM TRUCK CO. ANYWAY GOOD TALKING WITH. YOU GUYS HARD TO BELIVE ITS BEEN 50 yrs. if anyone remembers SGT. JIM STEP AT THE RADIO BUNKER WITH TROPO. PLEASE DROP A LINE .

          • Hi Bob, Thanks for the “Shout out”. How are you doing? We are living a quiet life in Panama amazed at all of the stuff going on going on in the US. Do not know if you follow it , but the experience with CoVid in VN is amazing. Best, Bob

      • Hello Doug my old roommie ! As you know, I was in Duc Phong May 70-May 71 under “cover” as DDSA, but really with the 525 MIG, so not part of MACV. Everyone in town seemed to know what my job was. I read below that DP now has a bank with an ATM and lots of shops. OMG. As you know, I hope to visit and hope to find some of my old VN acquaintances still alive. Cheers, Pete

  8. I’ve been thinking lately, about the MATs and how they were inserted into teams without much preparation.

    It was just a comment by the major that led to the Mission to rescue the Montagnard outpost at Duc Phong. I say comment because it didn’t sound like an order to me, but it probably was an order.
    I remember the Major saying to Miller I want you to take a group and go relieve that position and Lt Miller gathered us and we headed out with a group of RFPF.
    Arthur Miller probably doesn’t want to admit it but we didn’t know what we would find as we had no commo with those defenders, and we went anyway.

    Just recognizing your leadership under fire, bud.

    Don McAghon, RTO.

    • I well remember when MAJ Linsmorstad (if I spelled his name right) to me to get a team together and go, that what really worried me was that we were probably going to get into a real good fight because the NVA were still intrenched in the village that would directly on our right as we as we proceeded past the VN District HQ that we eventually ended up back at after being run out of the outpost. And I also remember very well getting caught in the crossfire when the NVA opened up on us AND SO DID THE OUTPOST thinking that we were more NVA coming up to overrun them. I couldn’t get any closer to the ground in a prone position because my buttons were in the way. And I can still see CPT Kah standing up and wildly waving his hand over his head towards the outpost to get them to stop shooting at us which they did. And you know the rest of the story (that I told in the chat a couple of years ago) because you were and important part of that whole “adventure” 51 years ago in December ’68. Yeah, you, me and SSG Alford left behind when the RF/PF’s kicked down the wire and ran the hell out of there so fast that their asses left skid marks and we were the last ones out and under fire from the village.

  9. Message for Jim Roberts and Arthur Miller about a book written by a MAT lieutenant serving in ll corps.

    The book is written as a story, is historical fiction, but much of it rings true with our experiences in lll corps particularly relocating the Montagnard families to secure villages.

    I’d say it also captures the very unique situation of working with the popular and regional forces.

    • Thanks for the note about the book. I just read Ruff Puffs and Jack of All Trades. While these are not new books, I had never read them. Please send the name of this new book and its author.

      • The book is Pawns of Plieku, by Monty Vogel. I think MACV team 21?
        He describes using allot of arty in his war. We depended on lots of 60 mm illumination and calls for Spookys and Cobras.
        Don, RTO Duc Phong and Song Be 68-69.

        • Thanks for the information. I’ll have to look for both books. I never even knew they existed. Best bet: Amazon????

        • Don,
          Thanks from me also. Now if we can only get other MAT team members to write and talk about their experience. Then we can form a reasonable idea of what the varied tours were like on a MAT. From what I have been able to find on the web and what I have read here, with Vietnamization things shifted dramatically between 68-69 and 1971, at least for our MAT team. My tour began with a good bit of American air support – there were not any American units with 105/155s within range for support. By the time I left in December, American air support seemed to be scarce except the province daily work ship, which was invaluable for us.

          Take care.


          • I’ve written about my experience when the resettlement village at Duc Phong was overrun as well as what happened on a couple of patrols several days prior to that. Don knows all about those incidents, especially the one were he carried the radio what we went out to relieve and outpost on the other side of the village the next morning and the NVA were still inside of the Village. Some fun, huh Don? Especially when the RF/PF’s beat it out of the outpost without letting us know they were making a hasty run to the District Hq, and then the Yard soldier who got wounded and Kah didn’t want to send anybody out to get him so SSG Alford said F that shit and went out and got him. Those things are buried somewhere in the Team 67 page.

          • Jim, are you the MACV Lt from Dong Xoai? Do you live in Pgh and work at CMU? Did you write a book about all this? I think we were in VN at the same time (70-1). I also lived in Pgh from 1973-2016; now in NM. My dad taught at CMU til 75. I practiced law downtown for 40 years. My book about Duc Phong is : “Letters from Duc Phong District”. I think you wrote an op ed about “Doughnut Dollies” in the WaPo recently. If all this is correct, be in touch.

            • Yes, I was the assistant team leader on MAT 111 at Dong Xoai in 1971. I just released a book through Amazon about my tour. The title is, “MAT 111 Dong Xoai, Vietnam 1971” You can contact me at I look forward to hearing from you.

              • Jim, I just receive a copy of your MAT 111. Great read!!
                I’ll drop and a line, Including why a Team 47 (An Loc) Dep District Advisor prowls the Song…

  10. Hey all, I was doing some research about my Grandfather and I have determined he was a part of Mobile Advisory Team III-63, Advisory Team 67 and was embedded with the People’s Self Defense Force and Popular Forces in Bu Dang Village, Duc Phong District, Duoc Long Province. According to the National Archives he was recommended and received a bronze star for action on 030031 (not sure what that means) and he was an O-2 at the time (First Lieutenant?) Last name of Saal. If anyone knows anything about an action that might have taken place thereabouts I would love to hear about it! Email me at
    Thanks all and God Bless

  11. I’m Dennis Finley….. served in Nam Jan 68-Jan69…MACV Team 67……2nd Civil Affairs Co…..12th platoon……one hell of a year……have lots of memories to share

    • Didn’t we meet in Duc Phong and you were up there collecting crossbows and arrows that the Yards made in order to sell them? And also when we had to carry back a dead VC after a firefight who had a canoe in his head and a torn up arm. We laid him out under a tree with all of the weapons and ammo we picked up after contact was broken, and then some photos were taken for propaganda purposes?

      • Geez that sounds familiar……I do remember unloading KIA ARVNS off deuce&1/2s at the hospital morgue just off the airstrip…..our unit had a project underway at the hospital……I do remember a KIA service at the compound for 2 guys mortared in their radio shack at the airstrip in Phouc Binh……..I recall the Cav protected the strip by day, but it was Charlie’s territory at night…… unit also lost a Captain to a sniper in August of 69, and Medic after that…….I took a pretty bad hit on Aug 22, 1968 during a mortar barrage at the hospital project…… penetrating right frontal lobe thing…..I’m lucky to be writing this…… best thoughts to all who served at Song Be …nothing was easy there

        • I also worked on making and pouring the concrete for the roof of the new operating room at the hospital.
          The captain killed by sniper was my replacement. He was only there for a week. He was riding in a Jeep. I only drove a dues and a half to not be conspicuous.

          • Hey Warren……..the officers name is Charles Baldwin……RIP……….perhaps you remember Lt Tom Reynolds who was our CO when I left in JAN 69…..great sense of humor…….used to refer to the Nam as ” the land of the black bra”……. good & bad memories of that major odyssey of my youth…… welcome home bro

            • My Captain was John D’Asensio a Sicilian from Pittsburg. Made all of his expenses by playing poker. Also worked with Doctor D and Doctor OD.
              D’Bartolomeo and O’Driscoll. had Sargant from Puerto Rico and Sp-4 from American Virgin Islands. My rules when OD was you could smoke pot only after you served your guard duty time.
              I was also at the airfield receiving a shipment of cement when a Vietnamese man ran around a Air Viet Nam plane to wave good by to his wife and ran into the Propeller.
              I was also at the hospital when the Huey went down with 45 Vietnamese civilians were on board, I learned about Triage. We had up to three Medevac Helicopters at a time carrying out the survivors. Men, women and children.

  12. I was stationed with the 41st signal Battalion and pulled guard duty many nights at the water point. I was one of the guards on duty there during a fire fight. To this day I can’t remember the names of a single person I was on guard duty with that night, we had some wounded and medicav out I never heard of their status and often wondered later found out that we were firing against friendly fire, the Korean roc army. I got minor wounded that night when a mortar exploded about 2 feet in front of me and left a crater in the sand bags. The next morning when showering and shaving I had some dry blood on my left cheek and about 4 small slithers of shrapnel sticking in the skin, I never went for medical treatment, jus pulled the metal out, it was very small, I felt guilty thinking of getting a Purple Heart for the small wound compared to others getting wounded and killed there. I would love to get the names of those I was on guard duty with, particularly the wounded and how they are, and some photos of the water point and the area I traveled up the small road going up to bing chua mountain many times taking repaired electronic equipment to them and picking up ones needing repair. I was there the night the VC hit the fuel tanks at the base of the mountain and only this week learned of the name of the Lt that got killed that horrible night, would like to know the names of the others

    • There in 69 thru early 70. On the sh*t list so to speak – trucked out every night to various spots, including water point. On an off night I was rounded up when a call came it was taking small arms fire. An after action report described it as VC contact, not ROC FF. A dozen of us went out in a deuce and a half and my only recollection is a few errant rounds triggering several minutes of full-on from us. As clearly as it was yesterday, I recall my own fire shredding a section of razor wire I’d strung a couple weeks earlier. In total there had to be less than 20 of us and the report mentioned 4 with minor wounds but I don’t recall that, nor a medivac – probably trucked out. Must’ve been a different event. As for ‘bing chua’ mountain and fuel tanks at its base – was that the most prominent mountain to the south with signal equipment on top? I later heard that several months after I DEROS’ed, the tank farm was overrun with significant causalities – which sounds different from the event you described.

      • Hi this is Don, RTO, TOC, 68 to 69 and RTO at Duc Phong.

        I can’t relate to your talk about a water point. Have no idea what you’re talking about,

        I know the big mountain Nui Ba Ra.
        No Americans were on top when I was there.

        I was in the old song be MACV compound that was destroyed in the attack of 1970.
        However I got out of there before all that damage occurred.

        Don’t know if my buddy Eric Long was in your same signal group.
        I talk about him getting the old radio up and running in the 1969 Tet attack that destroyed TOC and took Ltc and cpt Callahan.
        Don, RTO.

        • Hi Don,
          My reply was to someone from a signal unit I had spent part of my tour with in a different AO than yours and the mentioned mountain was “vung chua.” I later finished my tour via transfer to an engineer company at Don Duong in a MACV district a bit northeast of yours – Da Lat, Team 26 I think. It was a big relief from the coastal plain climate-wise, and beautiful. Sorry for the confusion. From one 05B to another, peace. Dan Cabot

        • I was AF FAC RTO at Song Be when Tet 69 hit. I was working for a SSG who’s name I forgot who got hit when the satchel charge came through the vent in the old TOC. He medevaced out and I got the jeep up and running and in the U shape revetment inside the compound. Mounted old VHF and UHF groundplanes on the metal tower and built a dipole to get HF to DASC. Stayed in that jeep until I came home in Nov 69. A couple AF RTOs came up to help so there were 3 of us working in the MRC-108 till I left.

            • I was in the hippie hooch on the end across from the mortar pit when I first got there, then moved to the end of the 2 rows of rooms (closest to the mess hall) and roomed with the mess sergeant. Worked in the radio jeep from Tet 69 to November, then to DASC, then home.

              • I think the hooch dwellers had a little different experience in camaraderie then the block wall folks.

                I kind a remember you now that you mention you roomed with the mess sergeant, whom I really didn’t know, but seem like a nice guy. I remember him cooking breakfast and Boss’in around the servers.

              • OMG – the “hippie” hooch….I inhabited it from May 68 to Jan 69…..smoked with Dobbs, Air Force dude, and others……dozens of hysterical moments…..damn that 3-5 a.m. guard duty shift, impossible to stay awake…..I should write a book

                • i stayed in the “hippie” hooch from MAY68 ~ APR70. as i recall the berm was looking down towards the river and up on the other side, which was where the mortar rounds came from that set the neighbors yard alight.

              • Greetings. You served before my stead. Do you recall a head nicknamed Sperm?

                He rotated in early 69. Don’t know what he did,?used to climb the goal post and sit on the backboard till someone saw him.

                He was amazed at who missed him because they were looking down.

        • I have a picture of myself on top of Nui Ba Ra in 1968 shortly after the Tet Offensive. There was a small Vietnamese signal detachment up there. It was serviced by helicopter is the mountain surrounding it was not friendly territory.

          • Hi Wayne, would like to respond, because just hitting the website deserves one.

            Met a neighbor farmer, 10 miles away, who served on top of the mountain at Ty Ninh. As I said we had nobody on top of that mountain when I served.

            I am at Don if you want to send a picture. If you have any of duc phong would appreciate it.
            Thanks for your help on this website. We experienced quite a bit at a very young age. All the best. Don

            • As I recall Nui Ba Ra when I was the Team Leader of MAT III-17 in ’68, we owned the top and the bottom, and the VC owned everything in between.


              • Art, I was with the MACV district team at Phouc Binh June-September 18, 1968. I’m terrible with names and team #’s from back then, but did you have a Lt. Steve Massey from Hays, Kansas on your team?

              • Damn. If any body see’s any of the 1/2 dozen or so responses to this (and other) posts I’ve made since 10:00pm yesterday, please pass them on. i gice up.

        • The 1st Cav 2nd Bde had a small commo base on top of Nui Ba Ra ( LZ Thomas ) As a Liason Officer at LZ Buttons in late 69 and early 70 I was up there almost every day to collect info. Welcome Home.

          • Thanks for your comments. I rotated out about September 15 of 69. The only close contact I had with the Cav. was a company size unit located along a small strip in song bay. MACV TOC was in their compound.

            Was also supported in Duc phong by two teams of BlueMAX Cobras and I understand that was a 1st Cav callsign

            I always thought a lot of the Cav and the way they took the fight to the enemy.

            In my time MACV did not have much interaction with LZ buttons but I do recall a ground attack in which a few dozen NVA/VC were killed trying to raid your compound for C rations?!
            They had P 38 can openers on a chain around their necks. Propaganda to boost their willingness to attack Quad 50’s.

            It wasn’t a pretty sight the next day when a few us took a jeep to gawk at the dead.

        • I was at Song Be (the old one) in 67. I was in the Air Force with about four or five other Air Force guys. SSGT Fleming was our “boss” I remember a Pettiford but can’t recall any of the others. The air strip where we worked was about five miles from the compound. I remember when you walked in the gate the water tower was on your right and the Commanders hut was next to it. I was sleeping in a 12 man tent by myself unless someone was passing through and that was just on person. At the air strip we built a bunker with the help of two Vietnamese bulldozers. Used a couple of the metal pallets for the roof. Across the road was a little stand where they sold sodas and Vietnamese cigarettes…

          • Hi, I was in Duc Phong 70-71; arrived during the Cambodian invasion which saved my personal bacon. Things were very quiet during my year, compared to prior and subsequent. Did you (Ron Geatches) know SSGT Tom Smith — he was my predecessor in the USARV/525 MI Group at Duc Phong. We were “attached” to the MACV team in DP and I was “Deputy District Senior Advisor” during my time. My real job was intel. As DDSA, we landed a lot of cement for various local projects. My proudest moment. DP was the only district in Phuoc Long to get its application to USAID on time; and we ordered a lot more than we needed because we knew that the cement would be “taxed” in Song Be and elsewhere before we got it. … I describe a lot of this in my book “Letters from Duc Phong District”, but it’s a heavy slog and I had to leave a lot of stuff out. Speaking of water points, there was a well in Bo Duc which was shared by the VC and the US team there. Bo Duc was never safe. Before the invasion they could see the lights on the NVA trucks driving down the HCM trail at night. I was only over there once but it looked hopeless to defend. I am hoping to revisit Duc Phong sometime next year (stay in the hotel! use the ATM!) if Covid allows. I will be traveling with old pictures of little kids, now in their 60s or so. Hope some are still around. Cheers, Pete Beaman


            • Hi Peter…I was on the Bo Duc District team from Aug ’68 to Aug ’69. Lovely place. I actually stayed at the District level because we got incoming at a less frequent rate than Song Be. I had many strong relationships with the Vietnamese and felt comfortable there, so I asked and received permission to stay the entire year. I then went into Song Be (3 months) and did the “44 Rome” job, clearing flights into the Province around the friendly’s positions and Artillery etc. I was excited that you mentioned Bo Duc, I don’t think anybody knew it was out there. I actually moved my little operation into the new compound in Song Be as it was being built. I was the only on there (w/my VN Counterparts). Donnie McAghon was a good friend of mine. Don and I came to Phouc Long together in ’68. My teammates in Bo Duc have all passed. Great guys, I miss them. I don’t know if you and I ever met, but I just wanted to say “Hello” and thanks for mentioning Quan Bo Duc! Take care!

              • Glad to be of service mentioning Bo Duc. No, you and I never met; I arrived in late May 70. We had a couple of Bo Duc “alums” in Duc Phong. A PFC named Rick Chavez (from Cleveland) had the duty in BD of getting water at the BD wellpoint, where one night he ran into a VC doing the same thing. They just stared at each other and went about their water business. We also had as a temporary DSA captain who had been at BD and was somewhat of a wild man, bragged of killing 7 VC; from West Virginia. You were lucky to have relations w/ the Vietnamese. I did too. My job was to know what was going on, so I spent a lot of time in “downtown” DP. I was supposedly under cover (as the DDSA), but everyone knew what I was up to. But they didn’t know how much Vietnamese I spoke. One time I was getting a haircut downtown –I always did everything on the local economy if I could– and the next customer in line asked the barber (in Vietnamese), what I did. The barber said, “Oh, he’s the American intelligence officer.” So much for my cover. Unfortunately in my book I couldn’t tell all these stories. The book consists of letters home and to my girlfriend, so it was watered down to suit the recipient audience. Maybe I’ll write an unvarnished sequel. Used to get Martell’s cognac (for distribution to agents) at the Bien Hoa PX for $3.99. Etc. etc.


              • I was team leader of MAT III-18 from February to December of 1969 and spent my last three months in Bo Duc. There was a lot going on there as it was the main road for the NVA out of Cambodia into South Vietnam. We stayed in the district team’s compound but slept with the Ruff Puffs in an old mission next to the district bunker. Two years ago I returned to Vietnam with Steven Murray, an OCS classmate, who was in country the same time as me. His team was located just outside of Saigon. We spent nine days in Vietnam and were able to visit most of the areas we operated in as well as taking a side trip to Hue. Got to go back to Bo Duc, now known as Bu Dop, and tried, after 50 years, to find our team’s last location. Found ruins I believe to be from the mission among the rubber trees that now occupy that area. After 50 years I felt lucky to have found that! Bu Dop is now a medium sized city with highways. It still has a large Montagnard population. The trip back was amazing in so many ways and both Steve and I are glad we were able to go.

          • Ron, I was at Song Be (USAF 8th Aerial Port) the same time as you (April- Nov. 67) I served with Sgt Fleming, Sgt Warwick, Ralph Pettiford, Jake Johnson and Dave Cockran (can’t recall all the names). Stayed with the Special Forces guys at B-34. I have photos to share if interested.

          • Hey Ron, I was at Song Be at about the same time as you (May 67-Nov.67). Served with Sgt Flemming and Ralph Pettiford, Dave Cockran, Jake Johnson to name a few from the 8th Aerial Port. Stayed with the 5th Special Forces (B-34) at night. I have some pictures to share if interested.

  13. I was on Mat Team 3-18 from January of 1969 to early December of 1969. We operated in Dong Xoai, Phuoc Long and Bo Duc. We were also in a Montagnard Village for about three months. My senior NCO was Kenneth Turner and my second in command was Russell Smith. I assume he took over the team as SFC Turner and I went state side the early part of December. Love to hear from anyone associated with this Mat Team.

    • Paul,
      I have been hoping someone from a MAT would contribute to the conversations on this page. Having a contribution from someone who operated out of Dong Xoai is a bonus.

      I was on a MAT based in Dong Xoai in 1971. Apparently things changed a lot between our tours. The team designation in 1970/71 was MAT 111. I am not sure what happened to the early team designations. Please correct this if it is wrong but what I have been able to find on the web is that the camp at Dong Xoai was turned over f to the RF company in late 69/70 when the A-Team 342 was pulled out. Iy appears that MAT 111 came into existence at that time or shortly after. My team leader was Captain Jim Rice, ADA. He arrived in November 1970. I replaced a LT Bluhm as the assistant team leader in April 1971. Both NCOs DEROSEd shortly after I arrived and were replaced by SFCs Turner and Moore. The medic was SSG Randolph. There was a four man district team co-located with us: The District Senior Adviser was an Armor Major, his NCO, and an intel team composed of a MI Captain and NCO.

      When I DEROSEd in December of 71, I was the only MAT team member left at Dong Xoai. As far as I know and based on the fact that I operated in other districts with others as the second adviser on the mission, I think I was the last MAT team member in the province. By that time the DSA and the intel NCO were also gone. That left only two advisers in the district. This was probably due to the Vietnamization program and its reduction of American involvement in the war.

      I posted a 30 minute video on YouTube last year about my experiences as the MAT assistant team leader. You can find it by searching YouTube or Google for:
      A Very Lonely War
      If you or any of the veterans from Phuoc Long get a chance to watch it, I would appreciate your feedback AND any corrections. Much of the background information in the video is based on recently declassified MACV command summaries for that time and reports from other advisers. There is an email address for comments in the credits at the end of the video. You can also contact me at:

      • Good to hear from you Jim. After I left Vietnam I lost all contact with anyone from my team. I will be viewing your video in the near future and let you know what I think. It sounds like there were a lot of changes after I left including team designations. I have no explanation for these things and didn’t even know about them until your note. Was the SFC Turner on your team first name Kenneth? His first trip to Vietnam was with the Big Red 1 and he was on his second tour with me. If he is the same one, it would have been his third time over. Quite a coincidence if it was. If it is do you have any contact information for him?

    • Paul,
      Thanks for the reply. “My” SFC Turner’s name was L J. He complained that for 19 years the Army have given him grief about using his initials instead of his name but his first name was “L” and his middle name was “J” – apparently a family tradition. He was from Alabama. He retired with 20 years from Vietnam. Supposedly he made someone important in command very angry so they sent him back on his third tour for his 20th year in the Army. We made a deal: if he would try to keep me from making dumb LT mistakes, I would do everything I would do everything I could to get him to his DEROS. I held up my end of the bargain but I am not sure about his… He gave me a phone number to call when I got back to the world. When I called that number in December 1971, a very polite lady with a deeply southern accent said she had never heard of an L J Turner so that contact was lost.

      If you watch that video, there is a slide of four of us standing in front of a jeep – two Vietnamese and two Americans. SFC Turner is on the left of the row. the two in the middle are the RF company commander – a very good leader, the XO. The one on the right is me.

      My team was MAT One-Eleven and not One-One-One as if it were a partial naming following of the convention used the you were there. I know this because there was a MAT 112 in the province.

  14. Question for Soapy, can you remember how many districts were included in radio checks.

    As I recall it was Duc Phong (me) Bo Duc (you) Kaul at phouc binh, and TOC.
    Trying to appreciate (for a write up) how many strategic hamlets were in the song be TOC net. Did Bo Duc have a green beret presence?

    • Of course, anyone who has input can respond to our MACV district teams situation 50 years ago, didn’t mean this post to be for only Doug Soapy Waters.

      • Don, I was on MAT 111 (Dong Xoai village in Don Luan District) in 71. I found a map at a web site called (the site is no longer active). It show the distribution of SF units in III Corps in in the late 60s. There was a B team (3-4) at Song Be. There were A Teams at Bu Dop (A-341), Dong Xoai (A-342), Duc Phong (A-343) and Bunard (A344). The SF camp at Dong Xoai for team A-341 was turned over to an RF company in very late 69-very early70. The first information on MAT 111 appears in 1970. I came in 71 and was replaced the first assistant team leader who, was I think the last of the original MAT 111 member. At that time, Song Be was being run by Advisory Team 67. A document I have dated July 1971 from Team 67 shows four districts at which district teams and some MATs were posted: Bo Duc (MAT) Don Luan(MAT), Duc Phong, and Phuoc Bin (MAT). The older map of SF units shows Bu Dop while the Team 67 document lists Bo Duc. Was Bu Dop a village in Bo Duc District? That would make sense…

        As far as I could tell and remember, when I arrived in April 71, there were very few if any non-MACV assets in the province. There were no RTOs posted out in the districts and there were no air assets based within the province. We did get help but those assets flew in when requested and when available.

    • Don: when my team moved from Duc Phong to Phouc Loc, we made radio checks with Song Be on a daily basis. When we needed a medivac bird a couple of times it was Song Be that our call went out to and then a chopped would contact me on our freq when it was inbound. I guess you could call Phouc Loc a “strategic hamlet; we sure as hell had our share going on while we were there in late ’68 and early ’69 just before Song Be got hit and LTC Suarez and my buddie CPT Callahan got killed.

      • Was Col Suarez top kick until that fateful night. Cristened Cpt Cal bars right before he went to TOC to work.

          • Sorry I no longer remember names. Col S was a great chief. Capt Cal was just one of the guys. Always seemed to have a gbood word. I am now an old soldier with numerous health issues along with most of my comrades. Ran across this site by accident.

            • John, we must have known each other at Song Be. I was a Captain and one of five AF FACs living in the MACV Compound and my call sign was Rod 11 flying the O-1 Bird Dog off the City Strip. The VC rocket and mortar attack, plus a sapper squad against the TOC took place on Sunday, Feb 23rd, 1968. Major Art Warden was the FAC/ALO (Air Liaison Officer) at the time and I believe he was there during the attack. By sheer chance, I was somewhere over the Pacific Ocean returning from my R&R in Hawaii and actually got back into Song Be on the 27th due to transportation difficulties. After the attack, we were flying out of Song Be during the day and kept the Bird Dogs at Quan Loi and flew 24 hour cover over Song Be in the event of another attack, day or night.
              I attended the memorial service for Lt Col Suarez and Capt Callahan and have some photos of that event. I also have many more photos while there, and your picture is probably among them. I’m sorry to hear about your health problems. I just turned 78 and a few problems are creeping up on me also.

              My email is should you wish to see any of my photos around that time.

              Dick Gerry

                • Jim: I do remember you. I was the Intelligence Airman assigned to the USAF team at MACV 67 at Song Be. Capt Gerry was there for part of the time that I was there and has sent me a couple of pics of the two of us. I have pics of several of the other airplane maintenance guys that worked with you but do not have any of you.

              • I was in the Air Force and attached to the 94th Advisory Team at Song Be. Some of the people there in the AF was SSG Flemming (Supervisor). Ralph Petafore and a couple of others but I don’t remember their names. I did have several pictures from there but we lost our house to a fire and all of our stuff with it. I slept in the 12 man tent that was set up for the transit people but I was there for several months. The AF would bring in POL and the Army would get it all but about half a barrel. The AF couldn’t take them and the Army didn’t want the so I would take them to a place and shoot into them with tracer rounds until they caught on fire so the VC couldn’t get them.

                • Correction on the unit. It was the 67 Special Forces I was attached too. The air strip was about five miles from the compound. which we traveled at least four times a day. When I got there we had no buildings nor shelter so we got a couple of Vietnam soldiers with bulldozers to dig us a place so we could put a roof of cargo pallets over it for shelter. We only had one 10,000 lb forklift to load and unload the planes that came it. Fortunately my supervisor was easy going and allowed me to catch a hop as long as I was back before time to go to the compound.

            • I was the Team Leader of MAT III-17 from Sep 68 till I went back to the States in Feb 69. I considered CPT Cal a good friend and there was another 1LT or CPT there who was a friend, Rock (spelled the way it sounds) Pucci. His first name was spelled the French way but pronounced as Rock. A mini-stroke plays games with my memory and I’m sorry to say that I don’t recall you but I remember MAJ Webb. I’ve also got other health problems but as long as I’m still on this side of the grass, I just carry on.

  15. Does anyone know what happened to Gary Durbin S1 clerk from June 1968 to. ? I was there from Jun 68 to Jun 69. Gary extended his tour being in love with kitchen girl.

  16. Just posing a question. I think I’d like to go back.
    Anybody out there want to go on a tour of our old stomping grounds?
    Recieved a proposal for an Agro-tourism tour to include the fish and rice production in the delta and stops at cu chi, (tunnels) not a favorite- – an loc, Duc Phong, 12 day. Lodgeing b’fast. 3 star and above- but count on a hard bed.
    Proposed at $1,200. You get to Saigon.
    Found out that song be golf course referes to the river not the town.
    PS includes 3 days in Vung Tau! & 2 days in Saigon
    PSs open to adjustment but only with qualified tour operators.

    • Don, that sounds interesting.
      I was on orders to Song Be as Civil Affairs Officer but ended up in An Loc as Deputy District Advisor Sept 68- Sept 69.
      Let me know more about the trip.

      • Robert,

        Reading through the posts here and came across your name. I’m the SP4 Johnny Smith that was in An Loc Team 47. You wrote a post how I saved your life. I have to know you as I was in AN Loc from Aug68 thru Oct69. We have to meet up some day. I think you owe me a cold one.

        • Would. Like to have a beer or whiskey.
          Maybe you miss addressed your comment.
          I was RTO in Duc Phong District and Song Be TOC.

          • Hi Don,

            I thought I addressed it to Robert Kunz. Huummmm Robert Kunz sent me a post on the Team 47 site and explained how I saved his life.
            Oh well, I’ll have a beer or wiskey you also. MACV is a band of brothers no matter where you were.

            Bottoms up my friend!!!

            • Agree brothers of/in MACV.
              People, even vets can’t much relate to how we served in groups of 5 or 6, maybe 20 other US Soldiers.
              Some say we had it easy others just don’t just get it — think it’s BS.
              I enjoyed the less structured command and the comeradire across MOSs.
              Also enjoyed monthly R&Rs, leaving base without another guy and hitting Saigon or Vung Tau via the next aircraft going that way.
              Good but serious times for sure.
              Enjoy listening to Byrd’s Radio on Pandora lately.

                • I had a good supervisor and he gave us time off, When I got a day off I would catch the first flight that was coming back that day and I’d catch a hop with them. I also got a couple of days off and went to Vung Tau to visit a buddy of mine< Terry Mayville" he was also Air Force and worked at the air field. I didn't get any out of country because I went to Japan for three months in the hospital because a 7,000 lb pallet came off the tail ramp of a C-130 and landed on top of me. The Commander said that was my out of country R&R.

    • Don,
      This has a little to do with a trip so I thought this would be the best place to post this to you. I was on MAT 111 in Dong Xoai in 1971 which was deep into the US’s Vietnamization program. I think you posted much earlier about trying to find the airstrip at Song Be. I am not sure what success you had but here is what I have been doing to find things in Phuoc Long then and now.

      You can get the topo map of the Song Be area by searching for:
      university of texas vietnam topo maps
      One of the choices you should see is:
      Vietnam Maps – Perry-Castañeda Map Collection – UT Library Online

      This will give you a list of the maps available. Click on Phuoc Binh to get the correct map. The western slopes of Nui Ba Ra will be roughly at grid coord 1806. Song Be is roughly in grid coord 1406 and you will see the air strip.

      Next use Google Earth of search for Nui Ba Ra (instead of Song Be which was mentioned in an earlier post). This will take you to the mountain. The area that we referred to as Song Be is to the west. I have compared the topo map to the Google Earth image and do not see the airstrip but I think the nearby road is close to where it was. I would be interested in what you think.

      I have done this with Dong Xoai. I maneuvered Google Earth to show Dong Xoai from a similar angle and altitude to that of a picture I took from a Huey in 1971. The change in 47 years is impressive. The only thing that seems to remain in both images is the intersection of the two roads LTL13/QL14 and LTL1A.

      If you are thinking about going back, it might be worthwhile comparing the topo map from your tour to what is there today. Personally, If I could step off of a bus and see what was there in 1971, I would go back tomorrow. But for me, what I see at Dong Xoai today and images of the areas in which we operated, some of which is under water, in my mind Dong Xoai and Phuoc Long are places I never “visited”.

      Take care and travel safely.

      Jim Roberts

      • Since I was a FAC (Rod 11) from Aug ’68 to Jul ’69 I took some good aerial photos of the Song Be City Airstrip on one of my last flights. I may also have one or two of the Phuoc Binh Airfield (the big one) 5 miles away. If any of you would like to see them for reference, give me your email and I’ll be happy to share them.
        Dick Gerry

        • I would like to see the photo’s of Song Be. My email is:

          As I recall, when I flew into Song Be in an Air America twin engine Beach in Sep ’68, the runway doubled as the main drag there. But at my age, I loose a few more brain cells everyday so I’m probably wrong.

            • Jerry, another source, Jim Reid’s book “Province Officer” says it was an Air America Porter and that he was personally involved in the incident. Either way, we all know it happened,

          • You’re correct……I’m Dennis Finley Jan 68-Jan69 Team 67 Song Be… civil affairs platoon 12….lt Mike Hammett platoon cmdr…..wood love to see pics

          • I flew into Song Be the first time on a C-130. Air American came in many times and I got to know them so, at various times I got to fly with them. Had a C-130 that the Vietnamese were trying to get on without t he proper papers. We had to stand in the door ways to keep them out. I was at the front door and when I started to jump the load master grabbed me because he thought I was falling. I made it back to Song Be three says later on the same plane. When I was there, in ’67 we had no protection so we borrowed some bulldozers from ARVN and dug a place, put a cargo pallet over it and that was all we had except for sand bags.

            • Don’t recall 130’s using the in town strip. Kinda a steep decent over nui ba ra.

              Recall a rhubarb with the AF guys about walking the runway in phouc binh prior to a 123 landing. Some blew the duty off, but went Bitching, anyway.

              Lots of beavers, helicopters, twin engine air America Beechcrafts, FAC tail draggers, and caribou’s used the song be strip in 68&69.

              Good to hear you went to song be on a 130. An Awesome plane.

              • I’m not sure where the “town airstrip was but am pretty familiar with the one at Phouc Binh. I was the ass’t district advisor at Phouc Binh from early July 1968 – September 18, 1968 and knew of many C130’s flying from that airstrip, some with me as a hitch hiker both ways. Left from there 9/18/68 on a med evac chopper, smiling all the way to Saigon.

      • Agree.
        A change of 50 years would be astonishing.
        And not appreciated that much by memories of the my war year —68-69.
        Duc Phong & Song Be.
        But go get em Vietnamese.

        • I went on Google Earth/Maps and got the satellite view of Duc Phong and Song Be and couldn’t find anything that even looked familiar. Even the place of those fire fights we were in looked like it was covered now with houses, but I did see a large empty space that could have been where the District Hq that we fell back to; the space had the right shape. Anyway, when all is said and done, I can’t recall ever loosing anything in Vietnam that I need to go back there to look for.

      • Thanks for the info. Looked at Duc Phong and found there’s an ATM and bank there and many shops and businesses.
        Am told the SFCamp A343, I think, is still there. Don’t know use of it though.
        Agree- So much has changed that there would hardly any nostalgia triggered by seeing the ‘modern’ Duc Phong in person.

  17. Trying to come up with a way to post articles and pics of Phouc Long and Duc Phong. I hate to loose some of the stuff we all might have.
    Anyone out there with advice on a cloud sharing tool?
    Do we need to create a web site first with a specific address then give clearence code to s pacific ema addresses to access the web site?
    Any advice/suggestions is appreciated.
    RTO Duc Phong and Song Be TOC 68 to SEP 69.

  18. I’d like to comment on defoliants and soil sterilants. Most of us remember how ‘weed free’ the perimeter was and the half buried 55 gal drums of accelerants.
    My guess, having spent a career in Ag chemicals after the service, is the lack of vegitatation was a result of a heavy dose of Agent Orange.
    The point is, a soldier didn’t really know how prevalent the use of vegetation control agents were in the immediate vicinity of living quarters – – hence the assumed exposure to carcinogenic dust, mud, and water.

    • I just recently read a report about Agent Orange use in Vietnam and this report said that the average application rate for Agent Orange was 6 to 25 times the labeled rate. More is better right? I was the intel sergeant for the Phoenix Program at Dong Xoai from 70-71. Use of Agent Orange along the roadways was obvious where I was.

      • Yes I’m sure anyone using the 2,4,5-T (agent orange) thought it wouldn’t hurt you and a ‘little’ extra wouldn’t hirt either.
        It was indeed a useful vegetation control material. Too bad Dow sent it to the army in its unpurified form.

        • I don’t know about you gentlemen, but I have already been through one 5 yr battle with presumptive service connected cancer associated with the various defoliant sprays. Combat Engineer there at the Song Be MACV compound from Aug ’69 – Apr ’70.
          Agents Orange, White and Blue?

            • Thanks Don,
              But if I can survive Song Be during that time period, I figure I am hard to kill. I don’t want sympathy. I am fine and have been cancer free for the past 5 years now.
              I only pointed it out in hopes that the rest of you guys will STAY ON TOP of your check ups and physicals, watching for any of the 13 cancers associated. I made the mistake of letting the VA do my watching for me. Not a wise choice on my part. Learn by my mistake! Please use them as a back-up only.
              Enjoy reading the conversations at this website! ✌️

            • Sorry about the diagnosis. I have MS, intention tremor and seizures and of course the VA doesn’t recognize them as Agent orange related, which is bull. But I just got an increase for the seizures so at least I get my retired pay offset removed. Oxymoronically, I passed a weather observation every day down to the Ranch Hands for their go/no go spray mission decisions. I’m sure you know that Phouc Long was the 2nd highest concentration of Agent Orange spray in Vietnam. And of course they sprayed over the Song Be river. And what did we drink? Wish I would have said sky obscured, visibility 1/4 mile, ceiling 100 feet 🙂

              • Yeah, I knew about the high spraying statistics. I am sorry to hear about all your health issues too. Figure it’s just a matter of time til the other shoe drops for me as well! Spent a lot of time at the “water point” 🤠

              • I did my best to talk the “powers that be” out of those Ranch Hand missions. They ignored my comments (requests). I would have to check my combat log book to see how many missions I directed. There was little question that the VC/NVA knew in advance, exactly where the missions were planned. I did my best to keep the spray away from the rivers, but it wasn’t always possible. Now we know the long term damage it has done, and as a FAC, knew at the time it served little useful purpose. Whatever the defoliation uncovered was no longer in use by Charlie. Maybe there were exceptions, but I never saw them. I am always hoping some other Song Be FACs besides myself will find this site so we can read their stories and perspectives.

                • I am SGM (ret)John Jenkins. I was top Sarge for the compound at Phouc Long first under LTC Reiter and civilian Joe ?, Then under Ltcol Saurez, and lastly under Col Bean. I am 84. Have many medical problems, lung disease, kidney failure, heart failure, and others including early dementia so all of my comments may not be relevant. On the evening of the tradgedy of Col Suarez and Cpt Cal I was there. I last spoke with Col Suarez as he was getting in his jeep to cross the road to the TOC. Col was wearing flip flops and I asked him if I could go get his boots. He said he did not have time and we opened the gate and he drove thru. Cpt Cal and an enlisted member I do not remember were at the TOC. When we found the bodies Col was still in his jeep with the motor running. We carried both bodies back to the compound and I informed Maj Webb who then took over. As I remember I did organize a firing squad. We rehearsed ahead of time and the ARVM Col next door raised cane. One of Cpt Gerrys photos shows the squad in the background.

                  Sent from Mail for Windows 10

            • Then we were there at the same time. I was also with Co B 31st when Beard shot Webster and through the Jan ‘70 shit storm until April ‘70. Welcome home

          • Dave, were you assigned to B Co, 31st Combat Engineers? I was a grader operator from HHC when we were doing the MACV compound near the airstrip.

            • Yes, I was with the 31st Eng Bn at Camp Suarez (Song Be) Sept ‘69, through April ‘70. Have a few pictures of the Engineers there. Even the football game Xmas day 😎

        • Before I became a Ruff Puff Advisor in ’68, I was up on the DMZ and we use to wall all through that shit while on patrols, laying on it setting up ambushes, etc. I’m really thankful that I didn’t come down with any type of cancer or other related diseases that came from it.

          • I have to say that during my tour as a FAC at Song Be (Aug 68 – Jul 69), exposure to Agent Orange didn’t cross my mind. (now it’s crossing my mind) Occasionally we were assigned missions to direct Ranch Hand (defoliation) missions (where to start & where to stop). These were usually six C-123s flying 100 feet above the forest canopy. I always felt defoliation missions were a waste because approval was given by the Province Chief well in advance and by the time we flew the mission, the VC/NVA had already relocated their camouflaged routes through the area. In addition, we always positioned ourselves upwind of the defoliation route to avoid any chance of contact with the spray.
            That said, it is now apparent exposure to Agent Orange was almost certain to all of us who spent any time at all at Song Be. So far, I have seen no apparent effects.
            Thanks David, for the heads up. It was hard enough to stay alive while we there, so we need to make sure Vietnam doesn’t reach us through the decades.

            • hi again Dick
              As I mentioned I ended up retired from the Army in 1994. I retired on a medical for multiple sclerosis. And tinnitus/hearing loss (duh). I recently had seizures secondary to the MS. VA acknowledged my A.O. exposure and I received the flyer from the A.O. registry for years. With 0 percent disability. Lately their entry changed, without notice, to not combat related. Excuse the hell out of me. But in any case, mere presence in Vietnam is enough. They do not recognize chronic neurological disease as A.O. related. Having said all of this, I have been curious for 50 years if anyone else has experienced any kind of neurological issues. Of course, you’re all aware that Phuoc Long was one of the highest sprayed provinces. And guess where our drinking water came from…
              Dave Gauntlett, AT67, 1969

              • Gentlemen, I hope everyone I have been in contact on this website and by email notices this reply/comment. I have been keeping everything on my computer backed up to the Apple iCloud Drive as it was recommended to me. Somehow the information got scrambled and all of my email communications and conversations before December 20th, 2017 were stripped from my Microsoft Outlook program for Mac. I’ve been to the Apple specialist and assured that I was not hacked, but they are unable to determine what occurred and so far unable to recover the lost data.
                Because of that, I would ask that any of you that have previously communicated with me prior to Christmas, to please send me your email and a quick summary of what we talked about. I would hate to send photos already sent or repeat myself. That’ll happen soon enough all by itself as I get older.

                Again, my email is

                Thanks guys.

  19. The book by Harry G summers Jr is titled ‘historical atlas of the Vietnam war.’ A further understanding of duc Phong is in a book titled Vietnam military lore legend, shadows and heroes by Sergeant Ray Bose, see chapter 42, on page 757.

    This is a description of the situation in before duc Phong (bu dang) before it was able to be supported by external forces, like FACs, spooky’s , and cobra gunships.
    Like you said not a pretty sight, and in a world of hurt.
    I only now appreciate the remoteness of phouc long province located only 75 miles from Saigon. I was told at headquarters MACV, on my arrival, not to expect too much life outside of the bunkers.

    • Don, Thank you. Both books are now on order through Amazon. Neither one is cheap but it will help me get back a better sense of the big picture.

    • I had orders for the Civil Affairs advisor at Song Ba when I arrive in country Sept 68. My Air America flight had stops are Tay Nihn, An Loc and on to Song Ba. I was an infantry officer, not to keen on Civil Affairs. We touched down on the red dirt strip at An Loc and I asked the Sgt who came out to pick up the mailbags if there were any infantry-type jobs. Their Assistant District Advisor had just left. Sounded promising, I threw my duffle off. With a little bs I got my orders changed and the rest is history. Of course when I heard the Team 67 overrun in Feb 69…

      • With regard to February 1969, although the Team 67 compound was largely destroyed it was not overrun. Late in the evening there was an NVA mortar attack that dropped a number of shells into the compound and into an adjacent ARVN compound where a substantial amount of artillery shells was being stored (temporarily) in the open. The mortar rounds touched off the ARVN artillery rounds which, one-by-one and in small groups, ‘cooked off’ for hours. It was the exploding artillery rounds that were primarily responsible for damage to the Team 67 compound. Fortunately there were only four casualties, two persons seriously wounded, but no KIAs. 1st Lt. Ed Wood, S-2.

        • I was the guy that climbed the radio tower to reorientate the antenna, it had been knocked akilter early that morning. I read somewhere that an officer got a silver star for doing the same thing? this is the only place that I’ve found that people have ever heard of Song Be.

          • Just for clarity— I was there in ‘69 Tet, (the TOC was taken out) I think the ‘cook off’ must have been ‘70 and pictures are around of the ‘offices’ quarters being damaged as a result.
            Was told by Gary Kidd,usaf, the ammo bunker exploded.
            We had no commo in 69 after 1:00 AM, except for the Jeep prc 46s outside in all the hubbub; which were used to relay messages.
            Eric long worked on an unused battery powered radio in the basement of HQ. that was hooked to the big antenna inside the wire and the batts took a charge.
            we got back up In the morning (as I recall) using that radio.
            Major Webb S3, took command after the Col and Callahan never came back, and wrote the citation for Eric.
            I was in ‘Webb’s castle’ a pill box guarding the town side of the gate.
            Eric probably has better details.
            anyone of us, in my opinion, given the opportunity and circumstance would have acted heroically. That’s the way we were.
            Thanks. —

            • I stand corrected! The ‘cookoff’ WAS February 1970 and the TOC was overrun in February 1969, with some American KIAs, including the Team 67 commander, LTC Suarez.

              • When the TOC was destroyed on Feb 23, ’69 and lost Lt Col Suarez and Capt Callahan, I was returning from R&R in Hawaii. I was somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. However, I took a number of photos of the damage in the aftermath at the TOC and the Province Capitol. I also have some photos of the memorial service on Friday, March 7th in the MACV Compound. Should anyone like to see them, email me at with your email address and I’ll be sure to send the best ones your way.

                • Was NCOIC during hell night at the HQ. Would love to see the pictures if you still have them. I formed a firing squad for the memorial service in front of the HQ.

              • the paper I have notes 21JAN70 as being the day of the “cookoff”, unless the date is wrong. I was at song be, the airstrip wasn’t much more than a dirt path, and we were several miles from, ( what I always thought was ), Song Be south with a long runway and pallets of beer all over the place. I reckon I wasn’t really a MACV employee but a radio site team member. I did carry a PRC-25 for Colonel Hayden when he wanted to go out for a walk a couple times though . . .

                • Thanks for your service.
                  When I rotated sep 69, a few of my friends still were in song be and told me about the incident in 1970.
                  We had an ‘officers club’ for the booze but a lot of us smoked a little marijuana too. As my buddy says soldiers picked thier poison
                  Interestingly, while in Duc Phong I don’t recall any alcohol or intoxication.
                  We were pretty straight, perhaps due to the leadership of major Lins Morstadt

                  Thanks for posting.

                  • I don’t recall any alcohol or grass at Duc Phong, or even at Phuc Loc when the team moved there. But Song Be was a different story. I also remember playing cards using a good old OD Army blanket on the table incase the game had to come to a sudden stop and all the “evidence” could disappear. One of the NCO’s there use to run the game at night. The only time I even remember the game coming to a stop when I was there, was when a couple of mortar rounds landed outside the compound and we all scattered to a safer place than the club.

            • Mac…When did you talk to Gary Kidd? Wasn’t he from Philadelphia? He hung around with “Bear” (California)
              …do you remember him?

              • Gary visited me in NJ about MAR 70.
                Ya, Bear, Airman Buss and Kidd were plane trackers working out of an air conditioned 3/4 ton ‘camper’

                • I wonder what happened to “Bear”. Interesting guy. How are you, Donnie…how is your health? I had been looking for SFC Perry (Bo Duc Medic)…I found his Obit in a SC Newspaper…just months after he had passed away. I should have started looking for my Bo Duc teammates a long time ago. I think they have all passed now. I really regret that. Hope your O.K.

                  • Soapy hi thanks for the contact.
                    I’m doing fine healthwise and enjoying retirement now — spending part of the year in Arizona —-summers in Minnesota.

                    I haven’t looked up anybody on the MACV the team however as you know made contact with Lieutenant Miller who served as MAT team lead in Duc Phong. Also located Eric Long.
                    Looked for Bear off and on, but never got a lead on where he might be.
                    My favorite hobbies are golf and fishing in that order.
                    Hope you’re doing well and enjoying life.
                    Wouldn’t mind have your email address.
                    All the best.

    • The book “Vietnam Military Lore: Legend, Shadows and Heroes” is an extremely well researched book. In short, it is fabulous. I got it awhile back, used, from eBay.

      I’ve been following the discussion on here. WOW, had things ever changed since I was there in ’64-’65. There were no clubs of any kind on any MACV post that I was at, and certainly no bartenders. I’m not sure if there was at Bien Hoa but I was only there for a few days in 1964, so there could have been.

      The number of people were drastically higher after I left, the procedures were different, the equipment was different, etc. I had no idea it had changes so much until I read some of these postings. Amazing. I am blown away.

      When I first got to Vietnam in November 1964 there were about 25,000 Americans with MACV. I have heard other numbers that were a bit lower than that. Most of them were advisors out in the boonies, like me. Radio operators were part of the advisor teams, and not part of a separate communications unit. Of the places were I was, the only ones that had OS-1 Birddog aircraft was Phouc Vinh, and sometimes at Ham Tan. There was nothing at Song Be at the time that I am aware of, and not at Chon Thanh. I think there might have been one at An Loc at times.

      It’s been very interesting reading all of these posts.

      • I’m sure someone has personal numbers in 68— my guess the compound in song be had about 40 bunks for offices and soldiers.
        the offices ‘club’ was also the nco club and had maybe 6-10 places to sit. I watched on the tv, the first moon landing through one of the club windows, standing outside. A Mind blowing event for me.
        There were several smalll detachments of one to 5 or so troopers— Air Force plane trackers that monitored air traffic through and into the ‘sector’ — a signal unit guy — fac pilots and ground support — Korean mechanics for the generator — s1 through 4 for organization— and civil affairs guys — and passer through types that stayed a few days to weeks. And, of course the visiting brass from Saigon.
        Locals come in to collect and do laundery, clean the hooches/rooms, be mess hall workers/ servers, and secretaries (translators etc). No ARVN troops entered the gate.
        We were unrestricted on travel into town — my buds and I frequently left the compound in one of the jeeps. Everything about our relationship w locals chafed when the 1st Cav arrived. It was different — more on guard.
        Everyone has a story to tell and this site helps provide a platform — an outlet — cuz Vietnam never leaves us.
        Don McAghon — TOC RTO

          • Christmas Eve 1969, unarmed i left the compound at Song Be because mama san told me the Bishop of Saigon was going to perform a midnight Mass nearby. when i arrived there were a lot of people and the Bishop was at the bottom of the hill, his mitre was the only recognizable feature about him. during the Mass a man approached me and said he was a v.c., pulled his shirt and showed me his grenades and sidearm. just then the bells signalling the Consecration rang and i turned towards the altar and knelt down, when i got up the man was gone. i share this here because someone might understand . . .

        • Just thought I would jump in here with a related subject. When I was a FAC (Rod 11) from Aug 68 to Jul 69, there was a civilian in Song Be exactly the same time. Surprisingly, we never met while there.
          His name is Jim Reid. He was a contract employee of the CIA. It came to my attention through a golfing friend several years ago that he lives in Bellingham, WA which happens to be where I live. We are now friends and only recently did he tell me that he wrote a book about his experience in Phuoc Long.
          The name of the book is “Province Officer”. It’s paperback, 139 pages long and has quite a few b & w photos of the area. I read his book and he reveals an in-depth description of some major events that happened during that period from his perspective. It was satisfying to have independent confirmation of my diary entries. Remember the mortar attack that destroyed the aviation fuel bladders and killed our mascot dog, Spooky? Also the TOC destruction with the loss of Ltc Suarez & Capt Callahan on Feb 23, 69? And the Chinook helicopter crash off the cliff on the south end of the Song Be airstrip? That, and more, are in his book.
          The book is out of print but Jim told me that he still has a few copies at his home. Also, if enough interest is there, he’s willing to have more copies made. I don’t know what the minimum number of copies is required for another run but we’ll have to see.
          So, if any of you are interested, let me know. I do know that the cost will not be very much.

            • Gentlemen, Please continue sending your desire to acquire Jim Reid’s “Province Officer”. After a reasonable time has passed, I’ll talk to Jim to see if he has enough books on hand to sell or if he needs to print another small run.
              Send me your email requesting the book and as soon I have an approximate total, I’ll e-mail all who request it and also post on this site to make sure no one is missed.
              I don’t know the cost yet as Jim gave me a copy. Must have felt sorry for me. I’ll ask him next time I talk to him.
              When I get your email, I’ll attach a copy of the front cover.

              Dick (Rod 11)

          • I would like to get a copy of the book. I was an engineer officer with 2nd civil affairs at Song be and helped carry out the wounded and get them Medivaced out. I was working on the constructionof the operating room at the Saong Be Hospital.
            Warren Harrison 1LT corps of Engineers

            What about our Doctord DR D amd OD
            Dibartolmeo and O’Driscol

            • A great book of some characters of the American participation in the Viet Nam war. 2 & 1/2 inches thick & 3.8 pounds . One of my favorite books. Doug Wilson crewchief

            • For both Doug Wilson and Warren Harrison. I’m trying to contact Jim Reid. Last time I saw him he only had one book left, but said he could easily have more printed if there is interest. I’ll keep you in the loop as to my progress. Also, I believe it was Doug who said he set up the gun salute for Lt Col Suarez & Capt Callahan. I have some Super 8 Video of the service, including the 21 gun salute. The color film had faded by the time I had it digitized, but it’s still very moving. No audio, of course. Give me a couple of emails, gentlemen, and I’ll work on getting a couple of clips to you. In addition, I can send a few photos of the event any time.

              • Dick, google vietnam military lore used book amazon . They have used book $15.06 & new $39.99 . I assume you are referring to Ray Bows book ?

            • Jim, On Jan 25, 1969 I have in my flight log book an A1C Clamp as a passenger from Song Be to Bien Hoa. We were in an O-1E tail # 866. Were you a Msgt at the time or did I enter the information incorrectly?
              I also have you as my passenger from Song Be to Quan Loi on 3/22/69 and the next day from Quan Loi back to Song Be. These flights were also in A/C # 866. This could be related to the aftermath of the attack on the TOC on Feb 23rd. We were occasionally keeping our Bird Dogs in Quan Loi due to more potential attacks.

              • you info is correct, I retired a msgt, after 21 1/2 years I had many different jobs during my time==largest was alert controller on the B-52. retired in 1987.

  20. Don’t mean to belabor the point but I lost a high school friend on his first air assault helicopter mission with the 101st division.
    Also remember the poor people in a fully loaded CH 47 that made a left turn off song bay airstrip (they were headed toward the mountain) and what I gather, lost lift, and crashed.
    It was my first smell of burnt flesh and it is seared in my memory.

    Lot of brave folks particularly pilots fearlessly flew and still fly into danger.

  21. Pilots in Nam were a different bunch.
    Had my first dust off and I keyed the mic for a long transmission thinking I was guiding him down from 50 feet. On the ground he informed ‘keep
    It short! I know how to fly!!’ I was red faced.
    Met a courier chopper about mid night in song be once. Just me on the strip blinking Jeep lights.
    He landed and the pilot door flew open, the pilot jumped out and excitedly told me he made it Right in! that was avoiding Nui Ba Ra — he almost hugged me — we BS’d a bit he said night flying was safer but required good skills. He was very proud of his achievement– it was enjoyable to share his enthusiasm.
    we were young then.

    • I went up a few times as an observer when at Ham Tan and also at Phouc Vinh. The pilots were absolutely fearless and some of them were CRAZY as well. A very brave bunch. The Army chopper pilots were also insanely brave. Incredible people.

    • I remember when we had a dust off chopper come in at night to Phuc Loc in January (I think) 1969 for an RF soldier who took a piece of shrapnel right into the eye. They had to land outside the wire since there wasn’t any room at all inside. I was talking the pilot telling him where the only clear spot was as we were taking the guys out to the spot. He just said something like “I got it” and down he came. We loaded the guys on, and out the went. Great job but I wish they weren’t need that night.

      Just an aside since this is 9/11. It marks the 16th anniversary of me cheating death once again. If I hadn’t been running late for a meeting I was suppose to be at in a conference room in the Pentagon that got plowed through by the plane, I’d be on the other side of the grass with everyone who was on time for the meeting, including several of my friends and associates whom I had worked with for years. It’s like the old saying goes: always a bride’s maid but never the bride.

      • Art, it had to be very hard to deal with that 9/11 experience. Although, it was so many years ago in Vietnam, I have a hard time believing that I’m still here to talk about it.

  22. I was an Air Force FAC (Rod 11) stationed at Song Be and flying the O-1 Bird Dog from the beginning of Aug 1968 thru Jul 1969. I found this site by accident and haven’t gone through all the previous posts yet. Hopefully I can help many of you make contact with others who were there. While I was in Vietnam, I kept a daily diary, combat log of all my missions, wrote home to my wife almost daily (still have those letters), have some audiotapes back & forth to my family. I also Super 8 video (all of which is now digitized), slides and photos. I happened to have been on R&R when the TOC was overrun and destroyed about Feb 23rd, 1969. However, I was there for the memorial service for Lt Col Suarez and Capt Callahan on Friday, Mar 7th, ’69. Also, I have photos and video of that service. Unfortunately, there is no audio.
    There is much more, and I hope to renew contact with many of you that I worked with on a daily basis. This includes B-34, Duc Phong, etc. all over the Phuoc Long Province. All of this, nearly 50 years ago! Perhaps some of the others will discover this site as I have
    Captain Dick Gerry (Rod 11)

    • Capt. Gerry: I was also there as part of the USAF FAC detachment as the Intelligence airman supporting you. I wish that I had kept a diary or notes because I have forgotten many names and other details. I also have pictures that I can share and would love to see yours.
      Ric Zamora

      • I remember Zamora over duc phong in support of s forces on a hill assault!
        Recall saying you watched the US LT. lead up the hill.
        Very jocular talk.
        I only listened on the radio.

          • Agree incorrect.
            Just listened in on the discussion between fac pilot and ground force near Duc Phong. Don’t recall exactly the names.

            • When were you with the FAC group at Song Be? I was there as part of the USAF group in 1968 and 1969 but don’t remember the exact dates. We had 3 O-1 Bird Dogs, 3 or 4 pilots, 3 maintenance guys, and me as the Intelligence airman. Capt Gerry who just got on this site was one of the pilots.

              • Yeah I gather that. I was RTO in Duc Phong and in radio contact with the team at A34.
                Served from August 68 to late September 69.
                Can’t say we had a lot of contact with FAC pilots but had numerous opportunities to coordinate air support during engagements. Always noticed aircraft in the area because it was so rare to see.
                Got transferred to song be just before the tet offensive of 69 and worked from the TOC there.

              • Ric ,
                At Song Be, we had 5 FACs and 3 O-1 Bird Dogs. The turnover rate was pretty high. I (Rod 11) was probably one of the few who stayed there for the entire year. There often was more than one FAC involved in TIC, depending on how long we could stay on station. My logbook has me departing Song Be on Dec 14, 1968 at 0455 for Duc Phuong where a heated firefight was going on. I arrived on station and Spooky 61(I think that was an AC-130) was at work. I helped in the coordination of 3 choppers (Blue Max 69), 2 choppers (Blue Max 67) and directed one flight of 2 F-100s (Sabre 21). We carried 8 WP rockets (4 on each wing) for marking targets as required, and could stay airborne about 4 hours. That mission lasted 3 1/2 hours. I’m sure that the battle was still going on when I left and another Rod FAC took my place, but I can’t speak to that. It looked to me that you men at Duc Phuong were in a world of hurt at the moment. Does this sound familiar to Art Miller?

                • Will let the lieutenant reply. However I recall each detail and it was a C1 30

                  We got support from the navy but when they dropped they would not make a low level strafing run so The bombs went off target.

                  Another run from cobras I think came very close to our location and the Vietnamese captain with us kept yelling ‘too close!!!! to close!!!’ -but that was an effective run. Can still see in my mind how those cobras used to ‘dance’ in the air when they let loose sounded like ‘woosh woosh— bop bop bop bop bop – Mooooooo

                  Those were good sounds to us. I think it underscored the seriousness of the situation we were in and that’s when the Vietnamese decided it was time to get the hell out – – – running yella like— and left Alford Miller and myself still in the wire.
                  Hate to go on but to appreciate that fact of yellow is that the mountain yards were inside that wired outpost all night through intense mortar and rocket fire

                  They just just popped out of their holes and smiled at us through their brown teeth when they when we came in their compound

                • That’s the action I mentioned. The NVA had overrun the Yard resettlement village. I remember the Spooky very well and the tracers were so close together that it look like a hose squirting out red water. I got on one of the M-6os at our compound and opened up on a couple of them shooting mortar rounds at us from inside of the village. Then somebody said the saw some creeping up the small stream that was at the bottom of the compound and we opened up on them with and that was all we heard about that group. When the sun came up, the district senior advisor told me to take Don and one of my NCO’s (SFC Alford) and accompany about a reinforced platoon to reinforce the outpost. That’s where the Snake & Nape came into play and also the Cobras. It can hear just like it was yesterday yelling in my ear “tell them to stop, tell them to stop, they are too close”. My reply was “bull shit, they are hitting right where we need them”. The NVA were close enough that we were within hand grenade range of each other. And then once we got to the outpost, and they saw some more NVA coming down a valley towards, that they kicked down the wire and got out of there so fast that their asses left skid marks, and left me, Don, and SFC Alford all by our lonesome selves. There Yards had one hell of a time when the attack started as you could tell by holes the RPGs left going thru the chain like fence and into the outpost. Kah and the other RF’s were going so fast to the rear and their district headquarters that they even left their wounded behind. Don can attest to that.

        • Don, I remember when you, me and SFC Alford were with the RF troops going to reinforce the outpost after the NVA stormed the Yard resettlement village that we had two F-4s come in dropping Snake and Nape on the ridge line just off to our left. I don’t recall who the FAC was, all I do know is that they came in close enough that we could feel the heat for them Nape and then the RF’s in the outpost opened up on us so we were taking fire not only from the NVA but from our own guys!! Not a lot of fun. I think that happened in Dec ’68.

      • Ric: In my combat Flight Log Book I have the following entry: “May 11, 1969, O-1E A/C #730, VR 3.0 hrs, S-2 A1C Zamora, back seat.”
        Could this be you? If so, I’ll do more research and look for some photos, etc. We obviously knew each other.
        Dick Gerry (you don’t have to call me Capt now)

        • Yes, that was me. My email address is Send me an email and I will provide more contact info and share some of my pictures. I may have some of you. Have you kept up with any of the others that were there with us?

    • I’m on Mille Lacs lake in n MN for summer and Mesa AZ in winter. If you are near by I’d travel to see the stuff you’ve got.

        • Interesting— better think of making tracks west— I think. Eric Long a ‘farmer’ signalman is in E’frata – Epherta— he and another saved the day during tet 69. That’s another story. Thanks for the hit back — pilot!

          Sent from my iPhone


          • Don,
            Come on out anytime. Would very much like to reconnect If you have photos or would like to see some of mine, or get into more detail, my email is Phuoc Long Province kept us FACs very busy in ’68 and ’69. There were times that I flew nearly 8 hours and put in as many as 6 sets of fighters in one day.

              • Cary,
                I arrived at Song Be on Aug 6,1968. The red haired FAC you are talking about must have been Captain Bob Bentley. (If I’m wrong about the name, I apologize) Having just arrived, I never did get a photo of him, but I will say that his reputation among us FACs was legend. Often, he would keep us up until very late in one of our rooms in the compound talking non-stop. What I do remember about him was once, in the middle of the night it was raining like hell. We got a call that one our outposts was in trouble. Bob, without hesitation, left the compound for the flight line, didn’t even ask for support from one of our crew chiefs. He was airborne in minutes, disappearing into the rain. We had doubts that he would ever be seen again. I didn’t even know my way around the province in the daytime yet, let alone at night. He made it back. He left Song Be around November 12 of ’68. Wish I knew him better as he was very colorful.

                • I left Phuoc Binh on a stretcher Sept.18,1968
                  when our district HQ was pretty much demolished. Bentley sounds right. I remember a small (no such thing actually)firefight one night with him slowly flying over us. The VC opened up on him with no effect or reaction. Just in case he hadn’t noticed, I called to let him know & he drawled “Not a problem, they’re shooting behind me”. Struck me as pretty funny at the time.

              • Greetings,
                I was Assistant District Advisor at An Loc, Sept ’68-Sept ’69. (My orders were for Civil Affairs at Song Be, but that is another story.) Next door neighbors.

                Yes, the Red Baron! He also flew for Team 47. I do not have his name, but one of my favorite photos from ‘nam is a B&W portrait I took of him: flight suit, head cocked back at a jaunty angle, twirling his mustache.

                If I can I will try to post in my Dropbox.

                I heard he caught the wheels of his 0-1 coming in for a landing and flipped. OK, but evacuated. At least that was what I heard.

                Great site. Just found it.

                Any Sundogs over Loc Ninh, 1972?


                • Robert, We think the Red Baron was Bob Bentley. Not sure of his Rod call sign. I was Rod 11 from Aug 68 to July 69. I must ask you if you knew Jim Reid (CIA) who was assigned to Song Be at the same time? I’ll check my info about an O-1 flipping over. I don’t think it happened at Song Be while I was there.

                  • Re: Red Baron. It may have been in An Loc. But not sure. Only hearsay.
                    You guys were great.
                    Re: CIA. I was only in An Loc. If Jim Read was in An Loc with a PRU unit in June ’69 I may have been with him in a firefight.

            • Thanks— I recall seeing you all leave the mess hall in flight suits, with side arms or m16 ‘stub nose’ or take off and think you were the epitome of fighting men. Especially watching the ‘lazy’ speed and coolness of communication under fire. Appreciate the security and confidence you gave officers on the ground.
              Having also dealt with the yelling and incoherence of men under fire making radio calls for support, a FAC was able to calm folks down and observe the situation from a different vantage.
              Thanks for your service. I’m proud to have been a small part of the relay communications.
              Were you over Duc Phong during the tow in of the old French bulldozer?

              • As for photos— got a few but mostly of Montagnards and stuff about their villages. Didn’t realize the significance of my experiences.
                I was an 18 year old draftee with an infentry MOS assigned to MACV out of AIT— most of my classmates had orders that read ‘direct replacement, 9th Division’— then in country, I was told to carry the radio.

              • I remember that bulldozer as well as the larger house. One day, the Frenchman who owned the “Plantation” showed up. He invited Lins-Moorstead over for coffee, and he brought along me and a few others. The French guy would speak French to his “servant” and English to us. He seemed to me to be a bit arrogant. I asked him why he came back and he said just to check on things; but there wasn’t anything to check on except the bulldozer. Nothing was growing there and part of the land had been turned into a rifle range for the RF/PF which they only used once in the time I was there and that was just if we could figure out why they could never hit what they were shooting at.

              • That wasn’t me with the French bulldozer event. BTW, we carried CAR-15s, AR-15s with compressible shoulder stock so we could safely carry them in our airplane without getting in the way.

                • I want to correct myself. The CAR-15 was actually the M-16 with the compressible shoulder. There were some other minor differences. Starting to forget some of the details from so long ago.

    • Read down in the thread Dick. I was RTO in the MRC-108 during that period. Parked in the revetment inside after the TOC was blown. Coordinated many many missions for you 🙂 I have a slide somewhere of the memorial as well. Love to hear from you direct, I think I was in the back seat with you a time or two. Were you the FAC who directed the mission from the compound using the 107 R/R and the PRC-41 portable UHF radio, that day. — Dave Gauntlett, LTC (ret) USA, believe it or not. Was USAF E-4 at the time.

    • Hi Rod 11. I just found this site and I was surprised to see the Rod call sign. I was at Song Be in 1970 as an O1 mechanic. When I was there, we had six pilots, three mechanics, two radio operators, and an intel man. Our boss was a Captain Hall, Rod 31. All the pilots were Rod 3 something. Later the call signs changed to Sundog. I fortunately missed the big attack on Song Be in 1969, and it was relatively calm while I was there. We had to move to Buttons for about three months for runway repairs after one of the O1s crashed on landing at Song Be, because his right wheel hit a pot hole. We had a great team thanks to Captain Hall. Each of us enlisted guys had respect for the officers, and the respect was mutual. The Army guys loved our officers because they were all down to earth.

      I later became an Air Traffic Controller when I got back to the states, first in the Air Force, and later in the FAA, now retired. I know that some of the Song Be pilots would be surprised at that, since I was a huge party person.and there appeared to be little hope for me doing anything serious.

      In November of 1970, they closed down the Song Be operation for some reason, and sent us back to Bien Hoa. The first night there I was almost killed in a rocket attack. Six other guys in my barracks were not so lucky.

      • Hi John. Glad to hear from you. As you well know, Phuoc Long Province was a major infiltration route and was considered 95% controlled by the VC and NVA when I was there. When I left Song Be in July of 1969, I was the ALO and we had two O-1 mechanics. We were extremely busy with interdiction from the air and TIC all around the province, especially Special Forces compounds such as Duc Phong. Based on your comments about having six FACs, my guess is that our flying 120 hrs maximum per month and flying 7 days a week was a bit over-the-top. Increasing the number of pilots to 6 and going to 3 mechanics from 5, and dropping the max flight time to 100 hrs per month with all the action going on, would make sense.

        I remember getting mortared very often, in the compound and all around us, causing a fairly rapid turnover of pilots and ground personnel. As time went by, we all slowly became edgy.

        Would have any information about the O-1 crash while you were there? The date? Did the pilot get injured and do you remember his name?

        I am very happy you had a great team. I must say that we had the same experience as everyone had everyone else’s back. Great team! Really good people!


        • Hi Dick, thanks for responding. The O-1 that crashed was not real serious. The pilot cut his fingers when exiting the aircraft. I’ve got pictures of it that I can send if you like. By the way, do you remember what the runway number was at Song Be. I’ve tried to find pictures of it, so I could orient myself. I would like to see what the old compound was, as well as the “flight line”. Everything has changed so much that there are probably very few recognizable landmarks. In those days I didn’t pay attention to runway configurations so I never really knew. I always pictured it in my mind as 18/36 or close to that. I have a feeling that I am way off on that, but if I knew it would help me orient myself next time I look at satellite images of Song Be. I can’t remember the pilots name right now. I’ve got pictures of the whole team together, and maybe you would recognize some of them. Speaking of mortars, I remember that our ramp had mortar craters in it from attacks that happened before I got there. We had to be careful when moving aircraft, or taxing, because the craters were just the right size for an O-1 wheel to fall into.

          So let me know if you want the photos I have of Song Be?


          • John, Looking down the runway toward Nui Ba Ra is south, so the designation was either 17/35, 18/36, or 19/10. Can’t remember exactly.
            I would like to see the photos you have. Also, I had the advantage of doing some aerial photography of Song Be from different perspectives. They are in excellent condition, considering how much time has passed. I’m glad that the O-1 pilot was not seriously hurt.
            My email is I think this might be the best way to share some photography.

            • So, I was right about the runway alignment. I wanted to know because I’ve been trying to see any remnants of the runway, ramp, MACV compound, etc on satellite photos. I can find Buttons. The runway is visible even though the area surrounding it has changed. I have a feeling that the Song Be runway has been completely obscured by new construction after the war. I’ll send some pictures out to you ASAP.

            • Dick, I got several photos off to you today. I would be interested in copies of any that you have. Specially Song Be, but I am interested in any pictures from there. You’ll have my email address when my email to you arrives. Just in case though, you can use, which goes to the same mailbox as the address from which I sent, It’s just an easier address to deal with.

      • John, another factor that might have been in play for shutting down Song Be operation (at least for the O-1 FACs), was the increase in anti-aircraft weapons. I nearly got taken out by 50 cal at 1500′ above the ground. Missed me by perhaps 5 to 10 feet. 50 cal is effective to 3500′. I was very fortunate, but it was only a matter of time before they got one of us. It nearing the time to start using OV10s. They flew much faster and higher.

        • A very interesting read is the fall of song be by Henry summers.
          It underscores the increased use of heavier conventional weaponry employed by the NVA.
          An interesting fact is Duc Phuong was the first district capital in region three to fall to the NVA, following the Paris accord’s.
          Song be fell a few days later.
          Ya a .50 puts a hurt on anything it hits.
          Wouldn’t mind hearing from FACs pilots about the B-52 runs that went in. I remember clearing Target areas of Friendly’s several Times per week while in the TOC.
          Were after action report’s part of your repertoire? Don

          • Don, I have begun a search for “The Fall of Song Be” by Henry Summers. No luck so far as it is probably out of print. If you know where it can be located, please let me know.
            After Action reports were standard for us FACs. After the B-52 runs, we almost always were in the vicinity to assess the damage, and report. Once, when I was there, one of our FACs (can’t remember who) while waiting for one of these runs, looked straight down and saw the jungle being obliterated below him. Somehow, the coordinates got mixed up. He was lucky that none of the bombs hit his O-1 on the way to the ground. At least, he didn’t have to wait to do the assessment. Perhaps, he’ll find this site and tell the story. I don’t think anyone was hurt that time. That mission was a waste of bombs.

  23. My name is Earle Williams I was radio operator at the toc at song be in 1968-69 I left in July I found this website by accident I was working the toc the night Lt Callahan was taken out walking back to the main compound that was before they put all the sleeping quarters underground There was a major Webb in S3 and sgt smalls

    • Getting old and don’t remember names. I was Chief NCO at the compound and was last to speak with Col Suarez. As I remember I christened Cap Cal’s new Bars just before he went to work. Would appreciate any info you wish to share.

    • Damn, John these posts sometimes take a long time to show up. I was at Phouc Binh in September ’68 when the District Hq was hit and 4 out of five of us were either kia or evac’d back to the states. No doubt we met at some point.

      • Thanks for the reply. I was NCOIC at Song Be Apr68 to May 69 or there abouts. I am 84 now, in poor health, and memory has gone south. Can’t remember names. One enlisted was at TOC with Cap Cal and he somehow survived and made it back across the road. When we got across to look for them Cpt and Col were dead. Col was still in jeep and jeep running. Our little hq hut was on one side of road and toc on other. Reading the blog I don’t recall the names except I recall Limage as being there that night. Remember Maj Webb took command and did a great job. Stayed awake working for two days. He was exhausted. Col Suarez was replaced by Col Bean. I left shortly thereafter.

      • Hey Cary…I’m Dennis Finley……I remember a KIA service for 2 guys lost at Phouc Binh airstrip….we were in formation at attention as the skies opened up…..I rememember the popping sound of the rain hitting our helmets as we stood silently throughout the service…..I believe one of the KIA’s names was like”Thompson?”…….I myself took a head wound on 22AUG68……I was in 2nd Civil Affairs Co, attached to team 67…… Welcome Home bro

  24. No prob with disorders. Swam in SB river a few x and watched Montagnard kids fish near the bridge. Don’t recall seeing dead vegetation.
    Recall one or two tail dragging facs on the strip and parked in a wall of sandbags a few nights a week.
    Hope the va is treating you well. Sorry to hear about health issues.

  25. I was RTO for FACs and new to Song Be but DX-ing radio in BienHoa that night. Had their own rocket attack but avoided Charlie. A FAC flew down to pick me up cuz my boss got hit inside the TOC. Just a smoking hole left which I got elected to climb down in to find the field safe. Operated from the MRC108 jeep inside the compound in the U shape revetment till I left in October-ish. 1st of several “if I woulda been there I wouldn’t be here” incidents. I just read back in the thread and found my previous post from 3 years ago saying the same thing haha. I had more brain cells when I was 20. Glad I am 68 now and reflecting instead of the alternative; so many never made it out or made it this far. Btw, I have MS (medically retired from Army (I switched from USAF and ended up career Army in due course)) and a seizure disorder just showed up. I’m curious if others ended up with neurological issues considering the Agent Orange we sprayed right over the river on so many missions. Then drank.

  26. Wondering if anybody knows what came of Denny Worchek? He was on TOC duty in 69 when Charlie blew the radio bunker up.
    Denny survived by running out of the bunker and hiding with a few RVNers behind 55 gallon drums of gasoline!! Unreal! Stayed there all night.
    If you’re out there Denny please say hi. Don McAghon a fellow RTO.

    • Hi Donnie…I spent some time looking for Worchek last year. No luck. I did find his actual HOR on Google Earth, but no luck contacting him. I spent some time looking for Perry Fields (E7 Medic in Bo Duc). I was looking for him in VA….I found him in South Carolina….5 months after he passed away. I looked for SFC Prentiss Holmes (Bo Duc)….no luck. Your the only guy I’ve had contact with from Phouc Long. Hope your in good health….have a Happy New Year.

      • Soapy– hi bud, often think of how the nightmare of being over run and that harrowing night affected Denny in life. He worked fine with us following the attack. I remember just looking at him slack jawed when he told us what happened that night. Remember that code tool with the pins and the gernade on top of the desk unit that was supposed to be used if over run. Some folks from Saigon came up and sifted through the bunker remains to recover it — never came away with it.
        You, Eric Long and Lt Miller are the only comrades I’ve located.
        All the best. Am in good health and enjoying retirement in MN and AZ.

    • Hi Donnie….tried to find Worckek last year… luck. Found his HOR on Google Earth, but couldn’t find him. I spent some time looking for SFC Perry Fields (Bo Duc Medic). I was trying to find him in VA….found him in SC. He had died 5 months prior to me finding him. I found his Obit. Your the only guy I ever found from Phouc Long. I tried to find CPT Lowell Johnson, no luck, SFC Prentiss Holmes, SFC Ralph Waitte, etc. I started way to late to find my Bo Duc Teamates. Hope your well…Happy New Year.

  27. LTC Suarez was my province Sr Cdr when I was a Tm Leader (MAC III-17) in Phouc Long Province. As I recall, he was killed along with CPT Callahan, the Province S-2 and a good friend of mine, when the hq got overrun at Song Be. They were both found dead next to each other the next day between the main compound and the hq location where a lot of people got it from satchel charges tossed in by the zips. I remember when he pinned my CIB on me in a formation in late ’68 when me and my team were brought in from Doc Phong for an awards ceremony where one of my NOC’s also got a got a BS w/V. Don McAghon from the Dist Hq was in that firefight also and was our RTO.

  28. I served with both of them and was present when they died. Lt. Calahan was killed the same night LTC Suarez was.
    Let me know what I can do to help you.

    • I remember a Rick Limage. Can’t remember names anymore. I crawled over to your tent after a mortar hit close. I asked Col Suarez who was wearing flip flops if I could go get his boots. Said he didn’t have time. When we got across the road to the TOC he was dead, still in his jeep, motor still running.

  29. I remember SFC Blakemore. SSG Greely was our scrounger in Song Be. He used Yard cross bows and bracelets for beer and soda and to get air force pilots to fly the stuff up north. I learned never to play poker with him the hard way. It was rumored that he owned a piece of Phouc Long province – won it off the province chief.

    • Remember Greely. Must have stayed for three or four tours. Was always in a poker or crap game. Good guy.

  30. Sorry I miss-spelled your name; fat fingers I guess. Anyway, I thought he was a Captain. Oh well, I guess a couple of more brain cells dies.

      • I’m not sure about which part of the current thread you’re referring to because I don’t recall you misspelling my name, but if you did, no big deal, shit happens. When I got there in July or August “68, I’m sure he was already a Captain. I’ve got some photos or slides of me and him somewhere among my stuff. In one of them we were getting one of those rhino beetles to bite on a cigarette to make it look like it was smoking it. I’ll have to see if I can dig them out and look for a rank insignia. He was a good friend while I was there and was sorry to hear about his death. I found out in a letter from another officer whose name was Roque Pucci (if I spelled it right). He detailed the entire fire fight to me in that letter.

  31. Yes. That was Sgt first class Blakemore. He would return with a chopper load of canned food and PX items like detergent, etc. we told him to stop the cases powdered eggs and shredded potatoes. he also stole my helmet stap — as I was leaving for song be duty — it was a comfortable airborne type . Often regret not hitching a ride with him on his scrounging missions to the Siagon area mess halls. He got a jeep from some motor pool and stayed in a MACV hotel. He was a medic, nice guy, patched me up once and was bold enough to figure his was around.

  32. I was also wondering what agr stood for.

    Dog, do you remember the CA officer who was at Doc Phong in late ’68 who use to get the Yards to make crossbows for him and he’d sell them as souvenirs and I guess get the money back to them? I got one for free and still have it. Only problem is that it’s so dry here compared to Vietnam that about a month after I got home, the quiver split with a 1/4″ crack and the third or forth time I went to cock it to show how it shoot the bamboo arrows, it just snapped at the tip. The best I could do was glue it back together, but alas, it will never shoot again and now just sits in a corner of a spare bedroom closet.

    • Yes I visited all the districts a number of times by road and chopper. Agr stands for agricultural advisor. Question? who were the LTs back in 70-71. One was a redhead.

      • I was one of the LTs. I was with MAT 111 in Don Luan (Dong Xoai) from April to December of 71. I replaced Lt. Blum (?? spelling). My memory is vague but I think one of the local projects was introducing a new variety of rice to the area. If that is true, we may have crossed paths.

        • Yes , I did work with the rice program, also fish farming, ducks, rubber plantations, the Catholic Mission at Song Be helping to set up a furniture operation employing the Montagnards, land distribution , etc. I did what ever I could and was asked to do. I was Army, but wore civilian clothes most of the time and lived at the Cords compound. I think our paths did cross and I vaguely remember Lt Blum. I use to drive around Song Be and Phouc Binh with a german shepard called Mac V

          • The MAT and the District Senior Adviser’s team were co-located in the CORDS compound at Dong Xoai. Again, foggy memory but I remember accompanying a villager to Saigon to take care of some business concerning a furniture operation or something similar. My presence was to reduce the chances of the villager to have to pay bribes to get the needed paperwork through the system. We did help establish a sawmill in one of the hamlets so my memories may be associated with that process — were you also involved with that? Our MAT had a German Shepard the NCOs from the MAT at Bunard brought with them when the combined the two teams into one in Dong Xoai. Her name is not really suitable for printing on this website.

            • I enjoyed seeing how the lumber and timber business worked, but I didn’t get involved with it. I had helped the sisters at the mission get one of three sets of furniture making equipment purchased and imported by USAID early on. A Vietamese
              General had stashed one set in Siagon for his own use. We went through Ambassador Colby at the time to get it given to the mission at Song Be. I can’t quite remember the location of Burand. Some of my friend at Maccords at Song Be where Jim Flannery and Jim Boyd.

  33. Agree on the lack of support, and utter isolation of district team members (in 65 support may have been non existent). Unreal!!
    I was told on arrival in Duc Phong, ‘go that way, along hwy 14, but not on the road, and eat what you see animals eating’ — well no shit! — that was it — no rally point — or through the wire exit — nothing about getting away.
    Lack of concern Remind you of Benghazi? Not much has changed?
    PS found the book you mentioned, used, on Amazon. Looking forward to reading it this winter on snowed in days in northern Minnesota. Thanks.

    • Good, I am glad you found the book. I got mine on eBay, also used. I don’t think it is in print any longer. The quality of training you had sounds similar to what we experienced, which was virtually non-existent. We were given very little by way of procedures and protocol. I remember being given a list of call signs and almost nothing else, not even where they were.

      We had little booklets of random code words we were to use, as we had no encryption capability. I remember a chopper pilot radioing to me that he had elephants in sight. I looked it up in the code book. Couldn’t find it, so asked him to clarify. He said, “no, real elephants, the four legged kind.” Ha ha.

      One of the places I was at, Bo La, I can find absolutely no place, and nothing on. I think the hamlet no longer exists. Lots of names have changed again after ’75. Guys who have gone back tell me it has totally changed. Ham Tan, a place I was also at on the South China sea, is now a major resort. Our compound was three miles inland, but still on white sand beach. I often thought it would be a beautiful place to come back to.

      So far, I only read the pages I indicated in the Vietnam Military Lore book, the ones about Song Be/Bu Dang, but I am looking forward to reading much more.

      I have relatives in the Minneapolis area, and originally am from South Dakota, so I appreciate the winters there. I am now in a warmer climate, as my old decrepit bones cannot take the cold any more.

      Thanks for your reply.

  34. Re: last series of comments — Bu Dang is not an advisor location in Phouc Long that I recall. I read names of towns, district, and provinces were changed; some to reflect the original Mountianyard language name.
    Please use Vietnam War designations if you want us vets to know what towns you’re referring to.
    FYI. Radio commo support requests from all districts had to go through Song Be TOC (tactical operations center) because our PRC 25 back pack radios could not reach the Siagon area support bases. So, this was a shit out of luck situation in 68- 69 when TOC Song Be was distroyed. Don’t know the status of radio relays in 65.
    If help/ support calls were made to S Be, a TOC duty NCO was hearing them and giving operator instruction — sometimes stepping in to take control of the interaction.

    • Don, thank you for your comments. The four advisors that were killed at Bu Dang on 9 Feb 65 were the first advisors that had been placed at that location. I suspect they were also the last, but I cannot say that for sure. Bu Dang was the name for the hamlet in use the time, as far as I can ascertain. Bu Dang was just a bit outside of Song Be and reported to Song Be, who reported to Major Davis at Phouc Binh in Phouc Long province, who reported to the LTC or colonel at Phouc Vinh.

      The issue I have with this situation is not lack of support while they were being attacked, as that would have been very difficult given the circumstances, but the fact that they got little to no support from they moment they were assigned there just a few weeks before. The small units of Regional and Popular forces were highly UN-trained, and were very suspect as far as their loyalty was concerned (which was proved out when they laid down their weapons and abandoned the Americans).

      At that period of time in early 1965, the radio they would have had there was a PRC-10, not a PRC-25. Range was very limited on those radios, and subject to a lot of static, especially at night, so probably out of necessity they could only contact Song Be or others very near by. I have no idea what your procedures were in ’68, but in ’65 we were allowed to contact anyone we were able to in an emergency situation. But like I said, that was probably only Song Be anyway.. Also, in early ’65 there were not nearly the number of MACV troops on the ground as there were in ’68. The TOTAL number of U.S.military personnel in all of Vietnam in early ’65 was about 25,000. Shortly after that, it built up substantially. The situation YOU had sounds very different from the situation I had, or that John Malapelli had Feb 65.

      While I don’t know, I suspect that since Malapelli was hit and killed early in the attack, his radio may have been damaged.

      Again, my issue is not the lack of support during the attack, but rather all that lead up to it.

  35. I changed the setting on the photo so you should be able to get to them all easy now by typing in MACV Team 67 Songbe on Facebook

    • I keep trying to get the photo, but noting ever comes up. I’m not very good on using Facebook. I just put MACV Team 67 Songbe in “search”?

    • Linsley, I don’t know if your post was in response to my post about Song Be/Bu Dang or to somebody else’s post. After 50 years, I have a hard time remembering names etc from that far back. I was thinking the commanding officer was a full bird colonel at Phouc Vinh, but he might have been a Lt Col. I don’t know the name anymore, so don’t recognize if it was Carl Smith or somebody else. This was early in 1965 as the attack on Bu Dang was the night of Feb 9.

      BTW, the VC had probed the defensive perimeter of the camp several days before, which Capt Holland and the other advisors there believed to be in preparation of a full scale attack when there was a new moon, which was coming up within several days. He reported it his superiors, and STILL GOT NO HELP. It turned out he was absolutely right. The attack came during a new moon, when it was very dark. Four advisors lost there lives unnecessarily, including the guy I became friends with while at Phouc Vinh, John Malapelli.

      All I can say is, I am totally disgusted at Capt. Holland’s superiors for their total disregard for the safety of those four honorable men. The superiors, in my view, are anything but honorable.

    • Hi Linsley, I remember LTC Carl Smith from the time I was at Song Be as the Milphap Doc from Jan 70 to May 71. He replaced LTC Hayden. I remember him as a very good PSA who maintained good relations with his command and his Vietnamese counterpar. By the time I got there there was no war to speak of. Many interesting memories. Best, Bob Irwin

  36. I have to say I am just totally torqued. Very upset. I’ve been in communication with the sister of a friend who was killed at Bu Dang, just outside of Song Be. She had mentioned she learned more about the situation surrounding her brothers death through a book. The book is “Vietnam Military Lore: Legends, Shadows and Heroes” by Master Sergeant Ray Bows, US Army (retired).

    I ordered the book, and read the pages that involve the attack at Bu Dang (pages 766 thru 788). This is an extremely well researched book and very well written. I just wish I knew the specifics of what happened decades ago.

    My friend was John W. Malapalli. He and I were both radio operators at Phouc Vinh, where we met. He was sent to Song Be (Bu Dang) when I was sent to Bo La.

    I knew that the VC had announced to the Regional and Popular forces at the start of the attack that if they lay down their weapons and leave, they would not be harmed. All but five Montagnards did just that. Most of the R&P forces were Vietnamese, not Montagnards. So it was five Montagnards and four American advisors against approximately 400 VC.

    They held off the attackers for several hours. My friend, PFC John Malapelli, was the first killed. Most of the Montagnards were killed. Capt Holland, Sgt Bryant, and Sp4 McLean (the medic) fought on until they were all killed.

    BTW, I highly recommend the book. It is 1178 pages, and provides extensive details about nearly everything that happened in Vietnam from the very beginning of American involvement to the very end. The author interviewed survivors and family members of those lost, and review their letters to their homes, and examined documents extensively to order to provide the details.

  37. To: A Miller. Would be something else to see your films. About the only stuff I have is Polaroids taken by a sergeant that arrived with you.
    My email is PS the shotgun with bayonet and b stud plus two ammo boxes of 00 buckshot was purchased from a generator mechanic that arrived for a repair. Paid about $50 and sold it after I was transferred to Song Be, to the ARVN intelligence guy that lived in the village near the Catholic Church.

    • I’ll talk to you some more thru email. Did you get my post about the F4s that put down Napom as we were moving up to reinforce that outpost and also about them shooting at us from the outpost thinking we were VC or NVA? Some fun. BTW, my email is

  38. Lt Miller post about Duc Phong — I am the RTO Mac you mentioned. I remember the action well.
    We saw the soldiers defending the out post and I couldn’t believe they took almost direct mortar hits and popped up from foxholes with smiles when we got inside the perimeter. No wounded or KIA!
    The mortar tubes must have remained as we started taking accurate incoming fire also.
    Remember C130s dropping flares most of the late night, gunships made staffing runs that were quite close, and navy jets dropped inaccurate ordinance because the pilots didn’t make low level runs. I was talking to the air support over the radio.
    Lt. Vance called for 4 duce mortar support from the green beret camp a few klicks away.
    I tripped on a telephone wire on the way in and didn’t realize it was a commo link used to direct the enemy inside the overrun resettlement village.
    Green berets and thier team Routed the occupiers.
    After action summation report I filed said the attack was probably a training exercise for the nva and that a Chinese uniformed officer was uncovered from a shallow grave.
    I received an Army Commendation for helping to recover the wounded soldier, the sarge got a silver star as he bandaged the ruff/puff, who was shot in the balls with a testicle hanging out. No shit. We wet the bandage and medivaced him. Heard later in a letter he was greatfull his manhood remained in tact.
    I would like to return to Duc Phong as I made friends there during my stay.

    • Just a little more. I couldn’t remember your name for the life of me. All I remembered is that everybody at Duc Phong called you Mac. I have a number of photo’s of you ad the rest in an album that is stacked someplace in my house, as well as some super 8 movies of you shooting a shotgun into the woods at the bottom of the company compound and a couple of the NCO’s shooting their M-16’s into the same area. I think we were just making sure everything worked. The last time I looked at those movies was maybe 15 – 20 years ago and they were in bad shape. One day before they totally fall apart I’ll have get them onto a DVD.

      Art Miller

  39. I was the Team Leader from late ’68 when I was a 1LT to when I PCS’ed back to the land of the big PX in Feb ’69. I remember that SFC Deets and Alford were the heavy and light weapons NCOs, but I can’t remember our Medics or my assistant leaders names. We were at Duc Phong when the Yard resettlement area got over run in Dec ’68. I got directed by the MAJ of the District HQ (his name was Juan Lins-Morstat or something like that) to take some of the team and go with some or our Vietnamese comrades to reinforce an outpost about 200 meters from the camp. We not only started taking fire from the inside of the camp, but also from the ruff puffs at the outpost that thought we were VC. Later on, our comrades thought they were going to get over run themselves, kicked down the wire and took off so fast that their asses left skid marks on the ground, and if was just me, SFC Alford, and SP4 “Mac” the radio operator from District HQ, that they just left there. We made our way back to a ditch where the rest of them were taking cover but they just left one of their own wounded soldiers laying in the grass. SFC Alford went out for him while we covered him, carried the soldier over his shoulder back to the ditch. After that, I decided that if the Army ever was going to send me back to Vietnam as a ruff puff advisor, that they hadn’t built the airplane big enough to hold all the MPs it would take to get me there. It will all be part of my book if I ever get to putting pen to paper. Later on, we moved to Phuc Loc. I got replaced by a CPT Dooley and I sold him a .38 Spl Colt Police Positive for $10.00 that he said he would mail to me. RIGHT, never saw that $10 so if he reads this, I figure that with interest, he now owes me around $1000.00.

    Art Miller

  40. Last msg is truncated!
    Greetings! Glad I found this site and some old friends from 1969-70. I was an officer assigned to Team 67 as Psyop support team leader from 6th Psyop Bn/4th Psyop Group. I’m trying to locate the Milphap Doctor , Maj. Enrique Arellano. He was originally from Bogota, Columbia and was instrumental in treating hundreds of kids in The province. Also took care of me on more than one occasion.
    Also trying to locate some of the COORDs, Rod FAC & Phoenix guys, or a roster if you have one. Thanks in advance,

    • If you were with 6th PSYOP Bn/4th PSYOP Group, there is a veteran group that was started by 6th Bn guys that is still around. We are the PSYOP Veterans Association. If you’d like to learn more about us, contact me by email ( I was also 6th Bn, assigned to 2d Bde 1st Cav Div as Team NCOIC. Hope to hear from you. Just visited Song Be in Feb ’15.

    • Hi Van — I am the Milphap doc who replaced Maj Arellano in Feb 1971. I was told that he died when a mortar exploded outside the slit window in his hooch. Supposedly he wanted a looksee, or so I was told. Robert Irwin, Cpt MC.

      • Robert,
        I’m really saddened to learn of his death. I’ve tried to locate him for nearly 50 years. He saved my life more than once.
        If you would, Please contact me.
        Four two three two four two
        Eight eight six nine

        • Hi Van, Got your reply – good to hear from you. My date was wrong it was Feb 1970 that Maj Arellano died. I heard that he was a great guy who wanted to become a US citizen via his military service. Do you have WhatsApp or Skype? I live in retirement in Panama – kinda like RVN but more modern.

          Currently I am very tied up with my wife who broke her leg and is bedridden for the next 6-8 weeks.

          Best, Bob

  41. I’m trying to identify a radio operator who was assigned to the MACV team in Song Be in 1965. I understand he was either KIA or MIA when the compound was overrun in May, 1965. If I remember right, his last name started with an “M” but I may be wrong about that. I knew him when we were both at Phouc Vinh before he was reassigned to Song Be and I was sent to Chon Thanh.

    I don’t know what the team number was at the time.

    • Marvin, PFC John W Malapelli RTO was KIA 9 February 1965. At that time as I understand the team number was AT-88, not to be confused with another AT-88 that was later in the IV Corps. I have a list of some AT-67 that includes the rest of Malapelli’s team.

      • Thank you very much. My recollection on timing was wrong on when it happened, obviously. I will send you an email to get other names. I was at Phouc Vinh with him. I was actually assigned to go to Song Be and was on my way to the chopper when I was stopped and told that Malapelli would go instead. I don’t know but think perhaps he asked to go. I was then re-assigned. Since it wasn’t May, then it must have been one of my other of several assignments.

        However, when I heard, while in country at another location, a rumor that he had been KIA or was MIA, I felt extremely guilty, as he took my place. I thought about him a lot since then, but I was never able to remember his exact name.

        Thank you so much.

  42. I loaded hundreds of pictures From 1970 to 1971 on Songbe Boduc Don Laun and Bunard. It is posted under MACV team 67 Songbe

    • I was in Song Be attached to Team 67 as signal, I once carried a radio and went hiking with Lt. Colonel Heyden, but I can not find the facebook page

    • I worked in Phuoc Long province in a bunker as radio operator at the time of Lt Colonel Hayden.After that , I worked with MACCORDS Phuoc Long with Sgt Harold K, Sample.
      I’m now in America with my daughter, I would like to connect again with all people at MACV and MACCORDS. Pls contact me at
      Very appreciated.

  43. Dong Xoai was in southern Phuoc Long Province and its fairly lively economy centered on logging. The loggers would go out into the jungle, harvest trees, pay taxes to the local VCs, drive out of the jungle, pay taxes to the local South Vietnamese gov’t, proceed on to Saigon, and still sell at a profit. It was interesting because we rarely had any conflict with VC or NVA around Don Xoai. Our ‘theory’ was that the lumbering business was too lucrative for all concerned to risk ‘rocking the boat.’ I will definitely look for the article in VFW magazine.

    • I was at Dong Xoai in 1971 on MAT 111. When I arrived there were five hamlets in the village: Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Montangnard. While I was there, a “lumber”hamlet was added to the village. We suspected there was a great deal of VC activity in this hamlet though I am not aware of any actions directed towards it.

      Soon after I arrived in April, we where hit pretty hard with a well coordinated attack. We had one adviser wounded. After that we incurred mortar attacks and sniper fire but nothing major until after I left (December). The camp was hit hard and destroyed in February of 1972.

      Rubber was very prevalent in the area during the war. Michelin had an active rubber plantation (Thuan Loi) about 5.5 clicks north of the Dong Xoai. There were old rubber and new rubber areas. The new rubber areas were no-fire zones. Apparently rubber trees “bleed to death” if they are hit by small arms fire or shrapnel. The VC did blow away a Michelin vice president early one morning in an ambush that was probably set up for our MAT. We were supposed to check on a PF platoon that morning and were delayed getting on the road.

      Dong Xoai was on LTL 1A and a short hop from Ben Hoa. During 1971 we had numerous VIPs literally drop in for briefings which the DSA and Intel officer conducted.

      One aspect of the winding down of the war was that we also were used by several experimental projects as a test bed. One “great” idea was a sniffer craft that could locate Viet Cong encampments and ambushes at night by testing the air for ammonia — the idea being that collections of troops had to urinate and that concentration could be detected in the quiet night air. They found numerous ambush sites adjacent to our hamlets. They apparently did not know about the water buffalo herds in the area. They never came back. We were involved in other projects run by other agencies during that time.

  44. See this months VFW mag for an article on Dong Xoai. I never heard of the village — it was not part of the communication net operating out of song be in 68-69.

  45. With regard to Tet 69 I was not there but, as the Team 67 S-2 the next year, I knew about it. I recall that the team commander, LTC Suarez, was killed, along with a few others. Does anybody know who else was killed?

    • Capt. Callahan, the assistant S-3 to Maj. Webb. They were both killed either when the VC blew our TOC or by the VC waiting outside. I was in the medical bunker when their bodies were recovered.

  46. Anyone heard from Sidney Kahl? He and I went to Bangkok for R&R and had quite a time. Jim Francis and I used to fire the 80mm mortar for a time. Tried to see how many rounds we could get out before the first one hit.

  47. Ya Rick. I was in the bunk above you when we were hit. Fell to the floor and thought you were taking up to much space under your bunk — didn’t mean to push you through the wall! Good to hear from you. Remember those nice vn girls you worked with?

    • I wonder whatever happened to them after the bad guys took over. There were mass executions of anybody who worked for the Americans after the North won.

  48. I was the the assistant team leader for MAT 111 in Dong Xoai in 1971. I was the last member of the team to arrive in country and the last remaining member when I DEROSed in November. The MAT in Bunad was deactivated and its two NCOs joint MAT 111 as replacements. When I arrived in country the team was co-located with the district advisory team of four me. When I left Dong Xoai, the intel team was down to two men. If I remember correctly, there was a brief newspaper column in February 1972 saying that the NVA hit Dong Xoai with a heavy artillery bombardment and tanks routing the defenders and destroying the camp.

    During the time I was there we were gathering intel reports on infiltration of NVA through our AO. We had two RF 105s at Dong Xoai. On aerial reconnaissance I could see evidence of movement just outside the range of the 105s. We had an American 155 artillery unit based at Dong Xoai for about two months. Areal reconnaissance during that time showed the infiltration routes had adjusted to be just outside their range. When the 155s were pulled out, the trails returned the their former location. This information was reported by the district intel team but, as far as I know there was no action taken by higher ups.

    During 1971 we took one major assault on the base, several minor ones and mortar attacks. Casualties were minor. We ran several air mobile assaults, ambushes, and gathered intel as well as dealing with public health and economic development projects.

    I can be reached at:

    • Concerning MAT 111 at Dong Xoai in Don Luan District, I was there from April to November 1971. This was during the draw down as Vietnamese controlled assets slowly replaced American assets. The team leader was Capt. Jim Rice, ADA. I believe this was his first tour. The light and heavy NCOs’ names are lost to me. Shortly after I arrived, both DEROSed and were replace by the NCOs from the deactivated MAT from Bunard: Linsley Moore and L.J. Turner. I operated with SFC Turner and Capt. Rice operated with SFC Moore. The medic was SSG Randolph.
      The District Team consisted of Major Charles(?) Ludlum, Armor who was the DSA and SFC Ruda was the NCO. The Intel team was Capt Mike McGraw and Sgt Gary Weinreich. The only person with whom I have had any contact prior to finding this site was Gary. I did contact SMG Linsley Moore recently and we have talked on the phone and exchanged mail.
      Since this was during the drawdown. our air assets at first (borrowed from various units) were either fully American or Air America. By the time I DEROSed, my last air-moble insertion and extraction was fully Vietnamese. Air America was still there when we really need some help moving people or supplies. Toward the end I am not sure why we carried a radio — there was literally no one within in the 11km range of the PRC 49(?) with whom we could talk.
      I believe that MAT 111 was the last active MAT in Team 67’s AO – someone may be able to confirm or correct this. I thinkI was the last MAT team member in province with all other team members either DEROSed or had been reassigned. One reason that I believe this is that the last few operations I ran were with RF units in other districts with whom I had no rapport. On one, the district Intel captain acted as the advisor and I was literally along for the ride. Originally I was to pull radio watch at the district while the captain and his NCO ran the op but at the last minute the Captain decided that the NCO should remain in camp. That was an interesting experience. Another operation (working with an outstanding young NCO who was not a MAT team member) was with a senior Vietnamese major who had been “retrained” for some reason and was leading a very large contingent of troops on what could only be described as a major cluster—-. He was very unhappy that a mere 1LT was assigned as his advisor and literally would not talk to me or the NCO. Again, another interesting experience.
      Shortly after SFC Turner and SFC Moore DEROSED, SSG Randolph, the medic was pulled back to Song Be. At that point I was the only member of MAT 111 remaining in Dong Xoai. SGT Weinriech had DEROSEd. Major Ludlum, the DSA was medivaced for medical reasons (non-combat) and no one replaced him so the only personnel remaining with the district team was Capt McGraw, the intel captain and SFC Ruda the DSA’s NCO.

      About 1981 I was washing my car in my driveway when a car pulled in. A person got out to ask directions to a friend’s place and it was SFC Ruda. I was not the person he was looking for. We talked and he told me that the place had been hit hard, overrun, and destroyed in early 1972. He was wounded and escaped with others to be picked up later by an Americans looking for survivors. I have had no further contact with him.

      Having read a great deal of the posts for many of the teams, I find the comments many of you have made about reactions to the events of the Iraq war to be the in line with mine. I was in total disbelief that troops were being sent in to advise with little or no effective training.

      I do have two question. My reading (what I could find) said that MAT teams were to be composed of experienced members: two officers, two weapons NCOs and a medic. Our team had a first tour Captain, a first tour 1LT, a second tour and third tour weapons NCOs. I am not sure which tour it was for the medic. — Capt. Rice was very competent but definitely not experienced. As for me, I was an enlistee with basic at Ft Dix, AIT at Ft. Polk and OCS at Ft. Benning. Add to this six months as a training officer in a basic training company at Ft. Campbell and you can in no way call me experienced. Were the MATs ever experienced veterans or were they a mix of first tour types with veterans. Did this change over time as the effort would down?

      Second question — what was the training for MAT team officers and NCOs. Our training group which consisted of 2Lts and Captains started at Ft. Bragg in what was called the MATA COORDS Academy. A large part of the group came from my OCS class. It looks like they opened a file drawer and pulled an alphabetical sequence of personnel who had not gone Airborne or Ranger and cut orders. The academy consisted of five (?) weeks of training at the Special Forces center taught by SF cadre and three weeks(?) of Vietnamese language training taught by Vietnamese teachers. We were then given our thirty days leave and sent to the Defense Language Institute at Ft. Bliss for three more months of intensive Vietnamese language taught by Vietnamese teachers. We were then assigned for four(?) weeks of in country training at Di Ahn which seemed pretty useless given what we had at Ft. Bragg. What was the training like for other MAT officers and NCOs.

      To the MACV team who is putting this together, I wish I had found it sooner. Thank you intensely for your time, energy, effort and work with the project. It means a lot to both me and to a lot of other MAT veterans.

  49. The first team into Duc Phong was part of MACV Team 88. On February 9, 1965 it was overrun. All advisors were killed and Sp. 4 James H. McLean, 21, a medic, was taken prisoner. He was last seen in Northern Phouc Long in late 1966. The Paris Accords investigation reported he died in an American air strike, though others reported he died of dysentery. The body has not been recovered.

  50. WAs Advisory Team 67 formerly Advisory Team 88 before mid-1968 ? Later AT-88 was the Team designation at Kien Hoa Province starting mid-1968 .

  51. HAY!!! Whatever happened to Denny Worchek? — 68 & 69, he stayed at song be TOC and I went to Duc Phong as RTO! Anybody?

  52. Just to be sure this was what Eric said was ‘tet 69 not 68. I just lived the fight in 69 and didn’t associate the attach with tet.

  53. Just talked to my compadre’ Eric long! (46 years later). He told me he got the silver star 2 months after discharge for performance as THE one and only singnalman that could and did re-established critical communication with air support from Bien Hoa airbase near Saigon during tet 99. His heroic action and farmer smarts were instrumental in repelling the imminent over-run of the MACV Team 67 in Song Be by the enemy. Thanks to major Webb, an extremely competent S 3 for the submission!! And sorry — no spell checker, I’m just that way.

  54. Was with team #67 from January 1970 to 1971. worked in headquarters and RTO delivering mail to all of the out MAT teams and mail pick up at LZ Buttons. Also flew a lot of trips to headquarters at Saigon. I do recall going a mission as RTO for Lt. Woods after his RTO DiPillo had to come back to Song BE. The PRU’s recovered lots of stuff from bunkers and hospital complex in the jungle. Also went on a road convoy from Song be to Bu Dop with Sgt. Sullivan and Col Hayden along with Vietnamese counter parts.
    Recall Maj. Diebold, Maj. Carr, Lt. Pike and Jenkins, Graff, Magee and several others I will have to think about.
    Don Kessler

    • Dear Don,
      I worked with MACV and MACCORDS Phuoc Long province (Song Be) from 1969-1971 as radio operator with one Filipino guy, Ronnie. I’m a Vetnamese little girl, 20 years old.
      At this time, we have Lt Colonel Hayden and SGT Sullivan,
      I’m now in US and would like to connect with all MACV and MACCORDS.
      I’m looking also SGT Harold K. Sample who is my admin officer at Maccords.
      Pls contact me at
      Very appreciated.

  55. Dear Van:

    Wow, it’s great to hear from you! I remember you well. As I recall we were roommates in the ‘old’ Team 67 compound before it got destroyed in January (February?) 1970. I think I still have one or two pictures of you for which I will have to look. As I recall, you were from the Midwest – NE, KA, ? I am still in the Baltimore area with a wife (my 2nd) of 35 years and two grown daughters (both live in DC). I have son (from my 1st marriage) who lives in Atlanta and two grandsons. My wife and I are both retired and try to stay active, including a fair amount of travel in recent months. What’s your story?

    Ed (

  56. I wasn’t with MACV, but was stationed at the Song Be MACV base. I was 6/27 Arty. Radio operator “Song Be Arty” 1970-71

    • This is Gilbert Cervantes, I was stationed at Song Be Arty 1970-71. Just asking were you there before we built the new compund?

      • The new compound — after Tet 69
        TOC operated from inside the old compound, under the briefing room across from the mess.
        Then jointly with the RVN folks in an older government building nearer to downtown.
        Then the 1st Cav airmobile built a bunkered compound along the airstrip, installed an arty battery, and the joint commo team moved into a bunkered TOC established inside that new compound — then I left in SEP 69.

      • 44 Rome for a couple of months in the Fall of ’69…I actually moved into the new compound while it was still being built.

  57. I remeber a few more names from my time there: 1SG Bundick, SFC Carney from Operations, SSG Johnson ran the chow hall; Romie, the Filipino radio operator for Air America who worked o the orderly room, Sam the dog, LTC Bean who replaced LTC Hayden, and LTC Bean hated the boonie hats; E-6 Grinde who ran the ATC det for 1st Avn Bde, who was my roommate. I was on Staff Duty the night the engineers building our underground compound had the shooting, over a hootch girl. Also remember the “Fuck You” lizards (sorry for bad language, but if u were there, you gotta remember them). Thats all for now.

    • Sam the dog was liberated from a VC unit along with his brother. I helped raise him in Hooch 1. Unfortunately, his brother was run over by a jeep while still a pup. Sam sensed when we were going to hit. I’d sit with him on the ammo bunker most nights. If he took off for the bunker under S-1, I knew we would be mortared in the wee hours. Sam hated LTC Bean and would bark at him every morning. My recollection is that LTC Bean commanded the team after LTC Suarez was killed during Tet 69.

    • Thomas Adams,
      I was one of the Engineers (Demo Spec 12B30) who was building your bunker complex and had to testify at LBJ regarding the incident. That was Sp4 Webster (Texas) who was shot and killed by Sp4 Beard (Chicago).
      I remember it better than I care to!
      Need more, contact me at

    • I worked with Ronnie, the Filipino radio operator and I’m a Vietnamese little girl there.
      i’m in US now and I would like to contact with all MACV and MACCORDS Phuoc Long before (Team 67)
      Look forward to receiving your email.

  58. Was Sgt E-5 in charge of RTT after Sgt DeSpain left. Was there 20-21 Jan 70 when compound was basically destroyed. Entire compound littered with unexplored ordinance from ammo dump next to us blowing up. Good thing the new compound was almost complete. Reassigned to Hon Quan late Feb 70 to establish new RTT there. Remember Jim Francis as the mail man, mortar man, all round good guy.

  59. Hi Soapy. Am doing well and enjoying retirement. I found the Stars and Strips article about Phouc Long being the Siberia of S VN. Other pictures I should post if I can figure out how. All the best. PS. Just got approved for va benefits after years of being told I didn’t qualify!

    • Hey Don. An 8-year reply to the Phuoc Long being the Siberia of S. VN. I have a Hurricane Magazine with the same title. My email (you probably already have it) is I’ll send you a scanned copy of the front cover and the article if you like.

  60. Ha!! What a time, my Gray suit from the Raffles Square tailor is long gone — more like 50 lbs of weight gain for me. We were real studs in those suits — nice for you to post. Have always wished I kept the Stars and Strips magazine that had Song Be on the cover. Must have been issued about February to May 1969. Maybe someone could advise where to find a copy.

  61. Indeed I did! I’ve been remembering it what with the missing airliner flight 370. We had to have flown through the same airspace. I still have the tailor made double breasted cashmere appreciate I got there. My wife says I can wear it to a wedding this fall if I lose about 20 pounds.

  62. Hay soapy Waters (Doug)!!!! I was RTO in Duc Phong when you were in Bo duc 68 and 69. Visited you near Boston on your return.

  63. There were several trails through Phuoc Long that essentially were extensions of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. We tried (with limited success) to monitor all of the trails and that the 1st Cav tried to interdict them. They were all clearly delineated on the large map of Phuoc Long that we used for daily briefings with LTC Hayden. There were one or two trails in the far eastern portion of the province, one or two closer to Song Be, and then at least one along the western border of Phuoc Long. I recall that the Adams Trail was one of the more important ones, although I don’t remember its location. On one occasion I went on mission that targetted one of the eastern trails. This effort involved the provincial “Intelligence Platoon” (led by my South Vietnames ‘counterpart,’ Dai Uy Xung), the Provincial Reconnaisance Unit (CIA-funded), and a platoon from the 1st Cav. We found a small village (well concealed in double canopy jungle) that served as a rest stop and resupply station for NVA troops that were travelling the trail south toward Saigon and Bien Hoa.

    • You are a hard man to find! Last time I saw you was 44 yrs. ago! You and Dr. Maj. Arrellano were laughing about my malaria/dysentery. Real funny! Drop me a note, Van

  64. I was the intelligence advisor (CPT) for Team 67 from November 1969 to October 1970. I was with the unit when the original compound was blown up in January 1970. I have not kept up with anyone from the unit but recall a few names – LTC Hayden, the Provincial Senior Advisor; Ralph Franco, the supply officer; Douglas Pike (S-1?); and Gerald Hossick, my intelligence sergeant. Also, the Province Chief was Lu Yem (a Vietnamese of Chinese heritage) and my Vietnamese counterpart was CPT Le Van Xung (a Catholic from Saigon and good guy). Every once in a while a FAC pilot would take me up for a look around the outer reaches of Phuoc Long Province, but we never saw anything of intelligence value.

    • You were there after I left. Was the Adams trail portion of the Ho Chi Minh trail thru Phuoc Long province not as active when you were there. We flew that trail almost every day checking on activity.

    • I was at the same time with you with Col Luu Yem, LTC Hayden, Sgt Sullivan, Sgt Harold K. Sample.
      Pls contact me at
      I would like to contact with all of you. I worked as radio operator for MACV and MACCORDS from 1969- 1971.

    • I was the officer for 3rd Co. maintenance contract team. Our main duty was to keep the artillery guns at LZ Buttons up and operational. I was there from June of 69 until February of 70. We were housed at the MACV compound and our shop was across the street from the compound. I remember well the night in January that we were mortared. I never knew there was an ammo dump next door. I have had no contact with anyone from that time or place and don’t remember most of the names. I do remember that it was a wide variety of unit types.

      • I was also part of the 3rd herd as we called it. I worked on pretty much everything we had there and was on the 60 the night the mortars and ammo dump destroyed the compound. Unfortunately I also can’t remember names either.

        • Thanks for your comments. I was in song bay until 1969 – September, The biggest thing across the street were the generators that were maintained by a detachment of Koreans.

          Some vehicles and gasoline were stored over there also. S4 had a office there with some pretty local girls.

          LZ buttons was being built, I think. I do recall a small battery of artillery, 105s, along side the small runway/street used by the FACs.

    • No doubt we had lunch together a few times. We used to come up there from Phouc Binh a couple times a week.

      • I’ve been trying to identify a medic that was KIA. (Gonzales I think). Hit by a piece of shrapnel on the way to his perimeter defense position. What a shame, hit in the trench too– very gentle & dedicated medic. Anybody know him?

        Sent from my iPhone


        • Yes remember him well was checking medical pack in bunker. Mortor.hit spike holding bar wires. Only had a few days left in Nam had slept for the last few weeks in the medical bunket.

          • James,
            I am David Gauntlett and I was an AF E-4 radio operator for the FACs at Song Be during most of 1969. I do remember you. I recently hooked up with the ALO at that time. I won’t use his name without permission, but after 52 years he found a draft citation for a Bronze Star with ‘V’ he had submitted for me that fell through the crack. This was regarding the May 12-15 VC push and heavy mortar attacks on the compound. I got hit (lightly thank God) by a mortar fragment during this. He is helping pursue a retroactive award which is really difficult to do considering I’m expected to come up with witness statements. If you have any recollection of that battle and that you at least know I was there in the jeep, please contact me. My email is Best, Dave Gauntlett

        • Sure, I knew him in Duc Phong, if that’s the one you’re thinking of. He was a great guy and did a lot of good medical work with the “Yards”; had a weekly clinic. I did not know that he was KIA; certainly not in DP. We had to medevac him once but it was for a stomach problem. Pete Beaman

          • Not Duc Phong. He was in Song Be. I think as working in the TOC then.

            He was said to have slept many nights in the medical bunker, predicting to others he was fearful of getting hit He was a short timer too boot, as I recall, which made his death more heartbreaking.

            • That sounds like the Medic Sgt Morales in Duc Phong; did he leave DP and go to Song Be? He was a very good man; told me he used to operate on top of a tank in the middle of battles. I have a great picture of him somewhere. Pete

        • This is an old post from 2014 but I just noticed it. We had a Sgt Gonzales medic in Duc Phong in 70-1; he was truly a hero. Had stories about performing surgery on top of a tank. He ran a health clinic for the Montagnards in DP, which they badly needed. Their hygiene was terrible. He removed a bad cyst from behind my ear. His soul was pure as driven snow. I did not know he was killed, if it’s the same one. I have a picture of him somewhere. Pete

  65. I was the intelligence airman assigned to the FAC team at Song Be. Was there from early 1968 to early 1969. We had 3 O-1 Bird Dogs. Would like to hear from any other members of FAC units who served in Song Be.

    • Ric, I wasn’t a FAC member but talked to you guys (via radio) on a regular basis. I was with the Phouc Bin district team June 1968 thru September 1968 until our headquarters was blown away & me with it. Having a terrible memory for names, I only recall one of the pilots that we knew as “The Red Baron”, an old captain (everybody’s old when you’re twenty), with red hair & a handle bar mustache. Any idea how things went for him?

      • I lost track of everyone soon after I left Vietnam and deployed to Europe. When I saw this site, I was hopeful that one of them would get back in touch. I know who you are talking about but do not know anything about his whereabouts.

      • Hey, John Workman (44 Rome) I came out of Bo Duc District and did your job until I DEROS’D in November ’69. I don’t recall all of folks either. (SFC Clark, Wojoe, Donnie McGagon, “Bear”,) Sorry to hear about Jimmy Francis. We are getting old. Hey Gary Gollnick …I do recall what happened in Phouc Binh (I knew PFC Brown). We came into Song Be together in Aug ’68) Take care guys…Doug (Soapy) Waters

    • Kind of stumbled on this site just now. I was a radio operator for the FAC detachment Feb – Oct 69. In Tet 69 Charlie blew up the TOC which was outside the compound and they evacuated the SSG NCOIC and I took it over and operated my MRC-108 from inside a U-shaped revetment inside the compound for the next several months. There were a couple killed in that attack. I was lucky because I was down at Bien Hoa DX’ing a radio and when I got back the TOC was a smoking hole.

      Had a couple other radio operators working with me but names have escaped me. Song Be was pretty warm in 1969 in many ways.

      • i was a radio operator around the same time, i re-oriented the antenna that had been knocked asunder whilst the ammo was *burning off next door

        • Jerry, I am David Gauntlett and I was an AF E-4 radio operator for the FACs at Song Be during most of 1969. I do remember you. I recently hooked up with the ALO at that time. I won’t use his name without permission, but after 52 years he found a draft citation for a Bronze Star with ‘V’ he had submitted for me that fell through the crack. This was regarding the May 12-15 VC push and heavy mortar attacks on the compound. I got hit (lightly thank God) by a mortar fragment during this. He is helping pursue a retroactive award which is really difficult to do considering I’m expected to come up with witness statements. If you have any recollection of that battle and that you at least know I was there in the jeep, please contact me. My email is Best, Dave Gauntlett

      • If you are the James Clamp who was the maintenance chief for our USAF O-1 Bird Dogs, I remember you well and may have some pictures to share. Ric Zamora USAF Intel, Team 67, 1968/69

    • Ric, as with a lot of others I just stumbled across this site by accident. I replaced you at Song Be in 69 and I.think we were in tech school together at Lowry. Have not kept in touch with anyone, but it’s good to hear a voice from the past. Hope you’re doing well.

    • Ric, I am David Gauntlett and I was an AF E-4 radio operator for the FACs at Song Be during most of 1969. I do remember you. I recently hooked up with the ALO at that time. I won’t use his name without permission, but after 52 years he found a draft citation for a Bronze Star with ‘V’ he had submitted for me that fell through the crack. This was regarding the May 12-15 VC push and heavy mortar attacks on the compound. I got hit (lightly thank God) by a mortar fragment during this. He is helping pursue a retroactive award which is really difficult to do considering I’m expected to come up with witness statements. If you have any recollection of that battle and that you at least know I was there in the jeep, please contact me. My email is Best, Dave Gauntlett

  66. I was team leader of MAT 3-17 for advisory team 67 in Song Be Vietnam from 6/27/69 to 6/20/70.

    • I was a member of team 67 from November 68 to September 1, 1969. I was a Sgt. E-5 and ran the artillery air warning and gave clearances for all the artillery in Phouc Long Province. I never kept in touch with anyone other than Jimmy Francis who died of cancer 5 or 6 years ago,

    • I worked with MACV and MACCORDS from 1969-1971 with LTC Hayden, SGT Sullivan, SGT Harold K Sample. I met some DSA like Dong Xoai, Duc Phong, Bu Dang districts but I forgot the name. Now, I would like to connect with all of you if you have some news from them, pls contact me at
      Very appreciated.

      • Hi hate to say it I just saw your post, I was in Duc PHong 68 and 69, worked with the team that came in just before you.

        I would like to know, what ever happened to those kinds of people once the North took over.?

        Our interpreter was a very nice guy, about 23-25. I was very friendly with him, and also some of the villagers that I helped, particularly the mechanic downtown.

        I think he was VC targeted, but all he was, was a nice guy that wanted some help to get his machine shop running again.

        I was a mechanic and helped him get some battery acid. To try and make the old batteries work, but I got in trouble with the major, because he said to me, the acid could be used as a terror weapon.

        I thought it was pretty innocent, knowing that he needed to get the batteries working to start his engines.

        Sadly, I don’t think it helped, should have gotten him new batteries and nothing would be said against it. All that stuff had to be delivered by helicopter in 68.

        PS happy new year!!

        • Hey Don…..this is Dennis Finley…..I was an E5 with the 2nd Civil Affairs Co, May 68-Jan 69 at Song Be..(Army)…….we shared a hooch, at the very end of the outpost, with some Air Force dudes – cool guys……the only name I can recall is Dodd, he and his crew manned these radio shacks, shaped like gumdrops I think, 24/7…….we all hung out at night smoking this strange tobacco and talked and laughed for hours, frequently interrupted by incoming rounds….. duty at Song Be was no joke…..other than Air America no one ever heard of the freaken place

          • Cool! You remember a guy we called Sperm? I came to SB about Feb 69 following my stint in Duc P.
            Sperm was one of the heads that met up in the hooch closest to the berm 50 cal.

            All the best in the New Year. Wonder about the dates for Tet this year?

    • I was the Team Leader of 3-17 from Sept ’68 to Feb ’69 when I DEROSed. I was at Duc Phong, along with Don McAghon, SFC Alford, SFC Deets, LT Vance, MAJ Lins-Morsted (the District Advisor), my Teams Medic, and three or four more of us USA guys, when in Dec ’68 the Montagnard resettlement area behind the main village was over-run and occupied by a large size NVA unit. It took 3 days (as I recall) to get them out. We had some help from the SF and the CIDG unit they were advising. A Battalion of USA guys came in by helicopter to help us the NVA retreated, and things settled down to what passed from normal. As part of this action, Don, acting as the RTO, SFC Alford (My Heavy Weapons NCO), myself and about a platoon of our Ruff Puffs lead by ARVN Captain Kah went out to relieve a small outpost on the other side of the resettlement area and we came under fire not only from the NVA but also from the Ruff Puff’s in the outpost who thought we were NVA trying to sneak up on them. But that’s another story.

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