Team 88 Ben Tre

MACV Team 88 – Ben Tre.

This Page is intended for the discussion of the Military Assistance Command Vietnam Team 88 located in Ben Tre.

181 thoughts on “Team 88 Ben Tre

  1. I have posted here before, but never inquired about the whereabouts of our medic who worked with me from 1970-1971 in Kien Hoa Province, Thanh Phu District, initially. We were on MAT Team 23, and I was the SA. His name is Rob Emory. I seem to remember that he was from the Atlanta area, or somewhere in Georgia; however, I have learned not to trust my memory at this point. If anyone knows him or has any information on his whereabouts, kindly advise.
    Regards

    • I just discovered this thread. My 12 months in Vietnam ran from May 1968 to May 1969. My first assignment after getting in country was with the 11th Armored Cavalry, which ran from May through October 1968. I was then reassigned to MACV, went to the MACV school in Di An, and was assigned to Advisory Team 88 in the Mekong Delta for the remainder of my tour. I had forgotten most of the details of this time, but recently discovered a few of my letters to my wife (50 year anniversary next year). All were from the December 1968/ January 1969 timeframe, so I was hopeful that perhaps some of you who read this thread can help me fill in details. I must admit, I’m not recognizing much from the posts, so here is what I can relate from my memories and these few letters.

      My return address was MAT IV-100, Adv. Team 88. My letters mention Houng My as our team site and Dai Dien as a principle city where we attended a wedding. Using Maps on the web I can find these places in the thin peninsula just south of Ben Tre. I also mention the possibility of being reassigned to the Mo Cai district, which is also in this general area. I don’t remember, however, that happening while I was there. Some members of our team were SSG Bishop (think he was a medic), 1LT Langley, and another older (I was 21) infantry sergeant we called “Mac.” I know that we were the first team in the area and the district chief was a disagreeable “Dai We” who was a heavy-set guy. We were lucky in that we only had 2-3 firefights during that six month period, so did a lot of training and building our hut.

      Why now after almost 50 years? I guess the PBS series is part of it, but I regret not making the effort to keep up with those guys. I’ve attended some of the 11th ACR reunions, so I guess I associate most of my Vietnam experience with the Cav guys.

      I would greatly appreciate knowing more of the history of this team. Anyone else from my time & what happened after I left?

      Sgt John Welch

      • John,
        Just read your post. My time in country began around the time you left, so I can’t comment on anything directly. I think I explained what and where I was in Kien Hoa. However, I was recently contacted by Skip Auch, who has been trying to put together a list of guys who spent some time in and around Ben Tre. If you want his contact info, contact me directly at attypierce@aol.com.
        Randall W Pierce

      • I found, on the back of a photo, the name of an additional member of our original Adv Team 88, formed in Nov/Dec 1968: Captain Lambert. So our original five man team was Captain Lambert, 1Lt Langley, SSG or SFC Bishop (our medic) and SSG or SFC “Mac” (assume his actual name was McSomething), and me, Sgt John Welch. By May of 1969, when I left, all four of these guys had left country or were reassigned. I know this from a picture taken in April/May 1969 which had four other different members.

  2. Hi l am trying to find people that were on the ground or new about Binh Dai on the night of 18th of May 1970 when it was being over run(also known as Long Thuan) in Kien Hoa. My father SBLT Andrew Perry was awarded the Silver Star that night for 3 insertions of 7th ARVN under heavy fire he flew EMU 135th AHC. He was nominated for Australia’s highest medal the Victoria Cross and the tribunal responded with a medal of Gallantry which is not really very close to Silver Star. Thanks Rupert

    • I did not know or meet your dad but I had a battle two weeks before his incident (May 3, 1970) we got into a similar attack at the village of My Nhon which is in the same area as Binh Dai and Long Thuan. I was an advisor to the Vietnam forces, an Army Captain working out of the village of Giong Trom with my interpreter. It was a rough night but we made it out. My interpreter said, “Dai Uy, I think we die here tonight”.

      I was there 8 months and can attest that the Mekong Delta had plenty of Viet Cong and they were some mean soldiers. Most of the pilots were fearless but some, like your dad were beyond fearless. I’m glad he got his recognition for his effort. It is only worth something to the recipient. They also got out with their life which is pretty good too.

      For my effort that night I was recommended for a Silver Star but it was downgraded to a Bronze Star with a “V” device for Valor.

      I am copying Mr. (Col) John Haseman who was in the same area and I know he was all over the Delta and I think he may have been in Binh Dai. He may respond to you if he has some information to offer. He spent more time there and so he saw more than I did.

      There is a ton of information on the internet and some good photos. You can also use Google earth to find these places. I threw my photos away and the only ones I have were sent to me by John: truly a fine soldier in my opinion.

      Good luck in your quest and I hope you find the answers you are looking for.

      Tom Brown

      • Rupert, I was not in Binh Dai during my time in Kien Hoa Province (1971-1973) but followed operations there on an earlier assignment with the 9th Infantry Division across the river in Dong Tam (west of My Tho) from Feb-Dec 1968 and at that time Binh Dai District was a very hot area. During part of my advisory assignment the District Senior Advisor in Binh Dai was then-Major Roger Donlon, who on his earlier assignment with 5th Special Forces Group was the first winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor in Vietnam. So BInh Dai has had some interesting history both on the Vietnamese and on the U.S. side.
        John Haseman

      • Sir:

        My father, Major Alexander R. Christine, lost an arm and a leg on November 7, 1970 in Binh Dai. I believe he was “senior district advisor”.

        He had been over as a CPT in ’67.

        Does his name ring a bell with anyone?

        Respectfully,
        Bobby L. Christine

        • Bobby

          I had the pleasure of knowing and serving with your father. I was his deputy in Binh Dai and I medevaced him on that terrible day. I was supposed to go with your father and the district chief that day, but at the last minute I decided to stay at base and do something else. I would have been right behind your father in the district chiefs jeep when the mine went off. My son is named after your father.

          Please feel free to contact me for more info.

          John Geary (CPT, DDSA Binh Dai)

      • Mr. Brown,

        Sir: My father (MAJ Alexander R. Christine) lost an arm and a leg in Binh Dai on Nov 7, ‘70. He was Senior District Advisor. Did you two ever cross paths?

        Respectfully,
        Bobby Christine

    • Some more back ground. One man’s account. My aircraft was the first 135th slick to join the action at Binh Dai on May 18th when we were called off a routine resupply mission to provide extra lift capability for a 7th Squadron/1st Cavalry operation that had developed after their scouts (OH-6 Light Observation Helicopters or “loaches”) made contact with some VC near Binh Dai. Air Cav Squadrons and Troops never had sufficient Hueys to insert larger units of infantry once they were in contact, so this was not an unusual occurrence.
      The first combat assault around Binh Dai that day took place in the late morning or early afternoon with two or three Cav slicks and one or two others, including us. I believe the 335th AHC (a sister unit in our battalion) may have provided one of the slicks. As we entered a tight LZ with the lead Cav ship right up against a tree line, the VC opened up with small arms and at least one machine gun. Almost immediately, one of the lead ship’s pilots was shot in the head and killed outright. From my position on the right side of Chalk 3, which placed me in the interior of the flight, I could clearly see the lead ship’s crew hustling to lower the pilot’s armored seat and pull him off the controls as we returned fire.
      After departing the now hot LZ, the Cav turned the mission over to the 135th so we formed a composite flight of six or so slicks (mostly 135th and maybe one or two from the 335th). Command and Control and gunship support (Taipans) came from the 135th, but the Cav did leave a light fire team of Cobras to provide additional fire power. I believe Dick Marum initially took over as lead pilot of the flight before Andy came on the scene. However, after the first few combat assaults following up on the Cav contact, Dick’s aircraft either developed a mechanical problem or combat damage, so a radio call went out for a lead qualified EMU to take over in mid to late afternoon.
      I remember to this day all of us in the flight chuckling a bit when Andy responded by radio from a routine mission quite far away, expressing his oft displayed enthusiasm to get in on a fight. I believe his crewchief told me later that he was exceeding VNE as he rushed to take over the flight at Ben Tre, about 25 miles west of Binh Dai, where we were staging the infantry for our combat assaults. By now, the action at Binh Dai had become a major engagement. It turned out that the Cav had intercepted a VC main force battalion maneuvering into position to attack Binh Dai and the small MACV (Military Assistance Command, Vietnam) outpost just outside of town. This sort of action had become typical throughout the Delta at this time as the VC were attempting to divert resources away from the American/Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia that had begun a few days earlier. As a result, this period was one of the most grueling for the 135th during my entire time in the company. We were one of the few aviation units in our region not openly operating in Cambodia because the Australian government would not allow its forces to operate there. So we “took up the slack” in the Delta and were involved in many serious engagements as a result. Ironically, the Delta was possibly more dangerous than Cambodia during the invasion because the VC/NVA were retreating ever deeper into Cambodia to avoid contact, while the VC/NVA units throughout the Delta were actively seeking contact with us as a diversion. Go figure!
      Once Andy joined us, we continued to insert ARVN infantry around Binh Dai for the remainder of the day and into the night. I believe we made a total of six to eight combat assaults over the entire day, all under fire, but it was the last few insertions that night which are seared in my memory and led to Andy’s Silver Star. As the day had worn on, the VC completely overran Binh Dai and set up several large caliber anti-aircraft guns in the center of town. Soon, Air Force fast movers and Navy OV-10s were brought in to attempt to neutralize these guns, which posed a serious threat to our continuing combat assaults. As a result of these air strikes, Binh Dai was totally engulfed in flames. If memory serves, I believe at least one attack aircraft was shot down or shot up badly during these attacks. On one of these night assaults, I remember taking off from the PZ at Ben Tre and as soon as we got above the trees, we could see towering columns of tracers on the distant horizon from multiple AA weapons trained on the attacking fixed wing aircraft. It was quite unnerving to know that’s where you were headed and then spend 10-15 minutes approaching the glowing inferno that had so recently been the peaceful town of Binh Dai. Being as new as I was, I just assumed we were all going to die

      • Sir:

        My father, Major Alexander R. Christine, lost an arm and a leg on November 7, 1970 in Binh Dai. I believe he was “senior district advisor”.

        He had been over as a CPT in ’67.

        Does his name ring a bell with anyone?

        Respectfully,
        Bobby L. Christine

      • Rupert

        I was DDSA in Bien Dai when this action took place, although I was in Saigon at the time. I got back in time to see the District Chief’s (Major Hai) body brought back on the hood of our jeep. Just to clarify, the action was confined to one of the hamlets (Long Thuan?) of Binh Dai District. The VC overran the hamlet and the DSA and the District Chief mounted one of our 50 calibre machine guns on the front of our jeep and led a force to run the VC out. When they turned off of the main trail onto the trail leading into the hamlet, the VC ambushed them. The soldier manning the machine gun was hit and killed. Major Hai took over and was hit in the chest and killed. The Lien Doi commander, Captain Nam, had his thumb shot off.

        At that point, the DSA and the others pulled back and the VC captured our 50 and the jeep. They took the 50 and shot up the jeep. The choppers also shot up the jeep with rockets, but it was recovered and brought back Major Hai.

        I can’t remember if I flew with Andrew Perry or not, but I did know him and he was highly thought of.

        John Geary (CPT DDSA Bien Dai 1970)

  3. Man, I was hoping everybody in the world had forgotten about that! Those 2 guys were great soldiers, but that scuffle embarrassed the devil out of me. It was bad enough for them to be clowning in front of you navy guys, but doing it in front of our counterparts was really stupid. Having to dress down a couple guys 15 years older than me with 10 times more time in the army than I presented a 22 year old with a real leadership challenge!
    My email is mdelaney at spencerfane dot com. When I get your email, I’ll send you some pictures my wife and I took of your base and the village when we were there in 2014.

  4. Actually, I think it was Thanksgiving and two of your troops got into a disagreement in our team room. Send me your email. I’ve got a photo or two you might like.

  5. Sounds right except the District was Giong Trom, the Province was Kien Hoa and Ben Tre was the capital city of the province. If I remember correctly, Lt Presnell was my replacement as DIOCC advisor. Major Thien was the VN district chief having recently been promoted from Captain while I was there. Van was our interrupter as well and we usually referred to him simply as Sgt Van. I was bounced around at province and at Truc Jiang(?) (noq called Châu Thành} for the first few months in the area providing coverage for others. The PSA was Kotzebue while I was there as well. He sent me to Saigon on a project to investigate presentation options available to him in Ben Tre (I had worked audio visual systems in college). I didn’t hear much from the District after I left with only one letter that I remember from Presnell that brought me up to date of activity and the loss of the VN Lt commanding the 294 RF Company. Looks like I just missed you.

    • Reading all of this reminds me of my time in Kien Hoa. I was the SA at the Junk Group in Ba Tri district in 71 and 72 until we closed up shop. Some of the names here are familiar especially Godby. He and I spent a very dark and wet night in Saigon awaiting transportation back to Ben Tre.

      • I think I had Christmas dinner with your team at the Navy’s team house in Ba Tri during Christmas ’71. I was the MAT 22 SA at the province training center a couple of klicks to the south of you.
        My wife and I stopped by the Navy compound when we visited Ba Tri a couple of years ago. It’s now a VN coast patrol station and the surrounding village (An Thoi, I think) has grown into a pretty good sized fishing port.

      • I remember flying over your location frequently. One of the buildings had “Tiem Tom International Airport” on it. I also loved the rest facilities. A walk out a rickety wooden pier to do business in the river…..

  6. Some clarification! I (then-Captain) John Haseman arrived in Kien Hoa Province in July 1971 and went initially to Ham Long District as Phung Hoang Advisor but was almost immediately re-branded as DDSA because of the much smaller district teams by then. When I arrived the Phung Hoang Advisor in Giong Trom was CPT Roger Wheelright (or Wheelwright). SFC Ho Van Be was interpreter in Giong Trom. He had worked for me during my first VN assignment across the river in Dong Tam where I was CO (Forward) of the 9th MI Detachmernt. When I found out that SFC Be was in Kien Hoa I persuaded my DSA to arrange a trade of interpreters, so SFC Be worked with me from about September 1971 until we both left Kien Hoa after the cease fire in February 1973. We closed the Ham Long district team in May 1972 and SFC Be and I were reassigned to Mo Cay District. I also spent 3 months as DSA Ham Long during ther 1972 NVA invasion of Kien Hoa, and SFC Be went with me on that as well. CPT Wheelwright was succeeded as Phung Hoang Advisor in Giong Trom by CPT Tim Werling something like Nov 1971, and like me remained until the cease fire, he would have left in Dec 72 or Jan 73. He and I are still in contact. SFC Be was, sadly, KIA as an ARVN NCO in the Seven Mountains area circa September 1974. When I arrived in Kien Hoa the DSA in Giong Trom was MAJ Lamb. He was the last DSA in Giong Trom and at the cease fire he was assigned to one of the cease fire monitoring teams, cannot recall which one.

  7. Terry, I (CPT Brown) arrived in Giong Trom District of Ben Tre in March of ’70. There was SFC Johnnie Cox, SSG Dilbough, SP4 first name Chip, 1Lt Presnell , and my interpreter Ho Van Be. I relieved CPT Keller, a tall German man who left within hours after I arrived. I remained there until September of ’70 with the same people the entire time. Major Thien was my counterpart. Very intelligent man, good personality, and a good leader. I have been in communication with LTC John Haseman most recently who was also in Giong Trom about two years earlier if I remember right. I hope I don’t add any confusion to the chain of events. I was an Artillery CPT, Jungle warfare training and proficient with M-16, 45 pistol, M-79 grenade launcher and M1- carbine. I was also fairly good at reading a map which came in handy. I did not have any training or even a briefing about being an advisor. I arrived in Tan An, and was told to proceed to Giong Trom.

  8. Terry,
    I left early in 1969. I don’t remember any of the newcomers.
    People who I overlapped with were Tim Bertotti, Jim Tully, and PSA Kotsebue.

  9. Terry,

    I left in February 1969, so I don’t remember any of the new people.
    When I arrived in mid-1967 there were no USAID people in the districts. Then, after the Tet offensive, there was at least one in each district.
    Steve Spangler

  10. I served most of my Vietnam tour in Kien Hoa Province (Ben Tre), Giong Trom District, leaving February 1970. I was the DIOCC Advisor during that period. I have not been able to locate any fellow members of the team except for Sgt Terry Wall and Maj Weeden since we were assigned to Ft Knox, KY after serving in Giong Trom. I’m ashamed to admit that Sgt Waller is the only team member whose full name I can remember. If anyone has more detailed information on the Giong Trom team from about April 1969 through February 1970 please contact me. Email terry37027 @ yahoo dot com.

  11. Chris, I was with the Seabees in Ben Tre from Nov 69 -Aug. 70. I have been following everyone’s comments and find it helpful and has interesting. Right now I am dealing with Luekemia picked up from Agent Orange which the VA has classified me 100%. I would love to read your memoirs.
    archiebanfield25@gmail.com Thank you.

    • Best of luck to you. I still remember your goat “Snodgrass” who loved to push his head against your fist.

  12. My father would have been in the district in ’70. Anybody recall a Major Alexander Christine? He lost an arm and a leg on 07 NOV ’70.

    He had been over previously as a CPT in ’67, but I’m unsure where.

  13. I recently came across old letters of mine I had written home and my mother had saved. Reading them again – after almost 50 years – was amazing. I had forgotten much. And I discovered I had originally been assigned to MACV TM 88 Ben Tre in Aug of 68. The stop over was Can Tho where I laid over waiting for a lift out the next day or so. But a SFC somehow saw my MOS (Clerk Typist) and rushed me over to MACV HQS — their clerk had not arrived or wouldn’t arrive because of some issue and they needed a replacement bad. They gave me a test and changed my orders on the spot. So I never made it to 88 and stayed on 96 for the duration.

    Reading my letters reignited my interest in that time again, and I found this site last week.

    So I’ve often wondered what experience I would have had had I not been shanghaied in Can Tho. Can anyone tell me what a green clerk to 88 might have expected on arrival in terms of assignment, duties. And green I was, with no jungle training, zip….not even trained with the M16 they threw into my hands when I arrived in Saigon.

    Thanks,
    SP4 Jim Carcioppolo

    • Jim my name is Jack Woodyard I served in Kien Hoa Provence from August 1968 to November 1970. I was a SGT E5

    • Jim: I was in Kien Hoa, Giong Trom District from Feb ’69 until Feb ’70. Like so many places in Vietnam the conditions and stories are diverse and the experiences often different. We were relatively stable in our district until the 9th Infantry became one of the first units to be withdrawn from the country. We could see a noticeable difference from about Oct ’69 until I left. From what I heard, thing got rough in several districts to include Giong Trom from mid ’70 moving forward. Can Tho would have felt like an R&R for most of us in Kien Hoa/Ben Tre.

      • Terry,

        Had I gone to Ben Tre we probably would’ve come across one another. Can Tho was a great spot to be in if one had to be in Nam at all. We had only two mortar attacks in late ’68 but they weren’t much. After each the Officers were lined up outside the medical unit for their various scratches and contusions having scambled into their bunkers, to qualify I guess for purple hearts. We enlisted men laughed like bastards at that. The most serious event was a sapper attack on Eakin compound that left a few perimeter guards dead. All in all, as a clerk at MACV headquarters in Can Tho I had it damn good. How about you?

        Jim

  14. Steve, pls let me know if you find him, and pass on my regards. I was back in Jan with 2 of my sisters, we had Trai along as our interpreter . He was Ham Long interpreter and then PSA’s interpreter during my time, survives by teaching English privately in Saigon. Huge changes even in Kien Hoa/Ben Tre Province but except for the bigger villages (now towns) much remains the same. Except for the bridges. You can now drive My Tho-Ben Tre-Mo Cay-Vinh Binh Prov without a ferry!
    John

    • Well, Greetings, COL John Haseman, it’s good to see you did well. I was the Phung Hoang/DDSA and Acting DSA when Truc Giang was overrun in March ’72. I am not going to go into detail too much right now, maybe later. I did well in the fight, calling in Dong Tam Arty on the compound (with permission of the District Chief, MAJ Theiu) and organizing an interior response my the GVN to the VC attack, but all would likely have been lost if the response team from Province with CPTs Godby and Swanson (and others I can’t remember – I had been a little busy) didn’t come to our relief. My few shots in anger were from an M3 submachine gun given to me by Mike Delaney (I think) having given my M16 to my new Cambodian interpreter, our long time interpreter SGT Chau having curled up in the corner of the command bunker. MAJ Stamey was in Bangkok having brought his wife to the District for a meal several weeks earlier, but staying at Mr. Kotzebue’s house at night. SGT Belk (I believe retired as a CWO) was, as stated earlier in another post correctly, wounded by a tin can grenade in the legs. I believe everybody who has a satchel charge detonate next to their team house is forever a believer in God, if they survive. Since I wasn’t a DDSA on paper there was no CIB, but the BSM/V was nice. Belk deserved his BSM/V far more than I did,

      A few weeks later on the ferry comng back from My Tho, an old VN man on the upper deck spit on me and since my wife wanted me out of the Army, I put in to get out. Never really regretted it and thought to try to come back in like you did after the “starter wife” I split, but never followed through. Went into the GaARNG full time, became branched to Engineers, later went back into Reserves and retired in ’97 as a LTC.

      As a Guard officer I had occasion to visit various Prisons in the North Georgia area, one being the Walker Correctional Center in LaFayette, GA, where I ran into Doc Chounaird. He remember me to a limited degree, we didn’t have much interaction in RVN and didn’t have time to talk much at the Prison. Doc was the “Doc” at the Prison, so I think anyone trying to track him down, might try contacting them, or try White Pages or such from LaFayette, GA, in Walker County.

      I live about 35 miles NW of Atlanta, and if you ever travel through the area, I would love to meet and talk. Email is “boedwards@att.net”.
      I visit LTC Vic Stamey in the DC area back in the last century. He had just made early pickup to LTC.

      Emory H. “Bo” Edwards, III
      LTC, USA (ret) then CPT

  15. Mr. Green,

    As a very proud son of a Vietnam veteran stationed in Ben Tre, I would be honored to read about your service in country.

  16. Chris, I was a 1Lt MAT 23 team leader in Kien Hoa Province, arriving in the spring of ’70 and leaving the following year.
    I would very much appreciate the opportunity to read about your experiences while in Ben Tre.
    Thank you in advance for sharing.

    • Sir, my father -Major Alexander R. Christine, USA- was District Senior Advisor in Binh Dai District, Kien Hoa Province. He lost an arm and a leg in action there on November 7, 1970. Ring any bells?

  17. I am looking for anyone who may have known my father Robert W. Verduin…I believe he was either a Captain or possibly a Major during his time in Ben Tre (1969-70). I am specifically looking for details as to his assignment while in country. A number of Polaroids he sent me as a child show him standing in front of what I believe may be officers’ quarters with a sign that says Delta Dredgers on it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  18. I was in Adv Tm 88 as well, I was the medical adv there from 68-68 and under Capt. Sterling, we had a lot of new people moving in and out but we were with an ARVN company stationed acrosss from the airport, I can remember that we had to offer support to the AF when a C130 went down.
    I’ve real all the emails and none of the names ring a bell but I’m sure that we all suffered out share of the never ending heat and what do I do, retire in Florida

  19. Our Battalion was getting short on ammunition and grenades and the 50 just stayed on top of the bunker, do you know where any of the other team members are? Boswell, Randy Painter. Hope your having fun at whatever your doing, I’m just enjoying retirement

  20. Hi Bill,
    It is Archie here! Don’t know where the mixup started but I do remember you and Doc. Rainey. I also remember Speakman but didn’t have much inter action with him.. I do remember trading 2 cases of grenades to you guys and came away with a 50 cal. and a box of ammo.

  21. Archie he was with us on the 301st RF Bn at the airfield before that he was with me on MAT 4 he went to the Scouts just before he left, ran into him at Ft Bragg he went to SF and I visited with him a few times when I was assigned to the 1st Ranger Bn in GA.

  22. Mike, and fellow Team 88 alumni,
    I was back in Ben Tre first week in January, I was “tour guide” to one of my sisters and her partner, who insisted on seeing where I had trod the ground back in the days. We stayed in a new 12-storey hotel built exactly where the Province compound was. The desk staff did not get it when I said I had spent a few nights there before 🙂 Otherwise not a lot of change over previous trip in 2013. Except yet another bridge crosses the Co Chien River from Mo Cay to Vinh Binh Province. That was a really BAD area back then, district chief KIA and DSA WIA less than 5 miles away. Ah well, progress.
    Best regards, John Haseman

  23. John Haseman,
    I was USAID with Adv Tm 88, 1967 to 1969.
    Mr Thoi and his wife Mrs. Nham and two sons, Turc and Binh, came out in 1976. My wife and I sponsored them here in Northern Virginia.
    Mrs. Nham died a few years ago, and we’ve mostly lost track of Thoi and his sons. I’ll have to give him a call and catch up.

  24. My name Tâm Mai- former Interpreter sergeant service for NILO-Ben Tre from 1968 to 1970. My boss : Lt ( Navy) Readon and Lt. Mac Arthor. May I have their news

    • I add some more details about my service unit call: NILO-KIỂN HOA ( Ben Tre prov) I seviced there from 1968 to 1973. My first boss in 1968 : Lt.( Navy) Bailey – 1969 : Lt. John Mac Arthor – 1970&71 : Lt Readon. Anybody have their information let me know, please.. My email: tammai1948@gmail.com

  25. Hi, my name is Jules Vo and I worked for Kotzebue and Lt. Col Tausch and Lt. Col John H Anderson from 1970 to 1973 in the PSA office. I’m looking for anyone information on the members of team 88.
    My phone number is 408-931-1410

    • Jules Vo looking for information about sgt. Maciolek used to work for Maj. Schaffer. Capt Capenter at Chief of staff advisor office Ben tre team 88. Thanks

        • Do you remember SGT Trai or Mr. Thoi? Both worked in the PSA and DPSA offices as I remember. Dai-Uy (then) John Haseman

          Sent from my iPad

          >

      • I had worked with Mr. Thoi. He v worked for Mr. Kitten ur and I worked for Lt. Col Tausch at PSA office. I remember Springton and Lamp. The clerks.

  26. John,

    (Buck?) Kotsebue was the PSA when I left in February 1969.

    I think Sgt. Chouinard was there the entire time I was there.

    – Steve

    • Yes, Buck Kotzebue was still PSA when I left, moved shortly after that to Binh Dinh. I visited him in Carmel, CA in 1974 on my way to new assignment in Thailand and also stayed with Mr. Parker in the PSA house. Thoi was PSA interpreter and also Trai, who moved from Ham Long to Province just before I arrived in 1971. I see Trai whenever I go to Vietnam. Thoi and his wife made it to the US (Arlington, VA), I saw him once or twice but lost touch with him.
      John

  27. John,

    This sounds great. I need a while to put together our plans.

    It would be interesting to find which Vietnamese employees were still there from my time 1967 – 1969..

    Was Kotsebue there? And Sgt. Chounard?

    – Steve

    • Steve, I was the last American advisor to leave district level — perhaps in the entire country, don’t know that — because the NVA did not obey the cease fire in Mo Cay District (long story best told elsewhere). Mr. Kotzebue was PSA until end of January 1973, then he was transferred to Binh Dinh (Quy Nhon) in MR II and was replaced by Mr. Warren Parker. Mr. Parker was still there when I visited briefly in April 1973. Doc Chouinard was there until near the end, don’t recall exactly when he left, he rotated back to CONUS and I have lost track of him.
      John

  28. Steve,

    Send me an e-mail to mdelaney at spencerfane dot com. I’ll be happy to share our excellent experience with Travel Vietnam, the agency we used to make our arrangements. I’ll copy John Haseman as well, as John has travelled frequently to Ben Tre over the years for any additional suggestions he may have.

    Regards,

    Mike Delaney

  29. Steve,
    I was DDSA Ham Long, DDSA Mo Cay, and DSA Ham Long 1971-73. I have been back to Ben Tre many times. I usually hire a car and driver from Asian Trails in Saigon. They will also provide an English-speaking driver or guide. I’ll be there right after new years with one of my sisters and her partner, as “tour guide.”
    John Haseman

  30. I served from 1 Sep 1969 – 2 Sep 1970 as platoon leader of 2nd Civil Affairs attached to MACV Advisory Team 88 headquartered in Ben Tre. My 4-5 man team stayed in the compound in Ben Tre although our company headquarters were at Long Binh which we visited at least monthly for pay purposes. We shared a small office with the CORDS personnel as part of the pacification effort. I was US Army 1LT, combat engineer, and replaced CPT. Richard Meirowitz who had followed CPT Joe Siwy. I have been in touch with both of these men in recent months. Other members of my team during my tour were: SP5 John O’Neill,SP5 Eugene Cobb, SP4 John Flanagan, SP4 Paul Zawadski, PFC Richard Coulson and SGT Ronald Thompson. We also had assigned to us full-time as Vietnamese interpreter Nguyen Van Sich who was fantastic and often advised us to avoid certain areas. According to my final performance evaluation by A. L. Kotzebue, Province Senior Advisor, he states that “the 8th platoon had seen through from conception to completion 64 civic action projects in Kien Hoa’s 9 districts. The projects ranged from school construction, pagoda repair, bridge reconstruction, river dock repair, orphanage electrification and sports stadium reconstruction in addition to his duties as Province Youth and Sports Advisor, Education Advisor and Assistant Agriculture Advisor.” We traveled to all of these projects by road, air and water. Thanks to all of the DSA’s for coordinating these projects and ensuring our safety during field visits. Special thanks also to the two Seabee teams that we worked with during my tour. We did get the old soccer field back to good shape and even had a game between teams from My Tho and Ben Tre just before I departed Viet Nam. Look forward to hearing from any old buddies from the compound or the districts.

    • Hope you, your family and any of our mutual friends from zwayback when have a Happy, Healthy, Bountiful and Safe Thanksgiving and Holiday Season.
      Joe, Theresa(Duyen) Siwy

      • Thanks, Joe. Glad to hear from you and to see that you have discovered this website of MACV Advisory Teams. Hope you and Theresa (Duyen) are doing well also. I still check on the 2nd Civil Affairs website on occasion. I have also communicated with Richard Meirowitz in New York. Keep in touch.

    • Jimmie, I was the team leader for team 88 in 1969. I think I was medivaced out in September and never got a chance to say good bye to the team. The only person I can remember is Sgt McGee. We lived in a nice compound made of train ties. Does any of that ring a bell?

      • Gary…I got there about the time you left. Served with Ted Sas who was a classmate from OCS and who was killed in May ’70. Was only in 88 a short time then took over MAT 20 at Phong My.

  31. Lou, if you find Doc Chouinard please let me know. A grand person indeed. As mentioned on this site few months ago, somewhere in my papers is a copy of the draft Presidential Unit Citation submission that was drafted in the last weeks of the advisory presence. I do not know if it was submitted or not, or whether it just got lost in the rush to get out of VN. If I can find it, I will see how far back in time the narrative goes.

    Best regards,
    John Haseman

  32. Does anyone remember the name of the Polish/American CPT who painted an American flag on the roof of the EM Mortar Inn Club during the TET Lunar Offensive “68” after the town was overrun?

    • Joe, that was Capt.George Skypeck. A good guy. I served with him and have some good pictures of the two of us together. I was a Staff Sgt. and weapons adviser for the team. George Skypeck went on to become a rather famous artiest. Well known for his military art.

      • Thanks for responding. I stayed with him for a couple days having been sent from II Field Force G5 to scout out the area for setting up a civil affairs team there. He had some interesting stories and lessons learned to share. I extended my stay in VN after that visit volunteering to setup a civil affairs presence there although by the time I returned he already had rotated back to the U.S.

        Joe Siwy

    • My name is Garry Willders station at Ben Tre June 67 to July 68. If I remenber right Capt Skypect painted the
      American flag on the mess hall roof so our air support knew were we were during Tet.I was a crew cheif on the
      o1 planes with the USAF.

      • I’ve got some pictures of you Garry that I took with the VN family we used to visit. I was a USAF radio operator in 67-68. Went to Australia with Spence. I’ve been in contact with Vivincio. I was in Ben Tre for Navy barge explosion and Tet ’68.

        • Don do you still post on this site? My name is Lt/Cpt Tim Davenport. I was one of the Army Swampfox pilots.Let me know here if you still post here. The same goes for Garry Willders. I was a sector pilot from around September ’67-May ’68. I experienced the barge explosion and went through tet ’68 there.

            • Sorry Don. I forgot that we had made contact about me going on a trip to Vietnam with you and you were kind enough to send me some pictures of your trip. I should have taken you up on your offer to go along. Traveling keeps getting harder with aging. I’m good so far but who knows when it will change. I’m still on my search to find someone who was at Mo Cay when it was under siege after Tet ’68. Hope all is well.
              Tim

      • Thanks Garry. It was CPT George Skypek per a buddy of his. I stayed with him at the Compound before being assigned there from the 2nd CA Company, II Field Force, Long Binh. Do you happen to remember Bobby Watts who was a USAF radio intelligence SGT with the team around that same time? Thanks again.

      • Thanks. Per chance do you remember a Bobby Watt who was an AF radio intelligence tech SGT at the time? Can’t remember what state he hailed from.

  33. I was DDSA Ham Long 1971-72, DDSA Mo Cay and DSA Ham Long 1972-73. Yes, our PSA was LTC (Ret) Albert “Buck” Kotzebue. He was a terrific PSA, left us alone to do our job but right there to help out when needed.

  34. Johnny, you are correct that the Provincial Cmdr for Team 88 was named Kotsabu, a retired Lt Col serving the role as a civilian.
    He called me in at the end of my tour, ’70-’71, to give me my “re-up” pep-talk. I declined.
    I was 1Lt serving as Team leader for MAT 23 in Thanh Phu, among other locations. I don’t remember how to spell his name, either, but I definitely remember him.

  35. I was DDSA Ham Long 1971-72, DDSA Mo Cay 1972-73, and interim DSA Ham Long Aug-Nov 1972. Our PSA was Mr. Albert “Buck” Kotzebue, retired O5 or O6, outstanding PSA. At the end of 1972 he was reassigned as PSA in Binh Dinh up in MR II, he passed away from cancer around 1980. I have a copy of the narrative recommendation for the Presidential Unit Citation prepared for Team 88, but it was lost in the shuffle at the end of the advisory effort. I’m still considering submitting it, it’s a work in progress.

  36. I was with Adv Tm 88 in 1969 and 1970 Was heavy weapons Adv in Giong Trom District. We had 4 MAT Teams. A retired Colonel named Mr Katsabo was the 88 Team Commander. (Probably spelled his name wrong) CPT Keller was the District Team Commander when I got there. I was Then SFC Johnnie Cox…

    • Hi. I would like to look for Major Shaffer. He used to work for Giông Trom district as DSA and transferred to Kien hoa worked as Advisor for Major Vo Huu Net Chief of staff of Kien hoa province. I’d worked for him as interpreter. It ll be appreciated if u can give me any information regarding him. TY

      • Jules

        I met Major Schaffer a time or two; I did not know him well. Wasn’t he called Buck? I remember a story about him getting a little too free with fireworks and starting a fire or burning down a building?

        • I was DIOCC under Major Shaffer in Giong Trom. He was a great guy but thought was lax in the discipline department. After a long day of partying with the locals and the NCO’s on the team, the NCO’s decided to have their own fireworks show by filling M16 magazines with all tracer rounds and proceeding to the chopper pad to spray the sky with tracers. If that was not enough they cut chunks of C4 into small squares, inserted grenade fuses and threw their “firecrackers” into an old, unused cistern in the compound. The VN were scared out of their wits, thinking they were being over run by VC. All this happened at midnight to “celebrate” the new year.

          • I served under Shaffer as a MAT team leader and loved he guy. He gave free rein within our area of opns, never second guessed us, and was the first to throw all his support behind any action.

            • Which district did your MATS Team operate? Major Schaffer was moved to Province after the New Years eve incident and I left country in February ’70, so I’m not up on his status after that time. I remember we lost two MATS Team members in Giong Trom to a VC ambush while Major Weeden was DSA in Giong Trom, but can’t find their names in my notes.

    • Jack Woodyard
      ADV tm 88 I know the Name Katsabo we had a regular army colonel at Ben tre I was on the reaction force with Capt Hight and Lt Teldon

      • I was there in july 68 to July 69 and remember Cap Haight and Lt Tildon and I think I remember you too Jack Woodyard. LTC Dudley was our commander and Maj Paul Compton was my immediate boss. Recognize a few other names in here also. Joe Urbano was one of my friends as was Brad Sharp.When I first got there I think we were Advisory team 93 and then became Advisory team 88. Nice to see some familiar names. Rodney Hillman. Our first Sgts were MSG Sellers and Bellavita.

    • Johnnie Cox, I was at Giong Trom District in 69-70. I was then Cpt. William Brown . I relieved Cpt. Keller and he left in a hurry. I still have a few memories, especially Chau Bien. Good knowing you made it out alive.

    • SFC Cox, if you remember me you can email me at tombrown47@gmail.com. You and I spent quite a bit of time in the field together. I would like to hear from you. I also remember Sgt Dilbo, Chip, Lt. Presnell, and Ho Van Be.

      I remember you were from Roanoke, VA.
      Sincerely,

      Tom Brown

    • I am Cpt William (Tom) Brown. I was Assistant Dictrict seniorAdvisor on Team 88 in Giong Trom from March ’70 – September ’70. I relieved Cpt Keller when i arrived and a Major replaced me when I left Ben tre. We had alot of activity while i was there, never a dull moment. Someone stole my camera and Dai Uy Houng, found out it was an RVN Artillery group cannon cocker just there temporarily. He had him beat pretty bad.

      Lots of memories of Giong Trom. Some of them good. One night SFC Cox and I got stranded in My Nhon village and darn near overrun that night. I got a Bronze Star with “V” device for that night.

      Apparently alot of you had fonder memories of that place than I did. The VC mortared Giong Trom at night and the only thing there was old women and kids and 5 of us. If anyone remembers me, please let me know.

      We were very isolated and I don’t remember anyone outside of the Staff at our village. Maj.Thien was my VN counterpart.

    • The name sounds like someone I new I was there in Kien Hoa from Aug 1968 to Nov 1970 do you have anymore information

      • That fits the general information of a lieutenant and sergeant we lost to an ambush from one of our Mobile Advisory Teams (MATs). I’m sorry to say but the names from that period have long since escaped my memory.

    • Sgt. Kuhns served with me. I was his MAT team leader when he got killed along with Sgt Boles in Oct ’69. Wrote his family, but understandably never heard anything back. A great guy and good soldier.

  37. Hard to believe I’m having this “conversation” about something that happened almost 45 years ago. Any way you could share any more of the story? Is the guy still around? Would he be willing to talk about it?
    Just thinking about reaching out.
    RWPierce

    • Yes, the guy is still around and he is on a private Facebook page I have set up for UDT/SEAL guys from the Vietnam era. There are 3 other Xray platoon members on the page. Send me your email to my email, sspikey1971@yahoo.com. I’ll pass it on to him. I don’t know him personally though he does interact on the page. Still hoping to get some help from anyone who was there from Oct 70 to Mar 71.

  38. Interesting. I was in Kien Hoa Province, Thanh Phu Distict during that time frame as Team Leader of MAT 23. I dusted off a Seal one night who had been shot in the rear. Don’t remember his name, but I would like to connect with him if you run into anything resembling that fact situation.
    Thanks, RWPierce, 1Lt, Inf., MACV.

    • Mr Pierce, the operation that the SEAL was wounded in the rear and later medivaced back to the US happened on Dec 13 1970. I have pics of that op and the SEAL being lead to a Army helo by 2 of his teammates. 4 SEALs total were wonded on this op.

  39. I’ve been doing research on SEALs for the last 20yrs and I’m looking for anyone who was with Team 88 during Oct 70 to March 71 who has any memories and possibly photos of the SEAL platoon that was stationed at Ben Tre, Xray platoon SEAL Team One. Mike Collins(KIA) was the plt commander and Frank Bomar(KIA) was the second in command. I’m also looking for any aerial photos or maps of the Team compound and the dock. I’m going to be involved with a book about Xray platoon so anything would be helpful. Thank you. Contact me at sspikey1971@yahoo.com

    • I was the CO of the Swift Boat division based at Sa Dec in 1970. My memory is that X-Ray platoon was also based at Sa Dec. Both Swifts and SEALs operated from Ben Tre from time to time, but Sa Dec was the home base. I remember both platoon leaders who served there then: Lt. Todd and Lt. Collins (rip). Mike was a fellow USNA alumni. I did not get to know either of them well although some of my boats operated with the SEALs on occasion.

    • Mike Rush. My name is Paul Mindell I am Mike Collins’ nephew and I am working on a documentary on him and Xray Platoon.
      Also I am anxious to hear about the book project you are involved in. I have a wealth of source material.

      Paul Mindell
      masonmindell@gmail.com

  40. Ms Dudley,
    I talked with my fellow officer who I have been attempting to contact. He is personally familiar with Cpt. Cox’s circumstances at the time of his death.
    You may contact him as follows: William “Bill” Ridley,
    wridley@bktravel.com
    703-250-4242 hm
    703-250-3044 wk
    571-236-5087 cell
    Again, good luck,
    RWPierce

  41. Ms Dudley, I have emailed one of my fellow officers who was stationed in or adjacent to the district where Cpt Cox was KIA. He most likely has some information he can share about Cpt Cox. Hopefully, it will be of assistance to you in your efforts to find out more about his circumstances. As soon as I hear back I will post his response and perhaps put him in touch with you. I applaud your efforts.
    Regards, R. W. Pierce

  42. I left Ben Tre at the end of July 1970. It was Team 93 then – all teams were redesignated. If you go to your local Veterans Outreach Center, they can assist you in getting a copy of his service record. It would provide you with much more information such as the citations for the awards. The National Records Center website in St Louis has instructions on how to obtain relatives records as well. Good luck on this. If you need any more information, please let me know.

  43. Thank you so much, Mr. Pierce. I really appreciate it. I found his obituary in the September 7, 1970 addition of our local newspaper. Unfortunately it was not very informative. His tombstone has three listings SS BSM PH. I understand his funeral was with full military honors. I am quite incensed that the local community newspaper did not have a more significant article and details about his service. I would appreciate any and all information about him. Again, thank you so much.

  44. Linda, I believe I can be of help. My team was monitoring the radio net the day Cpt. Cox was killed. His sergeant was wounded, but rescued that day. I attended the memorial service conducted in his district which was adjacent or close to mine in Thanh Phu District. My OCS class is quite close and we have conducted several reunions over the years, beginning with our 40th in “09. I have discussed this incident with a classmate on one occasion. His name is Bill Ridley and he lives in the Washington, D.C., area. I will contact him and try to put him in touch with you.
    Randall W. Pierce
    1Lt, Infantry
    MAT 23

    • Hello Randy, Been reading your posts. Served with you on MAT 23. Good to see you are still kicking. Would be nice to chat. Published a novel in December 2014, “Saving Ben Tre.” Your are not a character in it but I though of you many times when writing it.
      Dave Van Wye
      1Lt, Inf.

  45. Henry Thomas Cox, “Tommy”, died August 13, 1970

    I am trying to find more information about Tommy. He was a classmate of mine in the Christiansburg Virginia high school class of 1965. He was killed as a member of

    We would like to honor him at our upcoming 50th high school class reunion. Any memories anyone on Team 88 would be greatly appreciated. He was not quite 23 years old when he was killed. Thank you for any help that you can give us in order to honor him.

  46. I’ve been doing research on SEALs for the last 20yrs and I’m looking for anyone who was with Team 88 during Oct 70 to March 71 who has any memories and possibly photo’s of the SEAL platoon that was stationed at Ben Tre, Xray platoon SEAL Team One. Mike Collins(KIA) was the plt commander and Frank Bomar(KIA) was the second in command. Thanks.

  47. hi Mike,
    I remember the Truc Giang battle well – we were awaked in Ham Long to stay in touch with what was needed, remember CPT Jim Swanson trying to push the reaction force over the Ba Lai bridge! I kept thinking how easy it would be to take the Ham Long compound with a large enough force, it was a larger compound than Truc Giang but had lousy mud walls and the barbed wire was old old old. Happily it did not happen. When I went back as DSA just a few days after Bill C was KIA I was both nervous and keyed up and one of the first things I got them to do was reinforce the defensive works. The NVA made a half-hearted ground probe in, as I recall, late August ’72 but the RF company intercepted them and did a good job. Brings back memories! I will be going back in December, taking one of my sisters and her partner, they want to see where it all happened. There is a brand new “high rise” hotel on the former AdvTm 88 compound, we will probably stay there 🙂
    John Haseman

  48. I was assigned to Team #88 from October 1971 to October, 1972, first as Team Leader of MAT 22 at the Province training center in Ba Tri District and later, after Tet 1972, in Ben Tre as Province artillery advisor, assistant S-3, and S-2 for a while after Bill Chandler was KIA. If I recall, the team and the other US in the province (Navy, Seabees, RMK-BRJ, OSA, etc.) shrunk from 200+/- in the fall of 1971 to 25 or so by the time I left.

    I well remember the night the Truc Giang District compound was overrun. I got picked up in Ben Tre on a US Huey and flew in and out of the compound a number of times evacuating Vietnamese WIAs. I distinctly remember how nervous I was as the pilot set his aircraft down again and again on the helipad next to a burning bunker where ammunition kept cooking-off. It was the first time I really felt there was a war going on in Kien Hoa.

    Has anyone on here kept up with CPT Dave Godby? I haven’t heard anything from/about him since he DEROS’d in late summer ’72. The trip he and I took to MACV graves registration with Bill Chandler’s personal effects was the saddest drive I ever remember.

    My wife and I just returned in October from a fabulous trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, including a couple of days in Ben Tre. Kathy had some misgivings before we left, but came home convinced it is the best trip we’ve ever taken. It will take a lot more Vietnam trips for us to catch up to John H’s record, but I would go back in a minute. If anyone is interested, let me know and I’ll be happy to share our itinerary and the name of the Vietnamese travel agency we used.

    • Mike Delaney,

      I was a USAID employee with CORDS in Ben Tre from July 1967 to February 1969.

      My wife and I are interested in visiting Vietnam like you and your wife did. Do you recommend a tour company and how did you get down to Ben Tre?

      Thanks,

      – Steve Spangler

      • Steve, Were you in country concurrent with a Dave Schllich (?) who occupied a similar position as yours in Giong Trom District, Kien Hoa Province in ’69 and through part of “70? He was there during my tour (MI Advisor) from February ’69 through February ’70. I was assigned a two week project for the PSA and later spent a few weeks in Truc Giang as a fill-in until their regular MI advisor returned before being finally assigned to Giong Trom for the duration of my tour.

  49. Mike, if you’ll send me your email address I can send you a few photos from the Ham Long house one you I think if not you’ll know who it is, also one of LTC Son.
    John Haseman

  50. Does anyone know whatever happened to then Maj. Robert Stephens? He was S3 on tm 88 in 1972.
    Maj Stephens earned my respect and I would like to at least say hello and tell him as such.

    He might just kill me because Justice and me played a pretty dirty trick on him in an after action brief after he had allowed that “by God he wanted to see some results” from all the ops we were running.

    Dam near got into trouble over that one because there was a reporter nearby.

    Maj Stephens tried his best to keep me in check, didn’t always work but he at least cared enough to try.

    I read where LTC Christensen died in Fayetteville a few years back. Does anyone know if Col Taush (sp) or Kotzebue is still alive.

    Would also like to know the whereabouts of Danny Lamb or Lt Wren or Sgt Morrisy(sp).

    Marvin Springston, the team clerk died from cancer in Ga a few years back as well. Marvin was a good friend and he is greatly missed.

    Anyway, that slice of history of life on an advisory team will never be replicated again….anywhere…one of the few places where fact is even more crazy than fiction.

    Best,
    Mike

    • body{font-family: Geneva,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:9pt;background-color: #ffffff;color: black;}

      Mike,Replying to some of your questions:1. Maj. Stevens became BG Stevens, I last saw him when he was Chief of JUSMAG-THAI in Bangkok 1980s, when I was attache in Jakarta. I believe he was the last O7 to head JUSMAG, the slot was then downgraded to O6 billet.2. Mr. Kotzebue died from cancer many years ago, 1970s/1980s.3. I have not hear from nor about LTC Tausch in many years.Best regards,John Haseman

    • Sir,

      My name is Laurel Lamb. I have some good news for you. I just stumbled over your post from two years ago. My husband is the very Danny Lamb you’ve wondered about.

      He asks that you text him @ 218-590-7599.

      Merry Christmas! Thank you for your service!

    • glad to see you on here Gary, visited 1Lt Patrick Borunda MAT 91 he is in Washington State and has a small ranch he and his wife are raising Alpaca’s. It was a good visit, also enjoyed our phone visit will be in the Tampa area in April for a 7th Army NCOA reunion will let you know when we get there. A friend of mine owns a couple of houses in My To and he and his wife want Brenda and I to go with them next summer for vacation (we’ll see) if time permits. take care brother and I’ll keep sending dirty E-Mails.

    • I think I remember you I was at Kien Hoa from Aug 1968 to Nov 1970 I went with you to the Kit Carson Scott camp or compound a couple of time you were a Sgt E6 that got a field promotion to 2nd Lit. Are you that guy if do please reply

      • I was in Kien Hoa-Giong Trom from February 1969 until February 1970. I came in country as a 2LT and made 1LT in November 1968 before returning stateside to Ft. Knox. I was a DIOCC advisor and had very limited Kit Carson Scout contact through the Phuong Huang Program.

      • Was wondering if you knew Lt Jack Harrell, original NILO for Team 93 then 88 at Ben Tre. He originally came to us to get Kit Carson Scouts for Mobile RIverine Force, SEALS, etc. Good officer, I think he slipped into the Embassy House, got a retired Navy MCPO to run PRUs and my life was happier after that. I would like to find him as I think he never got a medal he was recommended for.

  51. I was with team 88 72-73 and was the last American to work with the Kit Carson Scout unit there after Lt Justice left. The Scouts were a “ballsy” bunch of men and they turned an inexperienced young man (me) into someone who would go on to have a good 20 year career with Special Forces,

    John, has it really been 43 years?

    I have never returned to VN nor do I care to…just too many unpleasant memories there

    • Mike, I remember you following Cleon Justice. Wow, yes, it has been that long. I feel badly for our KCS, they would not have lasted long after 1975. They were a good tough bunch. I remember doiing a medevac for one of them WIA in Mo Cay, they wanted a US to go on his medevac to be sure he got into the US hospital in Saigon (3rd Surg?). Picked me up in Mo Cay pad, dropped into some hairy country, got him, off we went, walked with him into admissions in Saigon, then flew back. 2 or 3 days later I moved back to Ham Long as DSA for 3 months to help beat back the NVA regiment that came over from Dinh Tuong. Still all fresh in my memory!
      John Haseman

      • John,
        I never knew you were on the Dustoff that evacuated the Scout otherwise I would have tracked you down and personally thanked you.

        Please accept my sincere thanks for helping the Scout, albeit a bit late.

        The KCS were hated equally by the ARVN and the VC as evidenced by the huge reward placed on the heads of the scouts and the Americans who worked with them.

        I like to think that some of the Scouts were resourceful enough to survive but all my attempts to find them have failed.

        I worked with Lt Justice for a month before he left but that was long enough to realize that he was/is an exceptional leader. He never received the recognition he earned as KCS “advisor”. Strength and courage were the only two things the KCS respected, with the exception of maybe money and until one proved themselves, they would ignore you. Justice proved himself many times over and I chuckle at times when I visualize him standing in front of a class of professional soldiers and instructing them in things like proper ethics and such… Pushes the imagination a bit because of the lack of constraints we had on team 88.

        We chased many of the VC support cadre around Kien Hoa and were moderately successful in eliminating some. As I remember, the most successful operation happened in spite of agency and MI intel and happened by pure luck.
        We managed to have a “meet and greet” with the notorious VC tax collector Bac Thien (name and spelling may not be correct) and two of his bodyguards late in 72.
        I remember de-briefing Col. Christensen and he sat back in his chair and said something to the effect, “well Goddam, finally got the sonofabitch”. Was the only time I saw col Christensen smile.

        John, when I look back at the absolute operational freedom and authority we had individually on team 88 it begs the question of how todays politically correct Army would react. The commanders would pass out or go into an apoplectic fit I think and we would most likely be in prison for war crimes.

      • Kind of you to offer John

        Email: isenhourrm@appstate.edu

        Any contact info for BG Stephens? The lasting image I have of him, he is standing in his boxer shorts, flak jacket, rifle and steel pot raising hell after a mortar attack in which his brand new jeep had just been hit. Hilarious!!!!!

  52. Lou, I went to the MASA Course at Fort Bragg for 3 months before deploying to VN, the course included rudimentary language instruction as well as heavy on counterinsurgency intelligence. Two months after arriving in Ham Long I was sent to Vung Tau for, I think, 2 weeks in-country Phung Hoang instruction, which I found heavy on details and helpful in that respect. But when you are on a 2-man district team there was no time for being Phung Hoang advisor, it was pretty well in VN hands. The change from CIA to DoD came after GEN Abrams became COMUS MACV, he was a strong supporter of Phung Hoang and pacification in general. I was “exiled” from 9th MI Det to become 9th Inf Div liaison officer to Dinh Tuong Province. I lived in the Embassy House and worked mostly with province advisory team S-2 as well as CIA, PRU (also lived at E,. House) and 7th ARVN G-2 advisors. When in both Ham Long and Mo Cay my 1542 Infantry MOS came back right away, like riding a bicycle you don’t forget 🙂 . I was always grateful that back in the good old days MI Branch sent their new 2LTs to Ft Benning instead of doing their own attempt at making a combat arms block in their basic course as they do now.
    I have been back to Kien Hoa several times, most recently in 2013. I’ll be there this December, taking one of my sisters and her partner along to see where I was. It’s changed so much!
    John Haseman

  53. Col: Reading your comment brought back a few memories of the early Phung Hoang program. I went to the Hill Camp near Vung Tau every 3-4 weeks to teach a bit on setting up files, maintaining lists, and ICF funds. I think in Jan 67 was the first group of US/VN there. I think it went on hold in Jun 67 and went over to the civilian side. I heard from friends who went over later with SF that it was B-36 USSF went they went through 69-70 and they went to Phung Hoand in II Corps. I get a picture that the program flip-flopped a bit. As with your experience, I saw a few MI Officers who went through training in the US then later RVN to be siphoned off the chain into other jobs. When I returned to VN in 69, I actually had to go to Saigon to get NCOs for the three 44th STZ Provinces to help out. The Marine Advisory folks there provided them. In Kien Hoa, I had to do the paperwork and pay the PRU for several months with ICF as the SEALS did not set up for ops until the Mobile Riverine Force was up and running. When Lt Jack Harrell, USN came in recruiting Kit Carson Scouts, things got better. I think that the program would have had more impact if it was started earlier. I guess that when the CIA was getting a bad name, they turned it over to the Army again. Hope things are good with you. Did you stop by Ben Tre on your last trip? Lou

  54. Mike, yes LTC Son was Ham Long District Chief. When I left in Feb ’73 I went to Thai language school and assigned to Thailand. On the way I stopped off in Saigon and visited Kien Hoa — stayed in the PSA’s house at his invitation. By then LTC Son was promoted to COL and was Province Chief of Vinh Binh, so I went down there as well. After ’75 he spent 13 years in re-education, it destroyed his mind (I got this info from former interpreter Trai). When he came to the US a few years later around I think 1991, settled in Seattle area but I was advised not to visit as it would be too upsetting for him — and probably for me as well. We left a lot of good men in very bad circumstances.
    John Haseman
    CPT 71-73
    now COL (retired)

  55. As I recall, our Province HQ’s was in Ben Tre. I arrived in country around May, ’70 and after advisory school was sent to Thanh Phu district. I was assigned to MAT Team 23 and replaced a 1Lt Moss, but can’t remember where he was from. I had a medic named Rob Emery, I think from Georgia. Another sergeant we called “Big Man” because of his size. I don’t remember a lot more. I spent the entire time there until leaving the last of April, ’71. A captain named Cox who I knew from Benning was killed in the Province next to ours while I was there. I don’t remember a lot of other names. I was assigned to the Kit Carson Scouts as team leader for a day. I was to replace a Captain (whose name I don’t remember) who had gotten cross-wise with the Province G-2 as I recall. However, he made amends, got his team back and I was sent back to my team the next day. I can’t say I was sorry. This would have been in the early part of ’71.
    I was barely 23 when I arrived in country and I grew up in southeast Missouri in a little town called Caruthersville.

    Randall W. Pierce
    1Lt. Infantry, US Army
    1968 to 1971

  56. John,

    Thanks for the reply. I’m glad I left when I did in Apr 72 instead of when you were there! Just before I left, the Truc Giang District Compound was compeletly overrun after a night ground attack. The only U. S. casualty was the SFC MI NCO, name unrecalled, who received some grenade fragments in the foot. There were plenty of other casualties among the Vietnamese however. On my ride up to Saigon to Ton Son Nhut to fly out in Apr 72 we passed a convoy of the 21st ARVN Division, normally stationed in Cau Mau in southern IV Corps, that was headed north (maybe Tay Ninh) to help fight back the NVA/VC nationwide offensive at the time.

    You mentioned LTC Son. If it’s the same guy, he was MAJ Son and the District Chief in Ham Long when I arrived in Apr 69 and when I got back in Jun 71 was still in Ham Long but was then a LTC.

    Best regards,

    Mike Woodward

    • I was on Adv Tm 88 from Aug 71 to Aug 72, If I remember correctlyTruc Giang District compound was over run Mar 22 1972. I was on the reaction team with Capt. Hendricks as CO. Good to hear from others from Adv Tm 88.
      Best regards,
      John Caraway

  57. Mike – You are very familiar to me and I think I have one photo of you. I came to Ham Long in June 1971 as Phung Hoang advisor, that lasted 2 weeks and I was moved on paper (and ops!) to DDSA, stayed until we closed the team in May 1972 when Major Kretschmar DEROSed (he succeeded the late MAJ Coddington). I extended and was moved to Mo Cay as DDSA working for Major Byron Reed. In August 1972 the NVA invaded Ham Long so I went back as DSA, unfortunately because CPT Bill Chandler, the province S-2 advisor, was sent out a few days earlier and was immediately KIA in an ambush just west of the Tre Bong Bridge. I stayed as DSA until Nov 72 when LTC Son got security restored. I returned to Mo Cay and was supposed to leave in Jan 73 when the ceasefire required all advisors to leave the field, except there was no ceasefire in Mo Cay District — the NVA wanted the entire district for Madame Nguyen Thi Dinh who was born in An Thanh. After 2 weeks of combat somebody somewhere passed the word down the chain of command and the NVA withdrew from all the area they had taken over, including the entire road to the Ben Tre ferry, and I was able to drive back to Ben Tre in mid-Feb 73 and fly out. Interesting final 2 weeks!
    Best regards, John Haseman

    • John, I was Spec 4 RTO ‘living’ in Mo Cay from Mar 67 to Mar 68 Blown away reading your posts from someone who was there after me Thanks for the updates Always wondered what happened after I left

  58. I was with Adv Tm 88 twice: Apr 69 to Jun 70 in Ham Long District. I replaced SFC Robert King who was KIA about two weeks before I arrived. I was a SSG at the time and was the MOS 11F40 in Ham Long. The DSA in Ham Long while I was there was MAJ James Coddington who, unfortunately, was also KIA around the end of 1970 after I left. Others in Ham Long when I was there was our medic, SFC Alton Williams, a 1LT who was an MI officer from Eufaula, AL who’s name I have forgotten, and towards the end of my time in Ham Long we were assigned an SP4 RTO who was from West Virginia who’s name I also have forgotten; I went back to Adv Tm 88 in Jun 71 and left in Apr 72. I was on a MAT Team the number of which I have forgotten. We started out in An Hiep village and then went to Quoi Thanh village, both in Ham Long District. The team commander was a CPT Donahoo from Texas and one of the other team members was SFC Gary Demoss from Tennessee. (I ran into Demoss again in 1979 when I arrived at FT Campbell, KY.) Sometime toward the end of 71 my MAT team was disestablished and I then went to the Kit Carson Scouts. Our compound was near Ben Tre Airfield and the SEABEES compound. The only other U. S. soldier with the Scouts besides me at the time was SFC Robert Speakman. I stayed with the Scouts until I left in Apr 72 and went to 2nd ID in Korea, specifically, Company C, 1st Bn, 17th Infantry, at Camp Howze.

    Kien Hoa Province is now called Ben Tre Province. It has it’s own Web Site in English. It can be accessed through Google. I haven’t been back to the former RVN since I left in Apr 1972.

  59. I was stationed with Adv Tm 93 via Tm 96 and 525 MI Group as Intel Tm Sgt about Jun 66 thru July 1967. Worked a brief time with 41st Ranger Bn as I had my own radio that worked. I am looking for others there at the same time and from mid 67 past Tet of 68. I am trying to contact some witnesses to the team efforts during that period as to why the team did not receive a unit award although transient units did. In particular am trying to locate SFC William F. Chouinard, (Frenchy) Adv Tm 93 Medic

    • I was in the USAF as a radio operator assigned to the MACV compound with Tm 93. I was there from about Aug 67 thru Mar 68. I’ve been back to Ben Tre four times starting in 2007 and most recently in January of this year. I ran into George Costello last trip who had also been stationed in Ben Tre during TET 68. I’ve made contact with Tim Davenport, an Army pilot and Phil Vivenzio another USAF radio operator. I remember Ron Mims, PFC Smith, and Rodman who were Army enlisted. I also remember Joe Swift, and Bob Wooley who were Army pilots. The USAF officers were Chet Brown, Maj. Street. USAF enlisted were Willder and Bill Spence.

  60. I arrived in Kien Hoa in June 1971. During most of my time (through February 1973) the KCS advisor was 1LT Cleon Justice.
    John

  61. I do remember the scouts as they were right out behind us. I remember the Cpt., but don’t remember his name. There were 2 sargents also attached to the group. One of them was a staff sgt. Jackson who while on a mission with the scouts stepped on a mine and didn’t make it. The 3 of them were always at our camp. There was also a small ARVN camp up the road from us with 3 advisors attached. A lot of memories!!!

    • I have a slide of SSG Jackson on an op with Xray platoon, SEAL Team One who op’d out of Ben Tre from Oct 70 to Mar 71.

    • Archie this is Bill Acebes from MAT 91 up the Road been along time. Remember when Earl Jackson was KIA he was with CPT Groader (SP) then a medic was the scout advisors he was wounded DOC Rainy and Speakman became the Scout advisor’s. Speakman wasn’t to well liked by me and he and I used to fight all the time at the club until I left. Hope all the other team members Randey Painter, Bozwell.. By the way I did make it back and retired as E-9 🙂

      • Bill

        Is this DOC Rainy the E-6 or E-7 medic who served on the Binh Dai District Team and then transferred to the Province Linh Doi team?

        • Sorry for the late reply, Doc was on MAT 4 with me in Truc Giang 69 then on MAT 91 70-71 and the KSC late 71 he is probably the same Doc Rainey when they were shuffleling teams around Mat 4 was split and half went to Ben Tre and The half I was on moved from Qui Son to the village next to the ferry to My Tho, I thin Doc went to Binh DAi then we wee both transferred to 91.

          • Bill

            The Rainey that I served with in Binh Dai was from Pritchard, AL and had been in country for 5 years straight. Does that match your Rainey?

            John Geary (CPT, DDSA, Binh Dai)

            • The Rainey I’m referring to was from New Orleans and served with the 173rd and 101st we linked up again in Ft Bragg in 72 when I returned. We were on Mat 4 from 69-70 then they split us up Doc went Binh Dai and we didn’t link up again until we were both sent to MAT 91 in 70 he left in 71 to the KSC after SSG Gary Orman left.

              • Bill

                It sounds like your Rainey and mine are the same person. As I recall it, Rainey was from Pritchard, AL (I am from Mobile); but he had a sister in New Orleans. Rainey was a very good soldier and medic. I would like to contact him.

  62. Jud Starr

    I was the ranking S2 advisor in Kien Hoa in 69-70 and think back on that experience often. I am in DC and whenever a veteran’s event takes place among other unites, I think it too bad there are not more connections among those who served as advisors. Jwstarr@venable.com

    • Hey Jud, long time since Thanksgiving diner at your house with your kid brother and Sue in the 80s. Retired in FL. Loving life, Ben Tre was something else, especially when I got to translate for John Paul Van when he came to visit! Good to see your post, Pierre

  63. In 1964 I was a Field Medic with Team 75, but quartered often in the 2 story townhouse in Ben Tre. There was a pet python, “Sam”, in a cage out front. Go to my website, greensblueandgray dot com/other wars, for a photo of Sam, and photos of the lake and the traffic circle.

  64. I was on the Seabee team 0318 from dec. 1969- aug. 1971. We were a 13 man civic action team on the outskirts of Ben tre. We got our mail and supplies in the MACV compound.

    • Do you remember the Kit Carson Scout team that was quartered at or near the airport? If so, do you remember the Cpt who was in charge of that Advisory team? This would have been somewhere late in ’70 or early ’71.
      Randall W. Pierce

  65. I served in Kien Hoa in 1970. I was the Deputy District Senior Advisor on the Binh Dai district team. I would like to hear from anyone who served on the Binh Dai team.

    • You guys did a great job and were much appreciated. Your commander told me that he’d pull the team if you were under threat. I know you were under mortar fire often from the adjacent hamlet. Tim Bertotti, Civilian CORDS Team, Ben Tre, Kien Hoa 1968-1970. By the way, I did an informal survey of the Vietnamese about which US programs they liked: Seabees were at the top.

      • I second that bravado. I remember them setting up near the airport and replacing a roof on a local school after an artillery unit moved into place in addition to providing material for CA projects. Although I was sent from 2nd Field Force to conduct a CA Survey, the guys that followed me probably accomplished much more in civic action projects and activities. Also thought Mario Rosario and Evangelista of PHILCAG did some really outstanding work. The sidewalks through the jungles they helped to build are still in use. Have you been across the My Tho-Ben Tre Bridge? Heard a high-rise hotel went up on the old MACV Compound site.
        Best regards
        Joe

        • I was on Team 88 from June 17 to mid-Feb 1973, first as DDSA Ham Long, then DDSA Mo Cay, then DSA Ham Long for the 1972 offensive, then back to Mo Cay as DDSA. I was fated to be the final DSA for both Ham Long (Nov 72) and Mo Cay (Feb 73) — 2 weeks a cease-fire violation because the NVA land-grabbing ops closed the highway to the Ben Tre ferry and “higher” determined that I was not to be evacuated by helicopter an would remain in Mo Cay until the NVA pulled back to pre-cease fire holdings. Finally drove to the ferry with a very tight pucker but no problems. I’ve been back to now-Ben Tre Province many times. In addition to the huge bridge from My Tho to Ben Tre there is a big bridge across to Mo Cay and a final big bridge from Mo Cay across to Vinh Binh Province. Yes, there is a high-rise hotel at the former province team compound. It’s called the Viet-Uc Hotel (Vietnam-Australia) and I stayed there with two of my sisters back in January 2016. The hotel staff did not understand what I meant when I told them “I have stayed here before” :-). It’s a nice comfortable place to stay.

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