COMMENTS and PHOTO from Vern Greunke 330th/372nd Radio Research Companies (Army Security Agency)
Ben Cat intersection from the air. UP ... is West .. towards Ben Suc the village that was evacuated and destroyed during Operation Cedar Falls, road to right goes off to Tay Ninh (I think) ..? and road going off bottom of picture is the continuation of Highway 13 to Lai Khe (thunder road) ... BTW .. Robert Mitchum came out and saw us once .. but was in the ARVN compound and we were outside the perimeter manning our DF set. (He starred in a movie called Thunder Road ... which I have a copy of.)
Saw your photos on BEN CAT ... when were you there? I was there Jan 1967 in support of Operation Cedar Falls. Then moved down the road (highway 13) a bit to a small ARVN compound next to a real small village called Thoi Hoa; further down the road was Phu Cong I believe.
We set up a jeep mounted short range radio direction finding receiver on the helipad at Ben Cat. Many local kids came out to see us each day to beg, steal or just talk to us GI's. Sure would like to figure out a way to contact them ... now grown up of course. The pictures you presented didn't look familiar. Am sure they were near Ben Cat but nothing I could really identify with.
You're welcome to put my comments AND my email, also a note that I am looking for ARMY SECURITY AGENCY veterans (radio research) was our cover name over there.
Actually I also wanted to contact you about that map ! ... does it unfold... (to the bottom). I am having a bit of a problem getting my bearings from it ... yes I can see Ben Cat ... and Lai Khe ... but the "roads" ... don't line up or are not indicated like I thought??
I am most interested in seeing the map with Cu Chi, Ben Cat, Trung Lap (west and up from Cu Chi) .. another ARVN Ranger Training Center ... and Phu Hoa Dong ... a small village just north and a bit East of Cu Chi. And of course that small village Thoi Hoa just below Ben Cat on Highway 13 but it was so small it might not be on a map!
I bought 3 maps from a lady in Hawaii that stop at Cu Chi ... so they are CC and below going down to Saigon and Bien Hoa. and Long Bien and such from Cambodia to the Sea though but not my area of operation!
Vern - I made the map up and copied it for a report paper I wrote at Fort Banning circa 1968 - so I don't still have the original. We drove Highway 13 from Bien Hoa up to Lai Khe, then followed the routes indicated. Boy, I just don't remember the roads, this was my only trip into the area.
If you remember, I deployed with the 1st FASCP from the 501st Sig Bn. I was the team chief of one of your VHF teams and Sgt Allred was another. You used to send the two of us out with the Infantry units that were deploying. Your pictures are great. They bring back lots of old memories.
Keep up the good work. Airborne!
MSG Thomas F. Maher Jr. (Retired)
I was happy to find your web site as I typed “Ben-Cât” on Google.
On the aerial picture of Ben-Cât I saw the house where I was living at the age of 6 years, in 1948. It is the first house, with a green garden, on the left, after the cross road, on the way to the bridge.
At that time my father was in the French Army and Ben-Cât was surrounded by Viet-Minh guerilla and with a connection, by road, with Saďgon every two weeks only.
Later on, in 1966, I was myself officer in the 6th “Régiment Parachutiste d’Infanterie de Marine” heir of the 6th BPC of Colonel Bigeard in Dien Bien Phu (“Who dares wins” from the British SAS). This regiment does not exist anymore, it was dissolved in 1998.
If you like to contact me, my e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2003 !
I was stationed in Ben Cat with MACV for one year. We were in the Arvin compound as advisors. I have a picture taken with Robert Mitchum when he came an visited us.