Team 72 Tra Vinh-Vin Binh

MACV Team 72 – Tra Vinh-Vin Binh.

This Page is intended for the discussion of the Military Assistance Command Vietnam Team 72 located in Tra Vinh-Vin Binh.

64 thoughts on “Team 72 Tra Vinh-Vin Binh

  1. I was there with Jeff Millington as well as Don Colin who was the DPSA. I kept up with both of them, from time to time. The last I heard from them, Don was in DC and Jeff was in the Sudan. I’ll see if I can locate them again. Send me you email address so I can get back to you. Mine is jamesrbryant3@charter. net.

  2. If anyone can help me get contact information for Jim Fields (his posts June 4 and July 6) I have a couple of items he may want. They relate to his service in Vinh Binh. Thanks. Just post in this spot please.
    Charlie Barnes

    • Charlie,

      You can get me at jralph01@yahoo.com. I assume our time with the Lin Dois (LD82 and LD404) were similar in many ways. An interesting aside – some of the men from my former OCS training company got together and we are planning a reunion at Ft. Benning this October. The interaction with the guys has been interesting and brings back old memories.

      Jim

      • Jim-

        When did you graduate from OCS? I graduated from Infantry OCS at Ft Benning, 53rd OCS Company, in August 1966. I went to last year’s OCS reunion at Ft Benning (my class’ 50th and the 75th of OCS in general). It was a great time with trips to the old battalion/company area, meet-ups with current OCS candidates, the OCS Battalion Commander (LTC Andres), several great speakers including LTC Ralph Peters (Ret), inductions into the OCS Hall Of Fame, various activities on Ft Benning proper, etc. The Infantry Museum is outstanding. Highly recommend the reunion

        regards, Bill

        • Bill,

          I believe we were OC 24-69. Our 50th Company graduated in August 1969. Several guys from 2nd platoon reconnected first and then decided it was so much fun they expanded to the rest of us. Thanks for the nudge about the reunion. In addition to seeing the guys, I’m interested in touring the airborne training area and the towers. It will probably seem a lot less imposing than it was 47 years ago.

          Most of our guys spent only 3-4 years in the Army. We had at least 7 who either made it a pure career or retired through the Reserves. One guy’s son went on to West Point. Most of us served in Viet Nam and 2 men died there.

      • Jim – thank you so much for responding. I’m sure we met at some point because I have one of those clever NOAT business cards with your signature on the back! After 46 years if you’d like to have it back I’ll send it to you. I was there from June to June, 1970-71. I remember visiting your compound the day I Ieft Vinh Binh via Air America. I was upset because I just got the word that my partner SFC Martinez had stepped on a mine that morning while he was out with some PF platoon (never should have gone). The last few months I was there our MAT 76 consisted primarily of just Marty and me. You guys were just down the road from TM 72 and I didn’t know where else to go. To this day I appreciate the kindness you guys showed me. I was 24; it was a long time ago.
        I hadn’t been back to Benning in years but just last month I went to the new Infantry Museum with some friends. Fantastic place.

  3. Mike Orton. L-19 Birddog Crewchef

    I was the Army crew chief for the 199th Avation Company (Swampfox) from Oct. 68′ – May 70′. I lived at the MacV Compound in the team house with Sgt. Mike Steele and Sgt. Frank Antaya. I have many photos of the compound and airfield.

    I would like to connect with others from MacV advisory 72′. You can email me at M.orton034@gmail.com

  4. Jim……I worked with the CIA guys fairly often. Bill Holscher was the most senior in province and an old OSS hand. He had some interesting stories about his experience in China and later in North Korea. We shared intelligence with them. I also took advantage of the generosity of the SeaBees. They had air conditioning and fabulous food. Good guys. I met spme of the Seals but never worked with them. We used some of our APT in operations with Ollie Ledford’s National Police Field Force operations. I liked Don Colin a lot. Also Jeff Millington, another State Department officer. I think they are both retired by now. Jeff was posted to Khatoum at one time. Jamie

    • Hi!
      Did you ever make contact with Jeff Milington? I am Keith Gette and would like to connect with him. Also served with Maj Paul Dill. Thank you

  5. I am Jamie Bryant (Cpt.). I was the Chieu Hoi advisor in aging Binh Province from September 1970 to September 1971. Col. Metzner was the PSA and Don Colin, State Department, was Deputy PSA. Jeff Millington was the State Department attaché and Al Laun was the USIS Officer. He was proceeded by John Pouris. Bill Holsher was CIA. Joel Avera, George Winterer and Bill Grana were the Air Force doctors assigned to Advisory Team 72. Ollie Ledford was the retired California Highway Patrol Colonel who advised the Vietnamese National Police Field Force. Lt. Kirby was the L-19 Shotgun Pilot. If anyone was attached to Team 72’during that period I would like to talk to you. My email is: jbryant3@charter.com. My cell phone is: 704-996-9917.

    • Jamie,

      I was an Army Lieutenant in province with Advisory Team 72 from July 1970 – June 1971. The first six months, I was with up to four people (myself, two staff sergeants and an interpreter) under a Captain with the (‘Fighting 404’) Lin Doi, a “temporary” RF-PF (search and destroy) battalion. In about January, Lt. Col. Metzner asked me to volunteer to create a NOAT unit (Night Operations Advisory Team). I did. We were four – Staff Sergeants Jim Perkins, Chuck Mallory, an interpreter and myself). We traveled around province; lived in small villes; provided basic training for home defenders; and took them on ambushes. My year’s experience was one of nearly constant activity.

      Jim Fields

      • Jim…..Were you initially in one District? Which one. I moved around quite a bit with the armed propaganda teams (APT) that we recruited from the Chieu Hoi program. I worked initially with Jesse Zapata on night operations. Jamie

        Sent from my iPhone

        >

        • Jamie,

          My ‘permanent’ bunk was in the Team 72 facilities at Tra Vinh. But we were out by trucks and helicopters with the 404 Lin Doi, around the province, about six days a week, sweeping and looking. Then, after Lt. Col Edward Metzger volunteered me for the new NOAT, we would temporarily house ourselves in various hamlets. Sorry, but I don’t remember any direct activity with the Chieu Hoi program, although I knew a little about the program. I suspect your tour was interesting. I knew and did some things with Lt. Kirby, though can’t remember his first name. Also spent some time talking with Don Colin. He urged and sent me to take exam (in Saigon) for the Foreign Service, which was interesting. Went out to the Sea
          Bees ‘camp’ (?west side of Tra Vinh?) a few times. Did not get involved with the Seals (at Sea Bees compound) or the CIA guys adjacent to our Tra Vinh compound. I think I heard that there was a battalion size regular US Army unit (non-MACV) that operated for awhile in the west-north-west part of the province, close to the Vinh Long border, about March-May 1971?.

          Jim

      • Jim, this is Charlie Barnes. I was with LD 82 in Cang Long the same time you were with the LD404. I actually have a 404 color breast patch, and a NOAT ‘business card’ with your signature on the back!

        • I met Carl Young in early 68 as he was passing thru Can Tho. Happened to see if again a year later as he was leaving country. He was a SP/5 medic in Cang Long and served in the same team as SFC Ballesteros. Carl passed in 2008. Was able to meet his sister last week in Hawaii. Filled her in a little about my interaction with Carl. If any of you knew him, please contact me. I was surprised how little the family knew and hopefully the sister felt better after I conveyed my memories of her brother. I can be reached at mmckague97@aol.com. Thanks. My 20 months was in Can Tho—Cao Lanh and thru out the 44th STZ. Teams 96, 50 and 41st Vietnamese Rangers.

    • Hello: I am Jorg Winterer, assigned to MILPHAP Team 15 in Vinh Binh: there with Dr. Joel Avery (surgeon) (of the tabasco sauce “Avery island):
      Metzner whistled his “ss”!

      • Jorg….This is Jamie Bryant. I remember you well. I also remember Joel Avera and Bill Grana who were the other doctors in Vinh Binh. I would enjoy talking sometime about our time in Vinh Binh. My home telephone number is 828-733-0534 and cell number is 704-996-9917. Jamie

  6. Pete Beckerman -I was at the TOC Center in Tra Vinh from July of 68-October of 69. Hope to connect with others that were there at that time.

  7. Hi Lt Boyle, I think sgt Lan is S2 interepreter who get killed by Sniper in Cang Long? and Dat is replaced him? I was the interpreter for S3 under Major Carter locate on 2nd floor in Sector HQT we may meet other but it been too long I can not recall. but any way we were in same team with a lot of memories !!!! I was there when Col Ton That Dong is province chief.

  8. Hi to all ex military advisors who served in Macv team 72 Tra vinh .
    My name is Triet minh Pham, i was a SFC of ARVN served as an interpreter for MAT 43 in 2 years and assigned to S3 Hq. Travinh in 1970 to workes for Ltc Currie to 1973. Reasigned back to ARVN Signal Corp till 1975, VC overan SVN , i escaped to Thailan in 1979 with wife and 2 sons. We resetled in California on 1980. Now i retired after 24 years worked as a machinist. I’m wrtting this with all deeply thankfull to all ex Advisors and wish to contact all personnel who served in team 72 Travinh. Specially to Mr James TULLY of Us Embassy Bangkok Thailan during 1980 with thousand of grateful. My phone # 909-451-1312 or 909-397-4309. Mail address : Triet m pham – 624 Date St. Pomona-Ca 91768.

    i

  9. Hello Mike, do you remember Capt. Jim Clark? He was the USAF ALO for Team 72 from the Fall of ’69 through March of ’70 when the AF shut down the Tra Vinh FOL and turned over the FAC mission to the VNAF. I was his crew chief, we had the AF bird dog and the two Army
    L -19s from the 199th Aviation Co. With Capt. Buster Cozart and WO James Butler who were KIA in March of ’70…-regards -Mike Steele

  10. HI,

    I was in province 1970 – 1971; 1st Lieutenant. Spent 6 months with a very mobile RF-PF Lin Doi and 6 months starting a (special unit) NOAT (Night Operations Advisory Team). I believe Lt. Col. Ellison was our military PSA. Civilian PSA was Don Colin. Does anyone know what happened to the NOAT toward the end of the war? Or what happened to Sgt. Mallory and Sgt. Perkins?

    Regards
    Jim Fields

    • Hi, Jim –

      I was a CORDS advisor in Tra Vinh from Jan. ’69 until March ’70. Col. Dick Ellison was the PSA when I arrived. He was later replaced by Col. Carl Bernard. By the time of my arrival in Jan. ’69, Don Colin had moved on. The DPSA was Rob Robertson, a State Dept. guy.

      I forwarded your e-mail to a colleague of mine, Bruce Kinsey. Bruce has spent the past several years writing a book about the VN war. Bruce was an advisor in Vinh Long province around 1969. He is very interested in talking to you about your NOAT and he asked me to let you know. In case you’d like to share your experiences with him, you can e-mail Bruce at:

      brucekinsey@hotmail.com

      Best regards,

      Mike Hacker

      • Hi Mike,

        My name is Bill Presz. I was a member of the USAF MILPHAP TEAM (MACV Team 57) in Tra Vinh from Nov. 68 till July 69 when I was transferred to the 21st Casualty Staging Flight at Tan Son Nhut. While at Tra Vinh or CO was Maj. David Zarek. I came across a picture a few days ago that I think that I took at the Tra Vinh CORDS OFFICE. Seated at the desk is a dark haired gentleman wearing dark rimmed glasses and standing next to the desk is an Air Force SSgt. Who I don’t know. Having said this, I have other photos taken at Tra Vinh should you have an interest. In copies. You can contact me by email anytime. Have a great evening.

        Bill Presz
        bpresz@att.net

        • Hi Bill. I was ARVN interpreter work at Tra Vinh sector Head Quarter 69-70 .under Major Carter  My friend Sgt Truc and his wife work for CORD. Col Ton That Dong is Province Chief then. I also work in Tieu Can Sub-Sector, 67-68. I know SGt  Tuff , Medic of UASF MIlPHAP. I have some picture of him……Former: ARVN interpreterHuan Nguyen (Texas ) E-mail : renovapro@yahoo.com

  11. Hi
    I was the province Chieu Hoi advisor in Tra Vinf (Vinh Binh) from Jan. ’69 until March ’70. Do you happen to remember the first and last name of a major on the province team? I think his first name was Tony-can’t remember his lady name. He was a big guy who wore a flattop.
    I remember a capt. Jim Moore, and capr. Larry Delphi, and capt. Ben Plotkin.
    Regards,
    Mike Hacker

    • Hi, I don’t remember the Major’s name. It may have been Oliver. I’ll check my files to see if I have any more info. There was a lLT Tim Moore assigned to the team. My district tm leader was Maj Jimmy Sloan. The director of security for Vinh Binh a civilian was James Baker

    • I suspect it was MAJ Anthony (Tony) Springer. My memory isn’t the greatest anymore (age 77) but I see names, etc. mentioned from Jun 68 – May 69 that I don’t recall. The PSAs I recall were were LTC Henry Girdner, Mr Robinsion (Robertson?) and LTC Raymond Devereaux. Ben Plotkin was Intell Advisor when I got there. My assistant was CPT Randall Smith who was sent to Long Tuan after MAJ Alvin Mutter was killed. I had 2 SFC Smiths as OPS NCOs. Another subject: I invite you to join the SE Asia advisors’ association. We are having our annual reunion in Greensboro, NC next month.

      • Clay – I think you are right! Thanks for coming up with his last name. I arrived in Vinh Binh in Jan. 1969. If my memory is correct, the PSA was Col. Richard Ellison, who was killed a year later over in Rach Gia. The Deputy PSA was a State Dept. guy named Rob Robertson. I recall another PSA, too, Col. Carl Bernard. I also remember LTC Devereaux but I can’t recall when he arrived.
        Thanks for the invite to join the SE Asia Advisor’s Assn., but I don’t think I would qualify. I had been out of the U.S. Navy for 10 years when I arrived in Vinh Binh, where I worked as a civilian Chieu Hoi advisor. Thanks again for your good memory re: Maj. Springer.

      • Thanks to Clay Cowgill who correctly identified the name of the Major I’ve been searching for. Would appreciate any information from anyone who might have information about the current location/contact information for Major Anthony “Tony” Springer, who served at the province level in Tra Vinh City, Vinh Binh Province during 1969-1970.

  12. Hi I’m 1LT Walker Phoenix Advisor. Worked out of Tra Cu district from december 1968 until I was wounded in April 1969. Transferred to Vinh Binh Phoenix HQ. May 1969 Worked with Major Jimmy Sloan ,Cpt Stearns , 1LT G Lewis 1LT Burgeson, 1LT Cantu, 1LT Moore, from Cedar Rapids. and many other great soldiers. If you remember me and was in Tra Cu district or Vinh Binh Prov, I ‘d love to hear from you.

    • Ben Plotkin replaced me as S-2 in about Apr/May 1969. I seem to remember a 1LT Michael Moore who worked for me but I believe he transferred to Saigon after the Tet Offensive. Can’t remember the name of the Chu Hoi Advisor before that, a Captain. Can see his face but can’t remember the name

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

      • Hi Mike, I was a 1LT and assigned to Tra Cu district as a Phoenix advisor from Nov 1968 to Nov 1969. I was wounded in April 1969. My Jeep hit a land mine. I was then transferred to Tra Vinh Provence and worked with the Phoenix Adv Team. Capt Stearns was my OIC .LTC Deveraux was the PSA,Jim Baker was the civilain Security Officer. I also worked with Major Jimmy Sloan down in Tra Cu district. I also worked with Major Springer.

    • I was assigned to Team 66, but have orders returning me to MACV adv tm 72 with a p3 profile, but I was not returned. After receiving treatment for Malaria and an unknown skin disease, I was shipped to Binh/Bien Thuy near Can Tho, then to Long Binh and the 24th Evacuation Hospital, and medivaced to Japan. Does any one else know of anyone that contracted Malaria in this area? I nearly died a year later from extreme fever, convulsions, and coma, but through out the rest of my service, I was ill, and coming down with something and believe my immune system was compromised from Agent Orange or malaria. Of course I didn’t get a mosquito net my first weekend there, and got a million bites. Anyone else have the symptoms of malaria? Thanks for any info…Victor

  13. Clay, thanks for the response. I never really did understand the numerical designations. We were MAT 76 with a HQ compound for the 82nd Lein Doi in Vinh Binh City but we operated mostly out of Cang Long to the north. Vinh Binh City was home to “Adv Tm 72” which I assumed was the support unit for all the MAT teams in the Province. I have a photo of the signage at the HQ. We were there only rarely there.

  14. Mike Steele, SGT USAF

    I was the USAF ALO/FAC’s Crew chief, spent most of my time at air field or in the air in back seat of Birddog (L- 19) . lived in Team house, Oct. 69 – March 70. Shared Cube with Sgt Frank Antaya and Spec 4s Mike Orton And Edwards 199 th Lgt Aviation Co.Crew Chiefs. My boss was the ALO Cpt James Clark. I well remember CPT Buster Cozart and WO James Butler who were both lossed and later KIA in March of 70. Both were pilots with 199th…….

  15. In country 8/68 to 8/69. First half spent in Tieu Can district town as the RTO and second half as RTO at the TOC.

    • dennis, you must have been my replacement. I was the rto in tieu can from sept 67 to aug 68, then went to vinh binh toc till luly 69. this is a small world. if you would like to bs call me 913-904-4032. it may take a try or two I don’t pay much attenion to my phone. david walters

      • Walter, Do you remember Staff Sgt Huan the ARVN Interpreter I was there at Tiieu Can Sub Sector with Capt Cherry 67-68 Tet offensive, then Vinh Binh TOC call me at 214-404-4009, thanks

        • Hi, Huan. I was the S-2 during the Tet Offensive. We must have spent some time together in the TOC during that period. Do you remember SGT Dac? He was my interpreter (and used to tell me “bodyguard”!). He and his family were great people

          Bill Boyle

      • Dave Walters. This is Pete Beckerman. I was at TOC Center with you in your last six months. When Dennis McManus came to the TOC Center from Tieu Can I was still there.

  16. Bill, great read, lots of memories. Do you know how to post pictures here? As soon as I compose a readable, logical, coherent (LOL) response I’ll reply again. Have you been able to pinpoint our compound with Google Maps? Why did the Team name change from 57 to 72? (Sorry) I got more questions than answers 😀

    Len

  17. Len–great to hear from you! I’m in the Northern Virginia area just outside of DC. I got out of the Army after leaving Vietnam, a decision I regretted many times.

    I was in Vinh Binh-Adv Tm 57 from Sep 67 to Sep 68. I was the S-2 most of that time until CPT Plotkin showed up and then I did a lot of direct work with LTC Girdner, the PSA who took over from LTC Schowalter. The latter had received the Medal Of Honor in Korea although he never talked about it. He died about nine years ago and the Army had named one of the Infanty Halls at Ft Benning after him. Girdner, a West Point graduate, passed away in April 1999.

    The people who worked for me in S-2 were ILT John Morrison, 2LT Michael Mann, SGT Cline, yourself, Co Sau (our translator), and a few others whose names escape me for the moment. I remember the doctors (CPT Lottie Varano, CPT Stewart) and nurses on the Team and many others. CPT Jerry Pittinger and CPT William “Buck” Rogers–two of our Forward Air Controllers. My Counterpart was Dai Uy (CPT) Hahn and Trung-Uy (ILT) Phouc. We worked closely with the CIA officer in the province, Bud Hightower, who passed away earlier this year in Phoenix. You may also remember a Navy SEAL we worked with, Howard Paulson. I’ve lost track of LTC Digison but I believe he is in Texas near Ft Bliss.

    I am currently going through letters between myself and my ex-wife to put together a short history of the time on the Team and the people who were there. Especially during the Tet Offensive.

    I would love to see your photos!!!

    Currently, I help my wife who works directly with the traumatically injured soldiers from the Iraq and Afgan wars who are located at Bethesda/Walter Reed.

    Best regards, Bill

    • The seal you mention could it be Howard N. Paulsen who was with Phoenix? If so he is a member of our church and I am his pastor. He was awarded the silver star for a battle while with Phoenix, may have been TET? I told him yesterday that I saw this mention of him and would reach out to you guys to see if any others would remember him.
      Thanks
      Eric

  18. Bill, Yes that’s me. Sorry but I cannot place you right now. I was in S2 with Morrison, Cpt.Plotkin. Wait! Now I think I remember, are you 1st Lt Boyle. Wow, what luck to find someone from our team. LTC Digson I remember but not Showwater. I left in Nov of 68. When did you leave country? Stay in the service? I’ve been rooting around trying to find some pictures. If I can figure out how to posts pics here I will

    I am now retired after 30+ years in the machine tool industry and living in West Chester, OH – a suburb of Cincinnati. This is great, let’s keep in touch.

  19. Clay–one of the Australians was Warrant Officer Chamberlain–tall and lean. A real character. I remember that, after an op, we had to return on the tracks and pick him up because he had been left behind. He was having a few drinks witht he locals at an outdoor bar in the hamlet we had just had a firefight in a few hours previously

  20. Len Henkel–do we know each other? Were you in the S-2 shop with Lt John Morrison, Sgt Cline? Others? Remember LTC Schowalter adn LTC Digison?

  21. i have some I took in town and at Team house as well as some at TOC, will send soon. There’s also some from ops in different districts within province.

    • I have some pix that I’m trf’g from 35mm slide to JPEG pix. Was traveling when you posted this. I’ll send some when I figure how to caption them. I am mostly computer illiterate so would appreciate your real email address to send pix.

    • I was at VL from 4/68-7/69, RTO at TOC and with 37th RF Bn. I have some pics from my tour. If interested let me know.

  22. Was RF/PF Advisor from Jun 68 – May 69. LTC Girdner was PSA when I arrived. He was replaced by Mr William Robinson (medevaced with hepatiitis) and then by LTC Raymond Deveraux. This tour as an advisor was far different than my earlier tour in Vinh Long Province. We had far less social interaction with our coumterparts and much almost micro-management by John Paul Vann and “Ambassador” William Colby.

    • I arrived in Tra Vinh in Jan. 69. The PSA was Col. Dick Ellison and his deputy PSA was a civilian named Rob Robertson. I have been trying to remember the names of other officers on the province staff, especially a major whose first name was (I think) Tony. Big guy – wore a flat top haircut. Do you remember this guy?

      When Col. Ellison left he was replaced by Col. Carl Bernard and Robertson was replaced by LTC Deveraux. If you can recall the major’s name, please let me know.

    • Actually, a province team included district teams, not just province “hqs”. MAT teams were created between my 1st & 2d tours as an advisor. My most memorable remembrance of MATs were the 3 Australian teams in Vinh Binh. They were fine soldiers! I lost their names and addresses and have been trying to locate them thru the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam web site but have had no luck. If anyone out there remembers them (!968-1969) I’d love to hear from you.

    • Mobile Advisory Team IV-72, Advisory Team 84, Delta Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. WAS A MAT TEAM. We took the place
      of a SF team in Oct 1968. I left the team in May 1968. I understand that the team was later MAT Team 126.

    • Mobile Advisory Team IV-72, Advisory Team 84, Delta Military Assistance Command, IV Corps Tactical Zone was a MAT Team.
      We took the place of a SF Team in Oct. 1968.

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