I Knew The General

Some readers upon visiting General Hieu's Homepage realized they have known or met him. Following are their reactions and feeling as expressed in their e-mails:

Tran Hoai Thu

Through HoustonViet I was able to read MG Nguyen van Hieu's homepage. I wanted to weep. Just yesterday, I and my former company commander (405 Recon company, 22 division) had a telephone conversation in which I asked him which General he respected the most. He answered without hesitation: General Hieu.

I reported to 405 Recon unit when General Hieu was division commander (8/1967). And my unit was very dear to him. Because we were very close to him, and achieved dangerous tasks he assigned to us with confidence. Each time our unit conquered an objective, his helicopter immediately came down to give us comfort and encouragement. On 9 May 1968, our unit was ambushed on Ky Son's hilltop, we suffered very heavy casualties, with 4 officers KIA, including an American advisor, right that afternoon, General Hieu's helicopter landed down and he bent his head on a stone for half an hour. And for the entire following week, he ordered the flag to be hung half-staff.

I carry with me his image, his love for his soldiers, his humanity so that I can be proud for being his subordinate. He gave to each one of us a very beautiful knife, because he very much appreciated us.

Now you are dead, not by the hands of the enemy but by the hands of a group of hooligans... I would like to light an incense stick to offer you my respect. Dear Sir, do you still remember that near-sighted lieutenant with a ranger's hat that you had more than once pinned medals onto his chest?

Beverly Haire

I have read other things through the years, and met an American adviser some years back who went to school with your brother (can't remember name) but remember him bragging about how good your brother was in school, and saying that he WOULD be a General very early! Then when your brother was killed, I remember reading the news stories and thinking, He was assassinated! I know how governments do these things and lie to the people! But just remember, it is the GOOD ones they assassinate! the ones they cannot corrupt!

Ron

I don't know how or why I received the link to your brother's Home Page...but 'm glad I did. I Salute you... Drive on...you and your family should know the true fate of your dear brother.

I'm a Viet Nam Veteran, I served with the 1st Cavalry Division in 1965 and 1966 in the Central Highlands II Corps...General Kinnard was our Commanding General, Gen. Kinnard left the Division in May 1966...It must been November 1, 1965 that Gen. Hieu visited Gen. Kinnard, just before the battles in the Ia Drang Valley Nov. 14, 15, 16, 17 ...

I find the page very interesting...I'm still not finished going through it... Have you written a book about this odyssey?...I believe it deserves to be told...although you are telling it here on the web.

Viet Nam has been a big part of my life...can't erase the memories...I've even gone back to Vietnam. Anyway...just wanted to thank you for the link...I will pass this on to my Vietnam Veteran buddies on the internet...I'm sure most would find it as interesting as I have. I want to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas & a Healthy & Prosperous New Year... In Vietnamese...Chuc Mung Nam Moi??

[...]

I just have those days of November 1965 imprinted into my memory...the most profound and horrifying days of my life... I relive them nightly...Many of my good foxhole buddies were KIA & seriously WIA during those days...

I see General Kinnard yearly at the "Ia Drang Valley 1965" Veterans reunion in Washington DC...we get together every November to pay our respects to the 243 men who were KIA in the valley of death.

I'm amazed by the wealth of documents that you have. They really give one an insight as to the actions of the ARV's and their commanding general. I'll be reading more of your page tonight.

I am sending your link to my good friend Joe Galloway. Joe is a senior writer for U.S. News & World Report. Joe and my former CO Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore wrote a book about the battles in the Ia Drang..."We Were Soldiers Once and Young". I'm also going to send it to Jack Smith, another veteran of the Ia Drang battles...Jack is a correspondent for ABC News. Maybe they will pick up on your search for answers.

Bill Sillery

This is my third visit to your web site, I really like the work you have produced. Also this is the first contact I have made with a Vietnamese person since 1967. By the way I think I may have served with your brother in Bong Son in 1967. I was in country from Nov. 4, 1966 to Nov.1, 1967 with the 8th Engineer Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division. I'm sure I participated in the "Eagles Claw" Operation. Your Home Page is full of interest for me and I will be visiting again, I have forwarded it to some of my Vietnam buddies as well. By the way I know Simpson St., in the Bronx. It was part of the 41st Precinct (Fort Apache) 20 years ago. I am very happy to see through your efforts it is making a come back...

John Spizzirri

I thank you for your invitation to visit the website about your brother. I am always interested in hearing about fellow veterans. Your brother appears to have been a great soldier and a great man. Is it possible that I may have run into him in either the US basecamp at Bearcat or Long Binh? Did he at one time wear a large Bowis knife at his side? I seem to recall briefly meeting a person of identical appearance and impressive stature during my tour (which was June 1968 to June 1969.) Again thank you for the invitation, I am sure that your brother is honored by your actions.

Vo, #3 Ben Bach Dang

I was very touched when I was reading the pages about General Nguyen Van Hieu. Although he was not my immediate commander, I have always known him to be honest, virtuous, classy and highly competent. I have also always admired and loved him - one of the few who had served the country and our people with all his abilities, with his heart, his mind and his strength. It was unfortunate that rare individuals such as him had to live isolated in a vast world because it is hard to find "a soul-mate", they have to deal with difficulty not only against "enemy" but they must also deal with "friends" - those fighting at the same front-line. It was unfortunate that a man with such a good heart as General Hieu had to die of a sudden death and shrouded in mystery.

"Since the creation of the world, great generals can rarely be seen surviving until old ages." That's the fate of someone great.

Although more than 20 years have gone by, the past of a glorious and pathetic military time I thought had vanished, now have resurfaced in me by the reading of these pages dedicated to General Hieu. Past memories reappeared in my mind like a rerun movie bringing back pleasant, happy, heart-breaking, humiliating reminiscences while I still served in the military until the day I was reduced to be a vanquished soldier forced to waste his health and his youth in re-education camps...

As a soldier who has served and fought under the same flag of a free Vietnam as General Hieu, although it's a little late, I light up an incense stick in my heart to commemorate General Nguyen Van Hieu and pray that his soul rests in peace. I also present my condolence to General Hieu's father - Mr. Nguyen Van Huong - my unbending inmate friend in camps 15NV, 16NV and Z.30D, and to Mr. Nguyen Van Tin and General Hieu's family.

Nguyen Dinh Phuc

Since I was able to read pages about General Hieu and since talking to you on the phone, the far away past rushed back into me with vividness. In our family, the main topic swirls around the epic life of a General, around a great family, around those old friends of a ancient time but who won't ever fade away.

I always knew that "tel pere tel fils" (like father, like son) to be true. When I was still attending Puginier school (Hanoi) I admired your father through my dad's observations on him. I remember the black color of his Vedette sedan he used to ride in, I remember the episode of him donning the national dress (long dress, turban) in disguise whenever he paid unannounced inspection visit to Police precincts in North Vietnam. He was a honest, just and competent leader. I remember the night I spent with you at your home at 6 Jean Audel, Khanh Hoi. The times your father came to visit my dad in Phu Tho, in Baria, in the company of Mr. Le Tao who was at that time the Chief of Military Police (Gendarmerie). He talked intimately with my dad about life in general, about situation of the moment. I knew later that when the country collapsed he was imprisoned, I only wondered why he did not leave immediately then.

Since I so respected your father, I wasn't surprised when I learned about your brother's fame, thinking it's just simply the case of "like father, like son". The only time I met him was when he visited Phuoc Tuy. His demeanor was just like the way you described him and as people praised about him. Then when I learned about his death, I also suspected foul play, but I felt personally so small, so powerless, all I could do was to hold the sadness in my chest.

Once in Canada, I have written a lot of articles published in a few Army magazines, I was able only to pay general tribute to the ARVN soldiers, although while sitting at my desk, images of Hero Generals, among whom was General Hieu, did inspire me, but I did not have the opportunity to write more in depth about him, because of the lack of documentation and special qualification. In the coming months, with documents now in my possession, with my renewed contact with you, I will materialize my thoughts and feelings toward your brother in my future speeches and writings.

Claude Stevens

I have taken out time to read the story of General Nguyen Van Hieu. I was in IV Corps 1-70 to 12-71 in Vinh Long down in the delta. I was a helicopter crewchief/doorgunner. When I saw his picture on the home page I remembered him one time in Cambodia. I really didn't talk to him but the high ranking guy I was with said that if Vietnam had this man in control, we would be pushing the NVA back from where they came.

I was tired of working around a bunch of puppets whose strings were pulled so tight that they had to do what all the higher up wanted them to do and the mission was never number one. I met a lot of good ARVN's in my two years of getting the enemy to go back where he belong or die staying. Then there would always be these assholes that would stop it. I wished I could have met General Van Hieu just once just to have known one of the really fighting man. His story will now be told by me.

Vu Uyen Giang

I have visited the page dedicated to General Nguyen Van Hieu. It's very well designed and well crafted. I was an officer serving at 3rd Corps, Bien Hoa and held high regards for General Hieu. When he came to the 3rd Corps, I was wounded and was treated at Tay Ninh Military Hospital. I was discharged from the army afterwards; but was astounded at the news of his death (a mysterious death the cause of which everybody knew). A few lines just to say hi. Hope you stay fit always.

Raymond E. D'Addario

I had the honor to know your Brother. He was a wonderful man, courageous as can attest to how his enemies could only resort to vile trickery to kill him. I served as the Personal Security officer for General Creighton ABRAMS. I can tell you he had great respect for your Brother and always spoke highly of his integrity, honor and valor...My dear friend we were all betrayed by forces of evil and now our two great countries are no longer what they were. But the memories of great men will live on forever.

Tony Ciccariello

I am aware of the general. If there were more like him maybe the south would have fought nobly. If there were more like him maybe the south would have been tried and true. Unfortunately, the south treated the general like they treated the interlopers, too much money shed from hand to hand to prevent the end... The Vietnamese were never cowards, their government leaders were terrible and a great deal of the politics shed over to the army top brass but that was all... The loss of the south was due to better leaders and goals by the north...they had a focus...and their army brass was not deterred by political paybacks...The sad truth for the general was that he was a general for the south Vietnamese regime...What a fighter he was...

Loyde P. Arender

Thanks for the invitation to your General Hieu website. I have visited the website and I like it very much. I met General Hieu when I was serving as a machine gunner in a CAP (Combined Action Program) Unit near Danang. General Hieu flew up from Saigon in a helicopter and was present during an awards ceremony when I was awarded 8 Medals by the Republic of Vietnam. One of the medals was the RVN Life Saving Medal for my actions when I rescued a little one-arm 9 year old South Vietnamese girl who had been knocked into the river beneath Nam O Bridge by a water buffalo on January 20, 1970. Although I received the South Vietnamese Life Saving Medal, I never received a medal from the U.S. Marine Corps and I need witnesses to verify my actions.

Jason Kaatz

I received your message and have visited your Website as suggested. In Nov l965 to Dec 1966 I was assigned to the 161st Assault Helicopter Company which upon arrival in Vietnam was part of the 52nd Combat Aviation Btn and a few months latter became part of the 14th Combat Aviation Btn. This unit was based 14 miles West of Qui Nhon where the South Korean Tiger Division had its main compound. As a matter of fact while we flew the South Korean Forces Personnel we often flew the Commander of the 22nd ARVN Division to and from joint planning conferences with the ROK forces. The call sign of our helicopter was Pelican 844. If my recollection is correct the Commander had visited a house next to the American PX in Qui Nhon and I seem to recall him having a young Lt for an aide and there were children playing in front of the residence often. I assumed that he had lived there or that there might have been family there. In fact he often met with the CO of the Tiger Division and we often flew him. I believe there were several occasions where we took him to Tuy Hoa just South of Qui Nhon where the Republic of Korea 9th Marine Rgt was based. It has been a long time since I have been in Vietnam. However, my best memory of him is that he was a very proud man who was respected by his troops. Many of the Vietnamese people who worked in our base camp were Vietnamese and they came from Qui Nhon. Many were the wives and children of Vietnamese officers who had died in combat and were affiliated with the Catholic Church in Qui Nhon. I believe that many of the Catholics and elders of the Church are now in Taiwan. There were also many Buddhists among the people who worked for us during that time as well. The valley which was located directly West 14 Miles from Qui Nhon was around An Son 1 and An Son 2 which I believe were local villages, just little North and South of our base camp. It was relatively a peaceful place and one of my fondest memories of Vietnam was waking up in the morning early and walking to the top of the hill and looking out over the valley as the sun came up -- you could see for miles a beautiful green valley much of which had been cultivated with rice. Vietnamese families farmed the land there for over a hundred years and we often provided them with medical care and the children occasionally were given rides in helicopters -- we had no reason to distrust these people -- the communist had never engaged our unit or even attacked our base camp in l965-66. However, we often flew heliborne missions throughout Vietnam. I have thought out a lot about visiting Vietnam and do not know if I will ever have the opportunity to return there.

There are many Vietnamese who live in the Flushing Queens area. I do from time to time visit a Vietnamese Restaurant located on Kissina Blvd near the corner of Main Street. I am sorry to say that I do not speak Vietnamese having left Vietnam more than 30 years ago. However, my fondness for the Vietnamese culture will always be a part of me and I do have a nice collection of traditional Vietnamese music.

There are several members of my unit who live on Long Island who will also remember the General. I do monitor the press reports coming out of Vietnam via Reuters. If you desire to come and visit we have a nice back yard with a pear and towering cherry tree for shade. I have many slides photographs that were taken in Vietnam. Aside from the war Vietnam was a beautful country with strong family ties. For a year and plus one month Vietnam was my home, not just a place where I happened to be stationed. I had volunteered to serve in Vietnam and firmly believed that the cause of the South Vietnamese people was just under the circumstances.

Garry

Thank you very much. I find this very interesting. I was fortunate enough to have met the General. I was assigned with the ARVN Division at Chu Lai in 1972. They later went to Quang Tri after the Easter invasion of 1972. They then went to Phu Cat in August for the siege there. I happened to attend a few meetings where the General attended. These were meetings for strategy (not at Chu Lai).

Mike McMunn

Thank you for informing me of the outstanding tribute to General Hieu. It was an honor for me to serve along side the soldiers of the 5th ARVN Division. The information on the site brought back many memories of the officers and men that I had served with, both Vietnamese and American. While looking over the site and some of the documents and information I proudly took notice that my name was listed among the Americans who were in contact with General Hieu, I was the G-4 Advisor at the time.

John Eagle Doc Smith

Thank you for signing The Combat Medics Homepage guestbook. I went to your site and saw the picture of General Hieu. I think he might have been the general that I met while rendering aid to children at the orphanage... but, I can't be sure it was a long time ago.

Robert Reilly

I likely did meet your brother briefly during that time, as I was 4th Division Engineer Liaison Officer in Qui Nhon. However, I was a captain, thus did not socialize with general officers. I do remember meeting him at a staff briefing of some sort. He was certainly spellbinding. My recollection is that he was observing, listening, with only a question or two to offer for clarification.

Brig Gen John T Quinn, US Army, retired

Thank you for the wonderful insight to General Hieu. His leadership, patriotism and professional skill are traits we should all emulate. I knew him briefly in 1962-63 when I was the battalion advisor (Capt) to VN Captain Vo Huu Hanh, the CO of the 20th Ranger Bn--under operational control of the 22d Division, commanded by Col Tri. I believe Capt Hanh was a 1951 graduate of the VNMA at Dalat. (I was USMA class of 1952). I was also in Gen Hieu's area in 1966-67 when I was Bn XO (Maj) of 2-28 Inf, 1st US Infantry Div, in Lai Khe. My third tour in 1970, I was CO, (Lt Col) 1-14th Inf, 4th US Infantry Div.

Tony Ciccariello

I thank you for the invite to the updated page. I know of the general. He was one of the few who was respected by the US military general staff in Vietnam. The man fought and was not afraid to fight. What saddens me is that he fought for a government that did not deserve him...

Carle "Gene" Dunn, LTC (retired)

I fought with General Hieu when I was in the First Cavalry Division in 1967 and 1968. I commanded a platoon of CH-47 helicopters and I remember this Eagle Claw battle well and the coordination with Vietnamese and Korean units. We fought on The Bong Son Plain and into the An Lao Valley. I am greatly disappointed that I never met General Hieu. The First Cavalry Commander I knew very well. When he commanded the Army Aviation Center at Fort Rucker Alabama, I arranged and taught class on aerial artillery adjustment which General Tolson asked me to prepare. When he and then Colonel Putnam went to Viet Nam, they asked that I go with them. This Universe is a big place but it is small enough that I served beside such a hero.

Lee

I did get to meet MG Hieu in 1972. I was in charge of the MACV I Corps message center in Danang. We were located next to his headquarters. He was an impressive man.

Jim Shrader

I served with the 174th Assault Helicopter Company and had participated in four operations conducted by General Hieu at the time he was Commander of the 22nd Infantry Division. I have been going over the website. It's obvious you are very proud of your brother - as you certainly should be. More important, I think he would be very proud of you and most appreciative for all the effort you have put into keeping his memory alive. I did not know him well. Remember, he was a general and I was just a major at the time. I can say, without reservation, that I had a great amount of respect for him. He took on some tough assignments and the proof of his dedication and commitment was that he always met with success.

Do Van Phuc

Last week I reread the book about General Nguyen Van Hieu. I was very touched, remembering an eldest brother of the unit who was well respected, virtuous and kind.

You have written about the battle of Snoul, but a few points needed to be corrected. Operation Toan Thang 1/71/72 NB was executed by Task Force 9 together with Group 333 of Rangers after Tet (around February 1971). In it my 4/8th Battalion was the main reinforced element (stepson is always used to the fullest). All the victories won in this operation were gained entirely by the 4/8th Battalion. The 2/9th Battalion of Major Nguyen Da was very good, but it was only a reinforced unit while we were surrounded and attacked by the 174th Regiment (5th Division) and one battalion of sappers. My Battalion Commander was Captain Nguyen Chi Hieu who resides in France at the present moment.

The defeat of Snoul after the replacement by Task Force 8 was due in part to the fault of Colonel Bui Trach Dzan (who was about to retire and thus lacked stamina). He pulled back his command post to camp A at the borders. The Task Force was like a snake without its head, and had to retreat when 3 NVA divisions attacked us.

I had a photo of General Hieu visiting our unit and pinning a medal on my chest, but I might have given it away to somebody.

While imprisoned in Ham Tan, I was put in the same barrack as your father. We liked him very much.

You can peruse my photos of the 5th Division at this page.

Ruan

I have an aunt who worked in Mr. Nguyen Van Huong's household for many years and she met General Hieu a few times and often extolled General Hieu's kindness et affability. He was not irascible, insolent and authoritarian like the other generals! Just like you wrote in your writings, General Hieu was very low-key, diligent, straight and methodical... with these traits, he was bound to be lonesome! Look at those other bastards generals (I don't consider them generals but rather bandits! It was them who had allowed the Communists to defeat our Republic of Vietnam) such as Ky, Thieu, Quang, Toan, Vien...

As of Madame Hieu, I have to admit she was a beautiful lady, with the beauty of contemplation and virtue! She was quiet and her eyes radiated with affability... Those are the traits I found in her which made me love and respect her.

I will attempt to read your writings and researched documents concerning General Hieu, a general that I greatly love and admire.

Khuc Huu Chap

General Hieu was my idol and I knew him since when he came to the 5th Division. At that time I was with an attached unit that jumped into a cross-border area which was under his loving tender care. When we were about to enter Krek, he gave the order to retreat when B-52 air support pre-approval was sudenly reversed by higher authority. He said, "Without support, I refuse to commit my troops into combat." He was a honest general, a general who took great care of his men and virtuous. He deserves my greatest admiration.

Nguyen Nho

I greatly admire your work and thank you for posting many invaluable documents on this website so that our generation and the next generation of our children and grand children come to know about an officer of the ARVN who was competent, honest and virtuous.

In 1966 Colonel Nguyen Van Hieu, 22nd Infantry Commander appointed me his press media officer. I worked with him for about a year then was transferred to the Dalat Military Academy. One must say that MG Hieu was very virtuous, kind and taciturn. He never skipped Sunday's mass and communion. Because I did not stay long with him, and besides I was only a First Lieutenant still limited in knowledge, I regretably do not recall General Hieu's well-mounted battles. But I did notice that since General Hieu assumed the command of the 22nd Infantry Division, the pacification program made great progress in the 22nd tactical zone. Each morning I went down to G3 to gather information, especially regarding pacification program, I discovered that we gained control of more and more villages.

Pertaining to his simplicity, I recall one time I accompanied General Hieu on one of his missions by helicopter. When we came back to the headquarters, it was passed one o'clock. We went to the dining hall to be told there were no more foods. General Hieu took the news gleefully and went back to the headquarters to take his siesta. Half and hour later, the telephone rang to invite General Hieu to return to get his dinner. He tagged me along. At the dining hall we were served with a dish of omelets and some boiled vegetable. Since we were very hungry, we ate with great appetite.

In 1970, on my way back from attending Advanced Infantry School at Fort Benning, I met General Hieu at Tan Son Nhat airport and he told me he would become the Superintendent of Dalat Military Academy. But then the assignment was changed. I went to work at G3/HQ/III Corps and met again General Hieu there until the day we heard the news he was accidently shot. I, like everybody at the headquartes was stunned by the gag orders issued by the Corps General Staff.

Those are some of my memories about a General whom I respect and love.

Tran Van Thuong

I must speak up a historical truth of the Snoul battle, to exculpate General Hieu, and to tell the truths about General Hieu's painful feelings in this retreat.

I am a former batallion commander of 1st Battalion/8th Regiment in the Snoul battle, and was in direct communication by helicopter with General Hieu when he courageously flew above the 1st Battalion, which was the spearhead force in this retreat. The historical truth should be returned to history, so that the soul of the general who had died for his country could rest in peace.

Furthermore, I was hand-picked by General Hieu to replace the 1st Battalion Commander who was relatively powerless in 11/1969. This assignment was devoided of all partisanship and profit since General Hieu did not know me before. He acted only based on my military records at the 5th Division, and on the recommendation of my former battalion commander, when I was still a company commander under Colonel Nguyen Van Cua.

I will write to tell you about the truth of the Snoul battle, and about General Hieu's courage, as well as the frustrations of a honest and competent general.

Tran Trong Thuong

I was Tiet's friend since the days in Shanghai. The day of the retreat out of Phan Rang, I reached Phan Thiet and encountered a group of air force liaison. They took me up to Ong Hoang hill. One NCO told me: "Lieutenant, go to the TOC building, you might find there something to eat." Upon entering the TOC I encountered a sergeant on duty and asked him for some rice or c-ration because I had not eaten for two days on the way from Nha Trang to here, even the can of water I carried with me was empty. Right at that moment, General Hieu exited from the conference room and entered, the sergeant reported my request, I saw the name tag and the stars and knew it was General Hieu, but under such situation it would take too long to make my identity known, I just saluted militarily and General Hieu shook my hand and instructed the sergeant to do as I requested. That was the first time I met General Hieu and also the last. He hastily exited to board his helicopter to return to his tactical area. He spoke with a gentle voice, unlike the other officers I encountered on my paths.

Paul Van Nguyen

Looking at General Hieuís photo, I could not contain sadness in recalling the one time I got the opportunity to meet him while he was holding the position of 5th Infantry Division Commander. In 1969, as an aide de camp accompanying Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Minh, Governor of Saigon-Giadinh and Capital Special Military Zone Commander, I witnessed General Hieuís marksmanship in the use of various weapons, from Colt 45, M16 to machine gun M60, and hitting bull-eyes at fixed and mobile targets at the firing range. That time, Lieutenant General Do Cao Tri, III Corps Commander, invited Commanders of Capital Special Military Zone, 5th, 18th and 25th Infantry Division and some high ranking officers of other units to participate in trying out various weapons using infra-red vision devices introduced by the Americans with the intention to equip ARVN snipers. But in another encounter, he was simply dressed like a plain soldier having dinner with his subordinates at the mess hall. He always harbored a smile and squeezed hard the hand of his interlocutor, and did not exhibit indifference in looking the other way while offering a cold hand like some lower ranking officers than him used to do. His aide de camp once told me that, in some emergency situations, General Hieu drove the jeep to pick him up at his house (General Hieuís aide de camp) instead of him remaining permanently at his side to present him with his hat and commanderís stick. This illustrates General Hieuís simplicity, modesty and love toward his subordinates.

Gerald Wetzel

In January 1967, I was assigned to MACV Advisory Team 22, located at BAGI - at the intersection of Highway UL 1 and highway 19 (to An-Khe). I was assigned as an assistant G-3 advisor (operations) and as such I had the opportunity to be in the daily morning briefing at the Division Headquarters. I was soon very impressed with not only the General's appearance and bearing but more importantly his grasp of his job and impact on the rest of the Division HQ and the entire advisory team. The one day I especially remember was when he came back from an emergency (secret) trip he had made to Sai-Gon. When we sat down in a small room he informed us that the purpose of the trip was to select the new leader in the Viet-Nam government. From what I remember it boiled down to a very simple problem of counting heads. There were more Army (ARVN) generals in the meeting than Air Force generals. That was why General Thieu became the head of the government. Also the Army commanded the ground - the Air Force couldn't stay up in the airÖ

[I later met General Thieu in September 1972 at Quang-Tri City when I was an Advisor to Quang-Tri forces and we had recaptured the city after the "Easter Offensive." As major, I had been the operations advisor to Quang-Tri Sector during the April 1972 fighting.]

I also had the duty of writing some sections of the Senior Advisor Monthly Evaluation (SAME) report. It was usually very easy as the 22nd Division (at that time) was doing a good job in the Division AO (Area of Operation). Things did get a bit hairy with the 1st Cav Airmobile Division in the area. Their HQ was at An-Khe but they started operations in the Bong-Son area of northern Binh-Dinh to the west of highway. The 40th Regiment was on the east side and the 41st Regt was south of that area and north of Qui-Nhon. One Division Senior Advisor was relieved of his duties (and replaced) because he defended the 22nd ARVN Division against some of the heavy handed attitudes of the Commanding General of the 1st Cav (airmobile). I seem to remember that General Hieu had gotten along very well with that Senior Division Advisor. I stayed at the Division HQ until October 1967 when I was assigned to the 47th Regt (TD47BB) which was located in Phu-Yen. Because it was in the neighboring Province (as well as having one battalion in Phu-Bon) I lost touch with the Division HQ. I was at the 47th until September 1968, which included Tet Mau Than. During my 33 months in Viet-Nam I was only seriously wounded one time during close in fighting while working as a Battalion Advisor.

William E. LeGro

I recall meeting your brother on perhaps two or three occasions while he was deputy CG at III Corps, and I regret that I did not have much contact with him or know him well. I knew of his fine reputation as an exceptional combat leader, however. I am very glad that I was able to assist you and your family to pass through the gate at Tan Son Nhut on that final tragic day, and so sorry that your brother was so brutally murdered. I did not even know about that until someone directed me to your web page. I will be most pleased to hear from you.

Tran Van Thuong

Major General Nguyen Van Hieu was the person who had provided me with the chance to getting out of my destitute condition during my period of downfall and for me into a period full of challenges and adventures which fulfilled the dream of a soldier. He had appointed me to my position without any personal gains and solely based on my military records and the recommendations of Colonels Nguyen Van Cua and Le Nguyen Vy. He had saved my life, without being aware of it, when he flew his C&C helicopter above my head in a rapid counter-attack against a sapper squad of a VC battalion, which planned to attack the 5th Infantry Division HQ in Lai Khe in early 1970. He had demonstrated his sense of responsibility, courage, shrewdness and competence of a field commander defending the frontier, when he shouldered the combatants of 8th Task Force in the 1971 Snoul Operation.

Nguyen Tuong Tuan

I was 7/5 Recon Company Leader, 7th Regiment, 5th Infantry Division. I had the privilege and honor serving under General Hieu while he was 5th Infantry Division Commander. Although a recon company of a regiment, it was only a few times that my unit got the chance to station in Lai Khe base camp (in order for the troops to rest while the other Recon Company, 5th, 8th and 9th took turn to conduct operation). I cherish a memory about General when our unit was operating in Bui Gia Map area (Phuong Long) and he came all the way down to the battlefield to visit the unit and to operate together with us. Around that time, the 7th Regiment Commander was LTC Pham Van Niem and Deputy Commander was LTC Ly Duc Quan. General Hieu talked to me lengthily and inquired about my welfare, "Do you need any assistance from the division?" I, with my spontaneity of a youngster, responded, "I only ask you to grant me a few weeks of R&R in Saigon and I would be satisfied." For me personally, as well as many soldiers in 5th Infantry Division, General Hieu was the most genuine hero symbol of an ARVN combatant. I did buy your book and kept it with reverence in my private library.


Nguyen Van Tin
17 November 1999.

Updated on 03.24.2007

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