Section 8

Table of Contents

Section 10

Section 9.
1960-1975 "The Vietnam War"


Foreword

Those Marines who spent their lives and energies building an active combat support role for Marine Corps counterintelligence (CI) during the Vietnam War, developed into a aggressive group of individuals. From the early years of the Vietnam War until its conclusion Marine CI operated as small units or individually with other military allied services. To quote J.J. Flanagan; a former CI Marine "I believe we were then, and still remain, a closely knit brotherhood within the Marine Corps CI framework. Once a Marine - always a Marine ... as the saying goes."

Events thoughtout the Vietnam War where Marine CI was involved covered an extensive period of time (1960-1975). To document each and every event would fill many volume. In order to present this historic period and place it in its proper prospective, only those significant events and those individuals who took part in them are depicted herein. At the initial onset of U.S. activities in Vietnam, Marine CI focused its attention on inserting its personnel within the Republic of South Vietnam to act as military advisors. Once the U.S. military buildup was in full swing, and up until the fall of Saigon, six Marine Corps CI teams had been deployed to support the war effort. Most journals, reports or plans pertaining CI operations were classified. In the past fifteen year, however, many of these records have been officially declassified. Where possible, many events involving Marine CI were extracted from official records, declassified reports, and open source information to improve the scope of this history.

It is hoped that this period of CI History will tell the story of what the Counterintelligence field was like during the Vietnam War years... Unfortunately, many CI Teams Activity Reports, Command Chronologies and operational reports depicting Marine CI operations, etc., were destroyed or lost over the years. Without the help of these individuals who lived these events, this history would be incomplete. I would also like to give my special thanks to MSgt Terry Jesmore USMC (Ret.), who in the beginning of this period of CI history assisted me by providing many long hours collecting and recording many events where Marine Corps CI took an active role during the Vietnam War - "Thanks Terry."


Preface

The period from 1960 through 1965 saw the deployment of Marine Corps Counterintelligence (CI) assets in support of both the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Haiti uprising, and the Dominican Republic Campaign. It was during this period that Marine CI enhanced its Human Intelligence (HUMINT) collection capability and provided a direct combat support role to the Fleet Marine Force. Personnel assigned to Marine CI demonstrated an added benefit of direct involvement in combat operations and began to convince senior commanders that CI was more than a passive rear service unit; filling out individual clearance applications, conducting Physical Security Evaluation (PSE), and inspections to test a units secruity positure.

In 1964, a number of CI Marines entered the Republic of South Vietnam (RVN). They served as advisors or where assigned to special assignments. In 1965, as the Marine Corps began deployment of its forces to South Vietnam, Marine CI were sent as attachments - in the same piece-meal manner that both line and aviation units filtered into the country. In many of its initial assignments, CI assets were hampered by an undefined set of operational rules or a mission. Too often this was the case, CI assets were relegated to Staff CI functions, physical security evaluations and various types of surveys. Additionally, not fully understanding the potential use of Marine CI, many commanders reverted to the traditional use of intelligence assets. However, as time went forward, many opportunities surfaced for CI to be used in a true combat support role. By 1967 the CI mission was further defined through staff work at the I Corps level. Marine CI conducted liaison with many agencies in and outside of South Vietnam. The Pacification Program presented Marine CI with a considerable challenge to which they were particularly suited for such a roles. Encouragement from CAS/CORDS advisors built support for the utilization of CI assets to provide intelligence on the shadow government of the Viet Cong Infrastructure. III Marine Amphibious Force (MAF), Staff CI author and published orders that set the priority and mission of how Marine CI assets were to be utilized; identify, locate and neutralize the Viet Cong Infrastructure (VCI). Equally important was to use CI intelligence to aid in the recovery and accountability of both allied and Marine prisoners of war (POWs) or personnel missing in action (MIA's). Secondary to this mission was that CI would provide combat intelligence developed from low level sources in conjunction with the Army of the Republic of South Vietnam (ARVN) intelligence agencies and to coordinated their operations with allied forces. This mission established a direct command reporting chain to III MAF that oftened bypassed local commands. In situations, a dual reporting structure was established to some commands. Wherever possible, CI assets provided assistance and carried out additional assignments as directed by the 3rd Marine Division. Basically, there were three reason why CI assets took on these additional roles. First, to aid tactical units in screening indigenous personnel. Second, to conduct field interrogation of enemy POWs which were of a CI interest and finally, to neutralize a specific CI target, by giving as much CI assistance as possible. In some cases, CI units were assigned to participate in an operation through message traffic from higher headquarters. At times, Marine CI developed enough information on a specific target to initiate a combat operation with the main focus of neutralizing a specific target. However, which was most often the case, CI personnel would heard of an operation in a particular area of interest and would requested permission to go into that area with a tactical unit so information couldbe obtained and assist in creating a data base file on the enemy.

Theater control of intelligence sources resulted in the intermeshing of human intelligence (HUMINT) collections - low level sources developed by Marine CI was a result of a country wide collection program. Through the direction of the Office of the Special Assistant to the U.S. Ambassador in the Republic of South Vietnam, a system of operational interest and control of HUMINT assets began to be developed. This was reflected in a HUMINT control order initiated by I Corps and III MAF making low level agents recruitment by Marine CI subject to a theater operation of interest and development of a control registry. This established the flow of money and reporting requirements. It also caused Marine CI personnel to be attached as advisors to the Republic of South Vietnamese (RVN), Police Special Branch for close coordination and direction from the CAS/COORD advisors. This activity was most important in the establishment of the District Intelligence Operations Coordinations Centers (DIOCC) and Marine CI directly involvement in the "Phoenix Program" at all levels.


Marine Corps Counterintelligence Involvement Prior to 1965

Background

The Marine Corps operational involvement in the Vietnam War began some three years before the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade landed across Red Beach on March 1965 in the Bay of Da Nang. The Corps involvement actually began on 15 April 1962, when Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 362 arrived at Soc Trang in the Delta just south of Saigon with its UH-34 SIKORSKY helicopters. A week late, the squadron, which was called "Shu-fly," began lifting and deploying the Republic of South Vietnam Army (ARVN) units into the country-side to engage Viet Cong forces. In 1963, several CI Marines received orders to South Vietnam to assist the South Vietnamese Army in the role as military advisors.

During the later part of July 1964, several members from the 5th CIT received temporary duty orders (TAD) for assignment with Army's 704th (CI) Detachment in the Republic of Vietnam



Figure 15. CWO2 McMakin with Gunnery Sergeant Carlson and Sergeants Curley and Lantz



Figure 16. Marines Attached to the 704th CIC Receiving Awards


On 4 August 1964, CWO2 John F. McMakin, along with GySgt Edgar M. Carlson, and SSgts Robert W. Curley and William C. Lantz reported for duty. The 704th mission was to provide CI support to the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) in their intelligence collection effort. In order not to cause a great deal of attention, CWO McMakin and the other CI Marines were issued South Vietnamese identification cards and passes. At the same time, the South Vietnamese Government was experiencing intense political unrest. Routinely, CWO McMakin and the other CI Marines would venture into the country-side collecting intelligence information on key individuals responsible for the unrest and demonstrations directed against the South Vietnamese Government.

According to CWO McMakin, "During these demonstrations and protests against the South Vietnamese Government, many rolls of film were used to photograph and record these events. Once the film had been processed, the film would be analyzed by the 704th in order to develop the infrastructure of the Viet Cong, and create the so-called Black, Gary and White (BGW) List."

On 5 October 1964, CWO McMakin and the others CI Marines departed Vietnam returning back to the 5th CI team space in the United States. Because of their outstanding contribtion to the 704th CI, a "Letter of Appreciation" noting their outstanding efforts was issued by Brigadier General C. A. Youngdale, Assistant Chief of Staff, J-2, MACV on 8 October 1964.

Early in 1965, another group of Marine CI reported for temporary duty with the 704th CI. The temporary duty was for a period of 4-5 months. The group included, Captain Eugene Burlson, CWO2 Donald Lorentzson, and Sergeant B. Voronin. CWO2 Lorentzson remembered, "While in Vietnam working with the 704th, we all worked under civilian documentation and lived on the ecomony. These civilian documents were issued by the Vietnamese National Police and the Military Security Service (MMS)."

From August 1964 until July 1967, the 2nd Counterintelligence Team, was administratively attached to 2nd Force Reconnaissance, and physically located at Camp Geiger, N.C. Sergeant Harry Manchester recalled that "one of the significant events during this period was a 60 day TDY assignment to a "covered" position overseas.

Team members assigned to the 2nd CIT were:

Capt William Gentry - Team Commander

CWO J.C. Lord - Sub-team Commander

1stLt Joyner - Sub-team Commander

2ndLt Ed Kemmis - Sub-team Commander

2ndLt Russ Shroyer - Sub-team Commander

MSgt Summers - Team Chief

SSgt Floyd Jones - Team member

Sgt Thomas H. Marino - Team member

Sgt Harry Manchester - Team member

GySgt Robinette - Team member

SSgt Jack - Team member


Counterintelligence Team Synopsis

On 22 December 1964, Staff Sergeants Jack Stevenson and R. P. Brown - better known as "10 Fingers Brown" - were sent from the 3rd CIT to South Vietnam with the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB). Soon thereafter, they began conducting liaison visits with all U.S. Forces in Vietnam. The main purpose of these visits according to SSgt Brown, were "to determine what procedures would be followed pertaining to civilian control in and around the MEB's sector of responsibility." After setting up shop and running some preliminary intelligence missions, it was determined that the Viet Cong Infrastructure (VCI) had placed the commanding general, along with the chief of staff of the MEB on their assassination list.

During the latter part of February and into the early part of April 1965, Staff Sergeant R. P. Brown was sent to Phu Bai to establish a CI base camp. SSgt Stevenson remained with the 9th MEB at Da Nang until the remainder of the 3rd CIT arrived in country.

At Phu Bai as SSgt Brown remembers, "CI really started to get underway. Liaison was reestablished with the local CAST unit - which was an advisor to the National Police in each province." Also according to SSgt Brown, "In one coordinated effort with a newly established Combined Action Company (CAC), CI along with the CAC went on an operation into one of the villages located south of Phu Bai where a suspected group of Viet Cong were conducting in a recruiting efforts."

The main purpose of the operation was to capture and/or destroy the Viet Cong Infrastructure (VCI) so CAC could step-up their programs. "As the operation began around dawn and just outside the village, the patrol began to receive small arms fire. Under orders, return fire was prohibited even though we knew where it was coming from," as SSgt Brown remembered. The S-3, who was also a member of the party, gave the order to break-off contact and return to the base camp at Phu Bai.

Back at Phu Bai, a relationships with both the CAST representatives and the local Police Chief were developed. They began assisting Marine CI in gathering intelligence information on habitants within Phu Bai's tactical area of responsibility (TOAR). SSgt Brown noted "because of this coordinated effort, when Marine CI requested assistance in its operations, the chief of police would provide anywhere from 25 to 100 police officers to assist in capturing or destroying those VCI within the area." On one such occasion, Marine CI, along with over 100 police officers, raided a village and capturing a large group of suspected VCs. During one of the interrogations, it was confirmed that the majority of the village habitants were communist members of the Viet Cong National Liberation Front (VCNLF). Also, these interrogations produced a lot of good intelligence information that was subsequently passed to the National Police in Phu Bai.

In late April 1965, SSgt Brown was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt) and remained at Phu Bai until he rotated back to the United States. Two years later, Brown would return for a second tour to South Vietnam.

March 1965, a Marine CI sub-team from 3rd CIT landed on Red Beach with the 1stMarine Brigade, The landing site was on the outskirts of Da Nang City. The sub-team's mission was to furnish CI combat support to the brigade. A short time thereafter, the remainder of the 3rd CI Team moved from its home base at Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan and reported to South Vietnam.

Members of the 3rd CIT were:

Capt Don Davis - Team Commander

Capt Schaffer - Staff CI, 3rd Div

Dick Rhomas - Supply Myrza "Harry" Baig -

Sub-team Cmdr CWO1 Robert A. Connly - Sub-team Cmdr

CWO2 Kenneth Clem - Sub-team Commander

Don Dunnagan - Acting Team Chief

John Young - Team member

Bruce Moulton - Team member

Jack Baldwin - Team member

Bob Karp - Team memeber

... Dean - Team member

Don Finney - Team member

O.W. Bledsoe - Team member

Merle Reese - Team member

Members assigned to the 3rd CIT during this period completed 9-11 month tours, while others completed a 13 month tour with the 13th CIT. CWO Connly and a CI Marine by the name of Jack Stepheson got caught up in an RVN flap with the 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade under the command of General Davis..... which is not the to be mentioned here . . .!!!

Several months later, the 7th CIT reported to South Vietnam. During late summer and around the close of 1966, the 1st CIT followed by both the 5th and 15th CIT landed in South Vietnam to setup and conduct CI operations.

Members of the 1st CIT were:

CWO2 Ken Clem

CWO Jim Crum

SSgt Jack Herse

SSgt Lotz

SSgt Howey

Sgt Burton

Sgt R. Jarvis

Sgt Fitmaurice

Joining the 1st CIT a short time later were:

Otis Beldsoe

Al Falcon

Loyd Walker

Charles Boles

Bud Busko

Other CI Marines who passed through the 1st CIT during this time frame were:

Tom Cunningham

Robert Varn

S.E.Thomas

Denver D. Scott

1st Division Staff Counterintelligence

Yanochik

Rhyme Garris

Members of the 5th CIT were:

Capt J. Hennessy - Team Commander

Capt W. A. Burton - Sub-team Commander

Capt D.F. Beggen - Sub-team Commander

Capt C.L. Carpenter - Sub-team Cmdr

lst Lt E.B. Burleson,Jr - Sub-team Cmdr

CWO2. J.F. McMakin - Sub-team Cmdr

MSgt L.Charles - Team Chief

GySgt E.M. Carson - Team member

GySgt R. Albritton - Team member

GySgt J.E. Malstron - Team member

GySgt W. Ferris - Team member

GySgt R.E.Robinette - Team member

GySgt W. Powell - Team member

GySgt W.C. Lantz - Team member

GySgt R.H.Gurley - Team member

Sgt Woods - Team member

Sgt J. Justice - Team member

SSgt D.W. Lorentzson - Team member

SSgt B.Voronin - Team member

CWO4 H.Haught - Staff CI

WO1 C.I. Handley - Staff CI

GySgt C.L.Cline - Staff CI

During this period Captain W.A. Burtson from the 5th CIT remarked that "team activities for this period generally centered on providing CI support to Headquarters, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific and to the 1st Marine Brigade." Support also included, conducting both security surveys and inspections; security lectures pertaining to Defense Against Mechanism Entry (DAME) and Defense Against Surperticious Entry (DASE); monitoring and collection of CI information on areas within Southeast Asia area; and monitor collection and classification of CI information. Captain Burton further noted that, "several mount-outs (Movement of personnel and equipment) in support of Joint Task Force 116 contingency plans were conducted and several teams members filled various line numbers during these tests."


October 1964

In order to enhance Marine Corps CI training, an group of enlisted CI Marines attend a eight week Military Assistant Training Advisors (MATA) course, at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center, Fort. Bragg, North Carolina. CI Marines attending this course were the first enlisted

Marines to attend. Included were:

SSgt Richard Shamrell

GySgt Bob Johnson

SSgt George Nemeth

SSgt Gene Santee

Other who attended the course afterwards were:

1stLt J. Guenther

CWO2 M. Handly

MSgt J. Foley

The main focus of the course according to R. Shamrell, "was designed to assist and advise allied military organizations on how to conduct and perform military operations, etc."


31 December 1964 - January 1966

Once the course was completed, SSgt Shamrell and the other CI Marines received orders directing them to report to South Vietnam for duty. SSgt Gene Santee was assigned to the 525th Army Military Intelligence (MI) in Siagon. 1stLt John Guenther, CWO2 Mike Handley, MSgt Jerry Foley and SSgt Shamrell, were assigned to the Naval Advisory Detachment Security element, Special Operations Group (SOG) MACV in DaNang. These Marines were the first to complete a full 13 month tour of duty in South Vietnam; Others CI Marines prior to this time spent an average period of six months or less.


May 1965

Regimental Landing Team (RLT) 7, commanded by Colonel Peatross, deployed to the Republic of Vietnam, May 1965, along with half the deployable assets of the 1st Counterintelligence Team. Two CI sub-teams, mostly made up of volunteers, deployed with the Regimental Landing Team. CWO Clem,and Bledsoe (who really didn't have to go) Sergeants Falcon, Walker, Boles and a clerk loaded their equipment into a jeep and a 3/4 ton truck with trailer.

In preparation for the movement, CWO Kenneth W. Clem noted that "Great pains were made to not only obliterate all tactical markings on vehicles, cargo and personnel equipment, but special attention was given to preclude the dissemination of our destination; what route we were to travel, etc., etc. Things went quite well while outloading from San Diego, California. The RLT didn't even know where the scheduled stop-overs would be enroute to an undisclosed destination in the Far East". When the RLT stopped in Hawaii, the newspapers had detailed accounts about RLT-7, its composition, and where it was headed, etc. It was later noted that information concerning RLT-7 had been released by the Public Information Office, Headquarters, FMFPAC to the press - the same command that instructed RLT-7 to execute maximum OPSEC. OPSEC? What OPSEC?


June - July 1965

On 5 June 1965, during the morning hours before dawn, the Marble Mountain Air Facility was hit by a Viet Cong ground attack by over 200 sappers. SSgt Shamrell, assigned to the Naval Air Detachment, remembered the events of the attack. He explained that "all the Viet Cong sappers (individuals carrying explosives next to their bodies), were in the nude, except for the loin cloths covering their private parts, in an effort to blend with the sand during darkness." The surrounding terrain as Shamrell continued "was like one big beach with tan colored sand. The Seabee Battalion across the roadway from the air facility was kept pinned down by a couple of .50 caliber machine guns throughout the attack." Shamrell further explains that "as the sappers reached and planted their explosives in and around the helicopters positioned on the flight-line, the explosions and the activity created by the Viet Cong could be heard and seen for many miles. It was the first real attack by the Viet Cong on U.S forces deployed around Da Nang City and showed just how vulnerable we were." The air facility location was south at one end of Dawning Peninsular road, while the Headquarters of the Naval Advisory Detachment (NAD) was at the other end and based at the foot of Monkey Mountain. About halfway between the two facilities was the village of My Khe, where both the Navy Seals and Marine Corps Reconnaissance units were camped. Soon after the attack had begun, the Commander of the Naval Advisory Detachment, Lieutenant Commander Fay, was about to drive his jeep to a camp site near the My Khe Village. SSgt Shamrell noted that he had often escorted the commander to the village. Prior to the commander's departure, he stopped by the security office and asked for Shamrell - he had wanted Shamrell to accompany him. CWO-2 Tony Cinnotti, who had relieved CWO Handley, told the commander that "Shamrell was positioning sailors around the perimeter of the Headquarters and would be back soon." In a rush, the commander departed towards the village unescorted. As the activity of the attack decreased, SSgt Shamrell recalled, "after the attack, the commander's jeep was found a couple miles from NAD Headquarters. He had been shot during the attack and subsequently died of wounds as he was heading for the camp site near My Khe. Due to the commander's impatience - not waiting for me - I might have been shot and become another statistic of the Vietnam War." In memory of the commander, the camp site was named after him. MSgt Foley recalled that "the commander really enjoyed the presence of having Marine CI attached to his Headquarter. He often referred to Marine CI as "Foley's bandits".

Shamrell's assignment was the advisor to a company of Nungs, tasked with the security of the NAD Naval Base and portions of the Monkey Mountain peninsula. Shamrell had two 40 foot sea-going Junks assigned to him. Each Junk had a three man Vietnamese crew and a five-man Nung landing/boarding party. Each of the junks was equipped with a .50 caliber Machine Gun (MG) that mounted on the rear, a .30 caliber Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), and a variety of other small arms, grenades and pyrotechnics. Their mission was to keep fishermen from entering within 500 meters of the peninsula, board any suspicious craft and investigate anything that might cause suspicion ashore. Marine CI personnel often patrolled with the Junks. Shamrell said, "he usually thought of the comic strip "Terry and the Pirates" when he boarded the junk on patrol, especially when he wore his campaign hat. The old Chinese hands in the comic strip had nothing on the Nung crew."


August 1965

1st CIT (Forward) with two sub-teams that had deployed with RLT 7 had been dropped off in Okinawa to replace the 3d CIT as it deployed with the 3rd Marine Division units into South Vietnam. In August 1965, these sub-teams in Okinawa departed for Da Nang aboard what was probably one of the oldest Landing Ship Transports (LSTs) in the naval service. After arriving, CWO2 Clem recalls that "we were still assigned to the 1st CIT and came under the operational controll of III MAF. This sure made things tough for us." CWO Clem further noted that "Capt Knepp the 3rd CIT Commander, had confiscated our vehicles as the 3rd CIT vehicles were essentially derelict. The Team Commander must have a vehicle to do his assigned mission was his remark for taking the vehicle. From then on a very bad taste soon developed between the 1st CI Detachment and the 3rd CIT. Captain Yanochik, Staff CI at III MAF was summoned to resolve the issue. A short time thereafter, 1stLt Otis W. Bledsoe, and recently joined GySgt Bill Lantz, were sent to Phu Bai to be with Jack Stephenson, who was scheduled to be rotated back to the States in November 1965. Around the same time GySgt William N. Brown Sr., was medevac'ed from Phu Bai after being diagnosed as possibly having Turburclosis. Due to enemy action throughout I Corps, Vic Congers and Charles Boles were sent to Chu Lai to work with the 7th Marines; Loyd Walker, Al Falcon and the clerk stayed at Da Nang."

Also during this time frame, the 1st CIT was formed at Camp Pendleton, California and subsequently deployed with the 1st Marine Division in 1966.

Other members assigned to the 3rd CIT were:

MSgt Roy E. Abercrombie

GySgt Charles J. Alderman Jr.

SSgt Vic Conger

SSgt Richard A. Conrad

Sgt G. Deering

Sgt Jurevich

1st Lt Linstrom

CWO Kenneth W. Clem

Otis Bledsoe

Jack Stephenson

Bill Lantz

Al Falconi

MSgt J. E. Malstrom - Staff CI

CWO McClenithan - Staff CI

CWO Hank Singer - Staff CI


September 1965

Captain William A. Burton reported to 3dBattalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, California. The Division's G-2, had him reassigned to 1st CI Team. The Staff CI at division at the time was 1stLt J. Gorman and GySgt A. W. Bromley. Most of the division had already deployed to the Republic of Vietnam.

During this same period, Major P. X. Kelley - who was from the Marine Corps Development and Educational Command (MCDEC), Quantico, Virginia - was on Temporary Additional Duty (TAD) with III MAF. For some unexplainable reason, MSgt Lad Walker who was assigned to III MAF Staff CI, along with Major Kelly, went up on top of Walker's tent. While atop the tent and in some sort of conversation, Walker drew and discharged his .38 caliber pistol - going through the floor below them, scaring the hell out of both of them. Walker didn't realize at first what had just happened and looked at Kelly. It was eivdent that Walker was shaken. Kelly on the other hand, remained composed and offered Walker some advise "it does fire, that's nice to know"! Nothing of the incident was ever mentioned again.

Elsewhere, CWO Clem received an urgent call to come to Da Nang from Phu Bai to provide technical services. Apparently someone had found a device in the G-3 Operations Area. Clem related that he laughed like mad when the device was described as being a transmitter built into a paper holer. The device was one that Clem had previously built on Okinawa in 1964-65 and used it to penetrate the SSO space of the division. After being used on Okinawa, Col Dutton, G-2 kept the device, it was the last time Clem had seen it until it showed up in the G-3 Operations Area. Major Kelley hearing of the incident phoned CWO Clem to ensure that the device didn't pose a threat, etc. Clem assured Kelly, that the device did not pose a threat and was only a dummy.


November 1965

In November 1965, Captain Jack E. Stephenson departed Phu Bai and CWO Clem took over as the sub-team commander. GySgt Lantz and SSgt Bledsoe were sent to the Phu Bai sub-team from Da Nang. SSgt Boles came up from one of the sub-teams in Chu Lai. CWO Hank Singer joined the sub-team at a later date. Prior to his departure; Captain Stephenson, 10 Fingers Brown, and a Naval Medical Officer constituted the 3rd Counter-Medical Team (Rein). The Navy Medical Officer had been banned from the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines by the Executive Officer for some personal reasons. The Lieutenant, not questioning the reassignment, relied on both Stephenson for shelter from the elements and his contemporaries at the nearby "A" Med. Together, they "survived" in a sandbagged, mildew-ridden Command Post-45 (CP) tent that was situated near the airfield and next to the Prisoner of War (POW) Compound. Provost Marshals Office (PMO) was an additional duty for the CIT Det Officer. One of the sharper MP Marines at Phu Bia was a Corporal by the named of Toney Gribble - who later became a CI Marine.

The detachment had several interpreters; an individual by the name of Hung, in his late 30s-40s, was regrouped from North Vietnam. It appeared that Hung, reportedly a previous Airborne Officer Candidate at Dalat, was caught up in a so-called 'mutiny' in the early 1960s. All the candidates were imprisoned on the island. Later as the story goes, Hung was used as a northern/central dialect and French interpreter in the GVN's dealing with the imprisoned Buddhist radical Thich Tri Quang and two other Thichs. It appeared that Hung could have walked up to Thich Tri Quang without any interference. However, Quang was whisked off to Hue City. Hung was a good interpreter from a HUMINT point of view. However, "he had to be watched carefully when he sensed that a suspect was lying to him - CI lost more mosquito net poles to Hung than to the rats" as Captain Stevenson recalled. Hung had a continuing skirmish with the Military Security Service (MSS) for some unexplained reason. CWO Clem noted that "the only time he saw Hung stymied was when CI was attempting to interrogate several villagers from the Co Bi-Thanh Tan area northwest of Hue." These people had not been out of their hamlet in over 500 years, and their language was separate and distinct and being situated into the hills. There seamed to have more contact with the hill people rather than with the cultured officials from Hue. CWO Clem also noted that "they collectively had more toes, thumbs and fingers than most other areas inhabitants in the northern provinces."

Another South Vietnamese interpreter by the name of Phouc, of Cambodian extraction, was used when dealing with people in the country side. He did not have the French or Central dialect that Hung posed. Both interpreters stayed on with the CI in Phu Bai and later moved south in 1968 to the 1st CIT. CWO Clem recalled that "Hung was with Sam Moyers (7th CIT) at Dang Ha during 1969 and did one hell of a job. Without question, effective combat CI support was not only rendered here, but was respectfully appreciated by several tactical commanders and troops." Phu Bai, as a reality, to both CI and the VC was a separate war zone in itself. This fact was especially well-handled by both LtCol S. Vale, Commanding Officer of 3rd Battalion 4th Marines and LtCol Hannifin, Commanding Officer of 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines. In the later stages, newly promoted LtCol P.X. Kelley, Commanding Officer of 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines and LtCol Van D. Bell, Commanding Officer of 1st Battalion, 4th Marines were especially interested in CI acquisition of information along with those sources which were developed to assist them in offensive combat operations in there sector of responsibility.

By far the most receptive commands that assisted in the HUMINT effort were the CACs and Combined Action Platoons (CAPs), under control of various officers, like Capt Mullin, 1stLt Paul Ekland, and 1stLT Denny Tomlin. A special role was played by Sgt Russell, the USMC member of a special Combined Action Company-5 (CAC) unit - originally belonging to Det 3rd CIT, Phu Bai. As the story goes, a Vietnamese unit leader, by the name of Le Chat - a 'notorious' individual of uncommon demeanor - one day walked into the CP with crossed bandoliers of ammo, two .45 cal pistols, and at least four hand grenades hanging from his ammo belt and suspenders. He was all alone and some of the Marines seeing him didn't exactly know what was going on. Finally, Hung, the interpreter confronted him and noted that Le Chat was looking for the CAC Unit leader, Capt Mullins. During the 66 Tet Offensive, it was reported that Le Chat had joined his family and relatives in village of Gia Le, and played cards with one of his cousin whom he knew was still participating with the Viet Cong. As the story continues, Le Chat casually informed his cousin that when the holiday period was over, he would come after him and kill him unless he rallied to the South Vietnamese side. Before a month had passed, Le Chat, participated in an ambush just southwest of the hospital near Gia Le. A short time thereafter a group of VCs appeared and walked into the ambush. The ambush site sprung its deadly trap with the VCs inside. Once the gunfire stopped, the victims checked and among the victims was Le Chat's cousin. Another victim was a former Viet Cong acquaintance that he had also known.

There were two other Vietnamese of noted CI interest. The first was a Sgt Bao, a regular with the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), and by some accounts was attached to the Huong Thuy District Headquarters or had worked for the Province Intelligence Section within the District. He generally operated in the Gia Le Village area and was instrumental in developing ralliers, etc. Reporting noted the "He was an exceptional source of intelligence and had a good number of VC kills' and according to those who saw him in action had his own form of entrapment to identify suspected or known VCs. On several occasions he would pose as a VC, seeking assistance in locating his unit - somewhere in the mountains - or would seek medical help. On one such occasion, he was introducted to a VC supporter. After confirming the individuals identity, he invariably would ensure their departure from their errant ways and life.

The second individual of interest was a individual by the named of Wo Toan. Wo Toan was the Officer-in-Change of the Voice of Freedom transmitter site, located east of Gia Le Village. The 3rd CIT first encountered him as a causal source that Jack Stephenson had developed. However, when Wo Toan provided information, he would only talk to one of the CITs interpreters - Hung. After information had been exchanged, Wo Toan was provided gas for his 1947 green Ford pickup truck. From a CIT prospective, the exchange seemed to be a reasonable price. The information which Wo Toan provided was often quite accurate. Things progressed with exchange of information between Wo Toan and CI until the Buddhist uprising which occurred during March through April 1966 time frame. (Additional information presented later).


December 1965

In December 1965, the 2nd Battalion 1st Marines, under the leadership of LtCol Hannifin, relieved a sorely under strength 3rd Battalion 4th Marines, commanded by LtCol S.A. Vale. One of the first tasks carried out by LtCol Hannifin's battalion was the expansion of their combat patrol base from 1000 to 2000 meters around a combat outpost that was situated west of the Battalion Command Post (CP). On the very next day, a security patrol from the battalion overtook 3 VC moving north toward the Gia Le area. Two were killed and the third was wounded and captured. The captured POW was brought to CI for interrogation. General Louis Walt, who happened to be flying around the area, swooped in, took charge, collected all the recovered documents, and headed back to Da Nang. During the interrogation it was noted that the captured POW was a youth from one of the Gia Le Hamlets. Marine CI had previously interrogated his sister and a uncle under different circumstances - he was not a total stranger. It was discovered that, he was an escort for the VC chief of My Thuy District who went by the name of Thuong Van AI. Thuong Van AI, according to reports, was a well-respected and exceptionally capable VC politico with Viet Minh experience. After finding out AI was among the dead durning the ambush, CI began questioning the patrol in order to ascertain if they had seen a walking stick near or next to AI's body - the walking stick was usually present with AI. Also, CI was interested in the whereabouts of a carbine that a guide was supposedly carrying at the time of the ambush, noted earlier which Le Chat had paticipated in the previous month. Concerned about the carbine, CI requested that the patrol be sent back to the ambush site to try and located the weapon. The patrol went back to the site and eureka, "they not only recovered the carbine but found AI walking Stick along with a pouch containing documents that must have been thrown into the ditch when all hell broke loose," according to the investigation report. CWO Clem stated, "Once the documents were analyzed, it was time to get back on the horn to Da Nang and try to obtain the other documents that had been picked up by General Walt." After calling the division and notifying the G-2, the documents were returned to the Team. Everything started to fall into place. There had been reports on various villages were AI often stayed enroute to the Dong Hoa War Zone Headquarters of CI interest. Some of the documents found identified sereral North Vietnamese Intelligence Agents operationing in the area - one being killed at the ambush site. It was later ascertained that the dead NVA agent had been establishing contacts in Hue City.

A short time thereafter, the District Police Chief for the provence got word that Marine CI had AI's body in their possession . A few hours later the body was turned over. Upon its arrival, a district official stated "that AI would be buried in the District". As the body was being turned over, CI personnel were not permitted to handle it as it was being removed from a jeep-trailer. Hung, the teams interpreter indicated, "that even in death, AI still had the respect of so many, and that his mother would have access to the grave site where AI would be placed to rest". After CI returned from the district, CWO Clem and GySgt Lantz decided to take possession of the walking stick and placed it up into the rafters of the team space. Upon rotating back to the States, CWO Clem and GySgt Lantz had apprently forgot about stick and as far as it was known, the stick remained in the rafters? According to CWO Clem, "I assumed that 1st CIT would eventually find the stick and dispose of it without knowing of its full significance. It was my understanding that when the 1st CIT replaced the 3rd CIT, the stick, along with important files collected concerning Phu Bai were destroyed. If the files were kept, the 1st CIT would have had a better understanding about what the war was all about at Phu Bai."


January 1966

The 1st CIT provided support to the remaining 1st Division units until it deployed on 14 January 1966, from Camp Pendleton, California to Okunawa, Japan. The 1st CIT had been reconstituted and had deployed with the 1st Marine Division Headquarters, along with Regimental Landing Team-5 (RLT-5) by surface ships. On 5 February 1966, after the Marines landed at White Beach on Okinawa and disembarked naval shipping, the 1st CIT moved to Camp Courtney and were attached to Fleet Marine Force Pacific/IMAC (Forward). Operational and administrative control of the Team was maintained by the 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade. The team mission was to provide CI support to the remaining 3rd Marine Division and Wing units on the island. The mission also included; security inspections of the recently vacated 1stMarDiv Command Post; after hours inspection; security surveys; and liaison with other CI units on the island. According to Captain W. Burton, "the team also provided special training support to U.S. Army units at the intelligence school and Special Forces Military Intelligence Detachments on the island." Also to keep abreast of the situation in Vietnam, "several team members went On-the-Job Training (OJT) or conducted liaison trips to Vietnam to familiarize themselves and/or observe what was going on concerning CI Ops in the event that the Team was deployed in the future" as SSgt French recalled.


March 1966

In March 1966, Wo Toan mentioned earlier, came by the Team space in 3rd CIT at Phu Bai in order to obtain some gas - This was also around the start of the Buddhist uprising according to team records. This happened to be either the same day that Thich Tri Quang had flown into Phu Bai and the Division Chaplin had taken control of the 1st ARVN Division in the Citadel, or shortly thereafter. The CI's interpreter Hung had attended high school with Nguyen Cao Ky and was personally acquainted with Thich Tri Quang - they were in prison together at some time just off the South Vietnam coast. According to several personal accounts, Wo Toan needed gas to get back and forth into Hue. It was soon realized that Wo Toan had direct knowledge of what was going on in both Hue and other areas of the country. It was also noted that Wo Taon had met with General Thi and had dismantled some electronic components from the Hue Radio Broadcasting Station in order to exclude its use by the Buddhists. More importantly, Wo Toan kept Marine CI abreast of information which no one else had access to, according to the 3rd CIT Activity Reports. The information received by Wo Toan was passed to III MAF, Headquarters in Da Nang. Several days later a visitor from NAD dropped in at Phu Bai to inform the detachment that Wo Toan was also their source of information collection. Prior to the NAD departing, they informed the team that continued contacts with Wo Toan should be continued in light of the current situation. CI personnel liked, and appreciated, the manner of handling a potential operational control/interest source.


April 1966

On 7 April 1966, a sub-team from 1st CIT on Okinawa received orders for assignment with Marine Air Group (MAG)-15, Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS), Iwakunia, Japan. The sub-team consisted of one officer and two enlisted and support to MAG-15 was directed by FMFPAC. The 7th CIT was already in country and attached to MAG-12. In February 1967, the remaider of the 7th CIT was transfered to the 1st Marine Division control in South Vietnam.


June 1966

Continuing on with the 1st CIT. CWO Clem related that "we were to follow the sub-team to South Vietnam - shortly after they had departed in April 1966. The remainder of the 1st CIT was to join a BLT that was to arrive on Okinawa at the end of April. They didn't arrive until June 66. The reason was that the BLT had just been combat reloaded and ready for immediate action due to the current situation. The 1st CIT went to Camp Courtney to close out the 3rd CIT. Many members from the 1st CIT questioned the manner in which 3d CIT had deployed leaving house keeping tasks for them to accomplish!

The former Detachment of the 1st CIT's was due to rotate mid May 1966. However, due to the increased activity in South Vietnam they were delayed. They had been scheduled to rotate on 15 June. CWO Clem and SSgt Bledsoe were informed at 1230 hours, 21 June by 3rd CIT at Da Nang, that they were going home and had to be at the Air Freight Hanger in Da Nang at 1430 hours to catch a outbound flight at 1530 hours. After conducting a brief check with HMM-161 and Air America, they both got a ride on a Jolly Green Giant Helo - CH-47 - Chinook to Da Nang. Clem said that "he was filthy and cruddy from dirt and dust in Phu Bai and because of the time factor had no time to shower. After catching the flight out of Da Nang, they made a quick turn-around in Okinawa, - just time to pick up their baggage at Camp Hansen - and boarded a non-stop for Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, California." As he disembarked from the aircraft, Clem met his wife and family, who almost disowned him because he still hadn't had time to shower or changed his camouflage utilities that reeked with the smell of Vietnam.

In 1966, Sam Moyer along with Stew Duncan attended the Counterintelligence Course at Camp Holabird, Maryland. At the time Stew Duncan was a reserve CWO on active duty (5 year SWAG). Both had been stationed with the PMO Office at Camp Pendleton, when they received orders to attend the CI Course. They drove in Duncan's car across country to the school's site. During the four month course, they rented an apartment. Bob Connly was on the school's staff as an Instructor at the time. Other CI Marines who were there at the same time were either attending the Basic CI Course - like Moyer and Duncan - or attending one of the technical courses. Others attending the Basic CI Course were: Chuck Cofty (then a WO); Andy Anderson and Al Cedarquist.

Sam Moyer noted that "Stew Duncan was an unusual character. Older than all of us, he had served in the Corps during the worst years of WW II and after the War returned to his job at the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). He stayed in the reserve and during the Korean War was called back to active duty. After the Korean War, and upon being released from active duty, he returned to the LAPD, where he eventually made Detective Sergeant. As a police officer, he had been seriously wounded in the line of duty. When he saw that Vietnam was going to be serious, he retired from the LAPD, and requested to go back on active duty." Once they had completed the CI Course, Duncan received orders to South Vietnam and Moyer returned back to Camp Pendleton.

NOTE: A separate chapter entitled "Through These Eyes With Marine Corps Counterintelligence" has been set aside describing Sam Moyer's experience during and just after the Vietnam War.


August 1966

During the months of August through October 1966, the 15th CIT out of Camp Pendleton, California was administratively attached to the 5th Marine Division. The division was just forming and going through a extensive training period to ready itself for deployment to South Vietnam. Once the Division landed in South Vietnam,, it was assigned to the Dong Ha area within I Corps. The Team Commander at the time was Captain Billy Harris; other officers included 2nd Lieutenants Arthur Wilson, Bruce Moulton, A.J. Pavlick. Other team members were; Master Sergeants K. Smith (later killed in action at Cam Lo),Gunnery Sergeant Jim Krudwig, Staff Sergeant Harry Manchester and Sergeants Walter D. West and William Credon - who was subsequently wounded in action (WIA) at Dong Ha during one of the many rocket attacks.

On 27 August 1966, one of the 1st CIT sub-teams was recalled to Okinawa from Iwakunia; Japan and a short time thereafter departed from the Marine Corps Air Facility (MCAF), Futema, Okinawa to South Vietnam. On 30 August 1966, the remainder of the 1st CIT boarded three KC-130 aircraft and flew directly into Phu Bai, South Vietnam. At the time the teams strength was 5 officers and 9 enlisted CI Marines.

Team members included:

Capt. W. A. Burtson - Team Commander

2/Lt. C. I. Handley - OpsO/Sub-team Cdr

2/Lt. R. Y. Goodwin - Sub-team Cdr

2/Lt. R. L. Lord - Sub-team Cdr

2/Lt. C. L. Peterson - Sub-team Cdr

GySgt. G. E. Anthony - Team Chief

GySgt. G. F. Lotz - CI Asst.

SSgt. R. R. Acuff - CI Asst.

SSgt. J. J. Elliott - CI Asst.

SSgt. D. R. French - CI Asst.

SSgt. W. C. Howey

Sgt. W. B. Lange

LCpl C. E. Donoho

Cpl. E. W. Jones

Additional personnel joining the team after deployment to South Vietnam were:

GySgt. Cummins

GySgt. Mcloughlin

Sgt. D. A. Braun

Cpl. A. Gribble

Sgt. T. K. MacKinney

Upon the 1st CITs arrival in South Vietnam it was broken down into 4 two men sub-teams. From Phu Bai, one sub-team was assigned to Hue; a second assigned to the Troui Bridge; a third assigned to the Troui Bridge south to Phu Loc; and the last assigned and responsible for the Phu Bai Tactical Area Of Responsibility (TAOR). The three sub-teams operating outside of the Phu Bai TAOR were responsible in providing CI support to friendly units operating in the Divisions TAOR, to include the Phu Loc District. CI support mainly consisted of maintaining daily contact with the CAC unit, platoon and company size units operating in the areas. Additionally, CI support was also maintained with the District, Villages and Hamlet officials within the TAOR. Any time a friendly unit conducted a search and clear operation, a sweep of an area, a MedCap or any other type operation, a CI team was attached to that unit. During this support, Marine CI was mainly utilized in screening operations of the villagers and would provide those units operating in the area vital CI information. This included, a Black List to assist them in determining the possible number of Viet Cong operating in that particular area, along with current CI source reporting. During this time frame that the lst CIT had been in South Vietnam, they had participated in many operations.

Also, the 1st CIT had assigned a sub-team to operate with the CAC unit and district officials in the Phu Loc area. This support was considered necessary due to the planned activation of forty CAPs within the Phu Loc District. Another sub-team was assigned in the so-called "Chinook Area" to assist in I Corps Operations. One member from the Team was assigned to the Special Branch of the National Police CAS Office in Hue City. Duties in the Hue/Phu Bai areas were initially in support of the 4th Marines area of operation (AO) that eventually became the 3rd Marine Divisions (Rear), with the 3rd Marine Division (Forward) deployed north in the Dong Ha/Kale San AO. In the early stages of the team's employment at these locations it developed its own methods of operations which were best suited to accomplish its support mission. Also, which was somewhat of a benefit was the fact that the team commander also served as the Staff CI Officer of the 3rd Marine Division.

It was decided that the initial effort of support would be directed toward making the team a visible and viable asset to every command. The support was often accomplished which was dependent on the available of a sub-team. This goal was partially achieved, inasmuch as supporting and providing the division G-2 with timely Order of Battle (OOB) information obtained during the screening and interrogation process of those Viet Cong or suspected Viet Cong. Other CI tasks included the development of source files and the establishment of the Black, Gray and White (BGW) lists which were a ongoing project. CI support to the individual infantry units were furnished in sweeping and patrolling operations which often yielded various results of CI interest. Marine CI personnel - which was often-the-case - were deployed and conducted liaison with various CAPs operations, and various County Fair and Civic Action Programs. This participation of support offered the added opportunity to develop additional information of CI interest. Constant liaison with ARVN district level personnel were also developed and maintained.

NOTE: During the period from November to December 1966, 2dLt R.Y. Goodwin, while temporarily assigned with the U.S. Advisory Unit at Phu Loc was involved in a jeep accident in the Hue area. The lieutenant suffered a serious head injury and was eventually Medevaced to the United States.


1967-1968 Counterintelligence Teams (TAOR)

Marine Corps Counterintelligence units were assigned and located in various parts of South Vietnam. These locations and assignments were critical in order for the teams to accomplish their mission. These locations and assignment were:

Team/Sub-Team Operational Base Province
15th CI Team

1 Officer (0210)

5 enlisted (0211)

Detachment A

1 officer (0210)

3 enlisted (0211)& 2 interpreters

Detachment B

1 officer (0210)

2 enlisted (0211)

1 interpreter

Detachment C

1 officer (0210)

5 enlisted(0211)

3 ARVN interpreters

7th CI Team HQ

Team Commander

Target Officer

Operations Officer

Detachment U

Target Officer

Detachment W

GySgt & 4 enlisted (0211)

Detachment X

SSgt (0211)

 

Detachment Y

2 SSGT (0211)

Detachment Z

1 SSGT (0211)

HQ Dong Ha

Combat Base

(Home of 3rd MarDiv)

Cam Lo District HQ

 





Cua Viet River Operated out
of 1st LVT Bn
Combat Base

 

 





Team HQ Dong HA







Quand Tri Combat

 

 















Mai Linh District HQ

 



Trisu Phong District HQ



Hai Lang District HQ

Quang Tri Province

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 









(Quang Tri Base City) Province HQ

 

 


 

 


 

 

 

The 7th CI Team was the only team in South Vietnam at that time having a defined position and living in hard backs - wooden framed structures, utilizing tentage as the roof. The team had recently been re-located from Chu Lai to its new location in Da Nang. This was prompted by the deployment of Marine tactical units to the north and the need for additional CI coverage in the northern area.

Team/Sub-Team Operational Base Province
1st CI Team

 


Sub-team A

1 SSgt (0211)

1 enlisted (0211)

1 ARVN interpreter


Sub-team B

1 officer (0210)

1 enlisted(0211)

Phu Bai Combat Base
(Task Force X-Ray)

 

 

Huong Thuy District HQ








Team HQ Phu Bai

One of the members from sub-team B was positioned in Hue City and ne functioned as an Assistant Advisor to the National Police Special Branch.

Team/Sub-Team Operational Base Province
Sub-team C

2 Sgts (0211)
Sub-team D

1 officer(0210)

2 enlisted(0211)

1 ARVN Interpreter
3rd CI Team

Phu Loc District HQ

 


Operated out Team HQ Phu Bai

 

 

 






Da Nang Air Base (Near 1stMarDiv)

The 3rd CIT operated in support of 1st MarDiv units in the Da Nang TOAR, four of its sub-teams were deployed exclusively with tactical units. They operated with units from the 7th and 27th Marine Regiments. Four ARVN interpreter were also assigned to the 3rd CIT are assign to the team and one each were deployed with each sub-team.

With the redeployment of the 1st CIT in September 1968, along with Marine tactical units, the 3rd CIT took over support provided tp the 1st Marine Regiment located south of Da Nang. The 1st CIT moved into the Northern Artillery Base in a area better known as "Elephant Valley". Additional support was provided to those units operating east of the Song Tuy Long River. 1st CIT took over 7th Marine assets on Hill 10; Heiu Duc District, along with supporting the 26th Marines north of the artillery cantonment. Both the 1st and 3rd CITs supported the Liberty Road LOC by providing one sub-team each, that was located at the An Hoa Combat Base.


5th CI Team - Hq Da Nang: (Adjacent to 2d CAG HQ)

The 5th CIT consisted of four sub-teams, where one of its sub-teams was physically placed at Red Beach to support the Force Logistics Command (FLC), Headquarters.

5th CITs AOR and some of their responsibilities were some what unique. Because the 3rd CIT had insufficient manpower to support all elements of the 1st Marine Division, the 5th CIT shared a portion of the 3rd CITs responsibilities. The 5th CIT provided support to 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, 7th Engineers, 5 batteries from the 11th Marines and FLC. One of the sub-teams operation out of its Headquarters, supported the 1st and 3rd Military Police Battalions in and around Da Nang City, the 3rd Light Vehicle Track (LVT) Battalion and the 1st Ballation, 27th Marines positioned south of Marble Mountain. In addition to its already taxing responsibilities, the 5th CIT had to provide support to Marine Air Group-16, the III MAF Prisioner of War (POW) Compound and the Da Nang Chieu Hoi Center. Two things made the 5th CIT unique; First, it was responsible for debriefing Marine and Navy personnel who were captured and returned to U.S. control after having been in the hands of the enemy. Second, because of the 3rd CITs location near III MAF's, Force CI Office, became the heir apparent to perform many special projects.


April 1967

The 15th Counterintelligence Team, located in Dong Ha, was attached to the 3rd Maine Division. According to reports, the first 90 days of their assignment were not bad. However, during the month of April things changed, the North Vietnamese began an extensive artillery and rocket attack that lasted through December of 1967. According to Harry Manchester, a team member, remarked, "if it weren't for the Seebeas constructing reinforced bunkers along with CIs help, we might not have survived the continued bombardment that the North Vietnamese tossed at us." During this period, MSgt Jim Krudwig was assigned to Special Police Branch, Qunag Tri Province Headquarters. Also, one of the 15th CITs sub-team, commanded by 2nd Lieutenant Alfred Pavlick was assigned to Khe Sanh. Lt Pavlick remarked, "after thirteen months in Dong Ha, I can unequivocally state that our CI effort was responsible for killing or capturing literally hundreds of Viet Cong and North Vietnam Forces."


September 1967

During the latter part of September 1967, the 19th CI Predeployment Training Team was formed. As Lt. Bernie Voronin recalled, "During my tenure as the Team Commander, 1st CIT in Phu Bai late 1966 to 1 September 1967, we had problems with incoming CI personnel not being able to work right away, where several weeks were spent bring them up to speed as to how CI operations were carried while in Vietnam." To resolve this training deficiency, Lt. Voronin began to relay this problem and conducted liaison with both Captain John Walsh - CI Chief -and LtCol John Guenther, CI Branch Chief at HQMC. The discussion primarily centered on creating a special training program for CI Marines reporting for duty in Vietnam to be better prepared. The training period would be beyond that taught by Army CI. The main focus of this training would be directed towards "How to conduct Marine CI in a fast moving combat environment. Lt. Voronin further noted that, "The main objective was to shorten the break-in time spent after CI personnel had arrived in country so that they would be better prepared in carry-out the Corps CI mission". A short time thereafter - after many more discussions on the subject - LtCol Guenther agreed that a short course was needed and approved the proposed training. The course would to be setup at Camp Pendleton, CA. Since Lt. Voronin initiated the interest for such as course, HQMC assigned him to command the newly formed 19th CI Predeployment Training Team. However, as Lt. Voronin further remembered, "With only 10 days left prior to rotating back to the United States, the unexpected, happened, I was wounded and Medevaced in a body cast back to the US. I was hospitalized for several months at Camp Pendleton which delayed getting things developed for the new training course." During Voronins' hospitalization, he keep in close touch with HQMC. Upon his release, the original 19th CIT began preparing lesson plans, manuscripts, rehearsals, and rehashed over and over what would be taught during the two week training period. Beginning with the first class - scheduled for January 1968 - all CI Marine would go through the training course prior to deployment to Vietnam. What was to be taught in the course was pretty much left up to the 19th CIT. In order to provide the best training, Lt. Voronin contacted several of the other CI Team Commanders throughout Vietnam to get their input to better prepare CI personnel sent to Vietnam. The reason for these contacts, "were that Marine CI operations conducted in the northern area of South Vietnam were quite different in the South".



Figure 17. Members of the 19th CI Training Team


In January 1968, the first class was conducted. Eight CI Marines attended. Attending the first class were:

Lt. Gould

CWO Johnston

GySgt Lee

SSgt Johnson

SSgt Kone

SSgt Martinez

SSgt McClain

Sgt Brown

The 19th CIT original instructors for the two-week CI Predeployment Course were:

Lt. B. Voronin

Lt. Pavlik

Lt. Bromley

CWO S. Duncan

CWO S. Lorentzson

GySgt Ham

SSgt Bresemann

SSgt Dietrich

SSgt Lindell

SSgt MacKinney

Sgt Shea

Cpl Madsen

Pertaining to the 19th CIT composition, Lt. Voronin quoted that "The original 19th CIT of instructors worked hard and long hours to prepare the very best professional course that we were capable of doing. We put through a different class of various size every month until we were disbanded and integrated into the 13th CIT during the latter part of 1969. Between classes we were updating, dropping and adding new course materials, rewriting different sections,and conducting many rehearsals to ensure that everything presented was current. These updates etc., were necessary in order to provide real-time training and to reflected current CI operations that were conducted in Vietnam. A three day field exercise of what had been taught in the classroom was also part of the course. During the three day field exercise, a mock-up Vietnam village was set-up. Various staff members would act in a variety of roles -Vietnam National Police, Village Chief and POWs where the use of Interrogator/Translators were used. The field exercise was conducted as realistic as possible to convey those types of situations that would be encountered by CI personnel deployed to South Vietnam."

One CI Marine attending the course remarked, "It put into proper prospective the associated problems that we would face conducting CI operations in Vietnam. It proved to be very helpful and once in country, the break-in period was greatly reduced." Feedback from several team commanders in Vietnam, noted that the break-in period to acquant the new CI personnel arriving in country was greatly reduced and the Teams mission performance had been enhanced significantly.

As noted earlier, the 19th CIT was incorporated into the 13th CIT during the latter part of 1969. With both teams joined, it formed largest CIT in Marine Corps History. It consisted of 26 members. The 13th CIT now had a addition mission to perform. Their primary mission was to provide operational support to the 5th Marine Division and their additional mission was to continue CI Predeployment Training at Camp Pendleton, CA. The required two weeks of CI Predeployment Training continued until the summer of 1973.



Figure 18. 13th & 19th CIT Consolidated


October 1967

During the early month of October 1967, J.J. Flanagan who was assigned to the 6th CIT, Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, California received orders to join the 1st CIT at Phu Bai, South Vietnam.

CI Marines officers and enlisted assigned to the 1st CIT Phu Bai, Thua Thein Province, I Corps Tactical Zone from October 1967 through September 1968 included:

GySgt Richard Bashiline

SSgt Daniel R. Brillant

WC Alvin L. Cederquist

Capt Huey C. Cofty - Ops Officer/Assistant Team Commander

Capt Raymond Conroy

Capt R.A. Connly - Team Commander May 68 thur 69; Later SCI at 1st Marine Division.

Capt R.E. Shroyer - Team Commander Early 1968

 

SSgt R.B. Glasgow - Sub Team Alpha

SSgt C.L. Griffin - Sub Team Alpha

Lt D.G. McWhorter - Sub Team/Commander Charlie

Capt F. McKay - Team Commander 1967

Sgt W. Wallick - Sub Team Charlie

GySgt Whitman - Team Chief May-68 (Eventually traded placed with GySgt Bashiline who went to III MAF SCI).

WO Soloman H. Godwin - Police Special Branch Advisor at Hue City

SSgt D.L. McRae - Sub Team Charlie, later Killed-in-action (KIA)

Sgt Terence J. Jesmore - Sub Team Bravo, Charlie and Delta from 1968 through 1969

Sgt R. Down - CI Clerk SSgt T.K. MacKinney - Police Special Branch Advisor from 1966 - 1967

Ho Van Chou - Army Republic of Vietnam (ARVN)

Tran Phouc - MSgt ARVN

Ngo Si Hung - ARVN

Tran Van Ningh - 1st Cpl ARVN

J. J. Flannigan recalls that "Upon arriving in South Vietnam of October 1967, I was assigned to Sub-team "Charlie" for just a month and a half and worked with Lt. D. McWhorter in the Phu Loc District. After that short period with McWhorter, I was reassigned to Phu Bai as a Source Handler - in more modern terms a Case Officer - responsible for debriefing several paid informants; paid confidential sources of Vietnamese nationality.... These sources often visited team headquarters in order to provide information concerning Viet Cong troop infrastructure and their movements within the country side. Also as a source handler, I had the occasion of conducting many debriefings and interrogations of suspected Viet Cong, Viet Cong sympathizers, captured North Vietnamese Army POWs and suspected and/or VC operatives working for North Vietnam. I also had some additional duties; one was as the teams Supply Officer in order to maintain an accurate inventory of all team equipment - most of the supplies obtained for the Team were through Sub Unit #1, Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 1st MarDiv at Phu Bai; however, traditional Marine Corps comshaw methods were more reliable, causing less of a hassle."

While the Team was working in Phu Loc District, it spent most days on the road visiting various CAP compounds that had been scattered in and around Highway #1 and on many of the back dirt roads locate south of Phu Bai. Visiting the various villages and hamlets by the Team in the Phu Loc District were common place. During these visits the Team members would conduct liaison between the village chiefs and/or local officials in order to: investigate assassinations; develop sources; and obtain additional information on suspected or known VC activities. These visits proved very positive to assist in the timely collection of CI information. Due to the overall effective efforts by the Team in obtaining this information, the Viet Cong during the months of October and November 1967 shelled the Team with rockets, mortars and small arms fire - this was primarily to let the team known that the VC or better known as "Charlie" still had his share of the real estate in the District.

Back in the United States, on 8 September 1967, then 2nd Lieutenant William Sterling, just after completing twenty weeks of Vietnamese Language School, received a telegram form Headquarters, Marine Corps to report back South Vietnam for duty with the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Saigon, RVN.

Once Sterling arrived in South Vietnam, he received further orders from MACV, assigning him duty with the Naval Advisory Detachment (NAD), Da Nang, as the head of security. While in Da Nang, Sterling noted that "As I arrived in Da Nang, several operations were underway in Da Nang, Hue City, Con Te Island, and Phu Bai." As the head of security, Sterling had a staff of 4 interpreters (3 males and 1 female) by the names of Chau Huy Quan (Beaver), Tran Ngoc Kim (Kim), Linn and Miss Nguyen-Khoa Dieu Hue, along with several Marines. These Marines were First Sergeant Witasic, Gunnery Sergeant Karp, Staff Sergeant "Ski", and Sergeant Heater. All the Marines assigned were 03XX types and good with physical security problems. The NAD was commanded by Commander Merget, U.S. Navy. Later in February 1968, Commander Norman H. Olson relieved Commander Merget. Sterling further notes, that "about the same time, a 1stLt Joe Connoco, joined the staff as my deputy." "I had hoped to give him the responsibility of the Hue/Con Te operation; however, he stayed only a few months."

The primary efforts of NAD were built around the Navy Seal training for operations above the 38th parallel and those Special Forces activities conducted in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The primary mission of the staff was to provide security for those forces at our bases at Da Nang, Con Te Island and a radio station near Phu Bai (Thanh Lam). Security was performed through the utilization of Special Vietnamese Guard Forces. The radio station at Phu Bai, as Sterling noted, provided music, a little propaganda, and transmitted messages to the CIA and Special Forces Teams operating in Laos and Cambodia. Also, about the same time, an additional radio station was being built on Con Te Island in the mouth of the Perfume River just east of Hue City to be used for similar purposes like the station located at Phu Bai. The security force on the island was "mainly composed of Special Field Police -mostly made up of convicts" and "where good fighters when the time came." However, "they had to be closely watched" according to Sterling, because "They would steal everything that wasn't nailed down." In addition to providing security, Sterling's staff spent much of their time providing weapons, ammunition, and training, plus setting up and collection intelligence information in Hue, Da Nang and surrounding areas.

The night before the 1968 Tet Offensive, an informant in Hue gave Sterling enough information to convince him that it would be unwise to remain in the area for the remainder of the night. Therefore, Sterling rounded up this troops, advised the civilians using the safe-house of the probable danger and moved out for Da Nang.


December 1967

1st Counterintelligence Team Phu Bai

Early in December 1967, the 1st CIT, located at Phu Bai began to receive reports that the Viet Cong (VC) and the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) were planning a major offensive to take place early in 1968. To sort out these reports, the team continued to evaluate various sources of information to identify "revolutionary rhetoric" and "propaganda" from factual strategic intelligence which might predict possible enemy action in the northern areas of South Vietnam. The fact that the Viet Cong were experts in providing confusing and misleading information, made the task more difficult.

It was pointed out one day by SSgt Glasgow to Sgt Flanigan, that "the 1st CIT was in fact putting together a great deal of information from various CI sources that indeed supported reports that the enemy was readying itself for a major offensive into South Vietnam. Working off of a large Situation Map of I Corps TAOR, SSgt Glasgow had placed pins in those areas where NVA Main Forces and VC units activity had been reported. In many cases, continued reporting confirmed that the enemy was in fact in these areas and readying itself for battle. In addition, SSgt Glasgow had plotted the possible locations of NVA mortar and 122mm rocket unit movements for the past several months. Base on his findings, SSgt Glasgow was convinced that NVA and VC forces were moving in the direction of key cities in the area - specifically Hue and Phu Bai which were now in easy rocket range. SSgt Glasgow brought the information to the attention of Lt. Flanigan, who - along with other intelligence collection - pass it immediately to General Westmoreland's Headquarters. In response to this intelligence gathered by SSgt Glasgow, General Westmorland ordered both the 1st Air Cavalry Division and the 101st Airborne Division into Phu Bai ( just in time for the start of the Tet Offensive). Given the strength of NVA forces at the time, Flanigan strongly believes, "it would have been extremely difficult for the 1st Marine Division to maintain control of both Phu Bai and Da Nang." This was mainly due to the fact that Marine forces were spread out over an area of some 1100 square miles. Also at this time, the 3rd Marine Division was busy in the Khe Sanh area and in the northernmost sector of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) of I Corps.

In December, the 1st CIT had completed a partial debrief of a NVA LtCol, who had given some details of a major NVA attack being planned against both Hue and Phu Bai. Due to the matter at hand, the NVA LtCol was sent to the Province headquarters for further interrogation . Details of that debriefing did not reach the team until after the offensive had gotten underway.

During the latter part of December 1967 and into the early part of January 1968, the 3rd Counterintelligence Team debriefed a captured NVA Colonel, who was a Hoi Chanh rallier. At the time of capture, the officer had a map in his possession, which included some details of an attack that identified one of the southern attack routes that the enemy had planned to take into Da Nang. However, due to the information being classified F-6 (Unknown source of unknown reliability) it was put aside for future use. This infornmation proved to be very reliable.

At the same time, the 5th CIT was receiving reports of the impending attack from another captured NVA Officer that was being interrogated. During the interrogation, the NVA Officer gave information about the upcoming attack on Da Nang. As the interrogation continued, it was also noted that the officer was part of a NVA patrol collecting information for one of the NVA assault forces in the area. GySgt G. Kimbler, a member of the 5th CIT, noted, "in December of 1967, we were receiving so many reports of a imminent attack that the higher-ups at heqdquarters seamed to down play the credibility of the information, where our reports had been set aside without further action. All indicators of an attack were present, and further reporting continued to gave us evidence that the enemy was repositioning supplies and materials in the northern area of III Corps. There was so much activity taking place at the time, it was very hard to check it out for its credibility, etc.".

At approximately at the same time that the Tet Offensive was being planned by the NVA, both the NVA and VC continued to put secondary pressure on the main lines of communications (MLOC) throughout I Corps. Particularly, Highway #1 from Na Nang up to the Hai Van pass; through Phu Loc to Phu Bai; and from Hue and north to Quang Tri/Dong Ha. Later it was determined that pressure on these areas were due to a vital land link for movement of supplies and heavy materials, along with fuel, ammunition and other equipment that were needed by those NVA forces entering the South. To add further pressure to this problem, the north/south convoy routes for the transportation of allied supplies were straddled and were supported by the numerous CAPs, PF/RF and larger units emplacement along these routes. The 15th CIT in the far North, the 1st and 5th CIT at Phu Bai and at Da Nang ran continuous liaison and collection efforts to aided in keeping Highway #1 open. Many efforts at identifying, locating and neutralizing the VC infrastructure assisted Marine combat patrols that both surprise and thwarted local enemy attacks on bridges etc., denied the NVA with intelligence and in its collection effort.


December 1967 - December 1970

11th Counterintelligence Team

The 11th CIT, stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station, Kaneoke Bay, Hawaii, supported the 1st Marine Brigade and Fleet Marine Force, Pacific (FMFPAC), Headquarters. The 11th CIT was commanded by Captain Bill Mentzer. Other officers of the Team included: Warrant Officers (WOs) Bill Lee, Wayne D. Wilgrube and Pat Lynch. The Team Chief was MSgt Bill Hamby. Some of the 11th CIT members were sent to the 3rd CIT in South Vietnam as replacement personnel during the 1968 Tet Offensive.


Late 1967

At Camp Pendleton, California, Captain Sam Moyer recalled that "during this period the 13th Counterintelligence Team included, Mac "Motherflether!" McClenithan, Bill Lantz and Audie Bromley were Warrant Officers. Tex Mattocks and Jim Hale were Staff Sergeants. Tom Brorowitz, Denny McClain and Denny Braun were all Sergeants." At the time, the Team participated in "Operation Aligator Hide" -a full blown brigade size maneuver exercise held way up at the northern end of Camp - in the early summer 1967. The exercise had hamlets and villages - with Marines as actors - and the whole works." Significantly, it also had a very major counterintelligence role written into the scenario play. Somehow, the Team Chief and the participating sub team kept Moyer from making an ass out of himself and the CI effort. Eventually, CI identified the major players of the hostile "infrastructure" and were able to take them out. In fact, CI got an at-a-boy from General Regan Fuller, the Brigade CG, for its outstanding performance."


January 1968

1st Counterintelligence Team: During the early part of January 1968, the main supply route, along with many of the Combine Arms Platoons (CAPs) positions were probed by enemy forces. Some of the probes developed into full scale ground attacks against the CAP positions. On January 7, 1968, Hotel 5 (A CAP in Phu Loc District) was over ran and both a Michael R. Roha and Steve Nelson (Marine Corporals) were taken prisoners by the attacking forces. Immediately, the 1st CIT ran a MIA case on the two Marines, and on the 21 January 1968, the two Marines were returned. At the time, it wasn't sure if the two Marines had escaped or were released for a propaganda gesture. During the initial debriefing , there were indications - though not recorded - that the two might have been forces to either make or sign some sort of propaganda material. On 23 January 1968, a Marine that was listed as a MIA was returned and turned over to the Team for questioning. Through the questioning it had appeared the the Marine was captured when a CAP unit he was assigned to was over-ran (12 May 1967). Upon his release, he was wearing a red banner and it was speculated that he used it for propaganda purposes while in custody of the emeny.


TET Offensive - 1968

On 31 January 1968, the main communist forces from several of the People"s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) formed the Tri-Thien-Hue Front readied themselves for combat. Prior to launching the attack, NVA artillery and rocket forces bombarded the Marine compound at Phu Bai where the 1st CIT was located. Phu Bai was rocketed and mortared regularly. Many of the CAP (Hotel CAPs 5,6,7,and 8) compounds of the 3rd Combined Action Group (CAG) were over-run, some completely destroyed. Shortly after the offensive began, contact between the 1st CIT at Phu Bai and one of its sub-teams at Phu Loc - which had came under a strong ground assault - became lost. Also, a short time thereafter, communications between Team Headquarters and Hue City were lost. During the early morning hours on 1 February, the Phu Loc District Headquarters was over-run by one of the VC main force regiments. Sgt Wallick recalled that, "the CAP's south of the our position had called for artillery support around 2300 hours the previous night, due to being overrun by a NVA battalion size force. The reaction force scrambling to assist the CAPs were blocked from moving south due to a large VC force hindering their advance. The ARVN 105mm Artillery Battery that was providing fire support to the CAP, began to receive activity within their perimeter wire. Immediately, illumination was called for. This showed that the VC were placing bangalore torpedoes in the wire and that a battalion plus of VC/NVA had already assembled on Route #1 in preparation for an assault on the Headquarters. Once the assault began, the ARVN PF/RF company size force at the District Headquarters were completely overwhelmed. The CI sub-team, along with what was left of the MACV advisory team, broke out of their location and moved cross country for several days until reaching Marine artillery positions at the Mougia Pass.

The Phu Loc District headquarters was overrun and completely destroyed. Though the action was heavy at time, no CI Team members at either Phu Bai or Phy Loc were reported missing in action. However, in Hue City it was a difference story. Chief Warrant Officer-2 Soloman Godwin who was assigned to the Thua Thien Province - acting as a National Police Advisor in the city - was taken prisoner by the NVA invasion forces on 5 February 1968. (CWO Godwin's acts of gallantry, subsequent capture and death has been placed in its own section of this Oral CI history - "One of Us - One Will Miss".)

The activities of the 1st CIT from January 31, 1968 through March 1968 constrated around regular trips to the CAP outpost, interrogation of a steady stream of POW's, Chieu Hoi's, VCI, etc... gathering intelligence during a chaotic period. As one of the 1st CIT put it, "we were all suffering from fatigue...long hours...and very little sleep."

However, during the battle for Hue, the 1st CIT ran a number of recovery operations, trying to pick up stragglers that became separated from their units; identification of possible MIA/KIA: and collect perishable intelligence. In one case, the Team turned a double agent in the national police and recruited him to go back behind the VC lines in the city to locate the NVA Headquarters. Several days later - as reports indicated - when he reported back to the team, he informed the team commander that "the main headquarters was located in a pagoda on the outskirts of the city - a raiding party was organized utilizing PRUs. The raid took place a short time afterwards. The raiding party consisted of twenty-eight individuals. Once the raid was launched and until its conclusion, only 6 of its original members were able to reach friendly lines. Upon their return, the 6 survivers were debriefed by 1st CIT. It was concluded that a number of 2nd and 3rd echelon NVA staff personnel had been killed and a large portion of the NVA General Staff still remained intact. The reason for the NVA General Staff remaining intact was due to the constant shelling and ongoing battle inside the City - it caused the staff to constantly changed its base of operations.

During the first few days of the Tet Offensive, the only strong point left on the road was the Voice of America Transmitter site, which was manned by Sgt Bender, a CI Marine from NAD.

Once the Marine units entered the battle from the south, and subsequently into the City, CI personnel started searching for possible MIAs like CWO Godwin and others. GySgt Maddox told the story of driving a M37 truck down the back streets utilizing a couple of Nungs as guides and searching building for US personnel. They came across a number of US Army personnel, mostly clerks that had been scattered in one building. There hands had been bound and many were shot at close range. Maddox along with the Nungs met the second 5th Marines convoy headed into the MACV compound just prior to crossing the river and reported that NVA/VC had setup an ambush in a building just ahead of them. A Marine Ontos - a small tracked vehicle that was outfitted with six 105mm recoilless rifles (3 on each side) - was called upon and destroyed the building, scattering the NVA troops inside. After the building was destroyed the convoy entered into the city.

15th Counterintelligence at Dong Ha was commanded by Captain Sam Moyer during January 1968. Captain Moyer said that "he had a bunch of interesting characters, to include: Both Nine and Ten fingers Brown and I.G. Shell - who were Lieutenants; Strech Cordell, Jack Kelly, Rich Hansen and Charlie Wright - who were Warrants; GySgt Jim Coyne was Team Chief most of the time, SSgt/Sgt Wayne Wildgrube, Jim Deshotel, Dan Jasinski, Joe Kirkpatrick, Steve Creadon,Dutch Geiselman, Eddie Salmon, John Struber, Ken Cohen, Dean Kone, Greg Grajewski and Jim Orr. (To get the full flavor of Captains Sam Moyer involvement during this period - See the separate section entitled "Through These Eyes With Counterintelligence.").

Like the 1st CIT, the 15th CIT found its assets spread out and that they were cut off from Dong Ha as the Tet Offensive got under way. The sub-teams of the 15th CIT were located at Khe Shah, Dong Ha, Cam Lo, Cua Viet and Quang Tri. 1stLt Shell at the time was assigned to train and was responsible for all operations conducted by the Montagnard Community. These people were seen by the Viet Cong and North Vietnames and within some sectors of South Vietnam as outcasts. Many CI operations were conducted along with the Montagnard people and were quite successful. Also at the time, the 15th CIT provided operational support to those Naval Gun Boats operating on the rivers near the DMZ.

The sub-team stationed out at Cam Lo District consisted of 1st Lt Rick Hansen, sub-team Commander, along with "Dutch" Geiselman, Dan Jasinski, Eddie Salmon and Steve "Shakey" Creadon. During the night of 2 February, the NVA mounted a regimental ground attack on the Camo Lo District compound. The attack lasted for hours, and there was strong evidence that a second NVA regiment had been summoned to help. There were a number of breaches in the wall, along with hand to hand fighting in some areas where the breaches had occurred. There were a lot of heroics that night, not only by the DIOCC personnel, but by the CI Marines who had moved into the compound earlier that night when all the villagers began abandoning their homes and disappearing. To his everlasting anguish, Lt. Hansen was at Team Headquarters that night. The After Action Report had reveal that, "During the early morning hours, the Cam Lo District Headquarters came under heavy mortar, rocket, recoilless rifle attack which was followed by automatic weapons fire and eventually a ground attack by a reinforced North Vietnamese army regiment. When the attack commenced, Sergeant Jasinski unhesitatingly moved through the fire swept area to a 60mm mortar position. Suddenly, several enemy mortar rounds impacted in the emplacement and surrounding area, wounding him, and destroying the mortar's base plate, sight and tripod and detonated those rounds still in the pit. Disregarding his own safety, Jasinski moved into the burning mortar position, salvaging the undamaged mortar tube and established a firing position in an open area. Although he had to pull the tube out of the ground after every fired round, he resolutely delivered approximately 200 mortar rounds against the assaulting North Vietnamese force. Once the mortar ammunition had been exhausted, he quickly moved into the command bunker, to assist in reestablishing communications and treated the wounded. A short time thereafter, he returned to the perimeter and repeatedly exposed himself to hostile fire to obtain and distribute ammunition to Marines and assist the casualties.

Also, during the same time as Jasinski was putting mortar rounds on the advancing enemy, Steve Creadon was positioned on a elevated .50 caliber machine gun platform. The crew of two had been killed. Creadon was trying to fire the gun by himself without assistance and was blown off the platform by a RPG-2. Steve was knocked unconscious and blown back into the middle of the compound where he lay until someone was able to drag him into the command bunker - That's where he picked up the name "Shakey." This was steve's second or thirds purple heart, and he began to develop trembling hands and an occasional stutter after this episode. Dutch Geiselman was shot in the leg early in the action, and spent most of the time in the command bunker helping to hold down the confusion. As a result of their prompt and fearless actions during the five hour battle, the small number of defenders repulsed the superior enemy force, killing 144, capturing 38 NVA soldiers and seizing numerous individual and crew served weapons. The four CI Marines at Cam Lo were all decorated. Dan Jasinski received the Silver Star and Purple Heart; Eddie Salmon the Bronze Star, Steve Ceardon the Bronze Star and Purple Heart and Dutch Geiselman received the Navy Commendation Medal and Purple Heart.

In other areas of northern South Vietnam during the Tet Offensive, the NVA attacked Hill 861A on 5 February 1968 and were repulsed. On 7 February, an NVA regiment attacked and overran the Special Forces Camp at Lang Vei some five miles west of Khe Sanh. The attack saw 9 PT-76 Amphibious Tanks being utilized by the NVA against the Camp. During the attack, the Camp utilized LAWs against the advancing PT-76 tanks. Several PT-76 Tanks were destroyed or damaged. Once the ground assault began and the NVA began to penetrated the perimeter of the Camp, friendly artillery fire was ordered into the Camp. As the NVA advanced further into the Camp's perimeter, the camps occupants form into several groups. On order a prearranged E&E; plan was put into effect with the CAP - a short distance away - as the primary rally point. The CAP platoon over a mile away, was located closer to Khe Sanh, than the Special Forces Camp. According to Sergeant Potter2 a member of the CAP platoon noted that "during the attack, the CAP provided illumination and HE mortar fire in its effort to maintain a ground link with the CIDG camp at Lang Vei until it was overran by the NVA." CI personnel from the 15th CIT, who were positioned at the Khe San Combat Base, had maintained liaison with the CAP prior to the Tet Offensive. Both the CAP and CI had reported large scale NVA troop movements and preparatory activity in the surrounding area prior to the actual attack taking place. The CAP compound was utilized as a vehicle to meet with local sources and villagers who were being dispatched across the tri-border area to collect intelligence. Once the offensive began contact with local sources became sporadic.

Once the Special Forces Camp had been overrun by the NVA, the NVA then directed its attention at the CAP. The NVA wasted little time. Under heavy pressure and with the support of Marine artillery, the CAP received orders to evacuate the site and fall back to the Khe San Combat Base. Having gained important ground, the NVA had freedom of movement and in doing so had effectively cut off a large part of the local intelligence sources from CIT. As time continued onward, the 15th CIT sub-team at Khe San reestablished contact with the Breu mountain tribesmen, who had been previously recruited by the CAP, Special Forces and CI to assist in the intelligence collection effort. The Breu tribesmen became a major source of bomb damage assessment (BDA) reporting. During each of the B-52 bombing (ARCLIGHT) runs, which were flown against NVA units in and around the Khe Sanh area, the tribesmen would be dispatched after each bombing run to collect and report the amount of damage, if any, caused by these flights. The tribesman would also report the locations of NVA units around Khe San where bombing runs could be later scheduled.


5th CIT and 3rd CIT located in the Da Nang TOAR

As the battle of Hue City continued, both the 5th and 3rd CIT received a steady stream of low level intelligence source reporting which had predicted that a major offensive was imminent. Many of the reports collected by the CI team in the north were too good to be true. In one report the 5th CIT received indications that a VC main force (battalion size) was maneuvering itself into position forattacks on the Nam Oh Village area and a bridge on highway #1, located north of Red Beach. A few days proir to the Tet Offensive, the VC battalion size unit had been caught in the open along the Da Nang River by ARVN forces. As Gene Kimber remembers, "After the battle, the ARVN were stacking bodies like cord wood; the total body count exceeded well over hundred VC killed."

An interesting sidelight: During the first few days of the Tet Offensive, III MAF Headquarters came under ground attack from a local VC unit which had tried to penetrate the Headquarters defensive wire. In the morning, one of the dead VC pulled from the wire was identified as General Cushman's personal barber.

On 31 January 1968, the 2nd NVA Division - along with two Local Force Battalions and several Local Force companies - launched a series of attacks south of Da Nang, reconnaissance patrols which were operating in the area called for artillery strikes on the 2nd NVA Division as it made its approach towards the Marine Air Facility, Marble Mountain. At the same time, the 7th Marines were engaged with the 31st VC Regiment west of An Hoa. Once the NVA Division began to engage the air facility, the attackers used long-range mortars to assist in its advance and picked-up its attack against the ARVN 51st Regiment which was between the NVA division and the air facility. In order to protect the main approaches leading into Da Nang, several CAPs, along with the 2nd Bn, 3rd Marines and 3rd Bn, 5th Marines, were assigned to protect these approaches and serve as a reaction force. To assist Marine forces, both the 3rd and 5th CIT were to provide needed assistance and maintain continued liaison with National Police and local intelligence agencies. In one particular case, a CAP unit that was south of the Da Nang River and Da Nang Airfield had been overrun and was forced to withdraw to another CAP unit closer to Da Nang. Gene Kimbler remembered, "I was part of a composite CI sub-team along with several other CI Marines that had been directed to join the reaction force to relieve the CAP unit closest to Da Nang Airfield. Once the CAP was relieved, we were to run possible MIA cases, VCI source, and work intelligence issues. The CI sub-team drove from Red Beach in a M-38 jeep, heading southward in an effort to link-up with the reaction force. Linking-up with the reaction force presentated a problem due to the advance of enemy forces. Trying to complete the task, they continued down a parallel road towards the reaction forces location - not knowing that the reaction force had walked into a VC ambush. As things turned out, the sub-team managed to reestablished liaison with the CAP unit with the assistance of the local village and hamlet officials. This reestablished liaison proved important because it provided current intelligence on the NVA combat order of battle and clarified if any MIA personnel had been sighted." Like the Marine CI teams further north, the teams located at Da Nang began to fill in those intelligence gaps and were able to identify large portions of the Viet Cong infrastructure supporting the Tet Offensive. This information was still being exploited by late 1968, which provided for the identity of many local, district and province level VCIs supporting the North. Individuals that were identified that were not already captured were added to the "Black List" for targeting and neutralization.


"One of Us . . . . One We'll Miss"
Circumstances Surrounding
the Capture and Subsequent
Death of CWO2 Soloman GODWIN

Introduction

Solomon Godwin was born 24 January 1935 in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas. After his high school years at Pine Bluff Senior High School he chose to enlist in the Marine Corps Reserve. In January of 1956 he was discharged from the reserves and immediately enlisted in the regular Marine Corps. During his first enlistment Codwin was trained as a Photographic Interpretation Specialist and later became a Counterintelligence Specialist. On 1 October 1966, he was appointed a Warrant Officer and was assigned as a Counterintelligence Officer - 0210 MOS.



Figure 19. Photo of CWO2 Godwin - November 1966

On 16 January 1968, he was assigned as the Counterintelligence Liaison Officer to the National Police Headquarters, Hue City, Republic of South Vietnam (RVN)

When the TET Offensive began on 31 January 1968, the residence which WO Godwin occupied had been under siege for 5 days until his initial capture by the invading communist forces into Hue City.

During the battle for Hue City, the city remained in enemy hands for 5 days before the invading forces were dislodged by Marines. Throughout the battle for the City, close hand-to-hand combat was a daily occurance which reduced much of the City to rubble. WO Godwin status - originally reported missing in action (MIA) on 10 February - was changed from MIA to a Prisoner of War (POW) that was based on information provided by two US Army returnees who had escaped enemy capture during their return and subsequent interrogation.


Events leadng to Godwin's Capture

During the Tet Offensive, reports revealed that WO Godwin had managed to piece together a functioning radio from several non-operational radios in order to establish communication with US forces. Once the radio was operational, he personally directed air, mortar and artillery fires onto the advancing communist forces entering the city. Just prior to his capture, Godwin transmitted his coordinates to friendly forces in order to direct mortar fire onto his position in an effort to scale back the emeny advance approaching his location. During the mortar barrage, WO Godwin sustained shrapnel wounds. Reports further noted that immediately upon the lifting of the mortar attack, an NVA assault force rushed into his position and he with others were subsequently captured. It should be noted that just prior to Godwin's capture, he along with four other National Police personnel, had managed to kill 12 of the enemy intruders. He also managed to destroy all weapons, files and sensitive documents to prevent them from falling into enemy hands.

Several days later, once the city fell into the hands of the Marines, Godwin's CI credentials were found hidden in a mattress in his residence. His last radio transmission was heard at approximately 1400 hours, 5 February 1968.

Immediately after his capture, WO Godwin was taken to a enemy medical facility for treatment. On the next day, 6 February 1968, he was moved to a location where other US POW's had been positioned within the city. Two days later, the captured POWs - (February 8, 1968) were moved on a 20 hour trek to an mountainous area, west of the Phu Bai airfield. It's believed that upon their arrival (WO Godwin and others) at this location they were joined by other POWs approximately 15 US and 30 ARVN. In this group of POW was Hue city's head of CAS/CORD(CIA Station Chief), several US Army airborne NCOs and two civilian medical missionaries3, a Marjorie Nelson and Sandra Johnson. (The two women were captured on 1 February 1968 and were released 31 March 1968). About half the group of POWs were wounded and in need of medical treatment. An Army NCO, who later escaped, related that "during the forced march out of the city, they were moved down a VC/NVA supply route at night before they reached their next stop."

Reports further indicated, that approximately 13 kilometers outside the city, a high level Viet Cong political cadre had held a summary court on the CORDS chief demanding he sign a written confession that had been prepared earlier, for his involved actions against the People of North Vietnam. The COORD Chief refused to sign the document and was executed chinese style - kneeling with his hands tied behind their back, and shot in the back of the head. As the column of POWs moved further away from Hue City, it was noticed that there was a decrease of guard personnel. This caused a lapse in security and increased the opportunity for the POWs to escape. During one debriefing conducted by the 1st CIT, it was noted that a Army NCO, along with others POWs, had drawn up a "Lets Jump the Guards Plan". The two women missionarie POWs that were with the group were also informed of the plan and told "That there was going to be shooting." The plan never materalized because the women immediately informed the guards of the plan. Because of this, additional guards to guard the POWs arrived. A short time thereafter, the POWs were given footware, blindfolded and bound for movement towards the Ashau Village. Footwear was taken from all POWs at each camp site - this was to make travel harder in the event of escape.

On 19-20 February 1968, WO Godwin, along with the other POWs, were moved to an unknown location. It is believed that between 20 February 1968 and the latter part of April 1968, WO Godwin's wounds had worsened and to reduce the pain, was given some unknown medication. While at a POW camp site, all POWs were checked every two hours and the guards were changed every two hours - this was to discourage (guard/POW) fraternization, etc. Movement of POWs within a camp site were in groups of 7 to 10 POWs at a time, with a guard at the front and rear of the formation. When POWs were moved from one camp site to another, the camp that was to receive them would be completely emptied - this was a commin practice used by the VC.

On 1 May 1968, WO Godwin along with the other POW's, began movement to another camp site. WO Godwin's condition grew worse. Due to the lack of proper medical attention, WO Godwin became increasingly weak and on the verge of passing out. The wounds to his lower legs and feet grew worse - he begin to feel no pain. Because of not feeling any pain to this feet, he was able to continue the trek to the new camp site on foot. The new camp site was some five days off. During travel to the new site, reports indicated that "WO Godwin had difficulty traversing hills and obstacles during the march to the new camp site."

Because of the number of days required to get to the new camp site, the POW's had stopped for a period of approximately three days in a mountain area that was controlled by the Vietnamese Montagnards. It was also apparent that WO Godwin's condition to his legs and feet had developed into gangrene. On 6 May 1968, the POW's arrived at the new camp site.

Upon arrival at the new POW camp site, all the POW's names were entered into the camps control ledger. The approximate number of POW's at this camp were two U.S and 25 ARVN's. WO Godwin's condition grew progressively worse and his captore gave him several more injection, believed to be vitamins, to give him strength.

On 25 July 1968 during the continued march northward towards, another POW camp site, WO Godwin died on the stretcher and was pronounced dead. Because of WO Godwin's unselfishness and professionalism to duty during his action prior to his initial capture he was awarded the Silver Star for Gallantry.4




Figure 20. Combat Photo - Hue City during Tet Offensive 1968



1st CIT (Phu Bai)

Around the middle of April 1968, the 1st CIT ran a MIA body ID case on a US Army Staff Sergeant whose body was found during the uncovering of several mass graves in and around Hue City. The investigation revealed that the SSgt had both of his hands tied behind him and had been buried alive along with several hundred other vietnamese men, woman and children. Over three thousand vietnamese civilians, who had been identified by the VC to be associated with the South Vietnamese Government, were executed doing the Tet Offensive of Hue City.

During the latter part of April 1968, a 1st CIT confidential sources - rated B-2 -reported that he had located 2 Viet Cong battalions, one was west of Hue and the other north of Phu Bai in a coastal area. Working on this information, the 1st CIT processed the information forward and within hours several Marine ground units had encircled the VC. The VC were pounded for three days by a combination of artillery and air strikes. A NVA Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) was the senior man left in command when the remanent of the battalions were captured. Sixty wounded and approximately thirty-four shell shocked VC were evacuated to "A" Med at Phu Bai, where CIT personnel assisted ITT in the screening and interrogation process. Sergeants Jesmore and Brillant were screening a young Vietnames woman, along with the teams interpretor SSgt Hung. After talking to the woman for a while, they became aroused. The young woman said that prior to the beginning of the Tet Offensive, she had been attending school in Hue City and was on vacation visiting relatives, prior to her capture. SSgt Hung, ask the young woman, "What are you studying in school?". The young woman replied, "French." "Ok" Hung replied and ask her what was the meaning of a simple French word. She did not know the meaning and it was finally determined that she couldn't speak elementry French. As the screening process lead into the interrogation phase, Sergeant Jesmore noted that, "it was finally determined that the female was a VCI and later identified by other POWs of being a VCI Combo Liaison guide, who was leading the VC battalion through the area."

During the latter part of April, the 1st CIT ran a case on a Vietnames political appointee, who had been employed at Marine Air Group-36's, Industrial Labor Office. On several occasions, the individual was observed at various times of the day, paceing off the various distances from the Group's living quarters, ammunition dump, fuel dump and other key facilities in the Group's area, while the aircraft were being readied for flight. Also noted was that when the mortar attach on the Group's compound had occurred, the individual was no where to be found. He was eventually taken into custody and when he was subsequently interrogated, admitted that he was an agent for the Viet Cong.


May 1968

In order to have a active pool of qualified Marine CI personnel onhand in the event that the Vietnam War might spread throughout South-East Asia, the 10th, 12th and 14th Reserve CI Teams were formed. The original proposal to create the Reserve CITs had been presented to HQMC, INTC by CWO Davison. Many Marine CI personnel who were released from active duty, joined these Reserve CI units. The 10th and 12th CITs are located at the Anacostia Naval Air Station, Washington, DC. The 14th CIT are located at the Miramar Naval Air Station, Miramar, CA. The Reserve CI Teams mirrored their active duty counterparts in both organization and operational equipment requirements. On several occasions, individuals from the Reserve CI Teams, volunteered for active duty and participated in Vietnam up until 1973.


August 1968

During late summer of 1968, the 15th CIT sent a sub-team into the Cua Valley to be attached to a U.S Army Special Forces "A" Team - looking at a Vietnam Map, the location would be near a village called "Mai Loc". At the time, the 15 CIT was short of personnel within its four sub-teams throughout the Quang Tri area. The sub-team sent to the U.S Army Special Forces was composed of Lt. I.G. Shell, "Ski" Grajewski (who had just extended for a year), and Corporal Long, the sub-teams interpreter. The sub-team knew the area quite well having worked the area on several occasions and had a collection of various sources. Both had eventually worked out a mutual agreement to support and exchange raw intelligence. Several weeks had passes and one day the Marine CI sub-team climbed into a "deuce and a half" (2 1/2 ton cargo truck) along with some of the Army Special Forces. They were making a run into Dong Ha. The road leading from the Army Special Forces Compound was extremely treacherous, not because of its condition - snaking down the side of a canyon - but due to the probability that mines had been layed by the enemy. This was often the case. Lt. Shell, along with Ski sitting in the front seat of the vehicle with the driver. Corporal Long, along with some of the Special Forces personnel was sitting in the bed of the vehicle, when they struck a mine. "It was a big one" according to Lt Snell's memory. All three CI Marines were wounded along with the others in the vehicle. Both Sgt Ski's and Cpl Long's wounds were critical. Sgt Ski had to be Medevaced to a hospital ship that was stationed just off of the coast, where he eventually died a short time thereafter. Cpl Long lost both of his legs and had died before he could be medevaced out of the area. Lt. Snell's wounds were not as those of the others two CI Marines. After a couple weeks of medical attention, Lt. Snell returned to the team. However, some of the wounds he received had not healed properly, eventually sent back to the United States, and medically retired.

As Sam Moyer remember's, "The 15th CIT took its lumps in 1968 while assigned near and around Dong Ha. Between Cam Lo and the Cua Valley, the team received about fifty percent of its casualties that year."


September 1968

1st Counterintelligence Team Phu Loc District - Staff Sergeant D. L. McRae Killed in Action.

It was early in September 1968 that Sergeant T. Jesmore remembers that "SSgt McRae had borrowed him from Sub-team "Delta" in order to take him back with him to Phu Loc, and help him, along with Sgt Wollack, set timbers for a new below ground CI bunker." While at Phu Loc, Hotel CAP-4 had received reports from the local villagers that several strangers had stayed over night in one of the outlying hamlets. The villagers discription of these individuals sounded like they were VCI, who were accompanied by a couple of VC guards. The source of the report was rated "F-6." According to Sgt Jesmore, "SSgt McRae, made the decision to investigate the report the next morning when CI when along with the CAP Patrol. SSgt Hung, the interpretor also would go with them." Before leaving the next morning, SSgt McRea had made a comment to both Sgts Jesmore and Wollack. The comment remembered by Sgt Jesmore was, "It will probably turn out to be just another walk in the sun." As the CAP patrol entered the hamlet, they were surprised by a NVA/VC main force squad and several VCIs. A sharp fire fight broke out between the 8-man CAP patrol and two groups of NVA/VCs.

One individual from one of the VC groups, threw a Chinese block charge at the CAP's Patrol leader. The charge hit the ground near the patrol leaders feet, where he quickly kicked it away. In doing so, the lighted fuse from the block charge fell out. As the fire fight continued, several VC from one of the groups took off running towards a couple of huts nearby. In order to get to the huts they had to cross a rice paddy that surrounded the village. Refusing to wait for assistance, SSgt MacRae immediately gave chase. Closely behind SSgt McRea was one of the Marines from the CAP Patrol and SSgt Hong. As SSgt McRea enter the rice paddy in pursuit, one of the fleeing VC suddenly turned towards SSgt McRea's and fired his Torarev Pistol. At the time SSgt McRea was wearing his Falk Jacket. One of the shots fired at him by the turning VC hit the jackets zipper and continued upward towards McRae's heart. SSgt Hong who saw what had happened, continued to engage the enemy. He eventually fired some 22 magazines from his M-16 - 10 of which was his own and the others that had belonged to McRae. The VC that had shot SSgt McRea, along with two others were killed in the continued fire fight. In less than 5 minutes, SSgt McRae was Mdevaced back to the Medical Aid Station at Phu Bia. At the Medical Aid Station, doctors tried repeatedly to revive SSgt McRea without any success after working on him for over an hour. He was pronounced dead. Shortly after the fire fight ended, a search of the hamlet began. During the search, several NVA/VCI bodies were recovered. The bodies included members from the Phu Loc Security Cadre, the Northern Phu Loc VC District Cadre and 6 other VC/NVA guards or escorts. Several rifles and pistols along with ammo were still remained intact on the bodies when they were recovered. Photographs of the enemy dead were taken and once completed, the bodies were placed outside the CAP compound for all to view. Sgt Jesmore remembered, "The bodies were laid out for everyone to see, like they did in the days of the Old Wild West."


November 1968

During November 1968, an accelerated pacification plan, designed to win back territorial confidence and security as a result of the Tet offensive, was put into effect. CI continued its work in gaining intelligence about both the NVA and VIC -"it seemed like a never ending job" as remarked by Sgt Jesmore.


December 1968

1st CIT Hie Duc District, Da Nang

On 22 December 1968, one sub-team from the 1st CIT was driving along route 540, when they suddenly came under intense small arms fire from the roadway, near the village of Hoa Phu in close proximity to Happy Valley. CWO "Red" Osborn immediately returned fire with his .45 caliber pistol, emptying one magazine. One of the rounds that he fired, hit one of the NVA attackers. The sub-team's, M151A jeep sustained over 25 hits, blowing out two of the four tires on the vehicle's right side and causing considerable damage to the windshield, engine block and the jeeps's radio during the fire fight. As both sides dispursed from the area, the sub-team continued on the road, finely reaching the CAP compound some several meters which was also under attack by an estmated battalion of NVA infantry. The attack on the Compound began around 0500 hours. The night before the actual attack on the Compound, reports had indicated that several NVA soliders had infiltrated the nearby village. During the attack, CWO Osborn remembered, "the entire sub-team, including our interpreter, had received some type of wounds." After the attackers were repelled, several members of the sub-team - to including CWO Osborn - needed medical assistance. Some of the sub-teams members were Medevaced to the Battalion Aid Station for treatment. The corpsman that treated CWO Osborn at the CAP Compound, could only remove some of the bullet fragments which were just below the skin line. Still deeper in the wound was a larger fragement. Later that day, after CWO Osborn had returned to the Team HQs, he was sent to the Battalion Aid Station where the surgeon remove the remaining fragment.

It should be noted that on the previous day, the sub-team had driven from Hill 10, located in the Heu Duc District, into Da Nang and to Team HQ to checkout reports that several Vietnamese, who had claimed to be with ARVN intelligence, were asking questions about a security unit located on a major bridge along route #540. The bridge also fed into the Liberty Road Supply Convoy Route. The next morning, at approximately 0600 hours, the sub-team left Team HQ. Prior to leaving the compound, CWO Osborn inquired about the condition of the road leading to Hoa Phu, with a couple of MPs. As CWO Osborne remembers, "The MPs had informed us that the activity on the road was quite, however, the Mine Sweeping Detail that usually sweeps the road had not left yet." Noting this, the sub-team proceeded towards Hoa Phu Village. Several miles later down the road, the sub-team encountered a Popular Force (PF) platoon that was sweeping the road for mines, etc. During the PF platoons sweeping action, a conversation began with the PFs who informed CWO Osborn that a NVA/VC sniper had been working the area. CWO Osborn noted that, "not to get ahead of the platoons action, the sub-team fell behind the platoon until they had reached the outskirts of Hoa Phu Village." Also, during the conversation, it was noted that after the PF platoon had completed the road sweep, they were to check-out a hill mass northeast of the village, where enemy activity had been reported. It was later noted, that the PF platoon had been part of a blocking force that was assisting a ARVN regional force, that had been sent to break through to the CAP compound

Like the 15th CIT, the 1st CIT took its lumps, sustaining 50% casualties along with several of its members killed in action (KIA).


September 1969

In 1969, tactical CI operations continued throughout South Vietnam. In September 1969, and during a brief encounter with NVA forces, Captain E. C. Hyland who at the time was assigned to the 1st CIT substained a serious wound to his left arm. A medical attempt to save his arm failed and the arm had to be amputated.

During December 1969, Staff Sergeant C. A. Steagall, who was assigned to the 7th CIT distinquished himself along with SSgtW. P. Cargill and a ARVN Interpreter by the name of Huynh Van HOA. While on a combat patrol in the Son Tinh District single-handedly in disregard for his own safety, neutralized an enemy ambush. In the encounter SSgt Steagall killed 2 of the enemy and prevented the enemy from enflicting substantial casualties on the friendly patrol. All three of the sub-team members were recommended for an award. SSgts Cargill and Steagall received a Bronze Star Medal with combat "V" and SSgt HOA received the Navy Commentation Medal with combat "V". In late February 1970, the 7th CIT was returned to the operational control of III MAF, displaced from Quang Ngai City to Da Nang. Once in Da Nang, the 7th CIT was assigned to support the 7th Marines at Landing Zone (LZ) Baldy located at Que Son District, Quang Nam Province. Due to the initial relocation and realignment of all CITs, SSgt HOA was reassigned to the sub-team consisting of Captain F. Maynard and SSgt Gutierrez. This sub-team was in support of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines at LZ Ross. During April 1970, SSgt HOA requested and was granted weekend liberty in Da Nang City to take care of some personal problems. SSgt HOA did not return for duty at the expiration of his liberty. A report of the incident was made to the ARVN Liaison Officer, 7th Marines, who according to Captain Young was "very nonchalant and exhibited no concern whatsoever to any of the possibilities which could cause HOA's prolonged absence". A check of SSgt HOA's living area at LZ Ross disclosed that he had taken all of his personal belongings and a US Pistol (Cal .45), pistol belt, holster and ammunition with him that was issued to him. Thinking that a possible compromize had occurred, Captain Young further reported the incident to the ARVN Liaison Officer at III MAF. The liaison officer stated to the captain that "SSgt HOA was not in fact absent without leave, but had been reassigned to another unit". Captain Young expressed "Its sure nice to be informed on what is happening, I tought that SSgt HOA might have been working for the other side". All US government property, taken by Sgt HOA was returned to the 7th CIT.

Many Marine CI Teams in the early 70s began backloading out of South Vietnam to its original assignment area

As the war began to wind down for Marine CI in Vietnam, Marine CI back in the United States played an active part to nutralize Anti-Vietnam Demonstrations and subversion threats throughout the country. One particular incident occurred in May 1971 at the Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Arizona where Captain J. L. Young Jr., how had just returned from Vietnam was assigned. Because of the presence of radical, dissident and anti-military organizations around the base, Captain Young began to develop an aggressive action plan directed at these problems confronting the base. It was quite evident that the intent of the radical groups were to infiltrate the air station. Through continued coordination Captian Young established an agressive CI program. Because of a shortage of experienced CI personnel existed, a plan called for the use of Naval Intelligence Service personnel to form an effective CI Team to counteract the current problem. Once established, Captain Young implemented an aggressive CI collection effort to neutralize the subversive threat at the air station. Because of Captain Youngs quick action the threat was nuteralized without a further threat to the air station.

In 1972, Operation "Rose Garden" in Nam Phong Thailand began. After completing a tour with the Fleet Intelligence Center as the Head, Geo-political, Socio-ecomonic Intelligence and Briefing Section, then Captain W. Sterling received order to report to the 7th CIT, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Iwakuni, Japan. A short time thereafter, GySgt W. C. Burgess and along with Captain Sterling volunterred to assist Operation "Rose Garden." Operation "Rose Garden" was better known as "Task Force Delta". About 0830 hours, on 3 July 1972, the two CI Marines landed in Thailand. The "Rose Garden" was an intermediate air strip between the B-52 bases in south Thailand and North Vietnam. Fighter escorts were positioned there for B-52 operations conducted against enemy forces inside North Vietnam. Also, EOD and similar support element were positioned at the strip. The CI effort mostly focused as "eyes and ears" against local bandits, saboteurs and served as a liaison with the local military and government personnel. Much of the CI effort according to Captain Sterlings was used "As soothing the feathers of local merchants which had been mistreated by Marines station at the strip". The Naval Investigative Service was an almost permanent fixture in Nam Phong due to the high drug trafficking.

Until they returned to the 7th CIT, both Captain Sterling and GySgt Burgess made a diligent effort to assist every official, military and civil agency that the two had made contact with. With the exception of some isolated cases concerning petty theft, an agressive plan was put into effect that resulted in the base suffering no major disruption from indigenous forces.


Operation "Home Coming"- Its Results

In the early Spring of 1973, Marine Corps CI focused its attention on one important CI operation named "Operation Home Coming". The operation was setup at the Naval Hospital, Camp Pendleton, California to debrief former POW's. During this operation 8 Marine POWs were subsequently changed with collobrating with North Vietnames Forces during their capture. One CI individual who participated in the operation was then GySgt R. Pina. One of the POWs identified as a collaborator caught national attention after his release from Vietnam control in early part of 1979. On February 13, 1981, after 11 weeks of courtroom testomony, Private First Class Bobby Garwood , 35, was convicted by a military jury, after a long and lenghty trail of collaborating with the enemy while a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. Three of the original charges, one for desertion, was dropped by the trail judge, Colonel R. E. Switzer. Garwood spent 14 years in a Vietnames prison camp when captured by the Viet Cong around Da Nang in 1965. During the trail, the austere courtroom listened to how Garwood was captured on a white sandy beach on the outskirts of Da Nang. At the time prior to his capture, Garwood was a young 19 year old Jeep driver, 10 days from rotating home to Adams, Indiana. He had planned to marry his sweetheart, Mary Speer Crabtree, it never happened and she married someone else. By Garwoods own accounts, he noted that he was wounded in a firefight with the VC. He continued to say, he had killed tow VCs, but was overwhelmed, captured and subsequently tortored mercilessly. According to Garwoods attorney, he voiced to the jury that, "Garwood tried to uphold the Marine Corps standards of bravery by trying to escape twice. As the defense attorney continued, he noted that "Garwood had on two occasion attempted escape from his captures. However he was "recaptured on both occasions, Garwood was beaten, stripped naked and kept for months in a bamboo cage without food and water, growing weaker and suffering from exposure to leeches, mosquitoes and tropical disease."

During the trail, other POWs testified that on many occasions Garwood wore the Viet Cong uniform, carried an AK-47 assault rifle, and assisted the VC in interrogating fellow American POWs and received favorable treatment while his fellow POWs suffered starvation, Malnutrition and periods of emenced torture. Another POW said, "Garwood even took part in assaulting a fellow prisoner". On Garwood behalf, his defense attorney claim, "that is client was not responsible for his actions, that he had been tortured, brainwashed and driven to insanity by his captors". The defense took the case in similar fashion as F. Lee Bailey - who defended Patty Hurst - as a case for insanity. The defense claimed, "He does not know how to explain what occurred in Vietnam 14 years ago, and he does not know what anyone can say to explain the 14 years he erased from his life in Vietnam," said Olshin, Garwoods attorney. But the junior prosecutor, Captain T. Wright, not only demanded that Garwood be drummed out of the Corps and forfeit all back pay, but receive "substantical punishment." Garwoods cheif attorney, D. Lowe, told the jury that in seekng a standard of toughness to apply to Garwood, it should remember that amnesty was granted to "all those turkeys who went to Sweden or Canada " Garwood, at least for a time, went to war, and he has paid more for what he has not done than anybody can reasonably expect a man to do," as Lowe continued. Lowe then addressed the standard applied to American POWs in Vietnam whose charges of misconduct were dropped after they can home, along with the pardons granted to thousands of draft dodgers. In not sentencing Garwood to imprisonment, indicated that the Marine Jury seemed to agree with the notion of burying a very confusing war and granting Garwood's request that he be allowed to begin a new life. One juror noted, "Today's sentence may be a sign that one tragic chapter from a turbulent war, involving perhaps the longest, most complex court-martial in military history, at last has been closed in the cramped courtroom with a sentence more redolent of symbolism than punishment, and packing more sound than fury".

Similar charges against the other POWs who returned with 550 American prisoners of War in "Operation Homecoming" in 1973 were dropped by the Pentagon under White House pressure soon after a Marine sergeant in the group had committed suicide. Garwoods defense further argued that the policy should also apply to his client, but the trail judge rejected the argument. As the trail continued, nine former POWs who spent time in several jungle prison camps with Garwood, took the stand to testify against him and dubbed him a "White Vietnames." Others testified how Garwood acted as a interpreter at the political indoctrination classes, sometimes leading the sessions himself to extol the virtues of the National Liberation Front, suggesting that they "cross over"; how he informed on them; how he interrogated new POWs arriving at the camp; how he served as a camp guard, carrying an AK-47 assault rifle; and, how he wore Ho Chi Minh sandals and ate well while they went barefoot and starved. Garwoods defense attorney disputed little of what the POWs said against Garwood. The defense relied on three psychiatrists, who diagnosed Garwood as mentally ill and unable to appreciate the criminality of his actions. The governments pyschiatrists disagreed. On February 1979, Garwood in his own defense upon the stand, noted that, "In February 1979, he had managed to slip out of his work camp at Yen Bai, during the Tet celebration, and traveled to Hanoi. There he said that he passed a note to a Finnish economist who was with the United Nations, identifying himself as Bobby Garwood, a U.S. Marine who wanted to go home. Several weeks later, after the State Department interceded, he was on his way back to the United States. It was then that Garwood first learned of the charges placed against him when he stepped-off the plane in Bangkok, Thailand. At the conclusion of his court-marshall, the court ruled that "He be reduced to the rank of private, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and drummed out of the Marine Corps with a dishonorable discharge." Garwood would be the only American convicted of being a traitor.

One of the last CI operations that completed the Vietnam era was from April to November 1975. At Camp Pendleton, California, a Vietnames Refugee Camp was established. Marine CI had the mission of identifying those Vietnames who were communist symphathizers. CI Marines who took part in this mission were:

MSgt R. Pina

MSgt J. Byars

SSgt C. Galagen SSgt F. Lindell

According to MSgt Pina, some were found to be symphathizers and turned over to the State Department for action.


" THROUGH THESE EYES"
MARINE CORPS COUNTERINTELLIGENCE

Authors Notes

Although the task to write the "Oral History of Marine Corps Counterintelligence" over its short forty years began August 1988, there always seems that someone who participated in the field provides information about their involvement that should be left untouched and presented as it was written. The following is a transcript from Major Samual Moyer's, USMC (Ret.) personal story of his career association with Marine Corps Counterintelligence.

From Major Moyer's first hand experience with Marine Corps CI.....


First, I'll give you a topical listing of my assignments as a CI Marine, and after that I'll try to give you a narrative which relates to each period to which I was involved. For simplicity, I'll present it chronologically.

1966-1967 - CI School, Fort Holabird, MD

1967-1967 - Team Commander, 13th CIT, MCB Camp Pendleton, CA

1967-1968 - Student, Thailand Language School, DLI Monterey,CA

1968-1969 - Team Cmdr, 15th CIT, 3dMarDiv, Dong Ha, RVN

1969-1971 - Chief, Intelligence Division, Desert Test Center, Ft. Douglas, UT

1971-1972 - Team Commander, 7th CIT, 1sMAW, Iwakuni, Japan and
Nam Phong,(The Rose Garden), Thailand

1972-1973 - Student, AWS School, Quantico, VA

1973-1977 - Staff CI Officer, HqFMFPac, Camp Smith, HI

1977-1980 - Senior Marine Officer/Asst Special Operations,
Headquarters, Naval Investigative Service, Washington, D.C.

1980 - Retired with 27+ years of active service.

I attended Fort Holabird CI Agent Couse with Stew Duncan (now deceased), who was then a reserve CWO on active duty (5-year SWAG, I believe). Stew and I were both at Camp Pendleton when we were selected to go to Fort Holabird. We drove out together in Stew's car and stayed together in a rented apartment for the entire four months or so while we were at school. Good stories about that period, but none which can be repeated. Bob Connly was on the staff at Holabird at the time. Other CI Marines who were there at the time in either tech school or the officer basic course included Chuck Cofty (then a WO), Andy Anderson and Al Cedarquist. Stew Duncan, as you may know, was an unusual character. Older than all of us, had served in the Corps during the worst year of World War II, then returned to his job at the Los Angles Police Department. He stayed in the reserves and was called up for the Korean Crisis. After the Korean Crisis, Stew returned to the police department and eventually made detective sergeant. When he saw that Vietnam was going to be serious, he retired from the police department and requested and got approval to return to active duty in the Corps. He was serving with the PMO's office when he and I met in 1967.

From Fort Holabird Stew went to Vietnam and I went back to Camp Pendleton. When I got there I was assigned to the 13th Counterintelligence Team. Not only was I assigned to the team; I was also detailed to be the team commander. It turned out that the incumbent team commander, Mark Roth, had a 2d Lieutenant date of rank which was junior to mine (mine was December 1965, I believe his was something like April 1966). In any event, here we were both second lieutenants, Mark had been around the CI field for years as a Staff NCO, I had never served a day in the CI field, but he had to move aside for me to take over as the team commander. To his credit, Mark did so graciously, at least on the surface. He no doubt had some unkind things to think, and to say to close friends, but under similar circumstances I wonder how many of us could have kept the animosity off our faces and out of our voices the way Mark did....

Had an unusual gang there at the time. Mac ("Motherfletcher!") McLenithan was there, as were Bill Lantz and Audie Bromley who were all WOs. Tex Mattocks and Jim Hale were there as Staff Sergeants. Tom Borowitz was there as a Sergeant (he's now the SCIO at FMFPac as a LtCol). I believe that Danny McClain and maybe Denny Braun were also there. Can't remember everyone else.

The team participated in "Operation Alligator Hide" in early summer 1967. The exercise was a full-blown brigade-size maneuver held way up at the northern end of Camp Pendleton. There were hamlets/villages with Marine as actors, and the whole works. Significantly, it also had a very major CI role written into the scenario which was, although loosely structured, petty much free-play. Somehow, the team chief and the participating sub-team kept me from making an ass out of myself and the CI effort, and we eventually identified the major players in the hostile "infrastructure" and were able to take them out. Infact, the team got an attaboy from the Commanding General (BGen R. Fuller) for its "outstanding performance."

Surprisingly, I was transferred to Monterey, CA in the summer of 1967 for a year of Thailand Language School. I had expected to go to Vietnam thereafter, but the fact that I had just returned from an unaccompanied tour in 1965 may have prevented that. In any event, I spent a year at Monterey after which I was sent back to Vietnam - this time as the team commander of the 15th CIT, located at Dong Ha. The team there supported the 3d Marine Division in northern Quang Tri Province. Had a bunch of interesting characters assigned

Both Nine Fingers and Ten Fingers Brown were there as 1st Lts. Stretch Cordell was a WO, as was Jack Kelly. Rick Hansen and Charlie Wright. Also recall that I.G. Shell was there as a Lt. Jim Coyne was my team chief for most of the 13 months; he was a Gunnery Sergeant. Wayne Wildgrube was a Staff Sergeant and was promoted to GySgt before he completed his 13 month tour. Others included: SSgts and Sgts Jim Deshotel, Dan Jasinski, Joe Kirkpatrick, Steven Creadon, Dutch Geiselman, Eddie Salmon, John Stuber, Ken Cohen, Dean Kone, Greg Grajewski and Jim Orr. There were others whose names I'm having trouble remembering at this time.

Some 15th CIT events worthy of mention during 1968-1969 included:

The sub-team stationed out at Cam Lo District in early 1968 consisted of Rick Hansen as the subteam commander, together with Dutch Geiselman, Dan Jasinski, Eddie Salmon and Steve "Shakey" Creadon. During the Tet Offensive a North Vietnam Regiment (NVA) attacked the Cam Lo District compound at night. The attack lasted for hours, and there is evidence that a second NVA regiment had been summoned to help. There were a number of breaches in the wall, and there was hand-to-hand fighting in some areas where the NVA breached the minefield and the wall. There were a lot of heroics that night, as I recalled, not only by the DIOCC personnel, but also by our CI Marines who had moved into the compound earlier that night when all the Vietnamese villagers had begun abandoning their homes and suddenly disappeared. To his everlasting anguish, Rick Hansen was in at the Team Headquarters that night, and wasn't with his subteam during the action. I expect you'll hear about this from a variety of different sources, so I won't offer any more details. The bottom line is that our four CI Marines were all decorated, and most received wounds during this attack. Dan Jasinski received the Silver Star and Purple Heart; Eddie Salmon and Shakey Creadon both received the Bronze Star - maybe one also received the Purple Heart? Dutch Geiselman was shot through the leg early in the action, and spent most of the time in the command bunker helping to hold down the confusion. Steve Creadon's position was on an elevated .50 caliber machine gun platform, as I recall. I think two of the crew had been killed, and Steve was still trying to fire the dammed thing himself without an assistant gunner, when a B-40 hit the platform and blew it away. Steve was knocked unconscious and blown back into the middle of the compound, where he laid until someone was able to drag him into the command bunker - that's where he picked up the name "Shakey." This was Steve's second or third Purple Heart, and his hands began trembling, along with occasional stuttering.

Another 15th CIT incident involved Wayne Wildgrube, Joe Kirkpatrick and possibly Charlie Wright. In any event, Wayne and Joe were in Charlie's subteam stationed out on the mouth of the Cua Viet River on the South China Sea, just slightly below the Demilitarize Zone (DMZ). One of their sources had informed them that a significant Viet Cong (VC) cadre member was going to be in the hamlet across the river one night. This individual happened to be on the CI blacklist. So in the middle of the night, the subteam crossed the river with a squad of Marines, along with an interpreter, the fingerman and some RVN National Police. They were guided silently to the hut where the cadre member was supposed to be sleeping, deployed the Marine around it and then Joe, Wayne and the source busted through the door shouting and flashing their lights around. The room seemed to be empty, but then their flashlights picked up a small figure laying over against the far wall. During the initial shouting and entry, the figure wakes up and looks at them. The sub-team finally realizes that the figure is a young woman and continue to shine lights around the room - not wanting to overlook someone that might be armed and could fire upon the sub-team. All or some of them momentarily took their eyes and lights off of the young woman, and suddenly she pulls out an AK-47 from under her, swings it around in the sub-teams direction and lets it rip. Unfortunately for the fingerman, he was in front of everyone else and caught the full blast of the fired rounds, literally cutting him in-half at the waist. Well, here's all these guys in this little tiny room, an AK-47 is tearing the place up, flashlights are dropping and swinging every which way, nobody wants to shoot a good guy, and the place is in absolute bedlam.

The Marines outside are wetting their pants because they hear the AK-47 cutting loose with no one to shoot at - along with the shooting the Marine only hear the shouting and commotion from inside the hut. In any event, not only does the young woman empty her magazine without being shot, but actually manages to load a second magazine into the weapon, leap up and didi for the door. Unfortunately for Joe Kirkpatrick, he was between her and the door. This made no difference to her, however, she knocked Joe flat-out straight on his back, ran directly over him and was headed for the tall timbers. About this time Wayne cut a long burst from is weapon at the fleeing woman, and marched a trail of bullets right up the middle of her back.

The next team story worth telling, unfortunately, didn't have such a good ending. In the summer of 1968, I sent a sub-team out to what we called the Cua Valley (On the maps it was Mai Loc) to be attached to "A" Team, Army Special Forces. We knew the area and had pretty good sources, along with an agreement that was reached on both mutual support and exchange of both raw and processed intelligence. I was a little short of personnel at the time, due to the fact that all the sub-teams were placed in Quang Tri, so all I had was Lt I.G. Shell, Grajewski and an interpreter by the name of Corporal Long.

To make an unpleasant story very short, I lost the whole subteam. They were in a deuce-and-a-half with some Army types who were making a run into Dong Ha. While traveling on the road - which was extremely treacherous, not because of its condition but possible mines - struck a mine. I.G and Grajewski were setting in the front along with the driver and Corporal long was riding in the back of the vehicle when the mine denotated. All were wounded, Ski and Long critically. Ski was medevaced to the hospital ship and within an hour died. Corporal long lost both legs and died before he could be medevaced. I.G. was less severely injured, and returned to the team after a couple of weeks of medical attention. Nonetheless, the wounds that I.G received didn't heal properly and had to be medevaced back to the states, where he eventually was medically retired.

The 15th CIT took its lumps in 1968. Between Cam Lo and the Cua Valley, we had about fifty percent casualties that year.

In 1969 I replaced John Young as the Head of the Intelligence Division at the Desert Test Center, Fort Douglas, Salt Lake City, Utah. The joint staff had a classified (at that time) mission of conducting all field tests of both chemical and biological agents. Since this is not pure Marine CI, I won't go further.

After two years, it was time to head back to the Far East again, and I went to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni and took over as the Team Commander, 7th CI Team - which supported the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) and it's various elements at Atsugi, Iwankuni, Okinawa, Vietnam, and eventually to Thailand

As usual, every single name won't come to me, so this probably isn't a complete list: Joe Canonico - was a CWO at the time, I replaced him as team commander. Tom King was a 1stLt - I think he was at Futema. Other officers were: Barry Marsh, Mike Shanklin, Vince Russell, Pat Lynch and Bill Sterling. Glenn (Gabby) Bouck was the team chief and the other enlisted personnel included: Bill Burgess, John Esrey, Ray Jarvis, Tex Mattocks, Tom Borowitz and "Mac" McNaughton.

I guess the only significant thing worth mentioning during my year there (1971-1972) was the redeployment of Wing elements back to Southeast Asia in response to the North Vietnamese Easter Offensive in 1972. MSgt Tom Knoll (Who was on Okinawa at the time) and I were the only CI Marines whose records showed that we spoke Thai, so when an expeditionary force was sent to Nam Phong in the Northeast plateau of Thailand, we were summoned.

This was kind of an interesting experience. It was the only truly expeditionary deployment I've ever been on, where everything (except the airfield, in this case) had to be built up from ground zero. The site was a macadam airstrip which had been built years earlier by - as I understand - the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for its clandestine operations. The airstrip (which, as I recall, consisted of one takeoff and landing strip and an adjacent taxi strip) had ceased being of value to the CIA, and was in occasional use at that time by some Army Special Forces types who apparently did some third-country clandestine cross-border operations from the strip with both Thai and Cambodian (and maybe Laotian) mercenaries.

Tom was flown in there before I got there. I came down with a team jeep and trailer, radio equipment, all personal gear and equipment for a CI sub-team. Also cases and cases of beer and lots of booze hidden under the trailer cover. (I may not have sever been on a true expeditionary deployment, but with nearly twenty years service at that time, my instincts told me there would be no PX and no officers' club, despite other-service publicity to the contrary.)

In addition to enjoying an occasional taste, these items were eventually worth their weight in diamonds and gold barter. Especially when we found out that a hut for the CI element was way, way down on the Seabees' building priority list. Sometimes I think that if we hadn't had all that special bartering materials, we'd still be down there living out of a dammed Command Post (CP) tent!

Since Tom and I were the only CI Marines there for the first several months, and since I doubt that Tom will take the time to write you (the CI History author) about this period, I'll do my best to document (not really document, what I mean is related) how it was those first few months. There is no other source, at least until Bill Sterling finally reported in.

When I arrived on 26 May 1972, there were few people there. There were some old abandoned two-story wooden structures over near the taxiway, and one small SEAhut. What personnel there were at that time had taken up residence in these structures. I found the SEAhut, which held the headquarters element consisting of three or four officers and senior SNCOs. Tom Knoll and I found and introduced ourselves to each other, and I tried to carve out a place for my folding cot and sleeping bag in the hut. It was dammed crowded, and every C-130 and C-141 that landed over the following hours and days brought in more and more officers and staff. It eventually got too crowded in there, so Tom and I moved out. We picked out a relatively flat piece of ground about 75 yards away from the SEAhut and put up our CP tent, and that's where we stayed for quite a long time.

Everything was primitive those first few weeks. The only electricity, of course, was from portable generators which were flown in. Needless to say, out tent didn't rate electricity. There was no bathing water either. We got ripe very quickly. We had a couple of monsoon-type rains, and while it was raining everyone would get naked and stand all around the edge of the hut to catch the rainwater runoff as it cascaded down the troughs of the tim roofing. You didn't want to get out there too soon, because for the first five minutes or so the runoff was extremely dirty and muddy, as it washed all the accumulated dirt and dust off the tin. So no one wanted to stand under red-muddy water, but on the other hand, no one wanted to miss the chance to wash off their body grime. The storms, of course, would stop as abruptly as they started, so if you waited too long, you ran the risk of having the rain stop just as you got your body soaped down.

Eventually, after a couple of months as I recall, the engineers came down and set up a field shower unit. Before that happened, however, the "field expedient" solution had been to truck in 55-gallon steel barrels with one end cut out, and fill them with water - the ones you saw in the old World War II movies. They were to be used for rinsing after one had washed one's body. But, no!! Marine being Marines, the first group allowed to use them, through they were bathtubs; they all got naked into the barrels (only one Marine to each barrel, fortunately) and polluted the clean water with their soap and body dirt. Anyway, that was it for the day. No one else got to bathe. That system actually worked (rinsing off with a canteen cup) until the field showers got set up.

A reinforced company of troops from the 3rd Marine Division on Okinawa were flown-in to serve as the security force and military police element. The buildup was extremely fast - much faster then the support and service elements could keep up with. Keep in mind that this was nothing more than an airstrip in the jungle. There was no fence, no perimeter boundary, no defined clearings to establish this operation as a camp or a fort or a base in the traditional sense.

Thai natives - who had roamed all over the place for some years without restriction, and who allowed their water buffalo to graze in the areas between the landing strip and the taxiway - saw no reason to change their patterns. The danger of a transport full of Marines and equipment coming in for a landing and finding a water buffalo crossing the strip was a very real one which could cause havoc. The only air traffic control we had was a team sent in by the Air Force. In other words, the guy who was telling the planes to come in for a landing couldn't actually view the runway - "out of sight." There could be one or ten buffalos standing down on the runway, the pilots flying the aircraft had to take their chances!

I can tell you this, the Thailand language that Tom and I had been taught at Monterey some years back and a million miles away, hadn't prepared us to tell illiterate Thai farmers, in their hamlet, in their village, in their province, and in their country, that they couldn't graze their water buffalo where they damn well felt.

We were, after all guest in Thailand. It had been only through frantic emergency negotiations with the Thai government that we had been allowed to come in, and it didn't sit well for the farmers to make complaints that there were "Ugly Americans" pointing guns at them and directing them to move their buffalos away from the best grazing areas. (Which is what the Military Police (MPs)/Grunts were doing before Tom and I were called in to help.)

Well our help was next to nothing. First, it had been several years since Tom and I had been to language school. Second, we were taught "Bangkok" Thai. In other words, what the educated Thai government or business person spoke. The farmers we were trying to communicate with had never been to school, and the uneducated dialect - which was common in the Northeast Plateau of Thailand - was entirely unintelligible. Worse, they not only didn't understand Tom and me when we spoke our Bangkok Thai, they actually laughed - openly, out loud - at our attempts.

It was altogether frustrating, dangerous, funny, humiliating, tedious, uproarious and yet somehow satisfying as we gradually began to communicate and make our separate points of view known to each other. And through an unmistakable combination gesticulating, hand and arm waving, and pointing at the airplanes and the buffalo, they finally got the point that it really wouldn't be a contest if a prize water buffalo took on a C-130 aircraft. "An that was just the beginning".

A danger which we (all of us) considered even more urgent was the possibility of attack by Communist Terrorists (CTs) while we were still in the very fragile, very vulnerable build-up stage. Tom Knoll and I began immediately to develop and nurture a network of information and intelligence sources. Beginning without the benefit of introductions or credentials of any kind, and with only rudimentary maps, we ventured out onto the Thai roads and highways in an effort to find and meet as many district, provincial and national-level officials as we could find.

We had no phone system at out disposal; we had no radio access to the frequencies used by the Thai police and military officials; we couldn't write letters and request an audience and an appointment; we simply had to do it with what we had. We actually found our way to the provincial capitol one day after we'd been there for four or five days. We found this big government building. We pulled up in our jeep. Both the jeep and us were covered with red dust and grime from being on the road for several days straight. We're wearing our utilities, of course, which are pretty disreputable. And we're wearing .38s strapped to our waists.

There is practically no activity outside the building, and few vehicles of any kind in front of or around the building. We walked into a lobby-type of affair, and the people who see us are dammed startled. Couple of "Big Ugly Americans" - obviously been out rolling around in the dirt somewhere - wearing guns on their hips was probably what they were thinking. Our Thai still ain't so hot, so when we tried to calm the people in the place, there may have been a slight misunderstanding about our intentions, several people at desks picked up telephones and started whispering into them. Seeing this we tough that we had really stepped into it.

Fortunately, we didn't get killed. A couple of military types in uniform come down the steps, obviously in response to the phone calls and told every one "to cool it." We tried to introduce ourselves in Thai, but fortunately one of them, a Captain - I believe - spoke English and everything then forward turns out great. We meet the colonel who ran the military affairs for the province, and his deputy. Afterwards there's a lot of tea drinking and male-bonding and told everyone there why we're there.

The Colonel says he's glad to see us, and that he has been planning on coming up to meet our commander real soon, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Before we got out of there, we've been given a complete map briefing on the CT activity in the province, and we've been given English translation copies of a whole stack of both raw and processed intelligence reports about CT activity for all of Northern Thailand. "Is that trusting, or what?!!!!!"

We finally got out of there after a couple of hours, and the English-speaking Captain leads us to another town some miles away, where we are introduced to the district guy who works for the colonel. He has obviously been called or radioed to expect our arrival, because he also had with him his counterpart in the national police as well as one of their security guys.

So that's the way it went for days and weeks, including visits and introductions to the various intelligence types up at Udorn Air Force Base near the Lao border. We eventually got around to meeting the head CIA guy, the US Army MI types - who were running sources in the area - as well as the more conventional USAF intelligence and collection people at the base. They were all outstanding, and gave us practically everything we asked for including access to their back channel communications facilities. Altogether, we built a rather impressive intelligence collection and reporting network from both the US and Thai sources which served Task Force Delta well.

The command used the intelligence in a variety of ways, not only to keep our commanders and the security force aware of CT activity in the area, but to brief newly arrived units on the overall situation as well. Tom, in fact, did a superior job on briefing all new units, officers and SNCOs as they arrived. He gave them a comprehensive country briefing (most of the people who arrived there literally had no idea where they were in the country), he reminded them that Thailand was not at war with anyone, and that the people had to be treated with respect. He briefed them on the CTs and any activity there might be, and so on..... He also made it a point to tell them that the young Thai woman they happened to see around the base from time to time weren't ladies of the night, and that they would be in a world of hurt if they tired to put the so called "move on them."

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on ones point of view), that situation changed rather dramatically. Whereas, when we first arrived there was no kind of perimeter of any kind around the base, before too long there was a perimeter of solid flesh. The hookers - both the experienced and the wannabees - formed a human circle around the base every night and performed services to any one who could slip through the ring of MPs who were placed at intervals throughout the jungle. And they brought other goodies with them, as well - The kind Marines could smoke, inject, ingest, or sniff. But that was another problem........

My tour of duty was up in September, and I was returned to Japan the last week of August to get my stuff together and get ready to rotate. Tom stayed there in Thailand for a long time, including one or two extensions. I was relieved by Bill Sterling (CWO3), and the CI sub-team was reinforced with a couple of other SNCOs who were pulled back from Vietnam. (The 7th CIT at one time in 1972 had sub-teams deployed to two separate locations in Vietnam as well as Thailand.

I think what I've provided is a good summary of Marine CI in Thailand for the short few months that I was there. It is a good story, and needs continuation, not only from bill Sterling and Tom Knoll, but from the other CI Marines who served there from their actual involvement. There are valuable lessons to be learned from this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Tom and bill can give some rather graphic testimony to the questionable pleasures of visiting jungle village headmen and having to drink such pleasures as monkey-blood whiskey. Ask them!!!

The 7th CIT enjoys the distinction of being the first (and only) Marine CI team ever to have been deployed to Thailand and it is, to the best of my knowledge, the last CI Team to leave Vietnam (following its redeployment to that country in 1972).

I attended Amphibious Warfare School (AWS) through June of 1973, and assumed the position of Staff CI Officer, Headquarters, Fleet Marine Force Pacific (FMFPac), Camp Smith, Hawaii that same month. I remained in that position through August of 1977. I relieved Captain C. I. (Mike) Handley, and the others in that office during those four years included: MGySgt Larry Brown, SSgts Mike McKinney and Ray Campbell (later Captains), and Larry Graham (retired as a Master Sergeant). My good friend Tom Borowitz joined me again, this time as a new warrant officer, making the third or fourth time we had served together. As I mentioned, he first worked for me as a sergeant in 1967 at the 13th CIT, then as a GySgt at the 7th CIT, then we were together at Quantico in 1973, and he joined me in Hawaii again in 1974. We were together until I rotated in 1977. He has not been stationed in the Continental United States (CONUS) since he went through the WO course at Quantico in 1973; he has spent the last 16 years either in Hawaii or the Far East. That's a story all by itself.

The only HqFMFPac CI event, which might be worthy of a footnote during this period, is that we sent Tom Borowitz to Guam for several months with a group of NIS agents when all the Vietnamese evacuees were there. It was a hairy experience for them, and you may be able to persuade Tom to elaborate on that unusual assignment.

Although I was in Amphibious Warfare School (AWS) during the time the American POWs were released, Marine Corps CI played a significant role in debriefing our Marine returnees. Out of some of the briefings the Bobby Garwood case developed - you probably already have information on that incident.

In September of 1977, I reported to Headquarters, NIS as the Senior Marine Officer/Marine Corps Advisor to the Director, and Assistant Head of Special Operations. I served in that capacity until I retired on 1 May, 1980.

1 .1ST CIT: BBV:ssc 003850 Ser:SD1170-71 27 May 71(Declassified 19Jul79 CI Predeployment Training Material; Bob Voronin 2 . Sgt Potter was later briefly captured by the VC on 30 May 68 and debriefed by 1st CIT at Phu Bai. 3 .Operation Homecoming records listed the names of 16 civilians captured on or about 1 Feb 68;these men were returned in Mar 73, they were primarily CORDS/AID advisors involved in the pacification programs; List follows 4 . During the initial capture of American POW's the interrogation centered around military questions(Unit Identification, Number of members in squad, platoon company etc. location of units and mission of operation, tactical plans and unit moral). At camp site 1 the interrogation centered around the POW's obtaining information about family. ARVN POW's were used as a buffer to obtain this information from US POW's. At camp site 3 a NVA officer would conduct the interrogation process >

Footnote 1: Virtually all the CI events reported herein, were provided by those CI Marines who took an active part during the Vietnam War. A great majority of information provided was in the form of written responses from ones personal memory to assist in this history.