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The Discussion Board

Over the past year I have written thirty opinion articles so far about the Ukraine Conflict. In the articles, I have tried to frame my comments in an historical context using the Vietnam War as a comparison event. Most of the articles are about 600 - 800 words with only the earliest article being over 4,000 words. All the articles have been posted on a website called THEDURAN. The website has also provided an author's page for me with all my articles posted - jackheslin6 - The Duran In addition, I have posted all my articles on the Discussion Board of the Battle of Kontum website. If anyone would like to comment about any of the articles, please feel free to make comments below the articles.

Thank you for your continued interest in the Battle of Kontum website.

Jack Heslin <>
Carolina Shores, North Carolina United States - Sunday, August 13, 2023 at 15:36:39 (EDT)

Thank you for the service of all those mentioned in the posted articles about Kontum and the Easter Offensive in 1972.

I was with an Army group called Radio Research (ASA) on Artillery Hill outside of Pleiku. I spent a few days in Kontum on my way to and back from a remote site called Golf-5. Stayed with the SOG folks while in Kontum.

A big thank you all those I met and worked with during our time in Kontum and beyond.

Paul Rinkleib

Paul Rinkleib <>
Mesquite, Nevada - Thursday, February 15, 2024 at 16:36:50 (EST)

"Extraordinary Valor" is the true story of American Special Forces officer John Duffy, and South Vietnamese paratrooper, Lê Văn Mễ, as they fight to defend Charlie Hill, a key to holding Vietnam's Central Highlands during North Vietnam's 1972 Easter Offenve.

John Joseph Duffy was born in New York City; Le Văn Mễ in a small village outside the old imperial capital of Hue in South Vietnam. Living on opposite sides of the globe, they come together in the heat of war in Southeast Asia when Major Duffy is assigned as the American advisor to the elite South Vietnamese 11th Airborne Battalion where Mễ is second in commad.

The battalion receives the order to "Fight to the death" on Charlie Hill. After two weeks of intense combat, hundreds lay dead and those still standing are out of food, water, and medical supplies. Their ammunition is nearly gone. Duffy and Mễ draw on their bond of friendship and trust to make a selfless two-man last stand against the final North Vietnamese human wave assault. Both are badly wounded, Duffy multiple times. Their heroic action allows 36 members of the 471-man battalion to escape and be rescued. The rest are killed, captured, or missing in action. This is their story."

Extraordinary Valor: The Fight for Charlie Hill in Vietnam: Reeder Jr., William: 978-1493063673: Books


Served with the 57th AHC as a crew chief. During the battle I was assigned in charge of a refueling and ammunition reloading in Kontum. Two days of mortar and artillery attacks I received a bronze star with a V . I can never forget those days.

Joseph Donlon <>
South Bend, In USA - Friday, November 04, 2022 at 09:54:10 (EDT)


I stumbled on you when I was doing some research on John Duffy. When I saw John on the news getting the Medal of Honor for his involvement in the Central Highlands in 1972, I looked him up because I was in the Central Highlands then. In search of John Duffy, I found that you had done research on the Battle of KonTum. I contact you now because of my special interest in what you have documented.

I was an Air Force advisor to the Vietnamese 0-1 pilots located in Pleiku during the 1972 offensive. In brief I flew every day and have many memories including directing air strikes on the "rock pile", dodging the almost daily B52 strikes, attending briefings for John Paul Van, and a memory of talking with an American advisor on the ground in a bunker that was getting overrun. It turns out it was John Duffy. I thought I was the last one to talk with him. He sure sounded like it was going to be his last. I also remember being in the air when John Paul launched a ground convey from Plieku to Kontum. They got stopped at the rock pile with heavy "incoming". The American ground commanders' displeasure (putting it mildly) over the radio to John Paul in his helicopter was a classic. He did not appreciate being told to lead a convey when the rock pile was still very much alive. Although I did not know how any NVA could still be alive on that hill outside Kontum. It had been bombed to the point there was no vegetation - B52's, every air to ground weapon by US fighters and some Vietnamese fighters. It was a rock pile.

More about the Central Highlands offensive - there was an ex-marine (Tom Coles) who came back to this area as a civilian medic to help the Montagnards after he left the marines. The Montagnards were the natives of this area. He had spent 6 months with them when they rescued him from the North Vietnamese who had captured him many years before. He learned their language while being with them.

When the air war became too dangerous, he found his way to Plieku where I met him. This was after the offensive started and that area was regularly hit with B52 strikes. I would take him up in my back seat occasionally to see what he could do to help the Montagnards. One of those trips we were up near Ben Het where Tom thought there were Montagnards hole up for safety. Ben Het was a fire base camp northwest of Kontum on the Tri border. That spring it was surrounded and cut off from all support. The helicopter's landing zone was immediately hit with rockets when a helicopter tried to land. The weather was generally overcast, and air drop attempts mostly missed the base camp. I had Tom in my back seat one day when the weather was clear over Ben Het. There was an 0-2 FAC in the air who I knew. I asked him to watch me. We landed on the PSP runway outside the Ben Het camp. Tom jumped out and ran into the camp. He was concerned about the Montagnards who were there seeking safety. I knew from intel reports that many of those in the camp were suffering from malaria. I gave Tom a mirror and told him to flash me when he came out. I took off. I got his flash. I landed; he ran out with an infant baby girl in his arms. The Montagnard mother gave it to him. The baby was sick and going to die without help. What a sacrifice. It still haunts me as to one of the tragedies of war.

My last flight was over Ben Het. It had been overrun. I could see the survivors running for safety. Another sad day but it was my last.

I left a message last week to John Duffy on his mobile phone just to say I am happy now to know that I was not the last one to talk with him.

I would like to learn more from your research work about those who were involved in the "Battle of Kontum". Especially the ground commander that tried to lead the ground convoy to Kontum and also to find Tom Coles (he was known as "Red Beard" to the Montagnards). Tom's story needs to be told.

I flew F-102's out of pilot training in Okinawa and Korea from 1969 to 1971. I went to Vietnam in October '71 as an O-2 FAC in Pleiku. They took the 0-2's out of Plieku sometime in early '72. I stayed to be an advisor to the Vietnamese 0-1 FAC squadron. I resigned from the Air Force in October of '72 when I got back from Viet Nam. I had opportunities in the civilian world that I thought were the best for my family. Looking back, my Air Force experience changed me mostly for the better.

As a side note the 0-1 Vietnamese squadron commander, Major Minh, called me from Atlanta after 20 years in a Viet Nam "reconditioning camp". I felt bad to learn of his treatment just for being associated with the Americans. He was not bitter and grateful to be in the US. Also, as a side note, I retrieved a fellow Vietnamese pilot from a Vietnamese refugee place in Alabama. He was a boat survivor. He shared a bedroom with my 10-year-old son for a year.

Well, this was not so brief. I do not think I have ever talked about this that I just shared to you with others. I found it is easy now I guess because it is to someone who knows about that offensive in the Central Highlands.

Jim Phelps <>
Prospect, KY USA - Saturday, August 06, 2022 at 20:04:25 (EDT)

I truly appreciate the excellent work Bill Reeder did in writing his book about John Duffy. It is a gift to all who served but especially the men he wrote about. I am thankful to be able to call both Bill Reeder and John Duffy friends. I put my AMAZON review of the book below.

"Bill Reeder’s book "Extraordinary Valor" is a masterful telling of an epic story of courage and commitment in a heroic last stand by the South Vietnamese 11th Airborne Battalion. Bill brings to life the intensity of the two-week battle to defend a critical fire base during the 1972 Battle of Kontum. His detailed, breathtaking descriptions capture the “white hot heat” of the battle. Bill's insights of the relationship forged in blood between the American Senior Advisor, Maj. John Duffy, and the Vietnamese soldiers he fought alongside, especially the battalion executive officer, Maj. Le Van Me, is a testament to a level of professionalism not often seen. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about the Vietnam War and the soldier-to-soldier commitment of the men who fought in it."

John G. "Jack" Heslin <>
Carolina Shores, North Carolina United States - Thursday, June 23, 2022 at 11:53:09 (EDT)

Thank you for your service and welcome home.

And, thank you for your outstanding website and the information about the Battle of Kontum.

I appreciate your permission to use/or adapt from the site Map A of the Kontum region and positions on Rocket Ridge. I am writing a second edition of Red Markers, Close Air Support for the Vietnamese Airborne, 1962-1975. Elements of the Airborne were on Rocket Ridge and fought during the early stages of the battle. This map will help illustrate my narrative.
Thanks again,
Gary Willis
Red Marker 18

Gary Willis <>
Manvel, TX United States - Thursday, June 09, 2022 at 14:16:18 (EDT)

It was an honor to meet you at the 119 AHC Reunion personally. Then, to win your book (THUNDER), I have so much respect for you all that fought in Vietnam! After reading your book, I could fill in so many blanks that my father, my (HERO) Calvin Bohannon, went through as crew chief as a young man, the pressures of the last-minute decision-making you all had to make is so remarkable. I thank God every day for bringing you all back home and for the (HEROS) our country lost.
Again I thank you all for your SERVICE! YOU ALL ARE LOVED THANK YOU !
Sincerely James...

James <>
Dayton, TX. Chambers - Tuesday, May 03, 2022 at 12:08:54 (EDT)

Thank you for this site.

Kontum will always bring vivid memories of combat offloads from a C-130 for nights on end. I flew a shuttle (25 day tour in country) as the loadmaster with the crew that was lost. Then returned from CCK with my regular crew and we flew the Pleiku - Kontum shuttles until that night when our missions were switched and we took their Hi-level airdrop. My good friend, David Wagner was the flight enginer that was killed that terrible night. Never understood why they switched the missions.

Thank you for recording the history that few other than those that were there will care about.

PEORIA, AZ United States - Wednesday, March 30, 2022 at 22:54:44 (EDT)

Hi Jack,

I bought your book a couple of years ago. My grandson, 12 year old Jackson, just read it with great interest. He is giving a report on it in his homeschool plus class tomorrow.
Thank you for your work,

Vernon Gwaltney (Math at JTCC)

CHESAPEAKE, VA United States - Monday, February 28, 2022 at 21:33:58 (EST)

My grandfather fought in the Battle of Kontum; he was a good man.

Julia Smith <>
Augusta, Maine United States - Saturday, December 18, 2021 at 17:12:39 (EST)

My father, Larry Brassell, passed away 2 weeks ago. I believe this page reunited him with many of the men he fought and flew with in Vietnam. These relationships meant the world to him, thank you. To all of you who served so bravely and selflessly, we are forever in your debt and we will remember you to our children for generations to come. I love you, Daddy.

Laura Beale <>
Birmingham, AL United States - Friday, November 19, 2021 at 17:10:58 (EST)


Congratulations on this fine web site.

I am not personally a Vietnam Veteran but I knew a number of them, some of whom did not return alive.
I feel that it is so important that the history of Vietnam is told based in truth otherwise it is dishonoring those that served and especially those that served and fell. I can see that is what you are endeavoring to achieve and I thank you for it.

Congratulations also on your book, “Thunder: Stories From the First Tour”.

When I think of Vietnam, my mind races to the Tet Offensive. If you asked someone on the street who won and who lost the Tet Offensive (If they’ve even heard of it) most people would tell you that the U.S. lost but we know that is not true. Given the current state of our universities, I would bet that if they’re taught about it at all, they are told that the U.S. lost.

I believe that when General Giap designed the Tet Offensive he had two things in mind. One was to inflict as many casualties as possible due to the element of surprise. But the second, and more important one, was to hold on to the captured territory for as long as possible to give the impression to anti-war groups, including the media, that the North was winning. It was a propaganda war that he was waging and he was very good at it. He won the propaganda war. This still sticks in my craw.

Consider this interview done with Bui Tin, a former colonel who served on the general staff of the North Vietnamese army.

Q: How did Hanoi intend to defeat the Americans?

A: By fighting a long war which would break their will to help South Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh said, “We don’t need to win military victories, we only need to hit them until they give up and get out.”

Q: Was the American antiwar movement important to Hanoi’s victory?

A: It was essential to our strategy. Support for the war from our rear was completely secure while the American rear was vulnerable. Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9 a.m. to follow the growth of the American antiwar movement. Visits to Hanoi by people like Jane Fonda and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and ministers gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses. We were elated when Jane Fonda, wearing a red Vietnamese dress, said at a press conference that she was ashamed of American actions in the war and that she would struggle along with us.

Q: Did the Politburo pay attention to these visits?

A: Keenly

Q: Why?

A: Those people represented the conscience of America. The conscience of America was part of its war-making capability, and we were turning that power in our favor. America lost because of its democracy; through dissent and protest it lost the ability to mobilize a will to win.

Q: What else?

A: We had the impression that American commanders had their hands tied by political factors. Your generals could never deploy a maximum force for greatest military effect.

Jack, thanks again for the fine work you are accomplishing here. It is truly important.

Mathias Wilkinson <>
Rhode Island United States - Monday, November 08, 2021 at 16:05:55 (EST)

My father is Col Rhotenberry, really missing him and I am so interested in reading all about his time spent in Vietnam. So many things I never knew.......

Janet Johnson <>
Rockport, TX USA - Thursday, August 12, 2021 at 13:22:38 (EDT)

Jack, Great to meet you in person. I am working my way through your website. My early impression is that you once again have gone "above and beyond"--to document and share real life experiences in war.

George U Love "Jake" <>
Shamong, NJ, USA United States - Tuesday, April 06, 2021 at 16:49:35 (EDT)

Kontum Battle Discussion Group Question

I was stationed in Kontum in 1970 at what had been a small, old French compound several miles or less from Kontum Airfield. There were three or so one-story billets, a courtyard in the middle, a mess hall, big outdoor grill, offices, a PX, a church, etc. A few yards from the Church was a dirt field where helicopters swooped in with casualties who were further swooped out. There were no buildings or house surrounding the compound except for an old cemetery across an asphalt highway from the gate. Based on my description, do you have an idea as to the name of the compound and its function?

Robert Lawrence <>
McCook Lake, South Dakota United States - Monday, April 05, 2021 at 22:31:57 (EDT)

"To those who have fought for it, Life has a flavor that the protected will never know!"-Vietnam soldier saying- WE won our war in Vietnam and if Washington lost theirs then it’s their own damn fault. Courage on the Mountain-Captivating, True, Free on Amazon Prime- Glad that you made it home Brother!

George Alan Reischling <>
Rutledge, TN United States - Friday, March 12, 2021 at 16:57:52 (EST)

My Dak To website has been updated. Please visit and add whatever you can. Thanks. Dak To Memories

ernie camacho <>
Windsor, California United States - Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 18:01:17 (EST)

Hello Jack,

I'm writing to you from rainy, windy Port St Joe... Hope all is well with you.
I read your book “THUNDER: Stories From the First Tour” last month, thinking that I could finish it quick, in a few days and give it to Binh. I was so wrong! It was not easy reading about what your family had to go through especially when Jean accepted to share your life...I had to stop, and picked it up a couple times. Your book is poignant in its simplicity; it's the truth, that's all.

Growing up in the 50's-60's in Saigon, South Viet Nam, my parents gave us a very sheltered life. We read books, newspapers in French, and listened to French and English music. We were told we shouldn't be concerned, until one day our lives were turned upside down with the Communists at our door steps... I left Vietnam one day before the Communists marched into Saigon, on the 29th of April 1975.

I didn't read books, documentaries about the Viet Nam War until I came to the USA. Your book is the first one I read about a true testimony of an Army Officer with two tours in Viet Nam. Some places that you mentioned, I've never heard of!

Thank you, Jack, for educating me about what the Americans had come to achieve in my beloved country and the tolls young men and women had to pay over there and back home.

I'm forever indebted to all the service men and women that had come to help us fight the Communists. Thanks to you all, the South Vietnamese had enjoyed 20 years of Peace with Democracy and Human Rights!

I salute you, Lt. Col. Heslin

Sithuy Nguyen <>
Port St Joe, Florida USA - Monday, September 28, 2020 at 18:01:18 (EDT)

Jack, can’t thank you enough for the book you sent, you are truly a man of your word. Thanks again for also making the reunion special. Mike

Mike <>
Oldsmar , Florida - Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 18:04:33 (EDT)

Thanks Jack for all you do and your profoundly entertaining. Shaky

Mike Curran <>
Oldsmar , Florida - Thursday, September 17, 2020 at 16:13:40 (EDT)

Great meeting you at the 119th AHC 2020 reunion at Branson, Jack. I need to spend a lot more time on this site to learn about the events involving us and others in the Highlands. Thank you for doing this.

Bob “Doc” Kilpatrick <>
Oldsmar, FL USA - Thursday, September 17, 2020 at 09:57:05 (EDT)

Good day. Like so many others, I am seeking information on events and key personnel during my time as a volunteer ground air/naval gun fire officer. On or about 7 April, 1972 I, along with four other officers, volunteered to join beleaguered SVN units in northern II corps in what is now called the Battle of Kontum. The officer I served with on Firebase Yankee was then Captain Phillip Handley. There we joined a company of SVN Airborne troops and a battery of 105 guns. Almost immediately, the FB came under heavy attack by all manner of indirect fire with considerable loss of life and wounding of these superb soldiers. I have learned after 48 years that I was wounded by a 105 round (captured) while directing air strikes from the perimeter of Yankee. While a medevac was called for both myself and other troopers, the AAA fires were too intense for its dispatch. Lest I overwhelm the reader, the airborne troops were withdrawn and a Ranger Bn replaced them. I remained with the BN and supported them through 15 June, when I was medevaced for wounds to the 67th medical evacuation hospital, where I was awarded the Purple Heart, and declined it thinking that my injuries were caused by a motorcycle accident when an airborne troop and I struck a tank trap while attempting to get to a LZ . I am trying to find then BG Healey's Aide de Camp and a pilot who was my Ward mate, who was shot down in an OH-6. I hope you are well and perhaps able to assist in my search for clarification. Finally, while I have information regarding the overrunning of Firebase Charlie to my south -Major Duffy (DSC) and members of the 2nd Bde HQ-LTC (ret) Kama, Capt Ivy, killed during an attack on the Headquarters, I have no information regarding Advisory personnel with the VN Ranger command, with whom I served for nearly two months. My concussion suffered from the wound on Yankee contributed (I believe) to my lack of memory. That's it. That's all. I may be contacted by phone at 813-758-6885. I retired from the USSOCOM in 1988. That's it. That's all. Thanks for your service and please help with mine.

Curtis R Rogers <>
Gallatin, TN United States - Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 13:15:38 (EDT)

I have requested that you add Roy Sudeck to your list of people involved in the Battle of Kontum. Roy was involved with the Tow Missile Team in 1972 as C&C commander. Thomas McKenna wrote of Roy’s contribution in his book, Kontum: The Battle to Save South Vietnam. Please update your list of those involved. Roy cannot request this for himself as he unfortunately passed a saw in 2012 of cancer. Thanks.

Gayle Sudeck <>
Marietta , GA USA - Sunday, April 19, 2020 at 10:31:23 (EDT)

During the Battle of Kontum, Phase III of the battle, I flew the Air Boss mission over Kontum City in an OH-58 helicopter. Kontum airfield and the refuel point on the airfield, were not operational at that time so, in order to refuel, I had to use a FARRP which had been set-up at the old Special Forces camp just south of Kontum City. The camp, which was FOB 2, had been in operation since 1966 to support a clandestine, Top Secret, SF operation called SOG which ran deep recon missions into Laos and Cambodia. I flew in support of the SOG mission in 1967 – 68 and lived at the camp during that period. In 1972 we used the code name “Cracker Box” to identify the camp. It was interesting for me to go back into the camp in 1972 with the memories I had of my time with SOG.

For those of you who might be interested in the history of the SOG mission Stephen Moore wrote a book on it which was published in September of 2018. I put a copy of my book review below.

“Uncommon Valor: The Recon Company that Earned Five Medals of Honor and Included America's Most Decorated Green Beret”
5.0 out of 5 stars: Excellent! Well Done Stephen Moore

This is a well-researched book about a group of incredible warriors most Americans have never heard of. I was pleased to see that the MACV-SOG men were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation in a ceremony at Fort Bragg, NC on April 4, 2001.

In December 1967 and January 1968 I was a lift helicopter platoon commander with the 119th Assault Helicopter Company. We flew in direct support of the SOG mission inserting and recovering teams into Laos and Cambodia. We lived at the FOB with the Special Forces SOG teams. I have a picture of me with the camp commander Maj. Roxie Hart at a Montagnard ceremony. I knew and flew missions with SGTs Bob Howard, Fred Zabitosky and Johnnie Gilreath. The medic SFC Luke Nance was on my aircraft on December 12, 1967, when we were shot down on the Ho Chi Minh Trail just south of the “Bra.” We were pulling out badly wounded men who were part of a “Hornet” force in Laos. I wrote about my experiences in my book “THUNDER: Stories From the First Tour.”

The descriptions in Stephen Moore’s book of combat actions match many of the memories I have of that time. The SOG mission was Top Secret, and none of us could talk about what we did or what we saw. When John Plaster’s excellent book “SOG: The Secret Wars of America’s Commandos in Vietnam” came out in 1997, I stayed up all night reading it just amazed that it told the story I had lived.

Jack Heslin <>
Carolina Shores, NC USA - Saturday, April 18, 2020 at 14:51:23 (EDT)

Hi, I tried to send a comment to a family member of LTC McCurdy. I forgot mypass word, if I ever had one, so the message never went through.

Anyway, I served with LTC McCurdy on Firebase November from July to October, 1972.

He meant a lot to me and still does!

Ray Donahue
44th RCAT

Ray Donahue <>
Corpus Christi, TX USA - Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 22:56:01 (EST)

When Maj Fishburn went on leave in Jan I was acting CO when the cease fire was signed. He had trouble getting back but finally did in Feb. We departed sometime in March. My old OCS a,d flight school classmate, Walt Moss, the scout plt ldr and Group S-4 at the end, didn't get out until the last day.

John R Parker <>
Highland Haven, TX United States - Wednesday, August 21, 2019 at 12:31:54 (EDT)

1965 & 66, Kontum compound a mile or so west of the dirt & psp air strip??, 24 Special Tactical MACV unit. Anyone have airphotos of our compound or Doc To or Doc Sut or Doc Pek?

John Kenneth Hardie <>
Montrose, CO United States - Saturday, July 27, 2019 at 14:29:30 (EDT)

I was at Kontum the night they ran over us at the airport. I was at the north end of the runway, where the C130 and other planes were on fire. The worst night of my life. Just want to thank you for telling the story of the Fall of Kontum, one great job Sir.

Wade Henson <>
Foley, Al. USA - Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 11:47:37 (EDT)

LTC (R) James (Bill) Bricker, a senior member of Team 33 in Kontum, and his wife both passed away late in 2017. They will be laid to rest in Arlington Cemetery with military honors at 0900, Monday, 25 March, 2019. If you are interested in attending please contact me, George Bricker, at 703-624-1604,, or report to the Arlington administration building not later than 0830. A reception will follow at the Fort Myer Officer's Club. I am Bill's eldest son and met many of the Team 33 members at the reunion in 2008. I do not have all of the team members contact info. Please spread the word. Best regards, George Bricker

George Bricker <>
CLIFTON, VA US - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 at 21:50:21 (EDT)

Great website. I was at Tan Canh in October of '70 with Metro Section, 6/14th Artillery before being reassigned to Ben Het/FB12. Strange place. We ate well because we shared a mess with some MACV types. Seemed to be several personnel floating about in tiger stripes with no rank showing. I didn't ask any questions.

Robert Fulwiler <>
- Saturday, September 29, 2018 at 08:54:17 (EDT)

I was there from nov. 72 to march 73. I was assigned to H /17th with the blue team for a short while ,then transferred over to the nung compound.i was the one that replaced all the claymores on the perimeter by myself.

michell, david c. <>
onancock, virginia u.s. - Monday, August 27, 2018 at 20:38:31 (EDT)

Thanks Jack!

I just watched your video. It was excellent. And your book is great. I'm not a great writer, but want to write a 5 star review so it may take a few days. However, I did leave the below comment on the video website:

Thank you Mr. Dixon for your platform and excellent coverage. And to Jack Heslin (Lt. Col Ret.) Thank you for finally telling your 1st Tour amazing story. Not many know of the heroics and sacrifices of the SOG group during the Vietnam War. I was very fortunate to find your website soon after you put it online in 2002. I was a young Grunt in 1972 during that 1972 battle and for years had wondered the whole scope of what I had been involved in and who had survived. You Jack, helped me piece together many things that had been unsettling for years. And I very much appreciate your dedication to history and setting the record straight. All these years that I have known you, you never would talk about your 1st Tour so I never pushed. I am truly in awe of SOG missions and your personal exploits and bravery. I can see now why the U.S. Army put you into your position in 1972 in Military Region II. It was a very smart decision as your experience surely contributed greatly to defeating the almost three NVA divisions attacking Kontum in 1972. I read your book, “Thunder - Stories From The First Tour,” in one night. Couldn't put it down. Thank you Jack and your lovely wife Jean. Y'all are the embodiment of true patriotic Americans!

William B. Page
Bay Minette, AL
1st Cav Div (AMBL) 1971-'72
B Co. 2/5th Cav MR III
D Co 1/12th Cav 1972 (OPCON to MR II - SRAG/John Paul Vann

William B. Page <>
Bay Minette, AL USA - Tuesday, August 21, 2018 at 17:38:34 (EDT)

I took part in that battle at several points. I was the fire team lead on the recovery of Minor Role's (JPV) body . The lead slick pilot was Cpt Bob Botnen. Fred Suttle was a good friend and I helped unload his body from his aircraft at Holloway . I was with H/10th Cav as a cobra AC.OH-6 crews - Cpt Powell & Sp4 Pesce were killed during the recon nw of Kontum in the early days of the fight. Lt's Kuntzler and Wilcoxen were killed shortly after that in virtually the same area NE of the city. We lost a lot of good people and were proud of our participation .

Larry W. Richards <>
La Grange, Kentucky United States - Saturday, May 05, 2018 at 12:41:25 (EDT)

Hi Mr. Heslin,

My name is Bill Fowler. I am writing an article about Captain Jim Stein. We were close friends in high school. My sister runs a small town newspaper in Lehi, Utah. Jim (and the rest of you Nam pilots) never received the credit due to you by the U.S. and I wanted to call Jim's heroics to the attention of young people in Lehi. Most of our classmates have very high regard for him.

I found a ton of information online on your site. Thanks for all the work you have done to "set the record straight." Most of us back here in the U.S. never knew much about Kontum. Very informative and insightful. Keep up the good work. I will tell Jim I used your information and gained great insight into that critical battle.

Bill Fowler <>
Lehi, Utah USA - Monday, April 23, 2018 at 15:56:33 (EDT)
I nursed at Pat Smiths' Minh Quy hospital in 1969. Special times, special people.Being a British civilian, my stories show the humanitarian side of conflict. We were all very grateful for the support and kindness shown to such centres of healing. Thank you. My Vietnam stories - your stories - can be found in Always the Children -

Anne Watts <>
BANBURY, Oxon., Oxfordshire United Kingdom - Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 04:32:16 (EDT)

Vietnam War Documentary this fall

There will be a PBS 10 part 18 hour special documentary coming out this fall on the Vietnam War. In conjunction with the release of the documentary there will be a nationwide effort to make the public aware of the Vietnam War and the documentary with local communities, libraries and schools hosting discussion sessions.

Local communities may turn to their local Vietnam Veterans looking for them to come forward to tell their story and answer questions about the war.

For those of you interested, you may want to read Philip Jennings book "The Politically Incorrect Guide to The Vietnam War", REGNERY PUBLISHING, INC. An Eagle Publishing Company, Washington, D.C.2010.

Phillip Jennings did a wonderful job of pulling together Vietnam War facts in one place and integrating the true story of the Vietnam War. It is a short book that tells a long story better than any other single book I have read.

Mr. Jennings acknowledges that he stood on the shoulders of many other authors who have told bits and pieces of this story, it is not new, but he put it all in one bag. If people read only one book on the Vietnam War, with the intent to understand the real history of our involvement, in my opinion, this is the book to read.

Join the Discussion

John G. "Jack" Heslin - The Scribe <>
Carolina Shores, NC USA - Friday, April 21, 2017 at 10:13:25 (EDT)

Gentlemen, great site. I am doing a book on:

1972 - The Year of Rescue

and am looking for data on US Army rescues during that year, like the actions of the great soldiers of F/8 in the rescue operation for Bat 21Bravo and Nail 38 Bravo.

Darrel Whitcomb

- The Rescue of Bat 21
- Combat Search and Rescue in Desert Storm
- Call Sign Dustoff: A History of U.S. Army Aeromedical Evacuation from Conception to Hurricane Katrina
- On a Steel Horse I Ride: A History of the MH-53 Helicopters in War and Peace

Darrel Whitcomb <>
VA USA - Friday, April 14, 2017 at 17:47:44 (EDT)

Was in 57th ahc 69-70 Crash and Rescue.

Daniel Rodlin <>
Shasta Lake, California usa - Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 13:28:33 (EDT)

Awesome site, great information. As a Member of North Carolina Vietnam Veterans, Inc. we have as one of our missions to teach the real Vietnam War and the men and Women who were there. We have an established course in 2500+high schools nationwide called "The Lessons of Vietnam" this web site will be one of our recommended sites. It would also be great to have Jack Heslin to tell the story of this site on NCVVI's live streaming show so more people could know the great works available on the War in South East Asia

North Carolina Vietnam Veterans, Inc.

Bill Dixon <>
Raleigh, NC USA - Tuesday, February 07, 2017 at 12:44:59 (EST)

I served as a MAT team leader with the Regional Forces/Popular Forces in 68/69. I interviewed General Ba at our COUNTERPARTS reunion in Las Vegas several years ago before he died. The article can be found at and searching for "The Hero of Kontum refutes Neil Sheehan."
Sheehan's book about Vann is a dishonest book shortchanging the South Vietnamese Army in every aspect and ignoring their many accomplishments as the War progressed. It is true that the war was a battle for hearts and minds which was won by the CORDs program in Vietnam but Sheehan was instrumental, along with David Halberstam of influencing (losing) the hearts and minds of those back in America which eventually led to the abandonment of our South Vietnamese allies by congress.

John Paul Vann: American Hero

rich webster <>
Jacksonville, Illinois USA - Wednesday, January 04, 2017 at 23:08:08 (EST)

I was stationed at Pleiku through 5 April 1972 with HHQ, 1st Avn Bgd. Unfortunately your roster were started after my tour. Wishing good health to all my brothers and sisters for their service. This is a great page and story of sacrifises made for God and Country. God Bless the USA.

Wes Tanner <>
Camden, SC USA - Thursday, November 24, 2016 at 13:26:15 (EST)

I am a Southeast Asia POW/MIA Case Officer and work at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. I am looking for anyone that witnessed the downing of an OH-6A flown by WO1 Spradlin with SP4 Morrow as the Oscar. The loss occurred on 29 May 1972. They were from 7/17th Cav. I am also looking to speak with anyone that participated in the recovery of WO1 Spradlin in June and August of 1972. Any help with this matter is much appreciated.
Dr. J

Dr James Cloninger <>
- Thursday, July 21, 2016 at 07:32:44 (EDT)

I was with 52nd Security in Kontum, Feb 5 - Dec 21, 1970. I remember when we entered Cambodia and Laos. It got very quiet in NAM for that period of time.

Fort Wayne, Indiana - Monday, June 06, 2016 at 22:42:22 (EDT)

Jack, the most haunting memory I have is the runs we made to Doctor Smith's hospital in Kontum (don't think it was her original hospital) delivering medical supplies and picking up patients. The Montagnard kids there, the look on their faces. Haunts me to this day Jack, the look on those kids faces. Flew in and out of there in our white painted dustoff helicopter, until we lost the great experiment (we had six and lost all of them), and ended up poaching other US aviation unit's green birds as replacements, since medevac had priority. Once again, my unit was the 237th Medical Detachment based out of An Son (Lane AAF).

James Brian O'Keeffe <>
- Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 14:04:12 (EDT)

Was with Echo co,1/35th,3rd brigade4thIDcoming in country Aug68, we were in Kontum Had our gun pits for 4.2 Mortars adjacent to concrete below ground level gun pits from French era.FOB2 was operational then.

SP4 Frank DeBilio <>
Milton, FL USA - Sunday, May 29, 2016 at 17:49:47 (EDT)

Brings backs many memories, as I served as a medic with the 237th Med. Det. (RA), which was stationed on the coast at An Son (Lane AAF). The 237th was a 6 aircraft Dustoff unit, mainly supporting the ROK's Tiger and Whitehorse Divisions, but we had a bird or aircraft sited at the Holloway army hospital. Remember well the night John Paul Vann's body was recovered. Nevertheless, having served a combat tour with the 25th Infantry Division (1968-69), and been in big fights during that time, the Battle of Kontum and the Easter Offensive were epic in comparison. Best regards.

James Brian O'Keeffe <>
Upper Arlington, OH USA - Monday, May 23, 2016 at 18:31:31 (EDT)

I've written a book about my experience as a prisoner of war. I was shot down at Ben Het on 9 May 1972 and captured three days later. The title of the book is, Through the Valley: My Captivity in Vietnam. It is published by the Naval Institute Press. It can be ordered from any bookstore or online book dealer. Go to AMAZON at this link for a copy of the book.

Jack Heslin - The Scribe
I am the author of the Battle of Kontum website. Bill Reeder's book "Through the Valley My Captivity in Vietnam" is an amazing story of courage and endurance in the face of incredible challenges to body and soul. I have always believed that out of "hot fire" comes good steel and I believe Bill's journey and that of his fellow prisoners was a journey through a white hot fire which seared their souls and shaped them for life. His story is a gift to all of us who served in the Vietnam War. His story is an example to all of us on how to overcome intense physical pain and darkness of the spirit that we may face in our lives. His hope and Faith carried him through the darkest of times. I strongly recommend Bill's book to all.

Bill Reeder
- Thursday, April 14, 2016 at 18:56:14 (EDT)

* Vietnam Easter Offensive Campaign Medal/ribbon
March 30, 1972 – October 22, 1972
Chiến dịch Xuân hč
Will be available on eBay at the end of March 2016.

Hall, Jesse E <>
Palm Coast , FL USA - Monday, March 07, 2016 at 07:24:42 (EST)

I was with HQ Company 1st of the 505th 82nd Airborne just one of the T.O.W. Missile teams from the 82nd that was sent to Vietnam to stop the North Vietnamese (Russian) movement of Tanks to the South. We were attached to the 3rd Brigade 1st Air Calvary Division and some of us (me included) were attached to the ARVEN’s in Kontum as well.
If any one out there was with the 82nd please contact me. Jesse Hall

Hall, Jesse E <>
Palm Coast , FL USA - Monday, March 07, 2016 at 06:32:06 (EST)

In your introduction you stated that 'by 1972, the largest battles fought in Vietnam were not well known, or understood, by the majority of the American population. Perhaps people just wanted the war to be over,.....'
You have no idea how much truth is in that
statement for me. I cannot believe it myself, nor can I believe how closely I dodged that bullet. You see, I worked on CH-47 Chinooks with 68th ASHC and was among those in the 52nd CAB at Camp Holloway that stood down, just a days before. Once I left Pleiku I had no clue at all what went on there or 18 miles away. That was about 44 years ago, and until just now I was completely oblivious to the fact that anything like that even happened.
this is just so mind boggling to me; having a hard time wrapping my head around it. How close I was to being in the middle of it. Thanks for all your hard work.

Steve Waters <>
- Tuesday, February 09, 2016 at 22:47:05 (EST)

Wonderful stuff!!!
Thank-you so much, Jack.
I was a CE with the 170th. AHC-'70-'71. Flew guns and slicks. "BUC 9"-The Mercenary Buccaneer. Worked for FOB II Kontum-real pro's!!!!

Mark Oury <>
TX - Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at 14:27:44 (EST)

My rifle unit D Co. 17th Infantry was attached to the 1st Aviation in Camp Holloway Plieku during the April 1972 battle of Kontum and mortar attack on Camp Holloway. Our rifle unit was to offer security with Out Post (OP) positions in the surrounding area and roving patrols out in the field. Our rear area in Camp Holloway received countless mortar attacks during the Kontum battle. I would like to note that Chinese mercenaries and Montagnards were working the bunker line as our US Infantry company were in the field in Out Post with mortar teams and grunts patrolling the bush. I believe our company was perhaps the only infantry units still in that area which was unknown to many. Thanks to John Paul Vann and other aviators who prevented the fall of Kontum and Camp Holloway with countless air strikes of which I witnessed we owe them our lives. Our unit lost three of our comrades SSG Henson, Sgt. Davis, & Sp4 McLaren. Thank you for documenting this historical event, it is much appreciated by those who were there. - Richard Alaniz

Richard Alaniz <>
Las Cruces, New Mexico - Monday, December 14, 2015 at 05:26:39 (EST)

Former Newsday reporter/editor Jim Smith has written a self-published book on his 1971-72 tour of duty in Vietnam called "Heroes to the End: An Army Correspondent's Last Days in Vietnam." He is donating all proceeds from speaking fees and book sales to a nonprofit that runs 32 homeless shelters for veterans on Long Island (see United Veterans Beacon House). You can order it ($24 hard copy, $4 eBook) through or through his website Heroes to the End.

The book is based on more than 75 articles that he wrote for the Stars and Stripes daily newspaper during the period Jan. 1, 1972-Aug. 1, 1972 during the North Vietnamese Easter Offensive. That offensive was blunted by massive U.S. airpower as Americans pulled back from an on-the-ground role to an advisory mission. The book was chosen for iUniverse's Rising Star and Editors Choice designations. Smith will be building a website to help publicize it with links to groups that provide services for veterans. Smith has done 11 free columns for the Anton Newspapers on such groups.

As a correspondent for Stars and Stripes, the Defense Department’s daily newspaper, Jim Smith saw every major city in Vietnam from the Delta to the Demilitarized Zone from 1971 to 1972.

Jack Heslin - The Scribe <>
Tuesday, November 17, 2015 at 19:55:05 (EST)

I was with the 57th from June 71 - June 72, Gladiator 29. Flew flight lead on the SOG FOB missions and experienced the NVA's advance into II Corp and attacks on Kontum. Interesting reading.

Bob Stillwell (MAJ, USA Ret.) <>
Jackson, Missouri USA - Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 14:54:14 (EST)

My first six months I spent in Vinh Long. I was ATC IN Kontum Mid 72 until late 72 344th ADD. Left out of Camp Holloway, Pleiku in Oct. 72. Stayed in Conex & Aircraft Revetment towards end.

Gary L. Davis <>
Danville, Pa. 17821 USA - Thursday, August 27, 2015 at 13:07:44 (EDT)

Kontum, MACV Tm 24 along with 22 & 23 are having a reunion in Clearwater, FL on 17-18 September. ALL who served in the area are asked to join us. Trying to contact ARVN as well to join us. Website for reunion info is: - search for MACV reunion. Please register if you can make it. Looking forward to seeing everyone. Patrick

J. Patrick Garland <>
Atlanta, GA USA - Friday, July 03, 2015 at 14:41:27 (EDT)

We are having a reunion of MACV Tm24 advisors, etc. in September at Clearwater, FL.
Please inform your Website Guests. Here is the info:
Reunion is 17-18 Sept. at Shephard's Beach Resort, Clearwater, FL.
Those who might be interested can go to & enter macvteamreunion in their search box.
Could you please let your website subscribers know about the event. They can use the link provide to register. We would like to know how many will be attending.
Thanks for your help – we hope to see you there
J. Patrick Garland (1st Lt., MACV Tm24, 68-69)

J. Patrick Garland <jpgprints@GMAIL.COM>
USA - Wednesday, July 01, 2015 at 18:43:27 (EDT)

I was with B 7/17 Cav Scouts. I was wounded on 16 June 1972 in the Kontum area . I went by the call sign Scalphunter 21 . Before I was a Pathfinder with the 52nd Pathfinder Det. I spent a lot of time in the Kontum area working with Big Windy CH47's

George Mooe <>
Statesville, NC USA - Monday, May 11, 2015 at 20:27:29 (EDT)

I Was An Supply Advisor-Interpreter/Interagator For Team # 41 From 1971-1972.

SSG E-6 Willie Williams Jr Retired <>
New Haven, Connecticut USA - Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 08:29:05 (EDT)

I was assigned to HHC 17 CAG Safety Office. God's Blessings to all who are still with us and rest in peace those who have gone before us.

Okatie, SC USA - Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 12:01:19 (EST)

Just discovered this site. Excellently done. I was a combat photographer from the 221st Signal Co. (Pictorial) covering the NVA Invasion of Kontum Apr- May 72. I look forward to reading the book and thank you for this site.

Signal mountain, Tennessee United States - Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 21:33:49 (EST)

I was with MACV in Kontum area in 1968-69, Advisory Tm 41. God Bless all who served. And Welcome home!

Robert Memory <>
METAIRIE, La. USA - Monday, January 26, 2015 at 09:50:38 (EST)

I would like to first thank you on the job you did on this site. If I had not stumbled across it I would not have found some of my friends that were officers at that time. I was there with the CH-47 Detachment of the the 180th. I was also on that Chinook that was shot down at Fire Base 5 in April 72. Yes I thought that I and the four other crew members were not going to make it out of there but I am grateful for those that tried including (God Rest His Soul) Mr. Vaughn. I want to give you more detail but I am in Saudi Arabia and it is late. Perhaps if you read this I am hoping that you contact me for more on this event in Kontum. I need to contact those Officers that you have listed in the 180th Det. Again Thanks and hope to hear from you real soon.
Joseph J. Quichocho

Joseph John Quichocho <chalanpago1>
Yona, Island of Guam USA - Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 16:01:56 (EST)

I was assigned to B troop 7/17 in April of 1972.
I recall going on an insertion mission as a radio operator.
While flying to the LZ (I think it was at Dac To) my helicopter was hit.
I am interested in speaking to someone that may have also been on the same mission with B Troop around April 15th 1972.
John Perrin

john perrin <>
Pensacola, FL USA - Sunday, November 30, 2014 at 18:32:49 (EST)

Camp Holloway, 57th AHC, doorgunner. Feb 71 - Aug 71. Been There ! !

Dave Chandler <>
Volcano, Hawaii USA - Friday, November 28, 2014 at 14:57:35 (EST)

I was curious to know in detail about the book “Reflections from the Web” by Jack Heslin. As the book contains his personal experiences he had during the time when the army of North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam which continued as a war for some time.

Amyibsaj10 <>
- Tuesday, November 11, 2014 at 06:24:58 (EST)

Served with LSA Plieku during Easter Offensive 72

Larry Bahr <>
Breckenridge, Minnesota United States - Sunday, November 02, 2014 at 10:33:04 (EST)

Jan 1, 1969-Jan 5, 1970 Advisory Tm 41 as 1st Lt, Engineer advisor and pay officer.

Robert Memory <>
Metairie, La. USA - Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 11:10:17 (EDT)


Thanks for all you are doing to help market my book “KONTUM: The Battle To Save South Vietnam”.

Here is a link to the online flyer for my book which is almost exactly what is on the dust jacket:
View Online Flyer

Those interested in purchasing the book online can visit the website:
Buy at

Jack, I really appreciate all you have already done to promote this book.

By the way Jack, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) has issued a call for photos to obtain a photo to match with every one of the 58,272 names on the Wall on our National Mall. Now they have also launched a fund drive to raise the money they need to build an Education Center near the Wall. For more information check out this link.

Tom McKenna - Senior Adviser to 44th ARVN Regiment during the Battle of Kontum

Tom McKenna <>
Vermont USA - Friday, August 19, 2011 at 16:16:46 (EDT)

Awesome website. I so enjoyed reading about the Battle of Kontum and seeing the pictures (esp your picture). Thank you for all that you have done, Pauline Hankins

Pauline Hankins <>
Bolivia, North Carolina United States - Sunday, August 17, 2014 at 14:54:07 (EDT)

Jack great job. I was with the 344th ADD 72 & 73 Camp Holloway. I have never heard from any of my unit members. Just starting my search today. Would like to hear from SP4 Clifford Wong. We hung out and took in country R & R together. Hard to believe it has been 42 years. Welcome home to all who served. Thanks Terrence M Beamish. SFC. USA. Retired

PFC Terrence M Beamish <>
Plainfield, IL - Monday, July 07, 2014 at 09:52:45 (EDT)

I was at Tan Cahn and Kontum in 1970 & 71. Went back in Aug. 2013. Things really are different. Found two Vietnamese families I knew then. I was with the 20th Engr.

Jerrell Herron <>
Tyler , Texas USA - Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 22:36:38 (EDT)

I am trying to contact Greg Hutson, out Night Hawk pilot at Holloway AAF 71-72.

Michael Waite <>
Flower Mound, TX USA - Monday, May 26, 2014 at 14:09:36 (EDT)

Great site!

Edward Antoine <>
Fort Lee, VA USA - Friday, May 09, 2014 at 06:20:50 (EDT)

To The Below Mentioned Entry Referring to My Salute To The Men
That Served In This AO Of The Battle Of Kontum , Serving With The
Honorable Men Of The 57th AHC { The Highlanders } A Special
Note Go's to 1st LT Gary Farris ! My Friend And Pilot Of Who's Body
I Personally Recovered From A Bend In The River Directly Across
From Kontum's Bombed Out Air Field . UH-1H ! Crashed And Burned !
Spec- 4 Dan Kirkpatrick , Crew Member .

Dan Kirkpatrick <>
Caledonia, M.N. USA - Saturday, February 01, 2014 at 02:01:18 (EST)

Jack: I Would Like to Thank You For Your Effort's Into Writing This Book And The Credence It Give's To All Involved .
My Only Regret Is Not Being Able To See It To Its End For All Of
The Friends Lost , As I was Grounded By Enemy Fire On May 27th,
Evacuated Home By 67th Evac.
A Salute To You and All Involved , With Pride I remain In Service
To You And The United States Of America.
Served With The " Gladiators " 57th AHC 17th AVN Group , As A
Crew Member / Door Gunner .

Dan Kirkpatrick <>
Caledonia, M.N. USA - Friday, January 31, 2014 at 21:40:48 (EST)

Hi Mr. Jack, I'm Chau T. Ly, son of former Genaral Ly Tong Ba. It was a great honor to meet you during your visit to California with my dad. Thank you for everything you do for the people of Vietnam. There is no word or expression to thank you enough!

Ly Tong Chau <>
Temecula, Caifornia USA - Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at 02:15:50 (EST)

would like to know if anyone remembers paul william robinson killed jan.19,1968 in the battle of kontum? he was in the infantry with charlie company.

jo presley <>
TUPELO, miss. united states - Monday, January 13, 2014 at 12:12:45 (EST)

Just stumbled onto McKenna's book and thought I would check in again since it's been a while.
The book is a very somber read. I was with MACV, 22nd Division so most of the troops I served with were decimated in Spring 72 just months after I left country. Spent time on all the FSB from Polei Kleng, Ben Het, 5, 6, Dak Pek, Dak Seang Tan Cahn..with the 42nd and the roads from Tan Cahn to Kontum and Plieku and east to the coast with the 14th Cav.
I appreciated the "advisor" perspective in the book...a lot of memories.
Happy New Year fellows!

Hugh Preacher <>
Frisco, Texas USA - Wednesday, January 01, 2014 at 13:21:23 (EST)

Hi All, I served with the 44thRCAT, ARVN 23D Infantry Division. Early July,1972 to late September. Thank you LTC McCurdy, Col Rhotenberry, Maj Love, Col XUAN and many more ( Covey ..USAF Air Controller) whom I remember in deeds only.

1LT (later CPT), Inf USA

Ray Donahue <>
Corpus Christi, Texas USA - Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 20:59:10 (EST)

I too was an ATC controller at the airfield, NCOIC for a while, was present when John Paul Vann Died. Was there when LTC Johnnie Gower shot a TOE into the water tower, served with him at Ft Leavenworth in 1974, also Served with some of your comment providers and still think of those days, I made tapes to my wife while I was controlling and have played them many times since. Oddly my two kids have never asked me about Easter 1972.

John Grange <>
El Dorado, Kansas - Monday, December 09, 2013 at 19:49:25 (EST)

On 5 Jun 72 I was a very green Signal Corps LT when I reported to the II Corps G1 in Nha Trang. I had arrived the day before (Sunday) and was told by the major that picked me up at the airfield that I was going to be the local installation telephone officer and live in a nice villa on the beach. As I waited that Monday morning for the G1 to complete his phone call I heard him say "I have a new Signal Corps lieutenant in my office right now. Will he do?" The next day I got off a Huey in Kontum (near the old tennis courts) and wandered around until I found the basement TOC for MACV Team 33. I walked down the steps, turned left and bumped into COL Rhotenberry-- "Who the hell are you?" "Sir, I'm your new signal officer. I was told I'm replacing CAPT Hall." Wrong thing for me to say...the hurt of his loss was too fresh, too raw for his friends and I was a reminder of what happened. CPT Hall was highly respected and well liked by the entire team. The nature of his wounds seemed to add to the somber mood I found that morning. But as we moved through summer, many of those that served with CPT Hall rotated back home and the mood gradually changed. I heard that he made it back to Brooke Army Medical Center but no news after that. Although I never met CPT Hall he had a tremendous impact on my life. I knew I could never replace him in the eyes of MACV Team 33 (nor did I want to) but still I worked hard to live up to the standard he set. I was your typical dumb lieutenant but thanks to the care and feeding I got from MAJ Burch, LTC Bricker and the ever present shadow of CPT Hall, we all made it through to the Cease Fire the next year. I even did a stint as the Deputy Advisor to the 44th Regt at FB November. As I close in on my final retirement, after 45 years with the Army and Navy, I wanted to tell the members of MACV Team 33 (Jun 72-Feb 73) they had a profound impact on my life and career and I will always be grateful for the opportunity I had to serve with soldiers of such character and heart. Thank you all.

Patrick Faver <>
- Wednesday, November 06, 2013 at 20:04:50 (EST)

Jack thanks for this informative website.

I had a wonderful opportunity to meet Gen Ba during a recent trip to Las Vegas. It was a great conversation, interrupted frequently and usefully by other attendees of the Special Operations Association (the reunion I was at) who also had contributions to the discussion or important questions to ask.

Gen Ba lauded the translator of an article of his that I had published in "Our Pre-Sponse" ( for the TTU-NARA Conference on Vietnam in 1963.

When I returned home, I thought about how much I would like to be able to read the General's book and get more details on his stories. I understand that Jack Heslin , along with others, has an ongoing project to get General Ba’s original book translated from Vietnamese into English. I have an excellent translation of much of the middle parts of that book, perhaps we can avoid a duplication of effort and get things moving more quickly.

One of the things that is needed would be good copies of the existing pictures currently in Gen Ba’s book or adequate replacements for them. The book is an important contribution to the literature for many events of that period of the Vietnam War. Jack, perhaps you can keep after General Ba for anything he may have left out of the original Book.

Steve Sherman <>
Houston, TX USA - Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 20:39:37 (EDT)

Great Book... Was the crew chief on the huey that picked up Mr. Vann April 24, 1972. ac 773 , 361 AWC...

WALBRIDGE, OHIO USA - Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 23:52:58 (EST)

Tow Team Missile Vet Passes Away -
It is with great sadness that I write to let you know that Roy Sudeck, a member of the 1972 Battle of Kontum Tow Missile Team passed away on Nov. 16, 2013. Roy's burial was held at Arlington on Feb. 4, 2013.

Gayle Sudeck < >
- Friday, February 15, 2013 at 22:12:07 (EST)

I was a GCA operator in Kontum in 1972 and never really knew all that was happening around me. This is very interesting.

Steve Ihde <>
Eloy, AZ Usa - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 00:26:52 (EST)

Looking for any one who know of woodrow w Bradley served Charlie battery 4th battalion 60th artillery group 1st field force usarv nick name they call him sonny 1967-1968 nov-01 kill jeep went off cliff Any pictures of him are his company

Johnny mayhew <>
Statesville, Nc Usa - Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 12:41:59 (EST)

Jack, I just mailed you a letter that asks for your phone number. The reason is because I was the District Advisor at Dak To when the Tan Can Compound was overrun by the NVA in April 1972. I am interested in chatting with you about my experiences along with yours. I have just finished a draft on my memoirs about my two tours in Vietnam . I look forward to hearing from you.

See my comments in the Memories Book

Dennis R. (Buz) Bruzina <>
Junction City, Kansas USA - Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 13:05:23 (EST)

Dear Jack,

I hope this finds you well. I just read your Battle of Kontum material. Outstanding.

I was the 'juniorest' civilian on the CORDS team when the NVA hit. Two years later, was Gen. John Murray's Civilian Special Assistant at DAO. If you're interested, I have a couple of Kontum stories you might be interested in. I plan to go there for my first visit since the war, next week. Let me know if you want any particular photos taken.

Rob Schwab <>
Thailand - Friday, November 02, 2012 at 15:04:59 (EDT)

Links to Rob Schwab's Memories Book entries:
Crash of the VNAF Chinook Carrying Montagnard Dependents from Ben Het
ASA, "Two Corps Red," and the Chinook Nets

What a great, well run, researched website/book. Its amazing. Thank you for your service to our country and to the web.

Ray <>
Detroit, MI USA - Friday, October 19, 2012 at 16:18:45 (EDT)

I was with the group from the 82nd Airborne that introduced the TOW ground mount/M-151C mount during the Easter Offensive of 1972. Operated from the MACV base in Pleiku. Had deployment in Kontum a well as Quan Tri area during this period as well as other remote areas. Trying to locate anyone with knowledge of or participation in these missions. Spc-4 Stephen M Thompson aka "TowBoy"

Stephen M Thompson <>
Eastanollee, Georgia USA - Sunday, October 07, 2012 at 09:22:36 (EDT)

Looking for a Captain Hulin or Hullen, Ops MACV Team 21 circa 71-72. I have located Troung Van Phong, interpreter in Kontum 1971-1972.

Kenneth P Lord <>
Williamsport, TN USA - Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 15:23:48 (EDT)

Thank you for your presentation at the VHPA reunion. I was also very happy to hear your comments of the work of the CH47 crews during this battle, not that the effort of ALL of the helicopter crews was nothing short of wonderous. The forward controller Rick Vycital spoke of the 47 crew that was picking up panicking civilians; it was sad to say that was my crew. We did our best to save lives, however, in the panic some were lost. We tried our best to save as many as possible. So again thanks for your time and service for all of us that were there.

Stephan Bourassa (Bigwindy21) <>
Mesa, Arizona United States of America - Monday, August 06, 2012 at 17:16:12 (EDT)

I have had a reunion with one of my Vietnamese friends thanks to the Battle of Kontum site run by Jack Heslin. I was assigned an ARVN SFC Hieu as an interpreter, and lacking any other US staff, I relied on him greatly, and he was competent, ever present, and did not shirk any assignments of mine. He is a stand up guy. After the Americans left, he had a brief assignment as an interpreter with the cease fire teams of Polish and Canadian observers, then was sent back to a regular regiment. When the country began to fall, his father burned all their photos, especially military, for fear of reprisal. Hieu was sent to a re-education camp. I have sent him some 35 of mine from that year. He and his father spent all of their money in 1977 to escape Viet Nam. He and his wife and four children ended up in the south of France, he just retired after 35 years from Michelin Tires, where he was an RD specialist for formula one vehicles. His youngest son was named after me, and is in the Republican Guard, and recently deployed to Libya to protect the French embassy there. We have been corresponding, and I was told that the way I was located is that Hieu found my letter in the guest book on Jack's Kontum site. Of all the folks I knew in Kontum that year, Hieu is one that was at the top of my list, and I am glad to find that he escaped and has had a decent life with the same wife, four kids, and seven grand children!

Added August 6, 2012- In reference to my posting of July 31st last, I have been in touch with former SFC Hieu in France, and he informs me that CPT Nguyen Thanh Long, an ARVN officer assigned to the Province S-3 CPT Duong, with whom Hieu was in touch, and now has lost contact. CPT Long was last known to be in Hawaii. If any of the visitors to the site know this man or his whereabouts, we would like for him to recontact us. Thanks for your support of all of us who were there in 1972!

Richard Montgomery <>
- Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 08:54:28 (EDT)

Jack, you won't remember me, I ordered your book some time ago. I am a Citadel classmate of Joe Eubanks. We spent 4 years together in college and several months sharing a tank at Armor School. He was a loyal friend, the kind of friend I hope I am. You should know that on the anniversary of his death my classmates paid a tribute to him on our Citadel Class of 69 website. We toasted his life that day and remembering him brought both happiness and sadness. Please know that as I re-read your book, your dedication and personal message to me make it one of my prized possessions. I don't think a week goes by that I don't think of Joe. My classmates and I miss him at every Reunion and he is honored for his courage and sacrifice. I was stationed at the III Corps TOC and left Viet Nam to come home just prior to the Battle of Kontum. Most of my Intel Detachment ended up being deployed to the battle. To this day I feel a sense of guilt for not being there. I knew a few helicopter pilots from the 11th Cav and the 1st Air Cav. and a good friend of mine, Frank Carriola was an instructor in country. In my opinion you guys were the bravest of the brave. I don't know how you faced the danger and horror every day. I will never forget.

Thank you for your tribute to Captain Joseph W. Eubanks, Citadel Class of 1969.

Joel Kipphut,

Joel Kipphut <>
USA - Monday, June 18, 2012 at 15:45:39 (EDT)

I am looking for people who knew my cousin. James Dale Peoples Jr. People who served with him. I was 2 when Jimmy died and did not know him. Wish I did. I want to know what kind of guy he was. What did you find funny about Jimmy.

Vickilynn Erhard <>
Vandergrift, PA USA - Friday, June 08, 2012 at 06:16:41 (EDT)

My name is Cary Louderback. Best I can recall, it was April thru June of 1972 when I was on several missions to Kontum Airfield with an 8th Aerial Port Sq. Mobility Team. I'm looking for anyone that remembers me or maybe Steve "Big Willie" Williams. We handled lots of aircraft, mostly C130s, moved lots of ARVN & ROKs in & out, and tried our best to evacuate refugees. Took a helluva lot of rockets & mortars along with some small arms fire. Need some help. Thanks.

Cary Louderback <>
Rising Sun, IN USA - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 08:34:52 (EDT)

Dear Mr. Heslin:

A few weeks ago, I had heard the name, Captain Raymond H. Dobbins, from my father's subordinate. While I searched online for the name, Captain Raymond H. Dobbins, it led me to your website, "The Battle of Kontum". If you know Mr. Dobbins, then would you please forward this email to him?

I'm sincerely grateful and thankful for your services in Vietnam. With all of my respect and gratitude, I salute you.

Thang Nguyen

Dear Mr. Heslin and Mr. McKenna:

Thank you for your valuable time trying to help me get in contact with Mr. Dobbins.
Yesterday, I was finally able to talk with Mr. Dobbins via phone and now, we're exchanging some emails and will keep in touch. This is truly a great healing medicine for our family. In addition, it's an indescribable feeling when I received your reply message, and was finally able to talk with Mr. Dobbins. I mean I'm so happy that there are people who do care! It's worthy for my close cousin to continue to serve this wonderful country, and I do approve his courage of willing to sacrifice his life for this great nation if needed. He's currently serving as a colonel in the U.S Army. He graduated from West Point in the class of 1986, and will attend the US Army War College in the fall.

Again, I thank you for everything, especially for your service and scarifies in Vietnam far away from your loved ones.

Best regards and sincerely,
Thang Nguyen

Thang Nguyen < >
- Friday, May 25, 2012 at 11:09:04 (EDT)

Jack- thanks for the great work on the website and for the conversation we had about my father, COL John Todd. I really appreciated some of the stories and memories you provided about your time working with him during the battle. If anyone who served with him or my brother, 1LT John "Andre" Todd would like to contact me, email is provided below.

Thanks again and God Bless-
Bill Todd, MAJ USA (Ret)

Bill Todd <>
Delta Junction, Alaska USA - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 19:40:43 (EDT)

I served with E.co1/35th 4 ID8-68-8/69. I was in the 4.2 mortar platoon. We spent a few months at Special Forces camp FOB2 in Kontum, as well as other locations in the highlands..........

Frank DeBilio <>
Milton, Florida.32570 USA - Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 07:55:22 (EDT)

Dear Mr. Jerrell Heron,

My name is Bich Ngoan, I live in Buon Ma Thuot city, Dak Lak pro,, Viet Nam. I get your email address via google. My father wants to find his friends who worked in Kon Tum province in 1969 - 1971 during the war. His friends are Herron (his wife is Conny), both of them are students, his wife studys French at that time), he lives in Texas and Dolley lives in Califronia. They worked at Dakbla bridge in Kon Tum province, they supervised water tanks which suppied water for USA army.

I saw your name is the same my father's friend's name. I know that this is very difficult to find them, but if you know any website or information, pls reply to me. My father's name is Nguyen Hau, he was born in 1949. His family lives in Buon Ma Thuot City.

Thanks for your time to read my email. My father will very happy if he gets any information about this. Thanks!

Best regards,
Bich Ngoan (Mrs.)
HP: 84 - 0905 480 880

Nguyen Hau <>
Buon Ma Thuot, Viet Nam - Friday, April 13, 2012 at 09:45:07 (EDT)

I was a rifleman with C Company 1/22 4th Division. We were choppered to Kontum the night of 2/1/68. We secured the airfield and began a sweep the next day into Kontum. We had heavy contact at the old language school near the MACV compound 2/2/68 and pushed the NVA to the north. On 2/5/68 we were on a sweep to the north and at Hill 684 met with a fierce battle for 4-6 hours. I remember Kontum well especially the brave soldiers of Charlie Company who gave their lives that day.

Fred Childs <>
Pasadena, California US - Thursday, April 05, 2012 at 19:14:29 (EDT)

Welcome home, I was in Kontum and AnKae 70 & 71 with an Engineer Unit. Don't remember it much, but did go back with some of my 84th Engineer buddies in 2010. Didn't recognize anything, the people treated us really nice. Montguards are still living in extreme poverty.

John Paul Joiner <>
Jacksonville, Florida USA - Sunday, April 01, 2012 at 20:27:30 (EDT)

I was an air controller throughout the battle of Kontum. I have a lot of memories I would be glad to share. I was in Kontum city as the CH-47's tried to load wounded and civilians and I watched them fall from the sky on departure, I watched them being crushed in the loading ramp…saw the whole deal…thanks for the site and the memories. I look forward to sharing with you.

Rick Vycital <>
Boise, Idaho USA - Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 22:17:38 (EDT)

I was in Kontum for Tet Of 68 at the age of 19. I was in the small compound connected to MACV. I heard small arms fire and headed for the bunker with clothes, M14, 200 rounds of ammo and 6 grenades. I gave the warning but most waited to hear the alert warning. We were pinned down by snipers for several days. I believe the count was 385 : 2 -good for everyone but 2. I'll never forget Spec Gideon and Sgt Vasques. I can still smell the rot and burning flesh.

Charles Mobley <>
Dyersburg, Tennessee USA - Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 23:53:36 (EDT)

Lost a great friend on hill 1000, March 16, 1968, Kontum, (173rd Airborne, 1/503 Inf)

Emmett Lauer <>
Silver Spring, MD USA - Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 13:41:00 (EST)

I was a Army Air Traffic Controller at Kontum AAF from Nov. 68-April 70. I always wondered about the 72 battle for Kontum and the destruction it caused. Plan on reading the book. If anyone has pics of the Airfiield...feel free to send them. I appreciate the heroics of the men who stayed and fought.

Randy Bailey <>
Sagle, Idaho USA - Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 19:51:47 (EST)

I was pleased to see Col. Thomas P. McKenna's book (Kontum, The Battle to save South Viet Nam) was reviewed in the current issue (March 2012, p. 78) of "Armchair General,." I had spoken with the editor-in-chief, Jerry Morelock, a few weeks ago, and he said he would take a look. Mission accomplished! Note that Editor Morelock served as an artillery officer in I Corps in 1972.

Best regards to all,

Richard L. Montgomery
LTC, US Army, retired
Phung Hoang/S-2 Advisor, MACV Advisory Team 41, Kontum, January 1972 - January 1973.

Richard L. Montgomery <>
Tucson, Arizona USA - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 09:26:57 (EST)

I was on MACV TM 24 during TET. I was a 1LT who along with a CPT were direced by the Senior Advisor to go to the TOC where all the communications equipment was located. He told us to run the show. In 3 days and nights, I called in over 200 Arty missons on the dug in NVA. After the battle, I was told I would receive the Silver Star medal for my TET actions. You guessed it, never got it? If you know of 1LT Frank Wiseburn's actions during TET, please let me know.
God bless and thank you,

Doctor Frank Wiseburn <>
Houston, Texas USA - Sunday, January 08, 2012 at 10:48:29 (EST)

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