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.

178 thoughts on “Team 67 Song Be

  1. 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 dickgerry@comcast.net with your email address and I’ll be sure to send the best ones your way.

              • 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.

    • 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 rzamora1@swbell.net. 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 dickgerry@comcast.net. 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.
            Dick

              • 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.
                Dick

                • 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?

                cheers

                • 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. davesbackup@rocketmail.com — 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!

        Dick

        • 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

          • 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 dickgerry@comcast.net. 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 johndxmurphy@hotmail.com, 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.
        Dick

        • 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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…..no 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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 donmcaghon@aol.com. 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 duster_quad@hotmail.com

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. Last msg is truncated!
    Van
    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,
    Van

    • 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 (spawrtan@wideopenwest.com). 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.

  23. 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. junglecruiser335@gmail.com

      • 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.

  24. 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 lisanguyen29@yahoo.com
      Very appreciated.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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: jar@cs.cmu.edu

    • 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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 .

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

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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 lisanguyen29@yahoo.com
      Very appreciated.

  37. 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 (edwood44@verizon.net)

  38. 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.

  39. 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 davidmmckinney@att.net

    • 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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!

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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

  46. 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 lisanguyen29@yahoo.com
      I would like to contact with all of you. I worked as radio operator for MACV and MACCORDS from 1969- 1971.

    • 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.

  47. 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

        • Hey I came to song be in aug 68 trying to put faces with some of the names mention in some of you guys comment glad to hear some of us are still here

    • 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.

  48. 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 lisanguyen29@yahoo.com
      Very appreciated.

    • 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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