Team 83 Go Cong

MACV Team 83 – Go Cong.

This Page is intended for the discussion of the Military Assistance Command Vietnam Team 83 located in Go Cong.

75 thoughts on “Team 83 Go Cong

  1. I would like to view Go Cong photos if they can be sent to jfieldsrvn65@aol.com. The APC 113’s assigned to the recovery of the A-4 Skyhawk pilot were manned by ARVN personnel. They forded their tracks at Cho Gau. I saw 113’s operate in Grafenwoehr, Germany in snow, rain , mud and icy conditions, But, not a water crossing. I was impressed. Afterwards we convoyed to Hoa Dong and into the Coconut Grove.

    One afternoon I was GI detailing our jeep on the side of the road just outside Hoa Dong near a rice paddy. The PRC 25 picked up a tactical air transmission. I stopped work and looked to the skies. North of my position I saw jets circling and climbing into attack position. I grabbed the binoculars for a better view. I saw a jet dive and then a giant fireball. I drove immediately back to report my sighting. The Senior Advisor at that time was Captain Schlossberg. He reported to Go Cong. The next day we were informed that a Air Force 100? with four 750 napalm canisters went in, siting enemy scattering in the open, Cause ‘Target fixation’.

    James

  2. If I may jump in here. Tauno Wirkki was shotgun 34, followed by Fritz Guenther and Gary Varner. I was with these guys last week at a reunion. Leo Origer was Andy 88, Manti took over from there. I have lots of Go Cong pics if there is a way to up load.
    Bb

  3. Shotgun 34 was Maj Leo origer. We also had an Army O-1Birddog but I don’t recall who replaced Cpt Ivo Werkli in July 1966. He took me up on my first orientation flight.

    A street in Go Cong city was named for the pilot who went down near the coconut plantation.

  4. I do not recall Dave Long but I am very sorry to hear that he is gone. Since that operation took place in November near Thanksgiving, I think my tour ended approx. that time because I did not take any R&R doing my tour. Perhaps that’s why I don’t recall any further contact with Stevenson. I heard that I was recommended for award but I got into a fight with another RTO at Go Cong compound and Major Hennessey fined me $50.00 informally. I think the recommendation was withdrawn.

  5. I am James Fields I served with team 83 as RTO from January 1966 to November 1666 in Hoa Dong subsector. I remember Major Hennessy, SFC Howell, Shotgun 34, Beaver 19 and more. Hope all are well. James

  6. I was stationed in Go Cong 1965-1966 but I don’t remember the team number. Maj Bruce L Hennessey was the Sr Advisor and I was appointed his “shotgun”. I volunteered from Berlin, Germany with the 287th Military Police Company and never regretted leaving Germany. Don’t remember many of the other guys names but I was PFC when I got there and Maj Hennessey promoted me to Sp4 before I was transferred to STRATCOM in Cholon. Don’t know how that happened but all of a sudden, one day Maj Hennessey told me I was transferred to STRATCOM and there was nothing he could do about keeping me with the team. We really had a good relationship and he was a really good guy and a good officer. I really liked the guys on the team, who were mostly E-6 and above. We had a Capt who was our S-2. I can see him in my memory but can’t remember his name. Also, someone mentioned Lt. Wirkki, he was our AF L-19 pilot. I forget what his handle was but he spotted for us on operations. Speaking of that I was there when Col. Berry was injured by a grenade explosion he stepped on or kicked or something like that during an operation on the coast. He was a really good officer, too. Later, became Commandant of the USMA. He was at My Tho so we didn’t see him that much except during operations with the VN 7th Infantry Division. I, too taught English during my time with the team. What an experience.

    • Colin,

      I served with Tm 83 from Jun ’66 thru Jun ’67. MAJ Hennessey was the Sr Advisor when I arrived and was followed by MAJ Paul Wirth,Inf.. I may be wrong but I think the change took place in July.

      Thanks for your service.

      Dick Pendleton

      • Dick,

        When I arrived in GoCong, March 1967. Paul Wirth was a LTC. He sent a letter to my folks acknowledging my arrival and what I’d be doing there. Letter is dated March 23rd.

        Jim Rode

          • Gentlemen, I am James Fields, Go Cong Province, RTO Hoa Dong subsector 1/66 to 111/66. Anyone remember RTO Stevenson Go Cong? He was RTO during operation where MACV Captain was KIA approx. 6/66.

            • I remember Stevenson. CPT Bernie Plaza was KIA on the first day of an op 1 or 2 days before Thanksgiving. Bernie was shot in the head
              I have the onion skin overlay for that op. Larry Hoffman and I were with another RF Co thru out this multi day op.

              Dick Pendleton

              • During that operation I was RTO with an RF company, Major Robert Howe was Hoa Dong senior advisor. I was nealy dumped out of the chopper. We were not alerted to a false insertion maneuver. A soldier grabbed my web gear. Major Howe and Major Hennessey we flying C&C. I believe we held the blocking position. There was approximately 200 meters of rice paddy separating our position from a tree line across the paddy. To my left five RF soldiers entered the rice paddy. They moved out about 15-20 feet before they took direct automatic fire. I saw the rounds impacted the water where the men were. Like a crescent shaped firing pattern. I heard one of the men was KIA. Choppers returned and provided suppressing fire. They took fire, I saw a huey wobble as it passed in front of my position. A second chopper passed directly over my head and the door gunners M60 brass tinkled down on my helmet. I recall a pilot shouting, ‘stop firing that g_ _d_ _ _ _. mortar. I had an M79 but I was firing directly into the rice paddy dike at the tree line. I saw an individual dart through an open space in foliage. Then, Stevenson keyed up his radio with a scream. We had to go to the alternate frequency. Later, A1 Skyraiders dropped 500 lb WP on the tree line and general area. No big explosions, just billowing white/gray dust filled the air above the trees. A RF soldier crawled over to my position. His helmet was dented like a car wreck. He held a large chunk of fragmentation from the bombs. I think he was trying to tell me to get down.

                We remained in position over night. The mosquitos had a feast on me. In the morning we moved out across the rice paddy and into the tree line. The area was burned out by WP. No bodies were recovered.

                Afterwards, it was my understanding that Major Hennessey directed the C&C down to medevac the Captain and Stevenson. I also understand that they took a lot of fire in doing so. I don’t recall any contact with my friend Stevenson after that. It has been many years since then, I hope he is Ok.

            • Jim great to hear from a fellow 83 member…I served with the 519th with Dick Pendleton…Never forget the op before Thanksgiving….That is when Bernie Plaza was KIA…Normally assigned to be Dicks RTO on all op’s but for some reason at the air strip was instructed to be Plaza’s RTO…for what reason I do not know…I believe Stevenson was always Plaza’s RTO…and just before lift off was re- assigned back with Dick….very rough Operation…after it was all over a lot of medals were given out….Dave long who was company clerk and RTO was also on the operation that day…Knew Dave very well …last year took his own life….

    • Thanks for the reply, Dick. I think me and the other guy who joined the team at the same time, we were both MP’s (951’s), Mike Fromile, from Pittsburgh, PA both left together and were stationed at STRATCOM. Totally political move. As a matter of fact, Westmoreland cleaned out IV Corps Advisory Teams of all 951’s and sent us to STRATCOM. I was told. I think the transfer took place in early 1966 because I remember Christmas and Thanksgiving in the Team House and Hugh O’Brien came and talked with us. You may be right about the command change because Maj Hennessey was an old timer when I got there and was due to rotate back to Ft Sill (he was an artillery officer). A really nice guy. I remember more stuff, too, mostly being out in the field with Maj Hennessey and the Province Chief on operations. Again, thanks for the reply and thank you for your service.

    • Hi Colin, I’ve been navigating site for response to AF L-19 handle, I recall Shotgun 34. Received lots of field support and numerous mail call via air drop in grenade canisters. Also, Naval air L-19 was Beaver. Beaver coordinated numerous airstrikes on the area known as the Coconut Grove. I recall a strike where a Navy A4 was lost making a strafing run. Took several months before we launched recovery effort supported by platoon size detail of APC113’s. and air cover. James

  7. Thx Carl. That is progress. I wonder how many of the sapper destroyed bridges over unnamed streams have been rebuilt.

    • One of my proudest moments was helping rebuild the VC-destroyed ferry pontoon at My Loi in ’64-65 and getting Route 5 directly to Saigon re-opened. While MACV convoys still went the long-way via My Tho and the Cho Gao Ferry, itself replaced by a bridge around 1973 or so, I loved running my Scout back & forth on that road. One day, I even drove John Black and George Egner — both in civvies, of course — up to Saigon for lunch and back to the 5pm briefing. Reckless as hell — but we were fearless, eh?! Cheers.

    • Oh, OK, then. What I’d like to say is that the Vietnamese Government’s been building a new bridge across the Vam Co River which forms the northern boundary of our old Go Cong Province and eastern Long An. (Go Cong is now part of Tien Giang, or the old Dinh Tuong province with Mytho as capital.) The bridge is just east of the old My Loi Ferry and is quite a site with a sweeping middle part to allow passage of boats, but not really sea-going ones. I’d love to put up a picture but this site does not lend itself to that. Cheers.

    • Thanks Carl. It’s good to hear from you. I will never forget the actions of the traitorous Democrats in the US Senate who took advantage of the Nixon dust up to severely cut aid to the South Vietnamese government. No ammo, no avgas, no repair parts. Is it any wonder that the good guys imploded. The failure to resume air support was also a key factor. Probably not the first time the USA broke a promise to an ally and as the last 40 years has demonstrated the USA has much experience breaking promises to allies, especially since 2009. The Fall of Saigon will never be a day or event to celebrate. It was and still is a sad day in our Nation’s history. April is a black month. I was serving in Iran during the fateful last 4 months. The location was so remote that we had to rely on BBC radio for English language news and that’s how my team learned about the final tragic act. Glad you had such a fine time in Saigon and enjoyed the Communist regime festivities. Sat Cong. Cheers, Dick Richard F. Pendleton

      • Thanks, Dick. And, of course, if you read especiallly what I’ve written, coming back for the 40th Anniversary of the Fall of Saigon has certainly been no “celebration” for me — more bitter-sweet with flashes of anger & resentment. The 29th & 30th always fill me with depression, wherever I am, and this year was no exception. Damned commie rats are still here too.

  8. Hi Team 83 members. I was chief NLD arriving in Province in June ,1968 and departed station in April 1971. Major Dean Hogan was the admin officer, John Swango was the PSA. Working with me was CPT Chuck Wells- Ag advisor and CPT Andy Risberg – Engineer advisor. Also on th Team was Stretch Ostrander- PRU chief.

    Kevin Connelly

  9. Larry Hoffman: It has been mentioned that I was in Vietnam when the TeT offensive took past….I was out of country at that time and back in the states…Great site …Learned about it from Dick Pendleton…always looking for some of the greatest people who served in Vietnam…Advisory Team’s

  10. Hello Carl.

    I never knew that. I doubt it was Ho because he spent years in a reeducation camp. In the early 80s, I saw a photo in the Seattle newspaper that showed a group of former 7th ARVN Div personnel that were incarcerated at the former ARVN basic training facility located to the West of Hwy 4 between My Tho and Saigon. I don’t remember the facility name. Ho was one of the former ARVN soldiers in the photo.

    Hope you are well.

    Cheers,

    Dick

  11. I was in GoCong during TET. Myself and one of the 514th MI clerks had just returned from R&R and got stuck at TonSunut(sp) for 24 hours at the helipad(in a drainage ditch) before we hitched a ride to Dong Tam then to HoaDong via PBR. Anyway myself and another RTO had guard duty on the roof of the main compound when they mortared the guardbuilding next to the Province Chiefs ‘Palace’, I have pictures of it. SFC Karl Howell was wounded at the SOIC when the big jail break happened. He and Bill Pooley were my bosses. Karl has passed away also. I have a ‘older’ spreadsheet that I built back in the late 90’s early 2000’s with a fairly complete roster. If anyone would like a copy shoot me your email. Fun listening to everyone.

    • Hi Richard, did SFC still have the Boa during your time? Do you remember a RTO named Stevenson? He was in an operation when a MACV Captain was KIA. Do you recall Hoa Dong Tet after action reports? James

      • Jim,

        I Derosed in mid June 1967 and didn’t get back into Nam for my second tour until 2 Feb 1968. Larry Hoffman was at Sector during Tet. Recommend you contact him at butchlarry@hotmail.com. I remember Stevenson.
        Cheers ,

        Dick Pendleton

      • Yes, SFC Howell had a pet boa at team house 1. The snake’s nickname was No Shoulders. The VN National Police guard at team house 2 freaked out when the boa got out of his cage. Their normal reaction was to get on a vehicle hood.

        Cheers,

        Dick Pendleton

  12. Tom Chirug was the Team 83 Naval Intelligence Liaison Officer (NILO). He did not directly work with the Vietnamese Sector S2’s Provincial Recon Unit (PRU). The PRU was led by Vietnamese MSG Nguyen Bach Ho. As the Assistant S2 Advisor, I routinely worked with Ho.

      • Say, Jon, it really would be good if we could have at least a last name for you and your affiliation with Team 83. I don’t mind divulging info on good old Tom Chirurg but just help clarify things from our end. At Tet ’68, I had just been assigned to CORDS Regional HQs in Cantho but returned to spend a couple days there with my young sweetheart – and future wife. But as soon as I’d arrived on the Air America Shuttle, the Offensive shut everything down and I was stuck in Go Cong for another week. (Fyi, Go Cong was about the only place not hit during Tet and then only a week later in a short, sharp & sweet attack that liberated the bad guys from the local prison.) I spent a lot of time at MACV and the CIA house, mostly in the company of a SEAL guy on secondment to the PRU. But Chirurg was definitely not around and I have no idea where he was as he did sorta’ drift in and out of the province. In any case, Tom’s quite a yarn-spinner — and I don’t mind saying this publicly on this site — and whatever you’ve heard, I’d definitely take with a half-a-ton of salt. Cheers.

    • Say, Richard, did you know that the head of the PRU in Go Cong failed his lie detector test after Tet and exposed as a VC agent? Not sure if same guy you knew but quite a little scandal according to our old buddy Stew Mayse with whom I kept in touch after quitting USAID after Tet. Question is, just who was he knocking off out there in the boonies for all those years?!

  13. Bob,

    It’s good to hear from you after all the eons after ’67. Lots of water under the bridge. Go Cong and ‘Nam are never far from my thoughts. Served a second tour Feb ’68 thru Feb ’69 at Hq USARV in G2. The Army wouldn’t let me resign in ’67 so I stuck around until 1990. Had a short tour in Iran as an advisor in ’75. Also, served 13 1/2 years in Germany. That was the place to be during the Cold War. Married an Army Nurse in ’67. We have 2 children in their 40s and 4 grand kids.

    My phone numbers are 256-325-1185 and 256-497-8434 (CP). We live in Northern AL.

    Bill Pooley passed in Jul 2012. He was a great friend and I miss him. Jim Schall died in a fire at his home in MD over 20 years ago. He was a DA civilian. Dave Long died in 2013. He committed suicide. PTSD was a major cause. I keep in touch with Larry Hoffman. He and his wife are fine friends.

    We had a great group in AT 83.

    All the best to you.

    Cheers,

    Dick

    • Hi Dick,

      Good to hear from you. As you probably know, Carl and I have been in touch for years.

      Quick up date.

      I went back to college in 67, graduated from U Mass in 71. Got married and moved up to Upstate NY. My First Pilot, Tauno Wirkki was from the area also. Did 20 yrs in the Heating and Oil business, sold it. Went into financial services, Paine Webber, UBS and LPL for another 20.Sold that last year. Still have a car wash and self storage business. We have two kids, one granddaughter.

      For the last 10 years I have been active in 221st. Aviation Co. reunions. Hank Collins from Northern Al. and I worked closely on the project for years. Have two coming up this fall. One will be at Ft. Rucker to commemorate the new Birdog memorial.

      Any idea of what happened to A.C. Cunningham? He was a character.

      I am always amazed of the lifelong bonds that were forged in the Go Cong experience.

      Cheers! Bob

      • Nguyen Bach Ho was a MSG and the PSG and Senior Intel NCO of the PRU. I don’t remember the name of the LT that worked with the PRU. Larry Hoffman always thought that one of the LTs in S2 acted like a VC sympathizer. I wish that then MAJ Bill Pooley, the S3 Advisor, was still alive to get into this conversation. He had a great memory of Go Cong events and Viet personnel. CPT Jim Schall is another officer that worked with the PRU. He was a CPT and USMA grad. Unfortunately, he died young in a MD house fire after he got out of the Army and was working as a civilian at the Pentagon. I was back in ‘Nam in ’68-’69 at USARV G2. Dick Richard F. Pendleton

  14. Like to say Hi to Richard F. Pendleton . Carl Robinson just put me on to this site. No sure how it works. Bob Preble Shotgun 34 A , Go Cong.

    • My good friend Bob Preble, crew chief on US Army’s L19 in Go Cong in ’66-67, and I have been trying to track down Thom Chirurg for ages. We did have a get-together with him in upstate NY in mid-80’s when he was living & working in San Francisco area. But since then nothing. He worked with PRU’s but never quite sure of his relationship. I had a feeling he was more of a liaison guy for SEAL operatives who’d come in occasionally for joint ops with the CIA-run PRU’s. Lots of bluster to the guy and never did quite believe that story about a secret landing north of the DMZ and hiding under a hootch all night. Or maybe it was too much wine. Cheers!

      • the last I know he was in SoCal, some sort of businessman. what I am trying to find out is his whereabouts during TET.

      • I was told by some of the guys from 66 that he had a rep as the story teller. to hear them tell it, he was part of a secret plan to slip into Hanoi and take out HCM. He has listed himself on the Gamewarden Website as a SEAL. I checked with a SEAL buddy and he checked on him. none of them ever heard of him.
        I was also told that they thought he was logistic. spun great stories and knew how to disappear.
        Anyway, I still need to know where he was on the first night of TET.

  15. Marvin,

    I look forward to talking with you. Since we both reside in AL, perhaps we can get together.

    Cheers,

    Dick

  16. Did anyone serve with 1LT. Robert Oliver from 4/70-4/71. We went to the MATA course together and arrived in country at the same time. I was assigned to MAT 44, Kien An District and he to Go Gung. Can’t remember the number designation of his MAT.
    Former Captain Bill Morgan, MAT 44 4/70-4/71.

  17. Go Cong Sector (Province) Advisory Teams were numbered 83 and 92. The team in Dinh Tuong Sector to the West of Go Cong was #75. The team to the South of Go Cong in Kien Hoa Sector was #82 (if I remember correctly). Within the 7th ARVN DIV AO there were 4 Sectors, each with an AT: Go Cong (along the South China Sea coast); Kien Tuong (along the Cambodian border comprised by the Plain of Reeds); Kien Hoa; and Dinh Tuong (My Tho where the 7th Div Hq was located).

    I really don’t know MACV’s rationale for numbering the ATs. However, from a second tour, I remember that AT #1 was located at Hue in Thua Thien Sector.

    Cheers,

    Dick Pendleton

  18. I served with AT 83 from June ’66 thru Jun ’67 as an Asst Intel Advisor (1LT and then CPT). I worked with the PRU led by VN MSG Nguyen Bach Ho and also went on numerous operations (too many to count) with RF companies and a provisional RF Bn formed for specific opns. Also, participated on opns with Vietnamese Riverine Force elements and after Jan ’67 with the USN PBRs. Maj Edwin Swoppe was the Sector Intel Advisor when I joined the team. He was replaced by CPT John Demschuk.

    During “free” time, I taught English to children at the Catholic orphanage staffed by French/Vietnamese speaking Nuns located across from the Sector Hq..

    Was on the 7th ARVN Div (My Tho) AT 75 (The Seminary) duty roster for opns with the Div Recon Co..

  19. Early July ’68, I was originally assigned to Team 63 in Soc Trang, but only spent a month there. Was flown back to MACV HQs and re-assigned to Team 83 (92) where I spent the rest of my tour as an Asst S-3 to then CPT Vic Stamey and was then moved to Hoa Tan District as the Asst DSA to then MAJ Wm Roach. Spent a lot of time participating in joint operations w/the Provincial forces and elements of the 7th ARVN Div. Worked with Larry O’Daniel for part of our tour–good guy who deserved better than he got from PSA John Swango and LTC Charles Ruth.

  20. Carl, I’d like to add any team info you are willing to provide to my ‘Nam data base. I served on Team 83 as a 1LT/CPT from mid-June 1966 thru mid-June 1967. I was the Asst Intel Advisor working for MAJ Ed Swope and CPT (P) Demschuk (not sure of this spelling). I spent most of my time going on combat ops with Larry Hoffman.

    Served a second tour from Feb ‘;68 thru Feb ’69.

    My phone contact info is:

    256-497-8434 CP.

    I live in Northern AL.

    Cheers,

    Dick Pendleton

    Fratres Aeternii.

    • Richard, I was in the 83rd team in March 67, to March 68, I am Marvin Shelsky. I will try to call you on Wednesday, Oct. 29,. I now live in Alabama now.

      • Hey Marvin, Long time since I’ve heard your name. I believe that you, myself, Joe Spagnolo and another guy whose name escapes me all arrived in Go Cong in March of 67 as RTO’s. Spagnolo went to Hoa Lac, the ‘other guy’ to Hoa Tan and you and I stayed in GoCong. My name is Jim Rode and had red hair then.
        I have some pictures of you in your cool Tiger camos. Drop me a line sometime.

    • Hi, Richard. Sure, I remember you well — and you were my future wife Kim-Dung’s favourite teacher at the evening English classes! Glad to help out with a few names for you. Want these on-line or back-channel email which is “robinsoncarl88@gmail.com”? We’ve been living in Australia since ’77. Cheers.

    • Could you contact him and ask him to join the group. I have some questions from back them. Also, My Tho was not a pleasant place to be then, and I will understand if he would rather decline

  21. Kevin Connelly- USAID Foreign Service Officer- US Dept of State
    I arrived in Go Cong Province in June of 1968 as a New Life Development Advisor ( NLD). I served as chief of NLD from 1969 till April of 1971. My areas of responsibility included general economic development, agriculture, public works. ( I worked with the Public Works chief to assign projects to our attached Sea bee Team. . I reported to the Deputy Province Senior Advisor ( LTC- US Army) and had 3 US Army Captains assigned to our department- Public works, Ag , econ dev.

  22. MACV Team 83 was the name of the advisory team in Go Cong province in July 1964 when I was assigned there as Asst Prov Rep with USOM, the United States Operations Mission and predecessor of USAID. After a few months I was re-assigned to Kien Hoa for a couple months and then Saigon before my one-year contract expired. I completed university back in the US and returned to Go Cong with USAID in July 1966 and worked there until Dec 68 when it was still Advisory Team 83. I wasn’t aware of Go Cong’s team number change until I started browsing and saw number 92. This is going to make for some confusion, believe me! I’ve also got quite a list of former military and civilian members of the team.

    • Carl,

      It’s great to know you are alive and kicking. 1966-67 was a very interesting year in the province.

      My good friend Bill Pooley, LTC(R,) passed at Landstuhl Hospital, GE, in July 2012. He was 81. Bill is buried at the FL National Military Cemetery in the Panhandle.

      Cheers,

      Dick

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