The Battle of Kontum Banner Image



Great site...I was a C/E with the 170th Buccaneers @ Kontum from 1970 to 1971 when the unit was decommissioned. Platoon leader was Capt. Knight. My A/C was CWO2 Willie. I left country in Feb. 1971.

David Hooper <>
Highland, MD USA - Tuesday, December 31, 2002 at 08:28:36 (PST)

Jack: What a masterpiece. I have been here for seven hours now tring to absorb all of the information you have on this site. I was the C.O. 57th AHC in Kontum from feb to aug 69. Have some pre battle stories that i will provide you at a later date. I also walked the Kontum runway in October 2001. Also the 57th has a reunion eveery 2 years. Maybe you can come to the next one. Like to talk to you about several other things at a later date. Again thanks for a trip back in time. I was the Adj of the 52nd for a time also.

James "Ted" Kearns <>
Platteville, WI USA - Sunday, December 29, 2002 at 22:23:16 (PST)

Great site. I was temporarily assigned to Pleiku during all of this fighting, and was there the night John Vann was killed. Its very true that everone who knew John Vann developed a deep sense of respect for his courage and knowledge. We flew Airborn Radio Relay with the U-21's out of Long Thanh North (1st Sig Bde Avn Det. Mike Kelly

Mike Kelly <>
NC USA - Saturday, December 28, 2002 at 17:03:36 (PST)

Tour of duty 67/68 Kontum 2/1 Cav. Interesting site,brought back memories. We had secuity on QL14 and I believe east end of runway at Kontum.Any pictures of our firebase road past MACV compound east to the jungle about 1 mile?

mike ervin <>
new phildelphia, oh USA - Friday, December 27, 2002 at 13:07:48 (PST)

Uncle Jack: Thank you so much for all of your work in putting together this memoir and tribute to a tumultuous time in US history. As you know, my brother Dave fought in Vietnam as a Marine. He was just a young guy, maybe 18 years old. Though he is doing great today, with a beautiful family and a job of 25 years, upon his return from Vietnam he was seemingly lost to all of us. Your website helped give me a small window into the unimaginable horrors that he and others like you and him went through during the war. Thank you again for this incredible contribution to the memory of a time that admittedly most Americans seem to want to forget. Much love, your niece Lisa Lavoie Harlow

Lisa Lavoie Harlow <>
RI USA - Thursday, December 26, 2002 at 06:42:31 (PST)

I was an army air traffic controller w/ the 366th ASD in Dak To during 68-69 until the 366th was xferred to LZ Oasis w/ the 1st Bde, 4th Inf. Div. I then went to the 360th ASD at Camp Enari w/ the GCA radar. Excellent site. Welcome Home.

Michael Greenberg <>
New City, NY USA - Monday, December 23, 2002 at 09:42:23 (PST)

Vietnam War Records users register as a Web Watcher. Once registered, Vietnam War Records users receive an e-alert - an e-mail message containing the text of "Lost and Found" Web Watcher Activations to any e-mail account they specify. Web Watchers may unsubscribe at any time.

Vietnam War Records
USA - Monday, December 23, 2002 at 00:11:41 (PST)

Thank you for the wonderful history of a very meaningful event in my lifetime. Ironically, it was an event that I did not even know about until you made me aware of it. I was one of those young women back at home when this battle took place. Please know that I am deeply grateful to all of the men and women who fought, were injured - mentally and/or physically, and for those who died for all of the rest of us. You are not forgotten. I appreciate you.

Darlene Blake
USA - Thursday, December 19, 2002 at 08:20:49 (PST)

Fabulous site !!! Great history recorded and preserved. Congrats.

Owen W Mahony <>
Warwick, RI USA - Tuesday, December 17, 2002 at 05:28:57 (PST)

I made it, Jack. Excellent site, a true service to those who served. Well done, and here's to you!

Lew Bryson <>
Langhorne, PA USA - Saturday, December 14, 2002 at 12:08:38 (PST)

I am glad to sign in this nice web site as a guest. See ya!

Sms Bilder
USA - Sunday, December 08, 2002 at 12:13:39 (PST)

I was in Kontum, Dec 1968 thru Apr 1969. I was with the 1st Field Force Vietnam attached to the 4th Inf Div Armored. We were the Counter Mortar/Target Acquisition folks (Q-10). Lots of rockets, 122 type. LZ Mary Lou (175 and 8 inch) was down the road aways.

Richard M. Gilliland <>
El Paso, TX USA - Thursday, December 05, 2002 at 21:03:46 (PST)

Hey, I love your page. One of the very few with some real content.

USA - Thursday, December 05, 2002 at 08:33:23 (PST)

Jack, I wonder if you remember me? I was a WO1 Avionics Maintenance Officer attatched to HHC, but assigned to the 57th AHC, 17th Aviation Group at Camp Holloway. I sure remember you and the daily 17th Aviation Group briefings from June 1972 until your departure. This site is proof to the caption under your picture in the 1972 "Year Book" of HHC, "Let me tell you about the battle of Kontum" Anything on Maj Thomas or Cpt Mitchell where abouts? I retired from active duty a CW4 in 1990. Send your email address. Miles

Miles A. Riggall <>
Homer, NY USA - Wednesday, December 04, 2002 at 14:16:58 (PST)

Been there and done that. CE, 495 Dec 70 through Dec 71' leaving country Feb 14 72

Lawrence Burbridge <>
CT USA - Monday, December 02, 2002 at 05:07:28 (PST)

Sir, Welcome home my Brother! Ya did Great. I served with the 101st at Camp Evans with 4/77th ARA (Snakes). Thank you for keeping our HISTORY alive and truthful!

Marvin (Swashplate) Camp <>
lagrange, Ga USA - Monday, December 02, 2002 at 03:57:28 (PST)

Jack: Great site, lots of information, I spent time in this area in the spring of 69, 4th Inf Div. 1/69 th Armor, I was a crew member for 4.2 mortor in APC. Spent time at Polei Kleng we called it LZ Bass, this was the same time frame of the first NVA tank battle at Ben Het. Keep up the good work and welcome home.

Jerry Christein <>
Pa. USA - Friday, November 29, 2002 at 07:22:42 (PST)

Good site! Very well done indeed. Enjoyed it very much. Best wishes! :-)

USA - Thursday, November 28, 2002 at 13:23:55 (PST)

I served with the 1st. Cav, Co. D 1/12th during the Easter Offensive and witnessed many of the events on the excellent website of Jack Heslin. There is not much information I can gather over the years on our unit. I have scanned some declassified documents concerning our unit and the TOW missles we were quickly trained to fire. These documents were "For Eyes Only" and addressed to Gen. Abrams, Vann, etc. We guarded several areas with jeep mountd TOWs that had originally been sent hastily over from the 82nd Airborne Div. Also watched the NVA overrun several firebases from our compound. Not exactly sure where I was, just being a lowly 18yr. old Grunt at the time. We moved a lot during this time. Any links or information anyone may have on D 1/12th at Tan Canh would be appreciated. My hats definitly off to Lt. Col. John G. "Jack" Heslin (Retired). Thanks for the fine job/website.

William B. Page <>
Lafayette, LA USA - Tuesday, November 26, 2002 at 12:05:40 (PST)
[ View William B. Page's Contribution to the Memories Book ]

I've always been interested in knowing more about the battles of Khe Sanh, Kontum, and An Loc. Thank you very much for providing a very good web site about the Battle of Kontum. R e s p e c t f u l l y , A Vietnamese American

A Vietnamese American
Rosemead, CA USA - Wednesday, November 20, 2002 at 13:20:53 (PST)

Jack: What a wonderful piece of work. Bill and I just discovered it today and will spend hours digesting the contents. Much love to you and Jean and the kids. Lynda Allanach

Lynda Allanach <>
Fort Worth, TX USA - Tuesday, November 19, 2002 at 12:24:17 (PST)

Great site. I spent an hour or more just reading and moving. I served in the II Corp area in 69/70. Flew the whole area in an unarmed OH-58. Working with the Arc Lights and Arty Commands. I really love the maps, it made everything come back strong. Many Memories, some good and some not so good.

Ralph Newberry <>
Delta, UT USA - Thursday, November 14, 2002 at 17:23:23 (PST)

Welcome home ALL. I worked in the emergency room of the 71st Evac Hosp in Pleiku and received wounded from Kontum and Dak To in Nov 67. God bless you all

Bill Herndon <>
Coker Creek, TN USA - Tuesday, November 12, 2002 at 09:01:39 (PST)

Thank You! My daughter called from CA because my grandson needed info for school assignment. Mailed her your site. Am confident true shot. Her godfather deceased veteran,Phu Lac, 172 F.A.,1968-1969. Am greatful to you.

D.A. "Pat" Patnode <>
Munsonville, NH USA - Tuesday, November 12, 2002 at 03:31:17 (PST)

was in Plikue 66-67 3/8 4th Inf div.Dragoons great site ,Welcome Home Brothers

Ernest Carver <>
Boothbay Harbor, Me. USA - Sunday, November 10, 2002 at 11:02:43 (PST)

Numba One website! Gives some info to us vets who were LONG-GONE from the Nam and "Back on the block throwing rocks" in Spring '72! I never got to Kontum myself, just Pleiku-An Khe & bush in 1969-70. My website DOES have a present-day pic or two Kontum in it, though. WANTED: Audiotapes/CDs of Vietnam radio traffic, fire missions, firefights, incoming, cockpit tapes, AFVN, etc. Also Vietnam home movies on VHS and camcorder tapes of revisits to the Central Highlands. I have beaucoup same-same to trade and can email my list. Sin Loi!

Jim Claeys <>
Akron, OH USA - Sunday, November 10, 2002 at 07:37:45 (PST)

Thank you for giving me the oppurtunity to learn more about the Vietnam War. I found your site interesting and well-made. You're courage and bravery amazes me and the amount of medals you have earned is breath-taking! God Bless.

Caroline Hanly, Susan Hanly's daughter <>
Westford, MA USA - Wednesday, November 06, 2002 at 17:17:40 (PST)

Jack---thanks for the excellent site. I was on the aviation staff at II Corps HQ from May to Sep 1971 with MAJ Hendricks (working for COL Snell and BG Wear) after Mr. Vann moved us from Nha Trang. I also did a short stint with C/7/17 in An Khe and on IFFV Aviation staff in Nha Trang. I respected Mr. Vann highly, and was very saddened by his death. It took many years until reading Neil Sheehan's book that I knew what happened, and your excellent site adds to the full story.

Dan Reigle <>
Cincinnati, OH USA - Sunday, November 03, 2002 at 19:02:23 (PST)

Brings back old memories some of them not so good. Was in the area 69-70. Call signs Panther 222 (361st), Gator 13 (119th AHC) and Bikini 27 (170th AHC). Based in Kontum in 1970. Nine months in support of FOB II operations. Ben Het and points west.

Larry S. Atwood <>
Midlothian, VA USA - Saturday, November 02, 2002 at 13:01:03 (PST)

Jack - Great Work!! I'll be back.

Jack McHale <>
Chester, VA USA - Wednesday, October 30, 2002 at 20:12:35 (PST)

I was a crew chief on F-100's @ Phan Rang AFB RVN from 1968 - 70. I became a civilian returned to RVN until Dec 1974; I worked for Lockheed Aircraft Service (LAS), NHA Inc and Lear Siegler Inc. (LSI) worked in: Phan Rang, Tuy Hoa, Quhinion, Phu Bay, Huey, Quan Tree, Bin Hoa, Phu Loi and Tan Son Nhut. Four of my children were born in RVN.

John Fernandez <>
Corona, CA USA - Wednesday, October 30, 2002 at 15:23:26 (PST)

I am amazed.What a site to visit. I've been here for hours since I came here looking for a map.I not only found the map including my FB DAK TO II but, after 32 years, what the terrain looked like all around me. I never looked at a map while in nam. I just ran through the raining 82mm's to the track and hit the pedal, pumped out the 40 mike mike's til we had to move the track off the brass pilling up under the track and fired some more. Did this several times a day for weeks when FSB6 was overrun about april-may 71.I can't wait to tell my buddies about this site. God bless you sir. Anyone with info on DAK TO II ' 71 please contact me.

John Katich Jr. <>
Pittsburgh, Pa. USA - Thursday, October 24, 2002 at 11:55:04 (PDT)

I was with the 57th Assault from Jul71-Jul72. I was in 1st PLT( Fat Albert ) until they activated a 3rd lift Plt called lavander flight.Remember the battle of Kontum well. Remember the night JohnPaul Vann (drunk on his ass) made his personal pilot fly back to Pleiku in the dark and made them both a smoking hole in the ground. Ruined a perfectly good OH-58 and lost a good pilot. Keep up the good work. The web sight is awesome.

Tom Schalk <>
Houston, TX USA - Saturday, October 12, 2002 at 18:07:42 (PDT)

Jack, This is a great site. I will be visting it many more times. Joe Fleming , 1st of the 14th 4th Infantry Division 1967-1968. Central Highlands, Pleiku

Joe Fleming <>
Chester, VA USA - Wednesday, October 09, 2002 at 07:46:40 (PDT)

I came across your site by accident, but stayed to read, and kept coming back to read more. An excellent presentation of a time and place I never been to, but now you brought the events to light clearly. I thank each and everyone who served there and especially those who never came home. Thanks for sharing your knowledge of this battle. Great work.

Ken Simkins <>
Anchorage, AK USA - Thursday, October 03, 2002 at 11:53:16 (PDT)

Mr. Heslin, a huge thanks. What else can I say.

steve o'bar <>
Frisco, tx USA - Saturday, September 21, 2002 at 04:58:49 (PDT)

Mr. Heslin, It was a pleasure meeting you at Joe's wedding reception. I can now see where he inherited his gift for telling a good story. The web site is wonderful and it seems to be connecting a lot of lives, judging from the feedback. Please keep up the good work so that others may benefit from your experiences. Best regards.

Ian Coates <>
Richmond, VA USA - Thursday, September 19, 2002 at 20:54:40 (PDT)

Jack, I've read, and reread your site, and you are to be congratulated. You've done a tremendous job! But as Bill Reeder says, sometimes things are not quite described accurately, and for years I've tried to find a way to maybe "set the record straight" about a couple of things I've seen in print about the fighting around Ben Het during those early days of May, 1972. But then, no one has ever sought out me or my fellow advisor at Ben Het, Robert C. Sparks, to get an eye witness account. (We had been at Ben Het since early March, 1972. Bob left in mid-June, albeit involuntarily, after being wounded in the stomach by shell fragments. Myself, though hit by fragments from the same artillery round that got Bob, was sent back to Ben Het a week later--on crutches--and stayed until the US advisor effort was finally ended in October, 1972.) I imagine, though, except for those directly involved in the fighting there, the Battle for Ben Het doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things. However, as with Bill, those who were there are perhaps entitled to get just a little nit picky about the "details." Ben Het 'n Lovin' it. Mark Truhan in Vermont LTC Armor, USAR (Still serving)

Mark Truhan <Mark Truhan--Patty Swanson >
USA - Monday, September 16, 2002 at 20:30:32 (PDT)
[ View Mark Truhan's Contribution to the Memories Book ]

Your site is one of the rare sites that tells something good about the fighting spirit of the ARVN, and in a so convincing manner as it is backed up with documents and first-hand testimonies of someone who had participated directly in the battle. Prior to your two tours in Vietnam, my brother was the chief of staff of the II Corps in Pleiku. His name was Colonel Nguyen Van Hieu. He left Pleiku in June 1966 to become commander of the 22d Infantry Division in Qui Nhon then in August 1969, commander of the 5th Infantry Division. You might have heard of him. Because he was rather low-key, not many people knew about him. I have set up a web site about him, to make him known to the public, Vietnamese as well as American. You are cordially invited to visit it at . It offers a revealing insight of the ARVN and provides a unique perspective of the Vietnam War.

Tin Nguyen <>
Bronx, NY USA - Monday, September 09, 2002 at 21:39:15 (PDT)

I enjoyed your website on the Battle of Kontum tremendously. What a great effort! And what an important undertaking. Thanks much for capturing so much of this history. I was particularly impressed with your account of my shootdown at Ben Het on 9 May 72. I was surprised, however, to see me described as running from the aircraft. My back was badly broken with impingement of the spinal cord, and I was wounded in the ankle. I could only barely crawl for most all that day after the crash. The best eye witness to the whole thing was the American advisor at Ben Het, Mark Truhan. Pardon my being so nit picky about some of the details. Again, thanks so much for the effort you are putting into this project. It is much appreciated. Best of luck with this great web page. Bill Reeder

Bill Reeder <William S. Reeder, Jr. >
USA - Thursday, September 05, 2002 at 04:58:31 (PDT)

Excellent job journaling the Kontum/Pleiku battles. I was one of the pilots (Gladiator 13)on the 9 May trip to Ben Het with the crates of anti-tank weapons. We were all kissing our behinds good-bye that day, but somehow some of us made it through - thanks to the two gunships that took a beating and paid a price keeping the NVA off us. This episode is, as they say, vividly burned in my mind. I can remember breaking the tree line and seeing the burning T-59 in front of us; flying over the wire and taking fire from inside their perimeter; hovering over the CP while the crates were pushed out; staring at the ground through the windscreen after the RPG exploded on the rise our tail boom was hanging out over (the explosion threw the tail boom high in the air putting us in a nose down attitude for about a second); leveling the aircraft and continuing to sit there as the last two crates were then pushed out; flying out over the destroyed PT-76 and seeing the first Cobra pull in front to cover us only to get laced by a 51 and it's compressor section erupt in flames and them go down; turning to overfly them and seeing them both slumped over the controls; turning again to break over the tree line and hearing the 2nd Cobra getting hit; doing a cyclic climb for altitude and listening for sounds, especially around the tail boom attaching point area, to try to determine if we sustained any critical damage - we didn't, but didn't know for sure what our status was 'til we got to Kontum. WE were lucky!!!!!

John Kujawa <>
USA - Sunday, September 01, 2002 at 17:17:16 (PDT)
[ View John Kujawa's Contribution to the Memories Book ]

Found your site while searching for any references to Ben Het during the period 1970-1971. I was assigned to MACV Team 21 as an advisor to the ARVN Ranger Group based in Pleiku during that time. From February 1971 through the end of my tour in June 1971 we ran ground ops from Polei Kleng up to Tan Canh, Dak To, and Ben Het. Lost 2 US Ranger advisors in heavy fighting March 1971 between Polei Kleng and Ben Het. Hitched many rides in & out of those places, as well as Firebase 6 and Firebase 5. Spent much time huddled in Ben Het waiting for the 28th, 40th, and 66th NVA Reg'ts to wipe us off the map. Also saw BG Wear and John Paul Vann (he had an extraordinary presence despite what Neil Sheehan wrote)Your narrative and map are well done and made fascinating reading. Many of us owe our lives to those gutsy pilots from Ghost Riders, Gladiators, and Alligators. One of my former counterparts, ARVN Ranger MAJ Thanh, was at Ben Het when it fell to the NVA in 1972. He survived to E&E, survived the final battles in 1975, then survived 14 years in hard labor & solitary confinement. Met him two years ago in Wash.DC. at a Ranger reunion. Just one of hundreds, thousands, of gripping stories. Also remember CPT Robert Stroud 92d Assault Helicopter Co. whose skills as a pilot saved us in a horrifying crash on Hwy 14 south of Tan Canh. (truly believed my time had come) Happened the same day Firebase 6 was overrun. Thank you for posting this excellent piece of work. RLTW

Karl Fee <>
Stevens Point, WI USA - Friday, August 30, 2002 at 21:04:55 (PDT)

I was with MACV based in Kontum in 70-71. Worked with the 22nd Vietnamese Infantry and 14th Cav RVN. Lived in Polei Kleng, Tan Cahn, Ben Het, spent time on FSB 5, 6, lovely spots. Stumbled on this site by accident looking for a map of the Ben Het area. Great site.

Hugh Preacher <>
Frisco, Tx USA - Thursday, August 22, 2002 at 15:12:57 (PDT)

I was with the 52nd Security Force out of Camp Holloway in 70-71. I remember being flown into Kontum several times to beef-up manpower on the perimeter line. This site brings back memories.

Glenn Haccou
San Lorenzo, CA USA - Thursday, August 22, 2002 at 12:07:55 (PDT)

Served in A Troop scouts as pilot & platoon commander late April '70-early July '71. Very thorough and well done presentation of the battle. Knowing the terrain intimately as I did, the experience H Troop et. al. went through curled my toes, even 30 years later.

Chuck Belanger <>
La Grange, IL USA - Wednesday, August 21, 2002 at 16:52:24 (PDT)

Jack, Thanks for the site I was with B-Trp To H-Trp Sept 71 thru Sept 72 scout Plt, Ce/Ob yes it brought back a lot of memorys, glad you told the story. Like Dennis said we lost a lot of fine people let us never forget them.

Jimmy W. Gibson <>
Pine Bluff, Ar USA - Wednesday, August 21, 2002 at 16:28:12 (PDT)
[ View Jimmy W. Gibson's Contribution to the Memories Book ]

Jack--Terrific piece of history. I flew with A Troop, 7/17th in '69/'70. I knew very little of the Battle of Kontum--your site certainly does justice to the bravery of all involved. Incidently, the snake pilot you mentioned, CPT Bill Reeder was a POW and released. I knew Bill at Ft Sill--he sustained a back injury in his crash. Thanks again for this stirring account.

Ralph Paduano <>
Olympia, WA USA - Wednesday, August 21, 2002 at 09:25:35 (PDT)

A very nice and interesting site. Well Done. Regards Joop SubVet

Joop <>
the Netherlands - Monday, August 19, 2002 at 02:29:55 (PDT)

This is a very good site thanks for the work you and your family and friends have done..I served with C Troop 7/17 Cav ( Areo Scout)69-70 was shot down in the 506th Vally and medivaced.After my recovery i returned to Vietnam and was assigned to 201st Avn.Corp.( RED BARONS )And was a crew chief for John Paul Vann untill his crash at Kontum .I recall Mr.Vann returning to Nha Trang with the back of the OH-58 full of Vietnamese and pigs ."what a mess"But he help me clean the aircraft.thanks for the memories.

ronald strickland <>
Tennessee Ridge, TN USA - Sunday, August 18, 2002 at 19:40:03 (PDT)

Very interesting sight. As a physician advising the current gov. in Vietnam and spending the last 15 years on-off in the central highlands, mainly Kham-duc- dak to -kontum, konplong (current rd 24) and down rd 14 b south (pleiku, an Khe, the pass, Che reo...), its quiet hard to imagine how all these things took place in such difficult times. Moving in these areas these days one cannot ommit the fact that although wars and time has passed, so little changes took place in this area, even today. However, to the ones of you who had fought in the places mentioned, come and visit them today. The towns have def. changed, however the villages and the sights are still stunning as most probably they used to be ~40 yrs ago. Dr. Kot Rafi

Dr. Kot Raphael <>
HCMC, Vietnam.... - Monday, July 29, 2002 at 05:39:27 (PDT)

Jack, it was great meeting you at the Vegas Reunion. I was the crewchief that took Ron Taylors place on 554. I just got back from Vegas today and look forward to going through this site. Also to Frank Allen, I remembered you as I was at the 604th as a crewchief on Highlander 604 a UH-1H belonging to the 604th. I couldn't remember your name until I read your guest entry though. I was orginally from San Diego and go back there often as I have family there. Get me your number and the next time I'm there I will give you a call. Many Thanks to Scott Fenwick for inviting me to the reunion. It was great.

Wayne Evans Sr. <>
Denham Springs, LA USA - Sunday, July 07, 2002 at 19:28:51 (PDT)

You have obviously touched alot of people by creating this site. Great job in conveying the battle of Kontum.

David Lavoie <>
Simi Valley, Ca USA - Wednesday, July 03, 2002 at 23:48:50 (PDT)

I was a WO1 pilot with your old outfit, the 119th AHC, from Nov 69 until the Nov 70 when she was deactivated. Callsign Gator 25. We were located in An Khe for 'most all of '70; yet still spent a lot of time working Kontum to Ben Het to Dak Pek and that entire area. Your recounts and pictures of the area brought back some powerful and vivid memories. Many of your old "Gator Boys" visit each other at: Drop by and visit anytime. "Pickett"

Dennis Wilson <>
Thermopolis, WY USA - Wednesday, June 26, 2002 at 18:49:59 (PDT)

My name is Slate Farris, my father Gary B. Farris was killed in Kontum Province with the II corps. His aircraft was a UH-1D tail # 64-13554. Start of tour date 02/17/1972 end of tour 05/25/72. I belive his crews members were AC O2 DM PULLUM, P W1RE MULDOON, CE E4 PR FADZ, and G E3 EJ EVANS. If someone happens know any of the men please e-mail me and Thank you for your help.

Slate Farris <>
Oviedo , FL USA - Monday, June 17, 2002 at 15:44:52 (PDT)

I am the cousin of CPL. Herndon Arrington Bivens who was attached to Security Platoon, 52nd Aviation Battalion, 17th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade. His date of loss: 15 April 1970, Dak Seang. I am writing a play and screenplay called "Pathfinder" about his last mission in Vietnam. I enjoyed reading your site very much. A great source of information. Thank you very much for sharing. Rudy

Rudy Wilkins, R&K Productions <>
Bronx, NY USA - Monday, June 17, 2002 at 06:11:37 (PDT)

Gentlemen, Of late I've taken to trying to find out some of the details of my father's service in Vietnam. He retired in 1970 with more than 20 years of service; he died a few years later at the age of 49. I think he never recovered from the experience. In any event, the other day I hunted down my father's old Zippo lighter. The inscription: G2 Adv 22 Div Under this lettering is a unit insignia: looks like a mountain with a couple of jagged lines under it that might represent water. I went to a local Vet Center this afternoon looking to see if I could discover anything about the 22nd Division. The guys there were unable to identify any 22nd Division. They recommended a Web search. That's how I've found this site. Would you suppose that the inscription on my Dad's lighter refers to the Vietnamese 22nd Division? Does it follow that "Adv" means that he was an Advisor attached to the 22nd? I know that the G2 is the Intelligence Officer, so I'm assuming it will be difficult to find out anything that my father had done in Vietnam. By the way, also inscribed on the lighter are four names that I assume are the staff guys who served with my Dad: a Captain, a 1st SGT, a MSGT and a SSGT. If any of you gentlemen can shed any light on the mystery of my father's place of service, would you be kind enough to email me? Thanks for all the information on this terrific site. --Kathleen (a "Vietnam era" vet)

Kathleen Ryan <>
NY USA - Thursday, June 13, 2002 at 15:47:42 (PDT)

MY Brother, Grover Jackson, was wounded march 26,68 on hill (Firebase) west of Kontum. Cordinants YA939913. He was with dco.3/8 infantry, 4th Infantry Division.NVA overran Gun position getting inside peremiter. 19 KIA,51 WIA and 120 NVA KIA. We are hoping to hear from anyone who remembers this battle and looking to find out if there was a unit of 173rd Airbourn there at that time. Enjoyed reading all on your site. We have been loking for a map showing cordinants and the one on your site was very helpful. If you or anyone knows any thing of this battle please email me at Again Thank you for the great site. Peggy

Peggy <>
USA - Thursday, June 06, 2002 at 22:13:50 (PDT)

Thank you very much for this website. It helped me a lot with a report and was very informative.

Anonymous <anonymous>
San Diego, CA USA - Tuesday, May 28, 2002 at 17:05:12 (PDT)

Boy did that bring back memories. I am one of 3 AC's assigned to the first Aerial TOW Team and your accounts of the "Battle of Kontom" were right on the money! It's amazing how 30 years can seem like yesterday. Please try and drop by the VHPA mini-reunion in Vegas. I have a cold one waiting for your and any gunship crew who supported us. I retired a W4 after 25 years and still have such memories!

D. Ray Hixson <>
Apache Junction, AZ USA - Monday, May 27, 2002 at 18:43:13 (PDT)

I was a pilot with H Trp, 7/17 CAV and had to work through my emotions as I read the history and comments in your guest book. Our unit lost more than just a few good men, one of those was Dallas Nihsen, a good gunner aboard my UH-1 as I flew with H Trp Commander, Major Gibbs, Embalmer 6. I later was sitting on top of a bunker at the Kontum airstrip and watched helplessly as a C130 landed for a hot offload, took a mortar under the wing and subsequently crashed fully loaded during an attempted takeoff. It was then that Rocket Ridge lit up, eventually hitting POL. We cranked, flew to the crash site to make a rescue attempt then made a pass down the runway as POL blazed. It was during that time that our LOH Platoon Leader, Cpt Wayne Finch, was shot down, captured and later died in captivity. Soon after that Cpt Jim Stein, LOH Platoon Commander, was shot in the leg and sent home where the leg was amputated. At about that time Gerald Spradlin and gunner were shot down and killed in a LOH. Many others bear mentioning because of their bravery under intensely difficult circumstance. Unfortunately, I neither know nor remember all of them. But the names of those who gave all they had are on the wall and we must never forget them or why they are there. Thanks for the part each of you played and thanks for the web site. It is very important.

Dennis Watson <>
Fairhope, AL USA - Friday, May 24, 2002 at 08:04:35 (PDT)
[ View Dennis Watson's Contribution to the Memories Book ]

Great site a fellow Gladiator told me about it! I was the C.E. on Gladiator 69-15715,(H-mod-huey) you show shot down at west end of active runway at Dak To 2 airstrip we were shot down on 4/24/72 & m.i.a. untill 5/6/72 I Blame the action's of John P. Vann Himself for us not being rescued he even sent a cobra to shoot at us thinking we were the N.V.A. when we tried to let them know we had survived our crash with some of the last advisor's on board who had escaped from tahn cahn this was before john him self crashed there, he denied his action's when my d.g. & myself confronted him 13 day's later 10 soul's on board when we crashed, 7 alive for the first day, 5 lived to escape 13 day's later there is allot the Army record's do not tell you about this time in The Easter Offensive.... Army Retired Sgt E-5 (Shakey)

rickey von vogel <>
osage beach , mo USA - Wednesday, May 22, 2002 at 20:21:35 (PDT)

What a great site! Found it by chance, but it's now in my book marks. Truly a great read for all.

Robert Terry <>
Nocona, TX USA - Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 19:33:12 (PDT)

I was assigned to MACV Tm 22 attached to the 22nd ARVN Div in 72. This has brought back many memories. I wish I could find the men who were there with me. I miss them after 30 years some are still remember as brothers.

Scott Cook <>
Stacy, nc USA - Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 12:07:02 (PDT)

Great site and thanx for all your devoted time. I was S2 NCOIC, 24th STZ, 1970,MACV. Lived on compound next to B24. Plan to fwd to Bro-in-law chopper pilot out of Pleiku in 68-69.

Jim Greene <>
Puyallup, WA USA - Tuesday, May 21, 2002 at 09:00:57 (PDT)

Hi Jack, came to your web site by Divine Chance while chasing down links. Was absolutely mesmerized by your telling of the events of the 1972 "Easter Offensive" in the Central Highlands. I have been online for many years and have often searched for any information about these events from both official and unofficial sources. I was a participant in many of the actions during those months. Hard to believe that 30 years have passed.... sometimes it seems like yesterday. I was with 2nd Flight Platoon 57th AHC and was CE of UH-1H 69-95020 aka "BROKE-DICK 13". (We were shot down on June 2nd 1972 -- see the Memories Book)

Dave Millard <>
USA - Saturday, May 11, 2002 at 10:22:01 (PDT)
[ View Dave Millard's Contribution to the Memories Book ]

Jack; The comments preceding mine say it all. Wonderful job, and on ethat needed doing. I served as a slick pilot with B/227 AHB 1st Cavalry Division. In the first 6 months we were in III Corps (Phuoc Vinh) and the last 6 we moved to II Corps (Pleiku and surrounding area). Too many good people for a 21 year old to appreciate. You did them proud. Thank you.

Lou Bartolotta aka Masher 27 <>
Varese, Italy - Monday, May 06, 2002 at 13:57:09 (PDT)

I was an advisor to two troops in the 19th Armored Cavalry Squadron that operated from the Man Yang Pass to Bet Het from January 72 through late Aril 72. The M-41 Company was involved in daily fights opening the road north of Kontum for several weeks before Tan Cann. After our advisory team closed out, I worked in the II Corps TOC and was on duty the night Tan Cann was overrun. I saw Colonel Kaplan after he was brought back the next morning and listned to John Paul Vann explain how they were going to destroy the NVA. I ended up the war as an advisor to a tank company of the 21st M-48 Tank Battalion that came back to Pleiku before December 72. Lost 3 counterparts in both regiments, two from their own soldiers. It was the best of times and the worst of times. The soldiers that I fought with were brave men in anyone's army.

Jim Vaughan, USA LTC (Retired) <>
Murray, KY USA - Sunday, May 05, 2002 at 18:50:57 (PDT)

Got your site from the Flying Dragons newsletter. I was Ghostrider 25 from 13 Dec '67 to same '68. Your accts of those earlier days and the pictures send chills down my spine. To see photos of Dak To, Kontum, and all the other places, especially the fire bases that I made endless approaches to, really brings it back. I am about to retire and fly Hawiaian helicopter tours, for fun and profit, but I will try to find the time to go thru this whole thing. A good friend was WO Jack Naylor. Do you know him from your first tour? Best of luck, partner.

Jim Lomonaco <>
USA - Thursday, May 02, 2002 at 17:43:54 (PDT)

SUPERB battle analysis. A great tribute for all those who served in Vietnam. I will disseminate to my colleagues. BTW - Your son was in my command in Korea - OUTSTANDING officer. Be proud.

LTC Jeff Hayman USA <>
Portsmouth, va USA - Wednesday, May 01, 2002 at 13:25:52 (PDT)

Good site. I was the crew chief for 554 when it deployed to RVN. After we arrived at Holloway I found out I was grounded so I missed the action. Scott Fenwick has put together a reunion this July with the VHPA reunion in Vegas. July 3-6th.

Ron Taylor <>
Las Vgeas, Nv USA - Wednesday, May 01, 2002 at 07:08:50 (PDT)

I am a firm believer that history is important to all Americans. I think that the details Lt. Col. Heslin as provided bring to use, who were children during a time when our country asked us to execute foreign policy with a sense of purpose that lets us all know who true hero's really are. People who the very next day are your friend or neighbor, men and women who continue to show pride in everything they do. I hope I can look back upon my career some day and feel just a small percentage of the pride displayed here within this WEB site, pride to show others that war is not a clean strike at 25,000 feet and sorry that it took great men away from us. Thank You, I will share this experience with many people I know, both on Active Duty and my retired friends. HQ USAF/XOS.

CMSgt Douglas E. Blair <>
Dale City, VA USA - Monday, April 22, 2002 at 18:41:17 (PDT)

You have answered a lot of Questions for me. I was an Australian Adviser to the 1/14 ARVN Cav at Dac To 69/70, After Dac Seang I was sent up to Hoi Ahn in I Corps and was always left wondering exactly what happened to the people I left behind in 11 Corps. Thanks for the informative Narrative it was great.

Abe Green <>
Canberra, ACT Australia - Saturday, April 20, 2002 at 19:48:32 (PDT)

Jack, This is a well constructed site. My compliments to you on the work you have done here. I was with B Troop 7/17th Air Cavalry RUTHLESS RIDERS as a Scout CE/OB in 68. We lost a lot of good people and many ships in the Kontum AO. I'd be glad to add your site to my list of great sites at my web site. Regards: Rich Hefferman

Rich Hefferman <>
Pittsburgh, Pa USA - Monday, April 15, 2002 at 10:28:11 (PDT)

Jack, this is truly a great work, and long overdue. You and I have talked many times about Kontum, and the great people that defended and died there. I was there as part of the Air Force weather team from July 1969 - December 1969. Before that I was at Camp Enari, and afterwards at Phan Thiet and An Khe. My unit moved us around alot, but I always got back to Kontum somehow. I worked at the airfield, near base ops, in a little yellow, mobile control tower. I lived on the MACV compound, but spent most of my time at B-24 Special Forces. I remember that the Montanyards really liked the Western movies. I also remember when they and the ARVNs, stationed nearby, got into a fire fight, and we were hooched between them. The ride to the airfield was always a joy. We usually took fire somewhere along the trip, and the pickup truck had the holes to prove it. Kontum city was a colorful place, and not to be walked-in alone. Once, on a return trip after Christmas 1969, the C-123 I was on crash landed at Kontum. Never a dull moment.

William Stamp <>
Chester, VA USA - Wednesday, April 10, 2002 at 15:03:48 (PDT)

Great site. I was a pilot with the 57th from April '72 until August '72. Flew up to Kontum a number of times. I moved up and worked as an Asst. S-1 at 17th CAG from about Sept '72 until we turned Camp Holloway over to the ARVN's in Feb. '73. Worked with CPT Anderson, the S-1. Did you work with MAJ Thomas? Drop me a line so that we can visit re the Memorial Wall. There is a picture of me with MAJ Thomas, MAJ Pollard (the flight surgeon) and CPT Anderson in front of the Wall posted in the Camp Holloway website.

Jesse Blanco <>
San Antonio, TX USA - Wednesday, April 10, 2002 at 06:09:29 (PDT)

For 30 years I have been wondering about the details of what happened in Kontum. I was Asst District/Intel Advisor for Dakto District, Feb 71-Feb 72. I have always felt remorse at the loss of so many of Montagnards and ARVNs that I worked with in the District. The loss of John Paul Vann was a shock at the time since I had known him as a person. If anybody knows what happened to Dai Hui Minh (District Hqs), let me know. DSD

Doug Dopp <>
USA - Tuesday, April 09, 2002 at 20:56:08 (PDT)

Jack, thanks for a great site. The photos, maps, and commentary bring back alot of memories. I was stationed at Kontum 8/67 - 8/68 as radio ops supervisor for ALO/FAC, 24th STZ, a FAC/TACP detachment out of 21st TASS headquartered in Nha Trang. We provided close air support assistance for all units throughout Northern II Corps. Our FAC's used the call sign "Elliot 01" for example, and our ground unit was "Carbonoutlaw 28." We may have talked to many of you commo operators, especially during TET 68.

Tom Heckman <>
Lancaster, Pa. USA - Tuesday, April 09, 2002 at 20:30:28 (PDT)

I served at An Son as the radio operator for the CO of Eagle Battallion attached to the 129th AHC. I came from Long Binh and 1st Aviation Headquarters and told my CO to send me to the worst place possible. I recieved orders to fly to An Son April of 1972 and served until I got orders to leave on November 1,1972. All hell was breaking loose north of us and Camp Holloway was actively engaging the NVA at Kontum. I flew back and forth from An Son and Camp Holloway for equipment and supplies and heard and watched everything over the wire and in flight. The 180th and 10th Cav were stationed at An Son and I used to enjoy meeting all the pilots and officers as I ran the MARS station on the hill for the camp also. I kept a diary of all my time while in country but it was stolen from my home in 1987. I still have alot of items from my stay but the memories you have articulated are great and help bring back my year as a young 20 year old soldier living life in a Assault Helicopter Company. I am studying for my post graduate degree in history especially in Viet-Nam politics and history of the battles. This is great to see and hear the sounds and words of the guys who were there.I am hoping to find Captain Stenzel who got me out of a couple scrapes when I became short and new 2nd Lts. came in country. Thanks for bringing me back.Sp4 Gregory Allen Ganz

Sp4 Gregory Allen Ganz <>
Anaheim, Ca USA - Sunday, April 07, 2002 at 10:10:25 (PDT)

As one of many AH1G pilot sent to H Trp, 10th CAV (from C Trp, 16th CAV, in my case)to replace losses from the Easter Offensive, I was pleased to read this detailed history of the campaign. What this history cannot express is the daily fear, excitement, anticipation and relief of the helicopter crews who supported the S. Vietnamese and American soldiers facing the NVA attacks. Well done!

Bob Hesselbein <>
Madison, WI USA - Saturday, April 06, 2002 at 03:08:16 (PST)

Outstanding piece of work that ranks alongside some of the best that is on the Web. Clear, concise, professionaly presented and a joy to navigate. The clarity of the design is only surpassed by the brevity of the content. Most definitely a website that 'sets the standard' for others to follow. Have to agree with an earlier post, the content should form the basis for a book, one that will be well received by all who have an interest in the professionalism and extraordinary exploits of US servicemen exhibited in what had become an 'unpopular' war. My congratulations on your superb site, it is, without doubt, a tremendous memorial for all those that paid the ultimate price during the battles that you describe.

Mike Ruffle <>
Manchester, England, UK - Thursday, April 04, 2002 at 13:31:46 (PST)

I was assigned to "Rocket City" (Kontum)as part of the 170th Assualt helicopter company from May 6, 1970 until the unit deactivated (thanks to 2 regiments of NVA regulars in the hills on the Ho Chi Minh trail)in early 1971. My mos was 35k20 which was repairing, changing and replacing radios and wiring systems,on hueys and charlie models. Being stationed up in the hills by yourself.... You soon became profiecient in almost every MOS there was! I'm prowd to have been assoiated with such a brave group of young men and I know charlie was glad to see us leave!

Stephen M. Bailey <>
Danielsville, Ga USA - Thursday, April 04, 2002 at 11:20:00 (PST)

God bless all defenders of the Central Highlands Lets not ever forget Montagnards. I served in Vietnam from 03/67 thru 02/69 and from 01/72thru02/73 Iserved in Kontum with the 2nd Flt. Plt 57th AHC(doorgunner) in 72/73 I was a Special Forces Medical Sgt. My best friend Ron "Froggy" Whitner was a SF medic in Kontum in 1972. Another SF classmate Calder was Killed there in 1972. SSGT John D Sanford

John D Sanford <>
Mimbres, NM USA - Tuesday, April 02, 2002 at 19:20:29 (PST)

I worked for Dynaelectron,/NHA Inc.from 1969-72 604th Trans/57th/361st,and also the TOW carring B model Huey's. they used the old 604th hanger for maint. I was the inspector on both of those birds. It's been along time since than and the name CAMP HOLLOWAY brings back alot,and the O-Cub. in my mind I can still see the hole base. I was in the O-Culb the night John Paul Van was killed,I remember it well. From sept 66-68 I was in the U.S.ARMY. most of the time with the 1st Brigade 101st airborne, I was a Paratrooper.

Frank H.Allen III <>
SAN DIEGO, CA. USA - Tuesday, April 02, 2002 at 10:09:52 (PST)

I was with the 52nd.Pathfinder Camp Holloway from 11-69 to 11-70.Just a great job putting this site together.I had the pleasure of flying with alot of skilled and brave aviators. Thanks for your effort putting these historical facts together.

Tom Edwards(Willy T.) <>
Vail, Az. USA - Sunday, March 31, 2002 at 20:54:36 (PST)

This was the finest summary and presentation of any War account I have ever read. It should be made into a book. I was a Warrant Officer Aviator with the 189th AHC "Ghostriders" in 1970-71 at Pleiku. The AO you described brought back many memories and should be a "must read" for any one who flew there. I hope to meet you at the next VHPA reunion. Thank you and welcome home.

Ty Simmons <>
USA - Thursday, March 28, 2002 at 17:15:30 (PST)

Served in the Army in Nam 68-70.Enjoy your site and will check it all out. I served with the Americal from 68 to 69 and with 11TH Aromored Cav (Blackhorse) from 69-70. Take care.

Garland K. Stewart <>
Atlanta, GA USA - Wednesday, March 27, 2002 at 07:05:50 (PST)

Thank you. That's a bookmark. I was in SE Asia from 01/68-11/69. The Tet Offensive was our win. I will read every word on your site.

Bob M. <>
USA - Tuesday, March 26, 2002 at 22:28:26 (PST)

Just a fine read, Sir. I actually printed out all the maps so I could use them as I went through the descriptions. Thanks.

Sgt. Schultz <>
USA - Tuesday, March 26, 2002 at 19:51:24 (PST)

Wow. Simply one of the finest presentations of any battle anywhere on the web. I've linked to you on my site, and I hope it garners you at least a few of the many readers you deserve.

Stephen Green <>
Colorado Springs, CO USA - Tuesday, March 26, 2002 at 14:19:01 (PST)

[ top ]