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Xin loi GI…….site still under construction…..please stay tuned for some pics Xuan Loc ARVN/US/VIET CONG Order of Battle
THIS IS THE ORDER OF BATTLE OF THE ALLIED FORCES AT XUAN LOC, HQ OF THE 18TH ARVN INFANTRY DIVISION. Originally designated the 10th ID that was changed when MACV realized to call something number 10 was say that thing was very bad.  It was composed of three Infantry Regiments, the 43d, the 48th and the 52d each having three Battalions.  It also had a Cav Regiment, the 5th, composed of three squadrons.  There was an Intell and Recon Company, as well as some artillery batteries.  Plus other assorted support units associated with a standard ID set up on the US model of the time. There were two US artillery unit there.  The 2/35/54th with six self propelled 155mm tubes in a triangular fort just north of the eastern end of the strip and the 7/9/54th and they had BIG GUNS, 175mm and 8 inchers, I think three of each.  They were situated at the east end of the air strip, just north of it.  Both units were on the edge of the town.  Between then and the ARVN they once in a while fired support of troops in contact but mostly fire at night, Harassment and Interdiction fire it was called.  They put out hundreds of rounds each night. One of my jobs was liaison with them to give the coordinates of targets to fire at, such a where my pilot say saw two fresh trails crossing each and good things like that. AS AN ASIDE, when I got there I at first wondered how I would sleep but after a few weeks it was just back ground noise, you just seem to sort of phase it out.  The odd thing was when we would get mortared that sound, incoming is different than outgoing, at night would wake me up out of a dead sleep and I would be running for our bunker even before the radio operator was on duty would hear it sound the siren.  Sirens to this day give me the willies as do loud noises and the whack-whack-whack sound of a helicopter. The 11th Armored CAV Regiment, while not actually in Xuan Loc was down Highway 2 about 8 klicks south.  They had three squadron, plus the normal contingents of support troops.  One squadron was always at their base camp, called Blackhorse, and ran road security between there and Xuan Loc and Bien Hoa, as did the ARVN CAV, while the other two were usually north of Saigon in the Michelin rubber plantation working with  other regular US Army units trying to find the mythical COSVN. HQ. During the course of my time there a SEABEE Team moved in and built themselves a compound at the at the other end of the airport from the Arty, where our planes were parked LITERALLY OVERNIGHT.  I think there were about 30 of them and their big machines.  They could do anything and I got to know them real well cause I was the go to guy if you wanted to fly in a BIRD DOG and help put in an air strike. AND THEN THERE WAS THE MACV [Military Assistance Command Vietnam] compound which while I was there was square maybe 200 yards or so on a side.  I heard it got bigger sometime after I left.   THIS IS WHERE THE SPOOKY PEOPLE LIVED.  There were the good folks of MACV Advisory Team 87 who advised the 18th ARVN, that is to say the miltary spooks, Then there was MACV Advisory Team 49 and they were really spooky as they were working with the civil administration of Long Khan Province [the “governor” was actually an ARVN Bird Colonel], The Vietnamese National Police [we called them the WHITE MICE due to the color of their shirts] and other dubious outfits as the Vietnamese Security Service.  Provincial Headquarters [it was totally separate from Division HQ in its own walled compound and big, many buildings]  is where the notorious Provincial Reconnaissance Units of the CIA ran PHOENIX PROGRAM [basically just assassination squads-GOOGLE IT] ] operated out off. This is where the jail was and a court, if you could call it that really just an interrogation center, justice was swift and silent.  The CORDS [Civilian Operations and Revolutionary Development Support-the operation they  ran was called the “Pacification Program”-ha ha ha] people were heavily involved in this area which was nominally a state department operation.  The MAT [Mobile Advisory Team–GOOGLE this one too] Teams were run by Team 49 also. They worked with RF/PF forces [Ruff-Puffs or Regional Force/Popular Force] and were essential scaled down Special Force teams of two officers and three sergeants who lived out in the middle of nowhere with the forces they worked with. SO WHO ACTUALLY LIVED IN THE MACV COMPOUND IN XUAN LOC?  Now keep in mind as we were spooks we lived high of the hog.  We had real showers, usually with at least warm water running, for shitters, two for the officers and two for the other ranks WITH FLUSH TOILETS, we did not burn our crap like grunts did.  Each hooch had a maid to wash your clothes, shine your boots and keep the place clean.  We had an EM Club and an Officers Club never got to see the inside of that one.  Our chow hall had two dining rooms in it; officers got served at table and us other ranks had to go thru the line but it was worth it as the Xuan Loc Mess Association got $15 from every body, every month, which paid for the hooch maids plus for the mess sergeant to buy  local food to supplement the army chow.  Lets see we had a movie theater and a concrete tennis court but usually the net was raised and volleyball was played on it, jungle rules, a couple of times bones got broken on it, usually officers there.  We had a HUGE generator as well as a MARS Station so you could even call home if you wanted.  I think I did that twice in all my months there.  I even had my own personal and private jeep due to the nature of the job. AT ANY RATE hooches were built for eight but most only held six.  FAC Team Kenny had two for us EM’s and we eventually connected them for use a day room or whatever that even had o big refrigerator in it which was used for nothing but beer and it was always well stocked.  I was a pot head so I only had one a day and then kept filling it up with water to try to hide my evil ways; it did not work.  Our officers had one whole hooch for four of them and the most beautiful maid on the compound.  My colonel [O-5--ligth colonel, not full bird]  had a room to himself, which also doubled as his/my office.  He was known as the Air Liaison Officer to the Commanding General, 18th ARVN.  I stupidly told him I could type.  His XO, a major, roomed with the Army major who was Senior Advisor G-2 [Intelligence].   These rooms were huge and looked like they  dated from the French days.   16 rooms all in a line, just like a 1950's motel except there were no windows, just doors, on both ends of the room. The building ran N/S and the rooms had no windows.  They had no  windows cuz I think that  meant grenades could not get tossed thru them and there were two doors, one east side, one west side, so if a bad guy was trying to get in one the occupants could use the other to get out.  The senior Army puke was a full bird [O-6] colonel and was known as Senior Advisor to the Commanding General, 18th ARVN.  NOW KEEP IN MIND, there were 11 ARVN ID s plus a MARINE ID and one AIR CAV division, in total, and every one had the same OB or Table of Organization.  The only other O-5 colonel besides mine was the G-3 advisor [Operations].  G-1 [Personal] and G-4 [supply] were majors [O-4].  In Vietnamese were were all collectively Co Van Mi [meaning American Advisor].  Each G had American staff working for him and were also Co Van Mi and each had his counterpart who usually outranked the American slightly.  A couple of more officers and maybe six other ranks, maybe forty or so in all scattered over the 4 G s.  Then we had the SIGNAL guys, radio ops, line men and repairmen, a reduced platoon sized unit or so with an 1st LT [O-2] in charge and they were 1st Signal Brigade, NOT MACV, just worked for them.  Very powerful though cause if you phone did not work you were fucked. So for example there was the G-2 hooch and G-3 hooch right on the NW corner of the compound and the were all heads so that was where the smokers congregated at night.  Forgot the medics, we had no doctor per se, but three medics and a huge underground medical bunker, just in case.  If you were nice to them Lomitil [sp?? For diarrhea] Darvon [for pain] white cross [dexedrine if you wanted to stay up for a few days] penicillium [if you got the clap] and gamma globulin [Hepatitis] and rabies vaccination were their specialties.  They had the hooch right across the way from the Air Farce hooch which they had sectioned off into three private sleeping rooms and a front room where if you liked to play poker it was open 24/7 for as long as I was there.   Then there were the two CIA agents [ROB and BOB whose cover was they were Iowa pig farmers working for USAID and teaching the Vietnamese to do the same, like they needed help.  They had there own private VERY FUCKING SECURE TOP SECRET CRYPTO commo link to Saigon run by three GI s who never had to do anything except send in half a dozen reports every month.  They were authorized to KILL the bird colonel, the senior advisor, if he tried to get into the little radio shack which was sand bagged, surrounded by barbed-wire and claymores.  I used to smoke pot in there a lot with Sponge the E-6 who was in charge of that shack; safest place on the compound to do that. We had four Koreans or ROK’s attached to the 18th ARVN, a Captain and three senior sergeants and their general opinion of Vietnamese was not very high, in fact they did not even think of them as humans, just dogs.  They were all at least brown belts in Tae Kwon Do and there job was to take on a platoon of ARVN for a few weeks and try to not kill any of them while teaching them various hand to hand killing techniques.  Nasty fellows but we got along well because I could get them a ride in the back seat of our planes whenever they wanted.  They in turn let me sit in on some of their “training” sessions with the ARVN as one of their students.  They were very gentle and patient with myself but with the ARVNs they sometimes broke bones and sent people to the hospital.  Their captain had on of the 16 rooms in “the motel” to his own and the three sergeants lived alone together in “The Korean Hooch”.  I occasionally drank with them but they never smoked pot. During one drunken stupor with them they admitted to even almost liking me as they thought I might have been Korean in one of my past lives, plus I had good discipline, meaning I could drink them under the table.  Generally there were around 50,000 Koreans stationed in Vietnam at any one given time along the coast-Qui Nhon, Chu Lai, Cam Rhan Bay, Tuy Hoa from 1964-5 thru 1973.  Around 600,000 Koreans served during the American War in Vietnam.  A number of massacres of civilians have been attributed to them and I do not doubt that in the least.  They had more troops in country at any time than any of our other allies.  They were very brutal according to all reports I have heard, considering the Vietnamese to be sub-humans.  They suffered any where from 3800-5000+ KIA while killing TEN times those number in the years they were there.  The one that were in Xuan Loc lived the life of Riley. 60,000 Australian served in Vietnam during the course of the American War plus a few Kiwis’s. At any given time there were around 7600 there with their boots on the ground. The Australian Base Camp [I forget what they called it] was in Phuoc Tuy province, capital Ba Ria, where in was also located The Cape St. Jacques, or in Vietnamese, VUNG TAU, which was nothing but beach [but more about that later].  As such they needed a liaison team to work with the 18th ARVN as they did joint operations as well as other more spooky things.  Their team CO was a Captain and his XO was a Kiwi [New Zealander] LT plus there were four other ranks on the team.  While the liaised with Team 87 and the 18th ARVN they actively worked with Team 49, the CORDS/CIA folks in the pacification program, in other words they were real spooky, and had learned from their daddies and uncles who had been in Malaysia during the bad times there.  Again, GOOGLE the Phoenix Program.  The two officer had to share a room in the Xuan Loc Motel [poor babies] and the four other ranks had a whole 8 man hooch to themselves. They were some of the craziest mother fuckers I ever met.  I should have immigrated to The Land of OZ back in the early seventies [thought about it but never did] as I would have been right at home, spot on as it were.  Every other day one of their choppers would come in with mail and FOSTERS, a DOZEN cases every BLOODY DAY !!!  And once again, you wanted to fly in a BIRD DOG and help put in an air strike, I was the go to guy, the travel agent as it were, so that is how I got my first taste of FOSTERS.  Do not try to drink an Australian under the table, and that is all I have to say about that.  Occasionally, one or two of them might show up after sundown where us HEADS hung out in the NW corner of the compound, begging:  “Hey MATE, I need a few puffs.....its been a rough day for this old cobber.....I brought some FOSTERS.....??”  They were always welcome.  Even one of their officers might  show up once in a blue moon but never with the other ranks. LET ME DIGRESS A LITTLE BIT ABOUT XUAN LOC INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT as it was fondly known as.   Dirt runway, crowned for drainage, 5500 feet long, it could even take a C-123.  When if visited Xuan Loc in 2005 if was just an overgrown field, the landing strip no longer there.  But in the day there was even a control tower manned by US Army types of that MOS even,  we had so much traffic, even civilian planes flew in and out, at least during the day. Due to the proximity of the bush on the south side and the possibility of nasty bad guys  , night time traffic usually did not happen.  On the west end I where the planes were parked when not flying there were twelve revetment, one for each of the 12 military planes in permanent residence.  8 of these were painted Olive Drab, four belonging to the US Army and four to the VNAF [Viet Nam Air Force].   These were known as L-19 s and were of Korean War vintage.  There only radio capability was FM [Fox Mike] which was only for ground to ground communications.  They were essentially used for radio relay when the ARVN had troops on the ground; the ground talked to them and they relayed back to HQ.    They mostly did reconnaissance but if need be they could spot for the arty if the troops they were baby sitting came  in contact with the bad guys.  They did have four rocket tubes under each wing and where as the Air Force was only allowed Willy Pete [white phosphorus ] to mark targets, the L-19 carried HE [High Explosive rounds-2.75 incher].   Their call sign was ALOFT WHATEVER  and CWO-4 Pappy Devine, ALOFT 34, was legend  [Pappy deserves his own story and I will tell it someday but it is too long and involved to get into it here.....I FLEW WITH HIM THREE TIMES and then said NEVER FUCKING MORE....you will love this story of this mensch].  They however were NOT ALLOWED TO CONTROL AIR STRIKES, that was the job of KENNY CONTROL and the USAF which was why we were there; we were the specialist in that area AND WE KNEW HOW TO DO OUR JOB. The four Air Force planes that were stationed there were known as O-1 model G s and Model H s.  The only difference that I could tell was that the G model only mounted two rockets under each wing while the H model had 4.  Again, we were only allowed to carry WP not HE, but what the fuck we got to work with the fast movers and that was mush more fun than just arty, which in a pince we could control also.  The other differences were that we had a little better engine plus beside FM, which was just for air to ground commo, we had VHF and UHF radio capability, which meant we could talk to the fast movers.   When we put in an air strike it was mostly Phantoms [F-4 s] or Freedom Fighters [ F-5 s which were usually VNAF] although occasionally, especially if we had troops in contact,  we worked with Sky Raidiers [A-1E s—propeller driven Korean War shit could loiter over a target forever] or even Puff The Magic Dragon [C-47 s with gatling guns call sign SPOOKY].   Sometimes we even controlled Army Huey Gunships or Cobras [heavily armed helicopters] but if that was the case the shit was really hitting the fan on the ground.  As a result of this I did cross train and now know how to help re-arm and refuel a DOG and get it back in the air di-di mau. SO AT ANY RATE there were four army pilot living in the MACV compound, all WARRENT OFFICERS not real ones so they didn’t get to live in the Xuan Loc Motel but  they did had their own 8 man hooch which was quite luxurious.  Each of there planes had a crew chief and they too had a whole 8 man hooch to themselves.   Professionals do get some perks. We had two doctors living in the MACV compound but they worked in the local civilian hospital and were both Phillippinos.  They shared a room in the XUAN LOC MOTEL and we never saw much of them as they got to eat in the officers mess AND THEN WE HAD OUR QUICK REACTION FORCE which comprised of s sergeat E-5 [A VERY GOOD BUDDY OF MINE, A HOME BOY FROM DETROIT but that is another story] and twelve underlings [Combat Infantryman-- Army Military Occupational Speciality–MOS 11-BRAVO] who had spent a few months out in the bush, stepped on their wangers some how, and ended up in Xray Lima.  The Big Apps, the E-5 had his own room, and the 12 in his squad had bunks in the rest of the 8 man hooch.  It was in the head corner and they ALL WERE and is was sure better than being out in the bush.  And never once did they have to quick react.  APPS also had a dozen Vietnamese troopers to complete this quick reaction force and they lived in two tents, but hey, what they heck, they were gooks [sorry, just what we called them in the day.] These were the only Vietnamese that lived in the MACV compound. APPS was in charge of a lot of things besides being the MAYOR of the NW corner, that is HEAD CITY when the sun went down.  Due to his influence there were not racial tensions, no heroin, and lots of pot, and everything was cool.  When he left he made it be known that I WAS NOW THE MAYOR of HEAD CITY   [but that and HE deserves a stand alone story and it will be told]. Then we had the guys who made sure the compound ran smoothly.  The in-charge was a captain who had been out in the bush for a few months and could not hack it.  Got to many of his men killed so they sent him to Xuan Loc and he made sure our septic tanks for our fluch toilets got pumped out on shedule, made sure the mail room functioned, the MARS station worked, movies were shown every night, the EM and Officer’s Club never ran out of booze, the front and back gates always had guards on the to say nothing of making sure a few poor souls were walking the perimeter at night, that the PX was always well stocked.  I think he had a dozen flunkies working for him doing various jobs of this sort.  The only one I remember got insulted by the goats that cut our grass, cause the shit in front of his office door every morning, and so he had them off.....god what was that shit heads name???   AT ANY RATE THAT IS ANOTHER STORY. BUT I HAVE NOT MENTIONED THE TRUE HERO, THE GUYS WHO [and here I am going use some words that might offend and make you think I am some sort of racist but believe me that is not the case......but you had to have been there to understand I have NOTHING BUT LOVE in my heart when I use the term GOOK.] AS I MENTIONED BEFORE there were 3 regiments, each with nine battalions, plus five MAT teams, and each of these units had 3-5 CO VAN MI s imbedded in them.  THEY lived, ate, shat, slept, worked and thought like GOOKS.  THEY DID NOT LIVE IN THE MACV COMPOUND THAT I DID, for them it was someplace they went for a day or two of R & R.   And when they did get a few days off from the bush they were always welcome in HEAD CITY and most of them sought us out, so I know their stories first hand.  They were not Special Forces just straight legs grunts who got put in a job that most were not trained for, but learned rapidly or died.  Imagine being one of only five Americans surrounded by 100, 300, 1000 gooks and wondering if you were going to wake up in the morning, 50 miles away from any help, except maybe if you could get your radio to work a little gray mosquito might show up overhead and some how save your dead ass.  These guys for the most part were not professional soldiers, just guys that got caught up by the war and did what they were told to do.  Now 50 years later they are still wondering what it is all about and so am I.  On that note I think if will end this story. Keep in mind these guys numbered maybe seventy for each Vietnamese Division times 13 equals less than a 1000 boots on the ground for each year of the war.  Their job was to WORK with the gooks [AGAIN apologize for using racist terms but I am a gook myself so what can I say??]  NOT kill them.  What chance did they have when there were another 500,000 Americans there whose only job was to SAT CONG [that kill gooks in Vietnamese].  Is it any wonder we who had this task are embittered and the other 98% still have NO CLUE.  I AM A GOOK......so kill me if you still have hate in your heart....I have nothing but love in mine.