Nha Trang
Up Documents Advance Party Ben Cat Cheo Reo Dak To Nha Trang Nhon Co Phan Rang Phan Thiet Qui Nhon Tuy Hoa


Nha Trang 2

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LT Dick Zeltner, 326 Engineer at the 5th SF GP camp.

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We didn't realize how nice this was - a roof, cots, bug nets.

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This was the area normally used by the local troops lead by the SF. SEE comment below for correction and question

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I made it a point to drop by the 5th SF Gp camp any Saturday I was in Nha Trang - great steak barbeque at their club.

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South VN AF H-34 at
Nha Trang

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Hawks protecting Nha Trang - we periodically received "reports" that the NVA were going to try an aerial attack

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Back when the Army was flying the Caribous - The Bde had one assigned in support for a number of months.

Grazing Water Buffalos

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We landed at Nha Trang in the dead of night. Most of us had no idea where we were in Vietnam. We could se the outline of mountains silhouetted against a clear sky, but didn't know we were in Nha Trang until a SF NCO drove up in a jeep and welcomed us.

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I think this is the C Team camp at Dong Ba Thin, a short distance north of the DZ shown in the next photo.

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The clear grazing land by the edge of Cam Rahn Bay was used by the SF Gp as a  training drop zone close to DBT that eventually became the western terminus for a major bridge over Cam Rahn Bay. 

I made my first VN jump on Jul 21, 1965, from a Caribou full of Montenyard trainees into the clearing shown on the left. Hard as a rock. Doug Yardas, a fellow-501st Sig BN LT from FT Campbell, now a SF signal officer, was the jumpmaster.

Note from J Brosnam:

John, you confused two different groups of ethnic people in your photos of Nha Trang when you referred to "montenards nungs. "They are two different people: Montgnards are the indigenous people of the highlands of Viet-Nam (Rhade, Jarai, Bru, etc) whereas the Nungs are Chinese Mercenaries who are veterans of the Chinese Nationalist Army or are descendants of these veterans who fled Mao and the communists.

I had the honor to command the world renowned Cheo Reo International Airport and BBQ site in 1967 and 1968. Cheo Reo was the Montgnard's name for the town named after one of their local heroes who killed many Vietnamese whereas Hau Bon was the Vietnamese name for the place. Cheo Reo was also the site of the famed Montgnard Uprising which was quelled by the SF after the 'Yards had killed some VN LLDB Officers. This occurred before both of our times there.

My Question  - Who were the soldiers at the 5th Group camp in Nha Trang? Any help? - Taylor

Jim's reply:

The company sized force at Nha Trang were Mike Force and consisted of
Montgnards (all from the same tribe) or Nungs. The composition of the force
varied. They were called "Hatchet Force" at times and were used to go in to
an area where an A Team was in deep feces or even a MacSog team.

Incidentally, the word Montgnards is a French word for mountain people. The
VN called them "Moi" which is a demeaning term. Lots of effort right now by
former SF troops to try to get them into the US because they are being
decimated by the VN.

It has been some 40 years so my memory is quite faulty. (lots better than mine - jmt)


Jim Brosman

Added comments from Fred Fzazier...

I found your photo's and review of Nha Trang to be quiet interesting, bringing back lots of memories. I also agree with Jim B. that the Montgnards and Nungs were very different, as he described. I spent a tour with the 5th as a medic in '68-'69 and was stationed out of the Da Nang C-Team as part of their Mike Force. That Mike Force was mainly Montgnards with a small number of Nungs. If I remember right, we tried to keep the groups in seperate units as much as possible because of the cultural differences. Both we great fighters and very loyal.........couldn't say as much for many of the Vietnamese.

Where might I get information on SF'ers trying to help get Montgnards out of Vietnam? Doesn't surprise me that they are still being persecuted.

One funny story about the Nha Trang SF headquarters. I was there on my way to R & R when the worst possible event took place............... a single mortar round made a direct hit on the Dairy Queen in the compound. For an ice cream lover going on R & R, this was the ultimate insult!

Fred Frazier


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