I was stationed at Ft. Bragg with the 7th Special Forces Group in early 1963, training
and leading a French language study group. I was detailed to help move an A Team to
an airfield in Georgia for transport to Viet Nam one Saturday. When I got back to Bragg in
the evening I had a message to report to the group office where I learned I had been
assigned to another A Team as a replacement and would be shipping out on Monday. I spent
all day Sunday getting packed, attending to paperwork, getting all my shots and letting
family know that I was on my way to the Far East.
I don't remember too much about the trip over except that we had a 2-day layover at the
airfield in Hawaii while a spare part was found for the plane so we could continue.
Eventually we landed in Saigon and the were flown up to Nha Trang where we got organized
before moving on to our camp at Gia Vuc.
The camp was in a river valley straddling a dirt road. There was a flat area between
the camp and the river that had a grass air strip, across the river, there was a range of
mountains, and just behind the camp was a large hill that overlooked the whole valley. The
camp consisted of several buildings of Bamboo, Thatched roofs and woven mat walls. The
floors were dirt. Our Team and a counterpart Vietnamese Special Forces team occupied the
two biggest. There were also assorted bunkers, watchtowers, and storage buildings. One of
the buildings was an old stone building left over from the French era. Once we cleaned out
the old grain and accompanying rats, we used this building for our medical facility.
During the time we were there our primary duty was as instructors to the VN SF and to
the local Montagnards troops who came from the surrounding villages, three of which were
near the camp. The rest of the time we accompanied the troops on patrols of the
surrounding area or manned the outpost on the hill behind the camp. I spent a lot of my
time driving the trucks to the river to fill the water trailer and to get sand and
gravel for sandbags and building. There were also trips to nearby forest to cut bamboo and
beetle nut palms for use in building barracks for the local troops.