Team 73 Vi Thanh – Chuong Thien

MACV Team 73 – Vi Thanh – Chuong Thien.

This Page is intended for the discussion of the Military Assistance Command Vietnam Team 73 located in Vi Thanh – Chuong Thien.

71 thoughts on “Team 73 Vi Thanh – Chuong Thien

    • Jack-please contact me direct as I can hook you up with some of your fellow 52nd Signal buds who served with you. I was a MACV LT and was there July 69-Jun 70. I have a list of ~520 solidiers, civilians and ARVN who served in Chuong Thien Province over the years 64-73. foxwilson01@gmail.com

      • Hi John was u there in August ,I.remember a young Lt. Being killed and a Sergent Thay were brought in together and we had a service for them.Very sad can’t forget.Maybe we meet can’t recall ,I do remember two or three people from 52 ND I was a comcenter specailest seat in air conditioned box,much incoming at night.There was only 7 OR8 of us in signal.So what names u have

        • Jack, Yes, I was there when LT Donaway and SFC Ard from MAT 54 were killed in an ambush north of Vi Thanh and attended their memorial service on the MACV Compound. Several weeks later, LT Donaway’s replacement, LT Stephen Young, was KIA on an operation I participated in.

          Several 52nd Signal names I have contact infromation on are: SGT Paul Anderson, SGT Joe Bragiel, SP4 Floyd Crow (decesased), SP4 Grant Halverson (deceased), SSG Odel Humphrey (deceased), SP5 Bob Madison, SP4 James Murray, SP4 Ted Rosinski (deceased), and SP4 Don Tancredi. I also have contact info on some MACV soldiers you may have worked with or known during your tour.

          Were you there when the new commo bunker was built back near the parking lot? Would like to talk to you, so please contact me on my personal e-mail site shown above.

  1. SSG Ramos, I believed we worked together in 1971 as paramilitary forces advisors; Co Xinh was our office interpreter/translator and Mr. Ha was our field interpreter…hope you got your CIB–I recall you being shot at more than once…Manny, good to hear from you and Bill Forkner, my co-conspirator trying to start the RVAF C-119 that had a bad landing and ground looped…we were just going to taxi it clear of the overrun and probably could have if we’d had a couple less beers…Bill, sorry I missed you flying out of Houston that day–maybe we can get together at the 2017 reunion. I don’t know if it was the same Major Borrego, but there was an Evelio Borrego cited as a Bay of Pigs returnee and retired military officer killed in Latin America about 1992-3…he had participated in the hunt for Che Guevera and was later killed in Paraguay, I believe, working for the three letter agency…got that from a book on clandestine operations but can’t remember the title…Eric Ohlsson, Deptuty DSA at Duc Long, as I recall, was murdered in northern Virginia Thanksgiving 2016 by four contractors that were working for him (robbery attempt). All but one captured and the killer has been identified and in custody; this came from then Major, now General (four star) David Maddox (Retired)–our operations officer boss…Does anybody remember the SEAL Platoon POW camp raid that went so wrong in 1971…the 7/1st Air Cav lift element landed in the wrong province and things unspooled very quickly. /

  2. Ross, I saw your reply to Tommy Highnote and would be interested in talking to you. I got your name and that of SSG George K. “Sonny” Turner on a Chuong Thien personnel roster dated Nov 25, 1972 given to me by Corless Mitchell.

    Over the past 9-10 years, I have been trying to locate those militray, civilian, and ARVN who served in the province from 1964-1973. Hope to hear from you at: foxwilson01@gmail.com

  3. I am MAJ Carl S Merlino’s brother in law COL Alexander E Rodi retired Air Force. If you have any information about MAJ Merlino please contact me. He was a very close member of the family since my wife raised him from the age of 9. My email is arodi1928@gmail.com.

  4. Hello everyone,

    Thank you so much for your information. I am a college student and had misplaced the link to the website to check up on any replies to my posts. I will be following up on your comments as soon as possible, now that I have graduated, but I greatly appreciate your information.

    My email address is srehrig1992@gmail.com. If anyone has any information or pictures that they would like to share or would like to get in contact with me about Maj. Merlino, please feel free to do so.

    Thank you,
    Samantha

  5. Bruce Solberg,

    I have been to Monti Caylor’s website in the past (not lately), and find it helpful. Also, I will look for the book you mention.

    I would like to add your contact infiormation to the Chuong Thien Province Advisors spreadsheet I maintain, and place you on a somewhat regular update I e-mail out. I also have a Facebook page under the same name as above, and if you want to post your pics, you can do it there (just ask to be admitted). Please contact me at foxwilson01@gmail.com. If you give me a phone number in the e-mail, I will give you a call and let you know what this is about.

    On my spreadsheet I have several other “Shotgun” and USAF O-1 pilots and their contact info.;

  6. I should be able to put you in contact with someone who knew of the circumstances of SFC Sanut’s death. Will research and get back to you when I return home.

    Barb Ard, We’ve talked before. I will call you and see if I can you as well.

    John S. Raschke

    • I must apologize. So many things have happened lately, including losing my father. I looked through my notes and just couldn’t remember who I had contacted. Gob bless you for your service and your hard work in keeping the veteran’s bond going.

  7. I wish you luck. I’m still searching for anyone who might have known my father-in-law, Howard Carlton Ard. He died in Viet Nam in 1969. He was a medic. Best wishes.

    • Thank you. I’m sorry about the loss of your father-in-law. My father was with the 299th Engineer Bn in Pleiku in 1968-1969. He came home safely but died of Parkinson’s disease related to Agent Orange exposure in early 2014.

    • I worked with him on many operations. He was agreat soldier and abetted person! I left on August 10 1969.i probably would have been with him on the 18th..I am sorry for your loss

  8. I am a retired Army Nurse and I am collecting information for a book on service members from Hawaii County (the Big Island) who died in Vietnam. If anyone has information about SFC Alfredo Sanut, who was born in Hawaii but whose family settled in Louisiana near Ft. Polk, would you please contact me? I’m looking for photos, remembrances, an obituary or any other information. He died on 10-2-70 in Chuong Thien of “non-hostile” causes “related to mines,” according to official documents. My email address is brinklaw@aol.com.
    Thank you.

  9. Thank you so very much. My husband didn’t know his dad was known as Doc Ard. It means so much to us to hear from someone who KNEW him. Please feel free to send us any “stories” you think of. We are sharing this information with our children and grandchildren as well; we want them to know their grandfather was a loyal soldier. Thank you again and God bless. If you ever have need to get in touch with us, we can be reached at James–803-609-4402 or Barb–803-609-6935. Thank you for your response and your service to our country.

    • I served with “doc” until I left on August 10th 1969. Ian sure I would have been with him on the18th.he was an extremely brave soldier. He was also a good friend.i am sorry for your loss!

  10. I recognize some of your names, and had Maj Evilio Borrego fly in my backseat a few times. I was Shotgun 43 then, for my last three months from july-sept in 1971, after a 6 month stint in ca mau as shotgun 41 with team 80, and then signal officer of the 214th cab in vinh long for 3 months , i went to vithan due to a shortage of pilots as there were no replacements at the time…the 221st closed down in october 71, i left 29 sept 71 and flew three missions my last day, mostly in support of the 21st ARVN division, or SOG ops.

    I remember one day borrego came in with the brim of his had shot partially off when his night camp was hit……..his comment was , that needed to dig his fox hole a little deeper next time. Apparently he would dig a trench next to where he slept, and it was a bit shallow.

    As i recall, Choung Thien was #1 hess rating at the time: mostly controlled by the vc. Anyway, when there life was never dull. the VC had miniguns set up 5 klicks west of the airfield at the time. I lived downdown next to the market with the other pilot at the time, Tom Henson, and Williams, our crew chief. I think some of the team also may have lived there. Most of my activities were with the 21st arvn division, intel and others. I have some photos of Vi Than posted on 221st RAC website, but you will need permission from the webmaster Monte Caylor to view…..I passed all originals on to texas tech vietnam archive.

    Bruce Solberg , aka shogun 43 at the time. July -sept 29 1971.

    • Bruce, please contact me as I am collecting contact information on those who served or supported Advisory Team 58/73 throughout Chuong Thien Province. I was there July 69-June 70.

      John S. Raschke 217.553.4498

      • John:

        i only look at these in the wintertime , so sorry for the late reply.

        In Wisconsin, it is white, below freezing, and winter now. We are leaving for San Diego shortly.

        As I understand the roles within MACV , I was attached to team 73 my last three months there….I was at ca amau the first 6 months, and was SOI i recall, vs SOG, i I was attached vs an assigned part of team 80 reporting to a COl. Franklin there. . Perhaps , considering my last name, some might have thought i was also SOL:)

        If you can get access from Monte Caylor (221st website manager) there are some Vi Than photos there. I could not copy and paste them here, as evidently, your website does not allow it.

        I have just downloaded an amazon book by another birddog pilot i have met, Dave McGowan, , Delta shotgun which is a good read on what we did, and covers the area that you also covered.

        As i came to Vi Than for my last three months, It was a difficult choice….I could have remained at the 214th battalion as signal officer, doing nothing, or fill in for departing pilots, and take over my area in the U-Minh again which i did. My mother might not have approved, but it might not have gone well for a newbie in my ao.

        If you need verification with Monte….let me know…

        Bruce Solberg , Shotgun 43 at the time.

  11. Tommy/Samantha, The October 1971 incident you are talking about is the ambush of MAJ Carl Merlino and the Kien Thien District Chief. I don’t know the particulars about the incident, just that the event happened and both were KIA.

  12. I am searching for anyone who might have known my husband’s father, SFC HOWARD CARLTON ARD. He served with this team in 1967-68. He was killed in August of 1968. He left behind a wife (who never got over losing him) and six children under the age of 13. My husband James served 26 years in the Army and retired as a SGM. Because he and his younger siblings don’t remember much about their dad it would be great to hear from someone who served with him. Please contact me at BarbArd07@aol.comB or my husband JamesDArd925@aol.com. Thank you ALL for your service to our country. God bless, Barbara Ard.

    • The Doc Ard I knew was KIA in August of 1969 I think, I was the Operations Intelligence Advisor for Duc Long District and he was the medic for Mobile Advisory 54 or 59 (I can’t remember which). We used to meet while on operations from time to time. As I recall he would have retired upon completion of this tour in Vietnam. I’ll never forget his favorite saying, “What’d I say?. This was always jokingly. A fine soldier.

  13. I was in the same Prov (state) District) County As A maj Madero (I Thought long time past < Maybe wrong name ) But this one was ambushed along with Dist. chief, MyTeam was at Air field Waiting to go on our mission or React To this , When word about the Deaths came in , Was there when the bodies were brought in !

    • I know there was debate over if it was friendly fire or not. From the stories I’ve heard, he was supposed to be leaving soon to go home and went out on a mission because he knew the area better and ended up getting killed instead. I don’t know if that’s true but that’s what I’ve been told.

      • I want to make sure we’re talking about same person ! if he was in team 73 approx. Oct 1971 it was not friendly fire ! Can anyone confirm position in Chung thinh prov Team73 Vi Thanh The wall description said Bac lieu Prov ? Still my have name wrong !( but been long time )

      • An officer that served with Maj Merlino was Steve Isenberg. Try contacting him by email: sjisenberg@comcast.net I use to be intouch with Isenberg and he told me about Merlino. I myself served on Team 73 from Aug 1969 – Oct 1971

  14. Hello,

    I’m looking for anyone who might have known Carl Steven Merlino. He was my grandmother’s cousin and I’ve always been curious if I could make some kind of connection with someone. Based on what I could find on ancestry.com, he was killed Oct. 17th, 1971.

    Thank you for your service. I’m hoping someone knew him.

    • Ms. Rehrig,
      My name is Manuel G. Trevino and I presently reside in San Antonio, TX. I served at Advisory Team 73, Mobile Advisory Team (MAT) 110, in Vi Thanh and knew Maj Merlino. I stayed at his district headquarters for some days during my tour. I was also at Vi Thanh when he died.
      He and his Vietnamese counterpart were lured away from the district headquarters by a minor firefight and then ambushed by a larger VC unit. I was at Vi Thanh when he was brought into the US compound.
      I have seen his name on the Vietnam Memorial at Washington, DC,
      I will search my pictures and see if I have a picture of the time I spent at Major Merlino’s head quarters.

      Feel free to contact me.

      My contact information is: 210-684-6508 home, 210-219-1425 cell.
      8234 Meadow Sun St.
      San Antonio, TX 78251

      • Could not have said it better ! Iwas not sure about The name ( I m getting older ) Iwas with Mat 58 and was on the airfield when bodies were returned

    • Hi Samantha,

      I was a province operations adviser in Choung Thien Province in 1971 and 1972. Major Merlino was the Kien Thien District Senior Adviser (DSA). I remember playing poker with him at Vi Thanh just before he was killed in combat. I think we called him “Lenny.” I was told that when he was out on an operation, an M79 round burst behind him and a small fragment penetrated the back of his skull, fatally wounding him.

      DSAs were specially trained and Vietnamese language proficient. But when one was on leave or absent, I frequently filled in for from 1 to 3 weeks. I did so at Kien Thien until a trained DSA replacement was available. The district headquarters was a typical triangular mud fort. The US team had a hutment and bunker at one of the corners. The team consisted of a major, a captain, and a sergeant. The later two were charged with identifying the VC infrastructure under Operation Phoenix.

      Travel in the Province was by helicopter or boat (Sampan). Roads were basically nonexistent. I remember traveling with the District Commander, LTC Thanh, to the area where Major Merlino died. En route, we stopped at a Hamlet where we were shown a dead VC with a rope around his neck tied to a palm tree and an unlit cigarette in his lips. We were told that he was the leader of the unit that had led the attack. Of course there was no way to evaluate this story.

      I noted that the canal in the area of the attack was labelled “Cong My” on my map. I asked Sergeant Triet, our interpreter, what that meant, and he replied “Kill Americans.” It was not friendly territory.

      I consider myself very lucky because I went all over the district by sampan and received not a scratch. After about 3 weeks, a trained DSA arrived, and he got 2 Purple Hearts in his first month in Kien Thien. The VC even attacked the District compound, and an RPG round blew up a propane tank used to run the team refrigerator. The team house burned down and the bunker burned as well. The new DSA shot and killed 3 VC who were inside the team house, and the team had to exit the burning bunker through the front firing port and run to the Vietnamese operations bunker. They were left with their weapons, helmets, flak jackets, and in their underwear–but with their lives.

      • Colonel Warnock – I doubt you remember me, Cpt William Forkner, RF/PF Advisor, Team 73 and worked directly for you, I think – I happened upon this site quite by chance today and was delighted to find your name and the address of Manuel Trevino with whom I also served. I remember Maj Merlino very well and the tragic circumstances surrounding the ambush that killed him and the District Chief – I don’t remember if you were present but several of us were watching a film in LTC Meese’s complex when the attack took place – I went to the TOC and spoke vis radio with Maj Merlino prior to him leaving the compound – will you be attending the reunion in Washington D.C. this June? My youngest son is an Air Force Capt and stationed in the general area so I plan on visiting him as well as the Saturday night dinner – hope to see you there-

        Best Regards,

        Bill Forkner

        • Manny, good to hear you and Bill Forkner again, count me and my wife Janna in for the reunion…
          Bill Jordan
          173 2nd Avenue West
          Calvert City, KY 42029 (Winter-Spring)

          9543 Packer John Road
          Cascade, Idaho 83611 (Summer-Fall)
          Cell 703-298-2167

    • Ms Rehrig. I was privileged to know Major Merlino during his service in Panama, before going to VN. He was a great fellow and I have always been sorry for his loss.

    • Hello there: My name is Raymond Spirlet. I worked for Major Steve Merlino, He rarely used “Carl”. I have sent messages to his son, but have never received a reply back. His son is now a retired USAF pilot. My email is: Pathfynder68@yahoo.com The Major was a brave soldier that was well respected by all that knew him.

    • Hello – my name is Bill Forkner – I was the Province RF/PF Advisor in Vi Thanh and knew Maj Merlino very well – I was trying to get reassigned to his District so I could work for him – he was the greatest – please feel free to contact me any time – I would love to talk with you Samantha

    • I just found this site and happened to read your post of March 12 2015. Major Carl Stephen Merlino was Senior Advisor in Kien Thien District Choung Thien Province. He was very dedicated to his job and to Col Phep his Counter Part. He was killed in an ambush attempting to get into an outpost after an all night attempt by the VC to over run the outpost. Robert H. Geddings MSG USA RETIRED

    • Tommy, I remember you. I Was in Kien Hung, as Phoenix advisor, Deputy District Senior Advisor, and District Senior Advisor. My ops sergeant was SSgt Sonny Turner, and one of the best NCOs I had the privilege to serve with. Our Proverbial Senior Advisor was LTC John Meese, AKA, the meanest SOB in the valley.

      • Ross – I was in Kein Hung Nov 68-March 69, prior to that I was with 9th Div. When were you in Kein Hung? Gary Burgard, Sgt – E5

  15. Was assigned to Mat 58 2 man team in june 1971 then ops intel long me Dist Jan 72 to Jun 72 previous sadec prov mats 17& 65 Jun 1969 – 1970 !

  16. I was an assistant S-3 advisor under Major Borrego in Vi Thanh. I gave the S-3 briefings at night. I visited all four districts early in my tour. CPT Lockhart, S-4 advisor was my room mate in the CIA compound. I remember going on a couple of PF camp moves, and an RF company move. I also remember the nightly volleyball games, the movies (I saw the movie PATTON with several of our counterparts.) I was medically transferred to the 519th MI Battalion as a company commander just after Christmas 1970 (severe asthma). CPT Robert Romero was the S-2 advisor. COL Lavasseur’s wife came to the province during Christmas 1970. I got sick on the New Years cake provided by our counterparts. Made calls home from the MARS station. Met Bob Feller (a famous baseball pitcher from the 1950’s – he was on a USO tour with another ballplayer (last name Nash). Rumor was the seal team took Nash into town one night. Flew in and out of the air field more than a few times.

  17. Robert/Johnny,

    I also served on Advisory Team, #73 from Jul 69 to Jun 70 under LTC LeVasseur. I have a list of approximately 430 military and civilian personnel who served in Chuong Thien Province during the enitre advisory effort. On this list, I have contact information on about one-fourth of these names with about another 1/6th have passed on. If you would liike to have your information added and get a copy of the list, please send me an e-mail and I’ll get in touch with you.

    Robert, I have you in the list w/o contact information, having received your name from Mal Zellefrow abd Walt Reese.

    Johnny-I have your name also and show you were with the 52nd Signal BN. I think I go it from Don Tancredi.

    Also, we have a reunion the November (2014).

    Hope to hear from you both.

    John

  18. Assigned to MACV team 97 canto vietnam 1970 thru 1971 and further assigned to province
    Team 73 at vi thanh with col lavasure province commander and further assigned MAT team 55 and 56 PSDF. And a SEAL team was also on our compound.

    • Hey Sergeant Ramos. I played poker with you in Vi Thanh. I was with Sergeant Tilman Rome in the Comm bunker from Dec 70 – Jun 71. Good chow there. Good people.

    • Ramos,

      Are you still in the Islands? 1SG Miller and I lived on the other side of the wall from you. I worked in the Admin section. Also played cards with you.

      • Barb – I was with the Duc Long District Team as a Sergeant First Class. Doc Ard was with a MAT (Mobile Advisory Team – 2 Man) and was also a Sergeant First Class. We saw each other from time to time but we were rarely together for anything more than short periods of time and in those times, as it always is, only small talk took place. I went on R&R in Singapore and when I returned to Long Binh (Saigon area) I received my commission to Warrant Officer. I then returned to Vi Thanh for my personal effect I landed at Vi Thanh only to find the bodies of Doc Ard and his Lieutenant at the air strip. It was a sad day but I can’t help but recall the ANGER that came over me. Doc was a good soldier. I only hope that when I am gone those left behind will remember me as a GOOD SOLDIER. That must have been about 17 or 18 August as I was commissioned on 16 August. The last time I talked with him we were a part of a larger operation and met up with his company and while we were visiting my company just happened to be moving away. I had to run to catch up with my guys and I remember Doc thinking that it was funny. Come to think of it, I thought it was funny as well. One remembers the humorous times and I’m sure he remembered it as well. “What’d I Say”? I can still hear that saying even through some 45 years that have gone by. He is certainly remembered. My email address is billcovey@cox.net.

    • Robert, please get in touch with me, I have contact with one of your former teammates from MAT 56, LT Ricketts. Walt Reese said he thought you are living in Florida. I also have contact info on other Chuong Thien Province members. My e-mail is: foxwilson01@gmail.com

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