Speaking of my old “gun jeep” with its pedestal-mounted fifty caliber, there’s a new web site, a blog really, for MACV units, mainly advisors to ARVN and RF-PFs. Some commenter mentioned my old assignment, Moc Bai (Que Son District, Quang Nam Province), saying it was near something called Hill 65. Which led me to post this in reply:
“I was assistant later senior at Moc Bai in ’69, MAT I-11. Never heard the hill called 65. It was LZ Baldy to Americans, Nui Que to the Vietnamese. Americal’s 196th LIB was there for much of ’69 before Vietnamization sent the unit home, though troops with time left were dispersed elsewhere. We missed their good artillery and all the good scrounging since the RF-PF supply system was a bad joke.
“They were replaced by the 7th Marine Regiment whose artillery wasn’t as good and the scrounging became outright stealing because they weren’t so willing to supply us with food, fuel and ammo. In first half of ’70 I was night duty officer in the TOC at our headquarters up the road in Hoi An. Later I doubled up on delivering new radio codes to outlying MATs, some far beyond any other American unit. G-d knows how they survived without supply.
“Hoi An’s MACV compound then occasionally got mortared but nothing serious. The compound’s buildings were said to originally have been built by the East India Company. The town’s harbor was a stop on the ‘Silk Road’ made by sail from Europe to China for hundreds of years before the American war.”
Hardly anyone I have ever met, combat veteran or REMF, in all the years since ’70 ever understood what a MAT was or what an “advisor” did. All but two of the books and all of the movies have ignored us. Now, at least, we finally have a Web site.