Lieutenant Colonel Roy Couch, 5ID Deputy Senior Advisor
September 26, 2003
I do remember my late husband, Roy Couch, mentioning General Hieu in letters and in tapes he sent us. Roy held Gen. Hieu in high regard and Roy felt honored to have served with the General. So many years have passed since that period of time, thrity-three years ago February 7th, it is hard for me to remember any particular detail that Roy said about Gen. Hieu.
Roy's first assignment in Vietnam was with the 5th ARVN Infantry Division as an Advisor to the 9th Regiment in III Corps in July 1969. I believe that was in the Province of Binh Long. Colonel John Hayes and Roy both went to 5th ARVN Division Headquarters on October 26, 1969, and began working with General Hieu.
Roy wrote to me every day while he was in Viet Nam, of course I kept those letters. I have re-read the letters Roy wrote to us beginning on July 1, 1969, until his last letter written in February 1970. The letters are mostly about his day to day life there, talking to the girls (our three daughters) and me, and telling about seeing some of his U.S. Army friends in Viet Nam. There is nothing too specific, but I will give you excerpts from letters of things that may be interesting to you.
Friday night would have been the 6th, I believe. Saturday morning, February 7th General Hieu and Roy left on the trip to the Cambodian border; Roy was killed when he exited the helicopter.
I plan to listen to the tapes again and will try to take notes on any thing Roy says that would be interesting to you. I do remember the last tape I received, Roy said, I am going on a long trip tomorrow with the General.
October 9, 2003
After reading the letters Roy wrote in Vietnam and listening to the tapes again, it was easier to arrange the events in order of their occurence. I will summarize what Roy said about military activity while in Vietnam.
A Brief Summary:
Roy's first assignment to the 5th ARVN Division, III Corps at Bien Hoa, North of Saigon, began July 6, 1969. He was assigned to the 9th Infantry Regiment as an advisor to the Regimental Commander Lt. Colonel Ma Sanh Nhon. Roy mentioned a birthday celebration for Colonel Nhon's 40th birthday. The Colonel's wife came from Saigon to the party.
Colonel John Hayes and Roy met on August 3, 1969. Colonel Hayes asked for Roy to go with him to the 5th ARVN Division headquarters as Colonel Hayes' assistant. On August 5th, Roy went to Division headquarters for a meeting and had a conversation with a Vietnamese General who spoke English fluently. He does not say, but I wonder if it was General Hieu. While at Division headquarters Roy attended the farewell ceremony for American General Talbott. The trip to Division headquarters was a visit.
Roy gave an account of a military action between the ARVN and NVA on a tape. He said Lt. Phan Huan Vu and the ARVN soldiers were absolutely fearless in the fight. Roy recommended a Bronze Star be awarded to Colonel Nhon, and a medal to the Lieutenant. Roy also received a Bronze Star for his participation in the battle. This military action was narrated in the following news article from "The Army Reporter", October 20, 1969:
On October 26, 1969 Colonel Hayes and Roy both reported to Lam Son, where they were Senior Advisor and Deputy Senior Advisor to General Hieu. The Advisory Team and possibly the ARVN soldiers spent a considerable amount of time refurbishing the compound there, both living quarters and shoring up the defense fortification of the perimeter.
In December of 1969, General Hieu and Roy went to Quan Loi for a change of Command Ceremony. I don't know who's change of command.
At the beginning of 1970 Roy tells about the plans to move to Lai Khe. He said the buildings at Lai Khe would require alot of repair; first they would have to build up the fortification of the compound, then refurbish the quarters and other buildings. It seemed that neither the ARVN or Americans wanted to leave the area and go to Lai Khe.
As the Tet Lunar New Year approached, the soldiers at 5th ARVN Division were expecting action from the NVA. Of course I don't know anything to tell you about the action of the NVA at that time.
After Roy's death the American Advisory Team named a Compound in memory of Roy.
At the time of Roy's death he was on the list for promotion to full Colonel, and was promoted posthumously. He was also on the list to attend the Industrial College for Armed Forces in the Washington, D.C. area.
I read in your book General Hieu attended the Command and General Staff school at Fort Leavenworth in 1962-63. Roy attended Command and General Staff in 1960-61.