451. I take the liberty to contact you in French since I believe knowing that your made your studies in that language? I commend you for your website that interests me greatly because I do regularly researches on the Army of South Vietnam. The history of your brother is riveting. The purpose of my message is more focus on a research I am conducting now on one particular Vietnamese insignia. You will find two examples below. I have the impression that between 1963 and 1966, when your brother was serving at II Corps and when he sometimes wear a beret, this one had the insignia on it. It is at this address http://www.generalhieu.com/hieu-mataxis-2.htm that my impression had been reinforced. (FranÁois Millard)
452. I fortuitously found pages about Major General Nguyen Van Hieu, I read them with great interest and am grateful for the contribution and lofty sacrifice of General Hieu for the country. I also seize this opportunity to thank you for your effort in establishing these pages that I consider as important historical documents. Today I read a page about General Truong (http://www.generalhieu.com/nqtruong3-u.htm), I found a footnote which points out the errors in that article. Honestly speaking, I found the reasoning and the presentation aiming at proving that General Truong is not incorrupt not very convincing. On the contrary, its style made me doubtful its credibility and the fairness of its author. I think that the pages about the life of General Hieu are outstanding for you to allow an article that are not accurate about General Truong's personality to stand next to them is not very appropriate. Such is my opinion. (Le Duc Hong)
453. I am requesting a correction regarding my fatherís name who is Colonel Le Ngoc Day instead of Due in the list of former ARVN colonels on General Hieuís webpage, #153. He died in the Xuan Loc communist reeducation camp, Dong Nai, Lo Lao Dong Phan Trai A on 1/21/1984. When South Vietnam collapsed he was serving as A Group Commander at Quang Trung Training Center under Major General Tran Ba Di.
As I belong to a younger generation, General Hieuís webpage has helped me in knowing that our ARVN did have many competent officers like Major General Hieu. I read and read it constantly and tirelessly. Often times, my mind emerged deep in the readings, lost in feelings of pains and anger. Especially when I looked at the photo of General Hieu sitting on the right seat in a A-37 with the advisor officer. I had more than 200 flight hours on a A-37 jet and therefore had loaded this photo of General Hieu onto my A-37 collection laptop and whenever I opened my computer I always saw his photo. (Le Huu Thien)
454. I visited your website, the one dedicated to your brother, and find it very impressive. I was a history major in college and took more than one course on Viet Nam. I can remember complaining to my thesis advisor about how inadequately the ARVN and stories like your brother's were addressed by the available books and other materials. I have just scratched the surface of what you put together, but very much look forward to reading further. (Rudi Ganz)
455. Could you remind me which archives and libraries in the States hold copies of the ARVN II Corps history Why Plei Mei? It is actually very important for my work that I should get hold of a copy of this document. A central thesis is that, whereas American accounts make this campaign very largely about the activities of the US 1st Cavalry Division, actually much of the credit for the Communist defeat should go to indigenous forces: both Montagnard CIDG forces and the ARVN. In reality I think that the US 1st Cavalry Division was rather poorly handled during this campaign. Its First Brigade achieved only modest success. Then its Third Brigade ran into a near disaster at LZ X-Ray and an actual disaster at LZ Albany. In the final phase of the campaign the ARVN Airborne Brigade arguably made better use of airmobility than the Ist Cavalry Division had. I am thinking I might revisit Vietnam in the not-too-distant future, though time is short. That would be excellent as I think it would help me to get inside the culture more than I have ever previously managed to do. (Paul Harris, military historian, the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst)
456. I just saw your website about general Hieu but am not sure if the website is still active or not; therefore, I am emailing you to inquire. Please let me know if the book is still available so that I can order one copy to present to my Dad as a gift. My Dad is colonel Trinh Dinh Dang who used to serve under general Hieu at the 5th Division. He is pretty old now. Many years in communist prisons probably have caused him to forget many past events. He will be surprised if he has the chance to read your book. I hope you still have some copies of your book. Thank you. (Trinh Dinh Tung)
457. Dear sir, we are former low-ranking officers in the ARVN, currently living in London. We have a very close relationship with a Doctorate Professor teaching Military History at the British Royal Military Academy. He wants to understand about General Nguyen Van Hieu's death, about the topic of Why Pleime and numerous other issues about the Vietnam war, after having read your book posted in the internet. He had tried to contact you several times to no avail. As former soldiers in the ARVN, in which your brother is a well known general, through multiple contacts with this Professor, we found that he listens to our point of view and therefore venture to think that if you allow him to contact you, not only there will be no harm done and hopefully, through you voices, many historical details will be clarified to the advantage of the honor of the Vietnamese Armed Forces. At the present time, our group is collecting documents to help him teach instead of distorted truths from Americans and Viet Cong. If you have good documents for this effort, please refer them to us; we greatly appreciate it. We hope that this Professor will write books that will refute those books that told lies by Americans as well as those frogs sitting at well bottom in Hanoi. (Nguyen Duc Cung)
458. You may remember me as a historian at the British Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst working on the campaign in the Western Highlands in 1965. As a matter of fact just a few hours ago the librarians at Sandhurst managed electronically to locate a copy of Vinh Loc's book at Carlisle. The chief librarian at the RMA is writing to the librarian at Carlisle on my behalf.
I have already downloaded from the internet the electronic version of the book that you have placed within the website dedicated to your brother's memory. But from the point of view of scholarly referencing it is important that I can refer to the page numbers as they were in the original version of the book as printed in Saigon. I entirely agree with you that is a great pity that this work has not been properly exploited by Western scholars who have written on the Western Highlands campaign of 1965. I hope to rectify this. I hope to give the ARVN II Corps full credit for its part in the campaign. Perhaps as a British person I will be able to take a less Americocentric stance than has been normal in much of what has been written on the campaign up to now.
I have already spent many weeks at Archives II at College Park and photocopied a great deal of material relating to the 1st Cavalry Division and other formations and units involved in the campaign. But I was curious as to whether their might be further material at the 1st Cavalry Division's Museum. I intend to go to Texas Tech's Vietnam Archive as soon as possible but it it is good to know that Col. Metaxis's writings on the events of this period can be downloaded from the net.
I found your reference in your appendix to Vinh Loc's book to the various Vietnamese Communist writings on the campaign extremely interesting. I was hitherto aware of only one such history. Clearly the expert on this material is the former CIA officer (Merle Pribbenow) to whom you refer and I must make every effort to make contact with him.
I think your work in aid of your brother's memory is enormously important for scholars who wish to re-examine the role of the ARVN in general and its role in the campaign of 1965 in particular. If you have not already seen it I think you might be very interested in the book Vietnam's Forgotten Army by my friend and former colleague at the University of Southern Mississippi, Dr Andrew Wiest.(Paul Harris)
459. I fortuitously bumped into www.generalhieu.com and felt very proud about such a competent general. I am interested in finding more information pertaining to General Le Van Ty such as his grave or his children and grand children. Please advise me where and whom to contact for information. If you have other information please share it with me. (Le Nho, firstname.lastname@example.org)
460. To honor General Hieu as a Military Genius is a must, although a little late. To be honest with you, while honoring in writing General Hieu, I felt deeply touched, not knowing where the feelings came from... It was unfortunate that such a competent and virtuous general had his life taken away so early. If he is still alive, perhaps our country and our people would not have been so miserable as it is today. (Lam Truc Le An Binh)
461. I had not visited your website for a long while. I used to visit it often to read documents about the Vietnam war and to gain knowledge about the general officers. First of all, I thank you for gathering painstakingly a great amount of valuable materials so that people like me have the chance to see them. I know that you idolize your brother (General Hieu), and I also consider him to be a competent general with a good heart. However, I sent you this email to tell you that General Hieu might be a good general, but you had gone overboard (intentionally or unintentionally) by proclaiming to be one among the four Vietnamese military geniuses at par with Emperor Tran Nhan Tong, Hung Dao Vuong Tran Quoc Tuan and Quang Trung Hoang De Nguyen Hue. I think it is ridiculous, and I surmise that you would agree with me if you are objective. And perhaps General Hieu himself would not be pleased knowing he has been place at the same level as those national heroes. (Hai Dang)
462. I just found your website about General Hieu but do not know if it is still active or not and I email to inquire. If the book is still available, I would like to buy one copy as a gift to my dad. He is colonel Trinh Dinh Dang who served one time under General Hieu at the 5th Infantry Division. He is now pretty old. Many years in the Communist prison had made him forgetting many past events. If given the chance to read them, he would certainly greatly surprised. I hope the book is still available for purchase.
I have a photo that General Hieu gave to my dad. It is a photo of 5th Division Command Staff shot in Lai Khe in 1970. General Hieu stood in the middle, and my dad was at the far right end. I do not know the rest of the officers, besides General Hieu and my dad because I was very small at that time. My dad was already in reeducation camp when I grew up; then I escaped the country and ended up in the United States all by myself. It was much later, that I was united with my family and therefore I do not know much about my dad's military career. Now, I am residing far away of my family and do not have much opportunity to ask him about the past. Furthermore, my dad is advanced in age and is a poor health and he does not converse much. I will ask him more when I get the chance. My dad cherishes this photo very much. My mom discarded all the photos in 1975 and only took pain to retain this one. (Trinh Dinh Tung)
463. You have a great website. I think it has unique content and content about perspectives very little seen. I also think it is great that you have it translated into different languages rather than relying on google or bablefish. Overall I think it is an outstanding effort and a much needed resource. (David Barley, patriotfiles)
464. I am a former officer of 5th Infantry Division from 1967-1975. I am very touched while reading documents related to my former commander. I used to extol his honesty, justice, kindness and virtue. In my state where I live (Minnesota) is a colonel who was very close to General Toan. I told him bluntly that it was his boss that had killed General Hieu, because I knew for sure General Hieu never used another pistol besides the.45. Furthermore, he was a marksmanship and thus would never had his pistol discharged by inadvertence.
By the way, if you know the whereabouts of Captain Nguyen Tuan who was an attachť of General Hieu and a close friend of mine - we were of the same class 24 Thu Duc - I would appreciate for letting me know. Thank you very much. (Hoc Nguyen, Hnguyen@rkmc.com)
465. I personally do not know of any other site with such an extensive set of resources honoring another General. I think you have a unique and important site and I am very glad you built it. (David Barley, patriotfiles)
466. In General Hieu's website, at the section of ARVN Graduates of the US Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, from August 1955 to June 1970, I saw my father's name, Nguyen Duc Xich, number 060, year 1960-1961. My family is searching photos of my father in military uniform. Your help would be greatly appreciate in finding more of these photos.
In reference to General Hieu's website, I viewed it in Vietnamese and in English. You did it by yourself such an exhaustive, straightforward, compelling and attractive to the readers; it is perfect in paying tribute to a Hero of our country of Vietnam, so that the young generation such as mine can model to General Hieu's virtue, determination, resolve and courage, so that I can reason be prouder as a Vietnamese. I have read and reread this website, introduced it to my relatives in the family, because it is so great, a testimony to the amount of labor and love to have poured into it. I encourage you to keep on doing what you have been doing. This is an indirect way you teach us, the young generation, about the history of Vietnam .
Just by reading General Hieu's webpage suffices to realize the great amount of efforts it requires. Not only me, but for sure whoever views General Hieu's webpage, thought so. General Hieu was fortunate to have a younger brother like you, because all the Heroes of our beloved country of Viet Nam should be honored and be reminisced forever in the history, and if you had not devout your effort in to building such a comprehensive webpage for everybody and everywhere to read, then is it not right that all of us who are in debt to them, should be at fault. As for me in particular, for this webpage, I admire you. (Tuyen Nguyen)
467. Regarding the psychic pen phenomenon, what you said I believe it 100%. General Hieu was born a general and after his death became a deity. All the injustice and what is need to explain, to teach... General Hieu from the spiritual world has chosen you to deliver. Your words such as: him guided my hand, nudged me to act ... I fully understand. In our Catholic religion, the bible says that death is the life anew not lost. General Hieu does not live in our world anymore, but he lives in a sacred world; for conducting a virtuous life, he became a Deity, and through you, continues what he needs to do in our world. At this point, you might think why I am so certain? My family went through the same experiences as yours, but under a different format. I admire most for your humility. I like to read about the Vietnamese military history. Do you know that I prefer military songs to sentimental ones? My mother is also reading and enjoys very much your website. (Tuyen Nguyen)
468. I can say your website offers a great deal of information not offered elsewhere on the Internet (especially in English). On a personal note, well before the idea of RVNHS or having a site for the organization came up, I frequently used the generalhieu.com website for acquiring information about different individuals and histories in relation to both my own interests and academic studies (I am currently a graduate student in California). For the past couple of years, we had been talking about putting a site together, but in the past couple of months is when it finally came to fruition. By having the website, we hope to offer another venue for providing information on the history Republic of Vietnam, and would also like to connect with other individuals/groups with similar interests. (Darwin Hall, webmaster RVNHS)
469. There are many articles in this website that have helped in gaining a better knowledge about ARVN and ARVN Generals, World news... To be honest, at that time, I was only a low level commander, preoccupied days and nights about the welfare of my units, and therefore did not pay attention and did not know a lot of things. (Long Nguyen)
470. I was very touched by the reading of the article of the group Truc Lam Yen Tu proclaiming General Nguyen Van Hieu one of the "Four Great Military Geniuses of Viet Nam". It is regrettable that such an honest and competent general of the ARVN be assassinated by the corrupt thugs!
However, for a long time I have been obsessed by rumors circulating before the demise of our country until nowadays that speculated that about the defeat of the 5th Infantry Division in the Snoul battle in 1971 (typified in the death of a classmate of mine, former lieutenant Nguyen Xuan Hung, during the withdrawal) followed by the appearance of General Hieu before the Congress of the Second Republic of Vietnam to give an explanation about this withdrawal. After this incident, General Hieu was never offered a key command position again and was transferred to the position of an Inspector of "The Commercial Bank and the Military Pension Funds".
But today while reading the article of The Huy "Trả lại sự thật cho lịch-sử về việc Sư-Đoŗn 3 BB lui qu‚n tại Quảng-Trị vŗo Muŗ HŤ Đỏ Lửa 1972." everything suddenly became clear to me. In his interview, General Vu Van Giai, 3rd ID Commander, talked about the reason for the defeat that disintegrated the 3rd ID, typified in the surrender of LTC Dinh and his 56th Regiment... followed by the death of Colonel Le Duc Dat and the Forward Command of 22nd ID in Kontum in the Red Summer of 1972 (my friends Captain Bao and Lt Van Eng of the 22nd Recon Company died in this battle) because Colonel Dat was not like by John Paul Vann (II Corps Senior Advisor) ... because of whom? whose fault was it? Why there was lack of firepower support? Where were our allied friends? etc... It was not General Hoang Xuan Lam's or a military genius of the ARVN's fault. The main reason was that the Americans already intended to abandon South Vietnam ... since Chu An Lai and Kissinger met over the ping pong table - as you could have recalled - then the consecutive deaths caused by helicopter crashes of General Do Cao Tri, Nguyen Viet Thanh, Truong Quang An etc... The ARVN was massacred. General Hieu could not avoid the same damn destiny. I think that General Hieu, if not assassinated, might commit suicide like the other Generals - Nguyen Khoa Nam, Le Van Hung, Tran Van Hai, Pham Van Phu and Le Nguyen Vy - when the remaining half of the country fell into the VC hands.
I seize this opportunity to add some spiritual losses suffered by my family: Sergeant Bui Van Dan (a cousin of mine), a graduate of the Enfant de Troupe Academy and serving with the 21st Ranger Battalion, died in the battle of Pleime in 1965. In the same year, Sergeant Bui Xuan Han (an uncle of mine) belonging the Special Forces died in the battle of Dong Xoai, Binh Gia. Furthermore, I have a story that I would like to share with you: In Spring 1969, while he inspected and visited the Special Forces outpost in Dak Seang in the Highlands, near Cung Son, Tuy Hoa, General Hieu struck a friendly conversation with a soldier belonging to the CIDG "Mike Force" stationed there by the name of Bui Dinh Nam. When my cousin asked General Hieu if he knew his uncle Colonel Bui Dzinh, General Hieu tapped on his shoulder and responded: "Very well, your uncle is very good in combat and very courageous." My cousin currently lives in Vietnam. (Dzung Bui)
471. I would like to say generalhieu.com is a great website. I can't really say I am an expert on the impact of websites, but I can say your site is used a great deal. Luckily, I have never seen anyone copying or plagiarizing something from the site, but I do know it is a good reference point for individuals looking to get a base or detailed understanding of various topics, and it has been cited as a reference before in article publications. As you know, a standard Google search on Vietnamese generals or many other topics relating to the Vietnam War and/or South Vietnam will turn up your website. The mini-biographies on different generals/individuals and the excerpts posted from correspondence with veterans and their family members/associates is really valued. For myself, I am pretty sure I've read every page of your site, and it has certainly helped to answer many questions I've had or other information searches I have done. (Darwin Hall)
472. I read with great pleasure your site and its rich documentation. My father is French and my mother Vietnamese (my grand-father, major in the French Army, is Huynh Van An and left Viet Nam in 1958), I grew up in the French culture, but regret my ignorance vis-a-vis the history of Viet Nam. My grand-father, perhaps out of despite, would not speak about it. Does your book have a French version? If yes, I would gladly purchase it. (Isabelle Cauty, 33 years old)
473. I want to commend you for your excellent work with all the information you have made available about Plei Me and the Ia Drang battles of 1965. I too was at Plei Me during battle with B company 2nd battalion 8th Calvary 1st Calvary Division from October 19th - 23rd before pursuing the NVA into the Ia Drang. Your website helps answer many questions about what really happened during that time.
I also was at Dak To Hill 875 for that battle with the 174th NVA regiment November 20th - 23rd 1967 and also with 66th NVA regiment earlier on November 6th 1967 also at Dak To Hill with 4th battalion 503rd 173rd ABN.
I recently had email contact with a Vietnamese visitor to my website (www.gruntlife.zxq.net) who had great interest in Hill 875 battle for some reason. He suggested I get an English copy of material published by Nguyen Huu An who was still B3 front commander at that time about the NVA version of those summer and fall battles at Dak To in 1967.
Since my Vietnamese is very poor I am experiencing great difficulty trying to find any NVA material about those battles. Can you and will you help me find them if they do exist. (Tom Mauritz)
474. I am grateful for Gen. Hieu's command and control strategy. History could have been much different had it not been for his foresight and skill.
I was at Plei Me late October 1965. My company was part of the 1st Cav elements that searched and secured Chu-Ho hill on 10/27. That is in the general's diary not naming any unit involved. He also mentions a battle that occurred on Nov 6th along the Ia Meur river. I believe this is the battle that has plagued me for many years.
There has been very little information available about engagements with NVA forces made before Hal Moore and his 7th Calvary took the spotlight at LZ X-ray on Nov 14th 1965. You already know the rest of that piece of history as it has been written by historians.
Exactly two years later to the date on Nov 6th 1967 I was involved in another battle with Huu An's 66th regiment at Dak To, while serving with the US 173rd Airborne. That battle, the same as the Nov 6th battle in the Ia Drang, seemed to be confused with the one on high point 823 the same day since it involved the 4th battalion 503rd 173rd ABN.
I had always called hill 855 . Finally this past spring, I was able to establish a grid location for that days engagement in the Ngok Kom Leaf range of hill. I was then able to provide another researcher that 4th Bn 503rd had two separate battles going on at the same time same day, two kilometers apart.
Perhaps soon I will be able to locate exactly where my 2nd Battalion 8th Cav fought on Nov 6th 1965. (Tom Mauritz)
475. I am very gratefully for you sending me the information about the Pleiku campaign. I am sure you put time and effort into locating the exact position where my 2/8 Cav fought on Nov 6th, 1965 for me among the general's archive. For me it is official proof that my unit was there and backs up my operation "Shiny Bayonet' account. (Tom Mauritz)
476. As for October 27, 1965, I remember that day very well. 2/8 Cav landed north of the CIDG camp without opposition. I recall witnessing armor at the camp and in particular a M113 APC that had trenches, the NVA had tug up to it and detonated angular torpedoes beneath it. A M41 tank was beside it. Every where I stepped I would step on dead NVA or body parts. I had always estimated the NVA KIA at Plei Me must have been over 4000.
I recall objective CHEERY (Chu-Ho hill, I checked the grid cord's on my tactical map). That was the most memorable night I had ever spent. Myself and another Enlisted Men were selected for Long Patrol duty. We slipped down the hill before total darkness and found an artillery crater that was perfect for both of us to fit into. It had a surviving tree that stood at it's opening. Close to midnight we heard foot steps approaching. The closer they got the louder they got until a rifle stock bumped into the tree at our hole. I can still hear that rifle sling rattle today. My estimate was 25 to 30 individuals. I don't know how they managed to find their way in the total darkness. It was so dark I could not even see the other soldier on LP with me. (Tom Mauritz)
477. First of all, allow me to introduce myself, I am a soldier serving at 5th Recon Company of 5th Infantry Division during General Tran Quoc Lich's command and later during Brigadier General Le Nguyen Vy as Division Commander. Recently I had the opportunity to read your articles in generalhieu.com. Prior to the demise of Saigon, I had only heard from people older than me that General Hieu was a competent general in the Army. Later, through opinions of many who had worked with him or who knew of him, everybody agreed that General Hieu was a military genius. A man of integrity, a great personality, a dedicated patriot. And for that reason, his death was a great loss to the country. But his mysterious death remains a mystery to your family as well as to everybody else. Therefore I understand the amount of times and efforts you have spent in gathering evidences to uncover the truth of his death. By way of this writing, I wish to contribute somehow to the effort of your family and to those who sympathize with General Hieu.
In reviewing the documents that you had collected and the testimonies of high ranking officers of III Corps at that time (allow me not name names here in order to waste time) I respectfully submit the following ideas:
1/ Regarding the theory that General Hieu committed suicide: unconvincing because he was a catholic; furthermore, during that time, he was performing normal activities.
2/ Regarding the theory that the pistol accidentally discharged itself: unconvincing because General Hieu was a marksmanship and an expert in small arms. According to Dang Van Nham, in the course of cleaning pistols, there are three safety checks; therefore it is inconceivable that General Hieu could have inadvertently discharged his pistol and caused his own death.
3/ Regarding the theory that he was assassinated: most likely. But then who was/were the assassin/s?
In this case, there are three groups of suspects that we need to analyze.
a/ The Americans: Around this period, the Americans had already considered the war in VN terminated. They did not have anymore time to interfere into the internal affairs of VN. Therefore we must discard this group.
b/ The Communists: After the seize of Ban Me Thuot and Phuoc Long in which the Americans did not intervene and did not continue the flow of military aid to South Vietnam, the fate of the Republic of Vietnam was coming to an end. They did not care much about secondary things. Therefore, the theory that the communists assassinated General Hieu should be discarded.
c/ Nguyen Van Thieu and the corrupt gang: As we already knew General Hieu was appointed head of the anticorruption bureau by Vice President Tran Van Huong. In that capacity he had uncovered corruption enterprises that resulted in the dismiss of two general officers and 6 colonels who were Thieu's underlings. For that reason, in Thieu's eyes General Hieu was to be discarded at the most appropriate time. At this point, I would like to remind the corruption affair at Long An, also known as the Long An's siren affair which inadvertently discovered by two sergeants who were performing their duties; they thought a military convoy was on its way to operate a coup d'ťtat and reported it to Colonel Le Van Nam who gave order to stop the convoy. Instead of investigate to reach the bottom of the affair, Thieu ordered Colonel Nam to be dismissed and the military policemen belonging to the 6th MP battalion to appear before a court martial with death sentence which was later permuted to imprisonment for life. For a fortuitous case as such and yet Thieu wanted to have people killed; needed to say, how unnerved he could have become facing the audacity with which General Hieu dismantled one of his corruption conduit (according to Dang Van Nham's source). When General Thuan replaced General Minh, he requested Thieu to appoint General Hieu as III Corps Deputy Commander. In my opinion, that was only a ploy and not because a recognition of General Hieu's competence, because that was only a sinecure position. The main purpose was to prepare for the appropriate time to cut down General Hieu.
In your articles about the death of General Hieu, I saw two salient points: the time of death and the discrepancies in the testimonies of those who were present at the crime scene. To me these two elements were not the key points; the main point was the location of his death.
The people who orchestrated the dissimulation of General Hieu's death committed a great error in indirectly confirming that General Hieu died at III Corps Headquarters. Certaintly nobody could deny this fact. III Corps Headquarters was not an open market where everybody can go in and out at will, except those who had authorization, in particular at the moment when war was approaching the capital of Saigon.
After using the method of elimination, only the third group of suspects remains: Nguyen Van Thieu and the corruption gang, who had the motive to assassinate General Hieu.
Therefore I dare conclude that General Hieu was assassinated by Nguyen Van Thieu who gave the order to General Toan. General Toan did not carry out the order personally but rather made the arrangement for an assassin who was a member of the corruption gang. The assassination was afterwards covered up with a script that it was a self-inflicted wounded while cleaning a pistol. But the location where General Hieu died was all that mattered. The cover up attempt was fundamentally flawed. (Duy Phương)
478. Since the fall down of Saigon, I am still living in VN. Recently the internet has given me the opportunities to gain knowledge through the websites about those things that in the past when I was serving in the army I did not know; among those is generalhieu.com which contributed greatly in helping me understand more about the historical facts, about competent generals, about the bad generals and high ranking officers, about the corruption gangs which caused the demise of the country. Through chats with my friends I found that most of them do not have accurate information and so do not formulate convincing arguments, which is understandable because they have hard time gaining their daily bowl of rice.
I venture to say that it would be more accurate if we replace General Phu with General Hieu among the five generals who committed suicide for the following reasons:
1/ As we already knew, General Hieu was a military genius and furthermore he was not afraid of jeopardizing his life in uncovering the corruption gangs. Corruption was the main cause of the loss of the country. And finally, he had used his own blood to cleanse the ignonimy brought upon by the corrupt leadership.
In the history, Emperor Ham Nghi when he was merely 8 years old asked his closed mandarins: "With what do you clean your dirty hands?"; some answered: "With water". The Emperor asked again: "With what do you clean the dirty water?". Nobody was able to come up with an answer. The Emperor then said: "Dirty water can only be cleaned with blood."
It was the like of Generals Nguyen Khoa Nam, Le Van Hung, Le Nguyen Vy, Tran Van Hai, Nguyen Van Hieu who had used their blood to clean the ignonimy of losing the country so that the next generation can be proud that VN always had heroes in any time.
2/ As for General Phu, he had committed a capital mistake in letting the communists take over Ban Me Thuot and in choosing Route 7B to retreat causing the entire II Corps to disintegrate and more than 100 thousands victims. I had read many articles depicting this troop withdrawal; the majority of them put the blame on Thieu. Personally, I do not agreed with this view; Thieu was responsible overall since he was the commander in chief of the army, while General Phu must be accountable for the planning of the troop withdrawal in order to minimize the loss of personnel and material. Such was the responsibility of the Corps Commander. This case was similar to the case in I Corps. General Phu and General Truong did not fulfill their task given by the army. A general is considered as competent when he achieves victories or when he withdraws troops with the least casualties.
Because of the above-mentioned reasons, I propose that it would be more just if General Hieu replaced General Phu in the list of the five valiant generals. (Duy Phuong)
479. Iíve been researching the history of B Company, 1/12 inf, 4th Inf Division of the US Army which served from June 1966 until July 1967. On Feb 15, 1967 their was a battle between 1/12 inf and the 8th Battalion, 66th NVA Regiment in Kontum Province. Itís referred to LZ 501N in American accounts. Iím interested in learning more about it and interested in the NVAís account of that days fighting. Iím wondering if by chance, you would know anything about this or where I might look? My hope is to get a true, accurate portrayal of that battle and what went into it, not inflated stats or other propaganda which all governments do. Thatís the hope anyway.
Thank you for your website. (Mike Empting)
480. General Hieu's death was caused by a self-inflicted wounded due to an accidental discharged of his P38 pistol, a battlefield trophy. In April 1975, he came to the Van Kiep Training Center in Ba Ria to visit General Hinh and me. He said that his pistol had a malfunction at the bullet discharge mechanism and asked me to have it fixed by the non-commissioned officer weapon repairman of my Regiment. I could not believe that he used that pistol. When he left the command of 5th Infantry Division to assume the position of I Corps Deputy Commander, he visited Hieu Nhon District in Quang Nam after it was attacked by the VC the night before. During the next morning search, a dead VC was discovered carrying a P38 pistol with a shattered butt. He seized as a souvenir I guessed. I could not believe that he used it as a protection. If a knew that he used it as a protection, I would have given him a 9mm Browning still unpacked since I had many different types of pistol. When I learned that when we met again in April 1975 at Van Kiep Training Center, it was kind of late. After the pistol was repaired, he checked it by shooting a couple of dozen times. Afterward I gave him a box of 50 bullets. General Hinh also requested some bullets. Approximately a hour after he left us and returned to the Headquarters, General Hinh told me the news of General Hieu's death due to the accidental discharged of his pistol. According to his attachť, an inserted bullet did not ejected when barrel was pulled back. He tried to clear the barrel to eject the bullet and accidentally discharged the pistol. The bullet went through his temple and exited up to the ceiling. It is really unfortunate for he was so kind and well liked. (Vu Ngoc Huong)
481. I stumble upon a line an author that makes mention about the book on General Hieu written by you. I admire profoundly the heroes of my elders' generation and wish to learn about their past in order to better understand my roots. I came to the United States 30 years ago and left Vietnam at the age of 15. Consequently, the books I read are mainly written by American authors, such as Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes, or Secret Army, Secret War by Sedgwick Tourison, or Perfect Spy by Larry Berman, etc. I have perused the introduction to the book on the internet saying that you have spent a great amount of time writing about the past of General Hieu; if you have any book that you would recommend to readers of my generation, then kindly do so. I hope there will be more valuable books like General Hieu's book. (Ha Huu Tri)
482. Re: Behind-the-scenes Activities at Various Allied Headquarters During Pleime Campaign, your latest article, it's fabulous reading, let me tell you. And I'm amazed that you've been able tap so many official reports. Undoubtedly, you're the most knowledgeable person on the Pleime-Iadrang campaign. (James Michener)
483. You are one of the few person who addresses the ARVN at all on the internet. All other webpages I visited are about (and made by) American soldiers (with some Australians strewn in for good measure). It is stunning for me as a historian that the Vietnamese survivors of the communist takeover (especially those now living in America and who were also serving in ARNV) do not talk about their experiences. Their unique perspective would greatly enrich the historical discussion. Thank you for creating your website. (Roland Leikauf, historian, Germany).
484. I happened to speak with Colonel Tran Minh Cong (18th Division, 48th regiment commanding officer) this weekend. I asked him if he knew General Hieu and he said "Extremely nice man. Wouldn't hurt a fly." It's clear they knew each other well. He added "He was killed by his boss, Toan." This stunned me as I had not broached that issue. I asked Cong what he thought of General Tri and he said "Also, very nice man. Toan killed him to. Blow up his aircraft." Cong said Toan was a bad guy. Though, 4 months before the end of the war, Toan invited Cong to his house for dinner and promoted Cong to full Colonel. Cong mentioned that the generals who fled Vietnam in the final days were given $200k each by the U.S. government. Including Thieu and Ky. His guess is that this was to get them to give up and bring the war to an end. Only General Dao (18th Division commander) did not get this deal. Probably because of his decision to fight at Xuac Loc. I thought it would help you to know this information. (Gabriel Field).
485. I am a family member of Colonel Nguyen Xuan Mai, who was 5th Division chief of staff in 1969 when is was still a LTC. On April 30, 1975, Colonel Mai disapperead together with a younger brother and a younger sister; to this day the family and his friends do no have any news. I do not know if he worked under General Nguyen Van Hieu at 5th Division. In 1975 he was 18th Division Deputy Commander under General Le Minh Dao. I have been trying to find out more about Colonel Mai. I have visited a lot of websites, but haven't found any writings about him, I don't know why. In looking at the former ARVN colonels I only saw Le Xuan Mai, I think maybe its author was mistaken. If you have General Le Minh Dao or any friends of Colonel Mai residing in the United States, pleas let me know. (Calvin Quang, email@example.com)
486. Congratulations on having a website worthy of General Hieu. I am an American Marine veteran of Vietnam and I am currently involved in a project about the war, though it is not broad enough to include much about General Hieu. I am interested to see the video clips that you might have, but the link does not work. Might they still be available online? (Scott Laidig)
487. The article "A Military Genius in Action at Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront" is invaluable, the first time I had the chance to read it. Through your researched documents, as well as through remembrance of the periods the B Brigade/Marine Corps was put under the command of II Corps and III Corps in which was General Hieu, I greatly admire his strategic skills. He was calm and sympathetic toward his subordinates; it was unfortunate that he passed away at the moment the country still needed him. (Colonel Ton That Son, Marine Corps)
488. While searching Google about what was related to my father, Brigadier General Ly Ba Hy, photos taken in reeducation camps, events when he was province chief of Binh Long (I was around 9 years old at that time)Ö I wanted to find these data to recover what I have lost. My father does not more remember much, almost nil, I found your email, and found his name mentioned in the list of ARVN generals. I seize this opportunity to ask you a few favors: 1/ I ask to provide me with more information about my father during his time in Binh Long - Phuoc Long - Cao Lanh Ö 2/ My father graduated 3rd Class Tran Hung Dao ( Adam C Sadowski 30/05/2000 indicated 6th Class), please make correction. 3/ Please provide me with photos in reeducation camps for records. I am sending you hereby my father's photo (these are the only photos of my father in our possession, that my mother was able to take with her when she left Saigon. On these photos were his medals of valor pinned on his chest). Thank you very much, and I was glad to make contact with you. (Ly thi Ngoc Duy, second daughter of Brigadier General Ly Ba Hy)
489. Please make corrections... The valedictorian of Class 20 was Quach tinh Can not Tranh thanh Quang. The valedictorian of Clas 22B was Nguyen duc Phong instead of N Thanh Phong.
Class 20 is considered the most numerous class (406 graduates: valedictorian Tran Thanh Quaang). Class 22B was the first class with a four year academic level. But that Class was also the unluckiest with its valedictorian Nguyen Tahnh Phong killed in action within a few months of graduation, in a cross border operation into Cambodia in 1970.
My personal thought in reading General Hieu's website ... more documents, images about an honest general officer in the ARVN provided to researcher or the next generation who want to do research about the military history of South Vietnam ... since the use of computer ... electronic documents such as offered in this website are beneficial to everybody. (Dacsongphuong Nguyen)
490. I was reading about your brother General Hieu website that you established for me and I enjoyed reading it very much. Thank you for your hard work on your website and book, so the younger generation of Vietnamese can know more about our history and sacrifices of brave men like your brother.
Furthermore, I am writing a book about Madame Nhu, the sister-in-law of President Diem. I am trying to find photos of men that were involved in the 1960 coup against President Diem: 1. Lieutenant Colonel Vuong Van Dong; 2. Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Trieu Hong, the director of training at the Joint General Staff School; and 3. Hong's uncle Hoang Co Thuy. (James Van Thach, Captain, Infantry, United States Army, Retired - Official Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/Captain.James.Van.Thach)
491. I bumped into the Readersí Comment section about General Nguyen Van Hieu and entered your website and read your articles about General Hieu. I have the following thought: you exaggerated in talking about General Hieu when you compared an ARVN general staff colonel who later became major general to Tran Hung Dao and Quang Trung. Itís too prespoterous and untruth. The second thing you should not have done was while talking about famous generals in the ARVN you did say that only General Ngo Quang Truong is the only and unique famous general. I am rather of a younger age but based on what I have heard from my tow elder cousins who had the rank of colonel working under General Truong. They knew him since the days he was a major until the days he became a lieutenant general. Everybody admire General Truongís valiance and tactical/strategic brilliance in the American military history and among the American generals as well as the entire ARVN body. How could you said otherwise in saying General Hieu is the only famous general? Let the entire ARVN from bottom up be the judge of this. If you find time, you should go to Vietnamese and American websites to learn more about General Ngo Quang Truong. He recently passed away. I wish you restitute his honor. I am one of his diehard admirer. I hope you post this email in your website so that every can make comment. (Huynh Tan)
492. At this moment I am searching for the remains of my uncle who was a combatant in the PAVN. He died on August 9, 1966 while serving in the 320 Regiment. His unit was ambushed and his was buried in Anta Village, Highlands (this information is provided by the army; I am not sure of its exactitude).
If you possess any information related to the locations of the battles occurring during this period, please provide it to me so that I can zero in the location of his remains.
In my opinion, combatants of both sides who had died are all victims. They died when they were still very young. For whatever reason, it was an evil thing. It is also sad thinking about the Viet Nam of today. It is not as what they thought and sacrificed their lives to reach for it! (Nguyen Nhu Hung)
493. I have been reading the website for many years now. The website is beautifully designed, elegant with a wealth of documents; I admire you for your dedication and labor in creating such a valuable website. I like very much to read the military exploits. I think that we enjoyed a peaceful life in the cities, a safe schooling environment, while you braved the bullets and endured sacrifices to defend each inch of soil to allow the population to enjoy a peaceful life... There were no words that could express the adequately. I am a woman and an educator, and thus do not know much about politics and military affairs; therefore I can only offer you my humble opinion and asked you to forgive any shortcomings in it. (Tran Kim Oanh)
494. I have read a number of your writings about the death of General Hieu. I am very dissatisfied with the opinions of certain persons which included some general officers that claimed General Hieu died from an unintentional discharge of the pistol while cleaning it.
Duy Phuong's opinion is relatively accurate, better thant those of some general officers' opinion.
I light up an incense stick for General Nguyen Van Hieu, a former 5th Infantry Division Commander that I have an utmost respect and sincerly offer my condolences to General Hieu's family. (Pham Van Tien, 1/9/5 Bn)
495. My name is Chau. I currently reside in Viet Nam. I knew about your book about Major General Nguyen Van Hieu and have read attentively General Hieuís website. I am delighted and gain a better understanding about the life and military career of an ARVN soldier. The more I read the more I am entranced and the more I appreciate General Hieu and admire his courage, competence and virtue.
I am writing you to inquire if it is possible to buy your book. Where can I buy it? I am in Viet Nam, will it do any harm if I buy it? I very much want to buy it and dearly want to have it in my hands, because it is very important to me. Hoping to receive a speedy response from you. (Vo Chau)
496. I'm now reading "Vietnam from Cease-Fire to Capitation" (William E. Le Gro). It's a detailed account of the two year period between the American's leaving and Saigon falling to the enemy. It's easily the finest recount of that period of the war available. Have you read the book?
On page 92 is an account of the Svay Rieng Operations (27 April - 2 May 1974). It was the last major offensive RVNAF as war fighting supply shortages would preclude more. It was a brilliant operation by Lt. Gen. Pham Quoc Thuan. I checked your website to read more on him but you don't seem to have him in your list of generals. Is this an oversight? (Captain Gabe)
497. During the last two years of the war, the US Embassy in Saigon wrote detailed biographical reports on my senior ARVN officers. One of the last ones done was your brother. Unfortunately, NARA kept his classified (I have no idea why, there is nothing sensitive in it, and it is just like hundreds of others). I FOIA'ed his and the last remaining ones in 2006. They finally released them to me yesterday. (Jay Veight)
498. I wanted to write and introduce myself. My name is Angie Chau. (Vietnamese name is Chau Thanh Thu) I am the author of the book Quiet As They Come. It is a collection of stories about the experiences of a family of Vietnamese refugees based in San Francisco. The book came out in 2010 and is now taught at high schools and Universities throughout the U.S. I am writing you because I came upon your website about your brother General Hieu and was fascinated in learning more about his biography and history. I am currently working on a novel set in Saigon between 1968-1975. The main character is high ranking ARVN officer. It is of course fiction but I do want my facts to be accurate and the tone of the novel to be consistent of the times. Given the volume of research you have done on your brother and your deep understanding of ARVN and its relationship to the US government and the CIA, I would welcome the chance to speak with you.
I hope you will consider it. I live in Berkeley, CA. I went to school at UC Berkeley. I am not sure where you live but if you are near, I'd love to meet in person. If not, I am happy to speak on the phone or email-- whatever is easiest for you. See my website below. Or you can go to amazon and see my background and read about my work. Nice meeting you via email here and thank you in advance! (Angie Chau)
499. It is without doubt that general Toan was implicated in the assassination of general Hieu. Everybody in the ARVN knew what type of individual Nguyen Van Toan was. It was unfortunate for the ARVN that there were plenty of unconscious generals of his type. This fact accounts for the demise of the country and the inopportune death of general Hieu. Among those who gave testimonies concerning his assassination, some went along with general Toan, but some were compelled to act because they were afraid that they would receive the same treatment as general Hieu. I say so because my dad was also falsely accused and harmed by general Toan before 1975; however due to his honesty and his righteousness, Toan could find a pretext to harm him. My dad used to serve under general Hieu at the 22nd Infantry Division in 1968, and general Hieu was the one who recommended my dad to attend the US Command and General Staff College in 1969.
My dad forbids me to reveal what I have been telling you, because he says those revelations would only allowed the Communists to deface the ARVN; I nevertheless told you because I do not like and hate Mr. Toan. Because of my education I use the words Mr. and general; from the bottom of my heart, he does not deserve any words of respect. (Nguyen Vu Thanh)
500. I have read quite a lot of the articles in your book, in particular General Hieuís eulogy in honor of LTC US Advisor Roy Couch, who was involved in an accident upon stepping out of the helicopter on a visit trip to the base camp of the 4th Battalion, 9th Regiment, 5th Infantry Division. At that time I was a second lieutenant standing with a platoon receiving the arrival of the Division Commanding General and the American Advisor visiting the unit. Right after the incident, within a minute, an American Advisor told me that General Hieu was very lucky; he walked ahead of Roy Couch and the helicopterís blades hit Roy Couchís body. After the accident, the chief pilot came to the rear of the helicopter, kneeled one leg down and put a hand to his forehead in reflection of the accident. I was speechless because of the unexpected and sudden accident, and could only sympathize with the unfortunate fate of Roy Couch. (Tien Pham)
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