- ABRAMS: It’s [the 22nd ARVN Division] like the 173rd Airborne Brigade. They’ve [the 173rd’ got rigging equipment, and they’ve got TO&E for air dropping wherever in the world the United States wants to put them, and they’re all airborne trained and they’re all ‘All the way, sir!’ and all that kind of stuff. We don’t need it! We don’t need it! Instead what they’ve got to do is get out there and cream the VCI, get out there in little units muckering around at night, helping the goddamn villagers, seeing that the goddamn rice stays in the warehouse and so on, and—Christ, there isn’t room for a parachute! The only thing you can do is use it for a picnic with the villagers or something.
- ABRAMS: And, unfortunately, the 22nd ARVN Division can’t see that. It isn’t being a great division, going out battling with regiments and battalions and so on! Goddamn it, the name of the game that’s got to be done is this other thing! And that’s what needs to be done in Binh Dinh! And that’s what the 22nd Division can’t see! And that’s what the division commander is psychologically indisposed to do! And what everybody’s got to do, instead of talking about going off to war and battling with the—Christ, they’ve been down there licking their chops waiting for the 3rd NVA to come back! Well, of course if the 3rd NVA came back they’d clean their clock. But that’s the day they’re waiting for—when the 3rd NVA comes back! Well, bullshit! The thing—you can’t do what you’re organized for, you can’t do what you’re trained for. You’ve got to go out to do what has to be done right now in this country! Everybody’s got to do it!
* 6 Dec 69
- ABRAMS: I went up the other day, and I wound up at the 23rd ARVN, and was briefed by Colonel Canh, I guess it is. And when it was all over I told him that that was the most professional briefing by an ARVN division commander that I’d received since I’d been in Vietnam. His briefing not only covered all of the intelligence and operations and his organization for combat and so on. He went into considerable detail in the logistics—requirements, flow, amounts, and then into the personnel thing. And he’s got a task force on replacements in the system, he’s got a division replacement thing, and rotating battalions out and bringing replacements in, a short training program. And what they’ve done up there, I think has been really something. So one thing we’ve gotten out of Duc Lap and Bu Prang, we’ve now got a division. We know we’ve got a division that’ll function as a division.
- ABRAMS: Colonel Canh removed the 4th Regiment, according to what the advisor told me up there. He went to Bu Prang himself and he told the—in the presence of about 50 people—he told the regimental commander of the 47th that he was a dirty yellow bastard, and forthwith removed him and his regiment from Bu Prang.
- JACOBSON: Is the’ dirty yellow bastard’ still in charge of the 47th?
- ABRAMS: Yes, he is. Of course, that 47th, you know, belongs to the 22nd, so what Colonel Canh has done, he’s turned that whole problem over to the corps commander and the division commander of the 22nd, and has canceled any invitation to return to the 23rd. So it’s their problem.
- ABRAMS: The other interesting turn of events there…the 53rd’s never been in Bu Prang. They’ve been out, in company size, which is quite hairy. But that’s what they’ve been doing, and they’ve been quite successful at it. Re: Canh: He’s really a pretty sound tactical thinker.
* 16 may 70
- ABRAMS: The 25th looks real good in there.
- POTTS: The professionalism of those three divisions [5th, 18th, 25th] and five armored cav squadrons has increased a hundred percent.
- ABRAMS: The 25th Division is an interesting thing. Two years ago—although the competition was very stiff—the 25th won that hands down, month after month after month, and it was unanimous for worst unit in the ARVN. Now it’s showing up as a very solid division. I must say it’s hard for me to see the signs of that developing in the 5th.
* 11 Jul 70
- ROSSON: The 5th and 18th ARVN divisions are “mediocre,” “second rate.” The 25th is excellent—one of the most improved units in the country.
* 26 Oct 68
- ABRAMS: The way those operations have been successful in northern I Corps—you’ve got a combined Police Field Force, ARVN, RF/PF. There’s a very high content of Vietnamese. And that’s the people that really can root these fellows infrastructure out.
I, II, III, IV Corps
* 20 Nov 71
- ABRAMS: I continue to think though, that if the GVN continues to maintain the command structure that they’ve got in MR-1—that’s a very capable command structure. It’s got a lot of real skills—talking about planning, and the integration of intelligence, and operations. Some of the executions out there, carried out by the Vietnamese, are as good as anybody does it. So you’ve got that. It may get pretty heavy going up there. And also there seems to be a mutual confidence and respect among those seniors.
- ABRAMS: You clearly don’t have that situation in MR-2, nor do you have it in MR-3, I do think you’ve got it in MR-4. The problem, really, is much different, but I think you’ve got the same kind of thing down there… Some used to splutter about General [name unclear] and the 21st Division and his relationship with General Truong. That doesn’t [now] seem to be a matter of professional significance. The two men, of course, are fighters. Their personal habits are really quite different. But that all seems to be worked out.
- SOMEONE: We have as high a quality of Vietnamese leadership as we have ever had.
* 4 Jul 68
- ABRAMS: One thing that shows up here very clearly is the deficit in artillery in IV Corps. Also, in other analysis of the performance of ARVN division, you’ll find that the kill ratio is less favorable in IV Corps than it is in some of the others, and I think that fire support is part of the answer to that.