301. I have read your book more than once and it is filled with so many facts that sometimes one is hard put to keep all the information in mind at one time. I do think that there is enough information to come to some certainties, one of which was that your brother was at the top of the ARVN leadership in terms of capabilities, powers of execution, and personal integrity and trust. Also, his career assignments which you have documented bear this unbiased character judgment out: 1) his Chief of Staff assignments, 2) leadership in Hue during the historic Diem coup, 3) his divisional commands, 4) his long partnership with Gen. Do Cao Tri, the most popular and successful general in the heyday of ARVN victoriousness, 5) his time as Anti-Corruption Minister, a step in the direction of a full-time and prominent cabinet position, 6) the last years of his life are spent working on the corps level as deputy commander, and especially that of the Third Corps which included the defense of Saigon, the Capital, 7) posthumously promoted to Lieutenant General.
Of course there are testimonies from subordinates as to his action on the field, as well as general outlines as to his guiding spirit behind the strategies of the Cambodian campaigns. My earlier questions pertained to specifics and particulars of a precise nature, and not to doubts of his stature or to question his competent character. My thoughts are more analytical at present. I do not see how anyone studying the VN War on the ARVN side can neglect your book at all. My purpose in any case is to make sure they don't! I just wanted to make sure all your work is covered against any attacks. (James Miguez).
302. While surfing idly the web, I bumped into your website. You are really qualified to be General Nguyen Van Hieu's brother. Although it's kind of late, I want to commend you for the time and efforts in coming up with such General Hieu's Page. I really admire you. General Hieu undoubtedly is satisfied where he is resting now. In all honesty, I don't like to write; I only like to read and to chat. But I cannot remain indifferent toward such a tribute to an individual like yours, which makes me admire you immensely. You, like your brother General Hieu, is very humble in attributing this work to General Hieu. I myself think that it is the work of someone who loves his brother and at the same time loves the Army as a whole in which his brother was a member. Don't feel inferior because you haven't undergone any military academy and thus lack military knowledge. Your articles are excellent and academic. Thank you for providing the information that any soldier needs to know about his commanders. Please accept my respect toward a person that I have never known. (Huynh Van Phuc).
303. I can tell you this: What I admire the most is your effort and your courage that you have put forward to write your book about your brother's life. I was very touched in reading your preface. What is also interesting is the fact he was born in China and yet he gives his life to his country of adoption. I know what you should have been feeling in thinking that his assassination has not been punished and that the murderer might be strolling leisurely in some shopping malls of a city in the United States. But I really admire your effort. One would never know the entire truth of what had happened during the course of these long years of fratricidal war in which there were no winners, only loosers. (Rom L. Bouillet, Penang).
304. I am a reader who has immensely enjoyed General Hieu's Page and would like to thank you for your good will in shedding lights onto the history, which is very necessary to the posterity in finding out the cause for the lost of the country into the hands of the authoritarian and corrupt communists. (Ninh Khuyen).
305. It is nice to hear from those we supported and hauled in and out of combat. As a crew chief on a UH34D Marine chopper in 1964, we flew a variety of missions out of DaNang primarily in the I Corps and sometimes working the northern sections of II Corps on joint operations with the Army Choppers at Pleiku. Please note the number of 34s we had in support of this operation from our account of the Do Xa operation. I believe we started with 19. I know the S. Vietnamese had some 34s in the operation also. Maybe those are the 3 you refer to in your account. I know they took hits and even had some shot down. You should also go to the section of the web "I Remember" and note the recollections of Carl LaMonica, year 1964. Carl flew with the US Army out of Pleiku. He writes of his recollections of the battle. Thanks for adding to our knowledge.
We just had a squadron reunion in Mesquite, Nv. of all the HMM364 members that served in Vietnam and for most of us it had been 37 years since we had seen one another. It was a grand experience and the bonds that were formed there are still intact. I hope you have had better luck in our country than we had in yours. Our only sadness is we couldn't get the job done in your country and had to fight with one arm behind our backs. Good luck to you in the future. (Warren Smith)
306. Before I was flying gunships in Da Nang, supporting the Marines, I served in the 25th ARVN Div Advisory Team in Quang Ngai, and flew MG Lu Lan frequently. (Jack Woodmansee, Lt Gen. USArmy , ret.)
307. Thanks for your interest in our squadron and the joint operation at Do Xa. It was the first major operation of its kind that the US Marine Corps entered into in the northern part of Vietnam and resulted in the first Distinguished Flying Crosses being awarded to Marine helicopter pilots in the Vietnam Conflict. Sorry we didn't have a better conclusion to the war. I am sure it would have been much different for you and your family and friends had it been left to the battle field commanders to run instead of being run by the politicians in Washington, D.C. (Franklin A; Gulledge, Jr, Major USMC ret)
308. Thank you very much for your added information on the Do Xa Mission of April 1964. It made things a lot clearer to me and came at a very important time as our squadrons Maintenance Officer (HMM 364) is attempting to get someone's medal upgraded for that days display of bravery. We will be using your web site as a reference to the overall battle. Again, thank you and I will keep in touch and let you know how things turn out for this individual. (Ed Moore, Captain USMCR Ret.)
309. I regret that I have little to add to the splendid recap of the General's career you have included in your website. As I recall, he was always held in the highest regard by his U.S. allies and counterparts. (Frank Snepp)
310. I am a reader of General Hieu's Page. I particularly enjoyed reading about the "incorruptible" as well as "corrupt" Generals of the ARVN. I thank you for passing on to the next generations the truth hidden behind a heroic army that was unfortunately leaded by a bunch of inept and immoral individuals. (a surfer from Ottawa)
311. I served with the 174th Assault Helicopter Company and had participated in four operations conducted by General Hieu at the time he was Commander of the 22nd Infantry Division. I have been going over the website. It's obvious you are very proud of your brother - as you certainly should be. More important, I think he would be very proud of you and most appreciative for all the effort you have put into keeping his memory alive. I did not know him well. Remember, he was a general and I was just a major at the time. I can say, without reservation, that I had a great amount of respect for him. He took on some tough assignments and the proof of his dedication and commitment was that he always met with success. (Jim Shrader)
312. Last week I reread the book about General Nguyen Van Hieu. I was very touched, remembering an eldest brother of the unit who was well respected, virtuous and kind.
You have written about the battle of Snoul, but a few points needed to be corrected. Operation Toan Thang 1/71/72 NB was executed by Task Force 9 together with Group 333 of Rangers after Tet (around February 1971). In it my 4/8th Battalion was the main reinforced element (stepson is always used to the fullest). All the victories won in this operation were gained entirely by the 4/8th Battalion. The 2/9th Battalion of Major Nguyen Da was very good, but it was only a reinforced unit while we were surrounded and attacked by the 174th Regiment (5th Division) and one battalion of sappers. My Battalion Commander was Captain Nguyen Chi Hieu who resides in France at the present moment.
The defeat of Snoul after the replacement by Task Force 8 was due in part to the fault of Colonel Bui Trach Dzan (who was about to retire and thus lacked stamina). He pulled back his command post to camp A at the borders. The Task Force was like a snake without its head, and had to retreat when 3 NVA divisions attacked us.
I had a photo of General Hieu visiting our unit and pinning a medal on my chest, but I might have given it away to somebody.
While imprisoned in Ham Tan, I was put in the same barrack as your father. We liked him very much.
You can peruse my photos of the 5th Division at this page. (Do Van Phuc)
313. It certainly makes sense that Gen. Hieu should be involved with special forces. As a matter of fact, I remember the incident at the early attack upon the special forces camp Pleime in 1965 when you related that Colonel Hieu had "stayed up all night long, manning a communication station in the Special Forces camp Duc Co to coordinated the rescue operation" (305). This fact, when seen against the whole story of the Dong Xuan campaign, and the fact that the Special Forces camp Duc Co was behind the enemy lines of attack! when compared with Pleime, told me that Hieu was in close with special forces operations.
When I was thinking of doing a novel on Gen. Hieu exploits, I had thought of introducing a relationship between Colonel Hieu and an American Special Forces captain, for the sake of an enlarged plot, but my situation dictates that I am not the one to write this fiction.
Your article on Gen. Trang was once again enlightening. (James Miguez).
314. I have an aunt who worked in Mr. Nguyen Van Huong's household for many years and she met General Hieu a few times and often extolled General Hieu's kindness et affability. He was not irascible, insolent and authoritarian like the other generals! Just like you wrote in your writings, General Hieu was very low-key, diligent, straight and methodical... with these traits, he was bound to be lonesome! Look at those other bastards generals (I don't consider them generals but rather bandits! It was them who had allowed the Communists to defeat our Republic of Vietnam) such as Ky, Thieu, Quang, Toan, Vien...
As of Madame Hieu, I have to admit she was a beautiful lady, with the beauty of contemplation and virtue! She was quiet and her eyes radiated with affability... Those are the traits I found in her which made me love and respect her.
I will attempt to read your writings and researched documents concerning General Hieu, a general that I greatly love and admire. (Ruan).
315. I have been following your webpage these last few years. I greatly admire a national hero in General Nguyen Van Hieu, and also admire you for putting in so many efforts in establishing an elaborate webpage so that everyone, Vietnamese as well as foreigners, knows about a competent and virtuous general of the Republic of Vietnam. I often introduced your webpage to my close friends. I also knew that you had made a presentation in a symposium at Texas Tech University in last April 2002 aiming at honoring the just cause of the nationalist patriots.
In the list of South Vietnam generals , I noticed the absence of a general who had sacrificed his own family happiness and had gone back to attempt to liberate Vietnam, General Hoang Co Minh. If it is possible, please post the life and career of Vice Admiral Hoang Co Minh in order to enrich your webpage. (Le Thien).
316. A quick look at the contents page of your website, I see you have been methodically turning out new posts on your brother, the general. I am happy that you have done so. I was particularly pleased with the postings on his work as the anti-Corruption Minister. The facts, as presented in the archived memos, are clear. What is astounding is that your brother clearly saw the threat of the population turning to the communists, as a result of the disenchantment with scandals. In fact, it was this very demoralization amongst the population and the army that led to the downfall.
The other post on your brother's death is also revealing, as the various accounts given by various people close to the shooting do not add up. What also does not add up is that a person as methodical and astute as your brother would make a rash mistake in handling a dangerous weapon. It is possible but it does not fit your brother's make up, nor the calm manner of his practice.
The more I look at it the more I am convinced that your brother was murdered. There are many reasons for this assessment, not the least of which was that the actual pistol which was the cause of his death was never explicitly mentioned, nor was it shown to you. Apparently, he had many pistols. The lack of coordination of testimonies, as to the time of his death, and to the sequence of events afterwards. The event was a surprise, as all witnesses agreed, the only problem, however was that Hieu was methodical and NOT given to such surprises. Rather the surprise bespeaks of outside causes, who are more given, naturally speaking, to such surprises. (The character of Thieu is such, habitually speaking, when we consider the surprise of the ill-timed and ill-executed retreat from the highlands -- something Hieu chastised Thieu for, the previous day). Another surprise connected with the events surrounding your brother's death is the surprise of the bombing of the Presidential Palace and the defection of one of Air Force pilots.
Another surprise, the fact that, if it is true, the army units under the general and Thieu loyalists who chased away the MPs.
What is not a surprise is the information found in the documented telegrams to the State Department from the Ambassador, stating that both Vice President Huong and Anti-Corruption designate Gen. Hieu had revealed their thoughts that the present scandal in government, if not corrected, would eventually lead to the downfall of the government to the Communists (and this Saigon government was headed by Thieu). No doubt the CIA and Thieu knew about these anxieties of VP Huong and Gen. Hieu.
Given the intensity of the situation on April 7 and 8, 1975, it is more probable that -- all factors taken into consideration -- that 1) the disagreement with Thieu by Hieu (what kind of words were spoken? and how was this opposition interpreted by Thieu, who knew of Hieu's theories about the corruption and the fall of the government), 2) the CIA's interest in Hieu as a counterweight to Thieu -- as witnessed by your father, a former high-ranking policeman, 3) the surprise bombing of the Presidential Palace, which no doubt drove Thieu to a rage for revenge, 4) the unusual and ominous detachment of combat soldiers driving away the MPs, and 5) the surprise of the gun shot in Hieu's office, 6) the reports from news services based upon military sources claiming that Hieu was shot after an argument with his superiors over tactics.
When all is said and done, none of these facts above point to Hieu accidentally shooting himself with who-knows-what weapon, and in who-knows-what manner. Rather the facts point to an outside cause. The case, therefore, should be treated as an homicide. (James Miguez).
317. Your site on General Hieu stands out among all the others I visited because it is as though the individual himself is there in front of you. And it is so sad, what happened. I can't say more about the site right now, because I have yet to explore it all -- it is too good to rush through, so that may take a few weeks. I hope you won't mind waiting a bit. I'm delighted to see there is even more there now. (Barbara Beoer, Indochina Timeline).
318. This is just to let you know that I have begun to explore General Hieu's page in depth, now that it has been possible to order my schedule a little better. Even just breaking the surface, I am amazed at what you have created here. It's indeed an understatement to say it provides an insight of the ARVN and a unique perspective; it's wonderful! Frankly, I had thought I would need to become skilled in Vietnamese before even beginning to approach this perspective. It is very nice to be able to read this now in English. I also like the way you have constructed it, with hot links to related articles and photographs. (Barbara Beoer)
319. It's been several years since I wrote a note in your web page, the beautiful tribute to your brother. Just today I visited the site again and have to tell you how excited I was to read of the psychic pen phenomena with which you and your brother created the web pages. Your story speaks well of the continuation of life. When I read your story again it made me happy. I am happy for you and for your brother who continues to be a wonderful leader. (Resha Sabre).
320. I had occasion to review the tributory website and wanted to inform you, for the purpose of historical accuracy, that two pictures in the 'Armor' section, numbers 5 and 7 which are represented as M41's(a 25 ton light tank) are, in fact, M48's (a 54 ton main battle tank). Also, enjoyed the pictures of the many M113's as I was a commander of an M113 ACAV myself in Hau Nghia and Tay Ninh provinces in '71-'72. See: www.vhpamuseum.org and scroll down to "11th Cavalry" and "Then and Now". I hope you can use the information. Be assured I am informed on the subject that I am writing to you about. (Doug Kibbey, 11D20, D Troop, 2/17th Air Cav, 101st Airborne Div. Thua Thien Province '71, and G Troop, 2/11th ACR Hau Nghia, Tay Ninh, and Binh Duong Provinces, 1972.)
321. I am very impressed with the wonderful web site you have created as a tribute to your brother --- very impressive. Your site deserves to be visited by many people. Your brother was fortunate to have such a man as you for a brother. In my Faith, your brother is watching you and knows what you have done -- you have done an outstanding job of telling "his" story so that all may know who your brother was and what sacrifices he made for his family and country. (Jack Heslin).
322. I have entered General Hieu's Page and looked at the photos, the articles, in particular those concerning General Hieu's death. I am of the same opinion that it was very suspicious, perhaps General Toan committed it. Thank you for helping our younger generation better understand the Vietnam War. American documents oftentimes were not a bit objective. (Hoang Duy Hung).
323. 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, thirty-three years ago February 7th, it is hard for me to remember any particular detail that Roy said about Gen. Hieu.
Roy wrote to me every day while he was in Viet Nam, of course I kept those letters. One day when I read them again, and if I find any information about your brother I'll share it with you. Also I will listen again to the tapes he sent us, and make note of any mention of Gen. Hieu.
I read with interest what you and others had written about your brother. I know he was a fine person, a loving family man, and an outstanding General. It is evident you loved him very much. Writing about him not only honors his memory, but helps you recover from the immense grief you feel now that he is no longer living.
I feel very sad that Gen. Hieu's life was taken in such a cruel way. Please accept my heart felt sympathy.
The copy of the picture of Gen. Hieu shows he was indeed a handsome man. Gen. Hieu's Remarks made at the Memorial Service for Roy were very thoughtful and sincere. They have been a source of comfort to my family. (Mrs. Ann Couch).
324. I have visited your website about General Hieu. I was dazed and shocked by General Hieu's mysterious death at III Corps headquarters. I belong to the young generation and feel I don't have the right to judge or criticize any leader of the ARVN, but I agree with your family's doubts about General Hieu's death. Looking back at the Viet Nam history of the year 1975, although I was only three at that time, I do realize President Thieu's actions had caused South Viet Nam to fall into the Communists' hands. I believe that the politians who are dirty, cruel, corrupt do not last long and history has illustrated that fact after President Thieu's resignation and his exiled life and death (ignominous, avoiding everybody). I only regret that our competent generals were not given to opportunity to lead the ARVN, such as Do Cao Tri, Nguyen Viet Thanh, Nguyen Van Hieu, Nguyen Khoa Nam, etc. I understand through your website that General Hieu was buried at the Bien Hoa Army Cemetery. I wonder if General Hieu still rests there or otherwise? Please email me and let me know so that I can visit him when I have the opportunity to go back to Viet Nam. (Viet Ngo).
325. A new "theory" about Gen. Hieu's death. A call a "theory" because I am cautious and have not be able to verify it yet. Nevertheless, I present it here so that you can post it on the Web in order for the others to contribute further. I had the opportunity to talk to a high ranking officer of III corps; he was an intelligence officer, and by profession is very reserved, and I could not fish out further: he said that Gen. Hieu was killed by Thieu who suspected that he had been contacted to lead a coup. This information has a small "chance" to be true because according to colonel Pham Van Lieu Second Memoire recently published, since 72 there was already coup attempts. In the end of 4/75, when Nguyen Thanh Trung bombed the presidential palace, the first thought that came to everybody's mind was: a coup is about to happen. (Le Anh Dung).
326. Another e-mail coming from France from me...(I must confesse that I watch your work quite often)...concerning your monumental website "General Hieu", for me. Your determination deserves more respect because as time goes on, this site incessantly gains in beauty and richness. My congratulations for these new topics, these repeated updates; your energy amazes me.
One thing tikcles my head quite long time already, a small contribution that I hesitated to offer for fearing a misunderstanding... Today, I decide share it with you, the purpose is merely to beautify this site that I love, and I hope that you would accept it wholeheartedly. Here now is that friendly remark: regarding la 3č classe de Dalat, in French, I prefer: la 3č promotion de l'académie... if you so agree since it is the right word, among the military circle. Your knowledge is not at stake; quite on the contrary, your site in French inspire respect from even a native French speaker. Your invaluable work touched and still touches me.
Finally, Sir, I have nothing more to say today, except my sincere wishes to you, you have dedicated yourself without calculation to this great work, may this lofty pursuit benefit you, help you, give you strength, sustain you for long time and may it also benefit many others, like myself. (Thach Ngoc Long)
327. In response to your last e-mail and concerning your proposition to inscribe my name on Gen. Hieu's site; as for me, this suggestion is a great honor and your generosity forbids any opposition. Your kindness touches me deeply. Dear sir, do as you see fit. Nevertheless, allow me to tell you this: Your brother deserves more than what people is giving him at the present moment. Even you with your tenacity has resurrected him in the best way, your readers and especially collaborators have contributed greatly to this building. As for me, my contribution is only a sort of belated requiem to this great monk-soldier as your brother was and at the same time, my former and distant ranking superior. And as such, he will be eternally one of my preferred great military leaders and to whom I must be immensely in debt for saving the honor of the ARVN in a war that will carve a mark in the global history although it is a curse to some et at the same time heroic, sacred to others.
I seize this occasion to talk to you pertaining to some articles you have written concerning Great generals, and based on my modest knowledge and personal experiences (from 1969-1975 which included two years in the center of Vietnam, 1st military region); I concur wholeheartedly with your remarks about the quite limited military means and especially the lack of support that Gen. Hieu endured. In this regard, it is clear that he did not benefit the approval nor the confidence as it should be from his superiors at that time. Paradoxically, this "low-key, straightforward, congenial..." general, once put in place, amidst the battlefields, by the virtue of his magnificent insight of a great soldier, has performed prodigies despite those "sticks dabbed in the wheels"; "...this tranquility of courage in the midst of hubbub and this serenity of soul in the danger..." these some words of Voltaire applied quite well to Gen. Hieu's character; it is regretful he did not have the time nor adequate means to fully give out his talents; Vietnam, by its culpable and unforgivable negligence, has lost here one of the very rare gifts in its history.".. in order to appreciate with accuracy the performances of un military leader, the conditions and resources within his control as well as the factors that do not depend on him must be taken into account; now, the remarkable trait of numerous successes of these leaders is that they were obtained with means less than those of his enemies" D-H- LIDDELL-HART (war without hate).
Words that reflect the truth come back often in your articles: Patriot, valiant, great strategist, intransigence, incorruptible but also: honest, humanistic, deeply religious, this leads me to think all these qualities he has acquired, then Gen. Hieu must be a man... almost perfect? Is his military career compatible with his pacifist nature? The response is Yes because this type of man only accepts, only serves the just cause, the 500 knights of the order of Malte was just example among many others. To practice one's religion, to love one's family and one's neighbor, to open to the outside world in helping one's fellowmen, to defend one's country in fighting against the invaders; there are no causes more just, and one's honor has forced him to respect his principal rules of life of a great man. He was often "resigned" to those so-called leaders, he "hide himself behind such and such individual", he preferred "to work behind the scenes" while knowing pertinently that himself, more than others was more apt to various vital tasks, that he was much more efficient than the majority of his peers? The response is perhaps in this quotation that I have accidentally found in one of my bedside books: "as soon as the tiniest fragment of wisdom entered the mind of a man, he longs for solitude." Alexandra David NEEL..
I am sad for my General, for he must feel lonely despite his numerous entourages, for he was lonely, immensely Lonely and all the more so since he was forced to share the burden with, and especially, to splash about among those - let's not mince words - scum opportunists.
One last thing to share with you, I am aware that this voluntary participation of mine is nothing next to what you have accomplished. I am rather happy I did it for in the deepest of my soul, your brother deserves widely the attention of all our fellow citizens, at large as well as nationals. The most important is that the elite of a country must be placed above all political as well as geographical divisions, un just remains and will remain a just, he must be respected, commemorated where his fellowmen live and prosper, they to whom he has given so much, and for whom he has suffered so much. This country where he was born and where he has ended his life (...farewell to military life or murder disguised as suicide? one will find out one day...) will soon or later remember the good memories, the acts of courage of one of its best children. Your brother is not only a good general, he is also a Great soldier and that's rare nowadays.
Finally, I would like you to know that I have tried introduced your web site around me et continue to do so, my children is quite familiar with it as well as their friends of all nationality, beginning with Indochinese then Europeans. Many people have seen it and continue to surf on your site, however, one must admit than people from all over the work like "to read" but when it comes to give their opinions in writing... You know what I means? (Thach Ngoc Long)
328. I have read the book about Major General Nguyen Van Hieu and liked it very much. Thanh you for your efforts in finding documents about the military history of Vietnam in order to pass them on to the future generation. As for your list of generals, I must confess that there are a number of generals I have never heard of. Maybe I will revisit it and confer with you so that we can ascertain more accuracy. (Nguyen Huu Tien).
329. To come to the "psychic pen phenomenon" one has the feeling that your brother is "in you" since the day when "...a mysterious force ordered me to go to my desk...." and even well before this starting point of contact, he was present in your subconscience. This spiritual communion is often utilized by the dead loved ones in order to reestablish the (a) truth, (especially when it remains unknown by the vast majority of the livings). This case is not unique, and as far as the brother is concerned, this inquity burden is too heavy to bear, even in the other world, "even to a gentleman as admirable as him". The general needs that the struggle continue through your intermediary, that this "dark issue" be resolved and that the authentic facts be displayed to day light. This "lotus..." that you mentioned is the symbole of purity and of perfection," it "has an urgent need to raise above, much higher than the bad grass, away from the mud." He "demands from you an arduous labor but how exhilarating, isn't it so?
I believe you were sincere when you wrote: "I am only my brother's instrument..." This extrasensory relationship and these brotherly encouragements coming from another world have as result: your tenacity and your diligence; what a master's stroke!...He is without a doubt there General Hieu.
Despite the mood swing of a portion of our fellowmen, your brother is not dead for he is never out of the memory of men.(Thach Ngoc Long).
330. General Hieu was my idol and I knew him since when he came to the 5th Division. At that time I was with an attached unit that jumped into a cross-border area which was under his loving tender care. When we were about to enter Krek, he gave the order to retreat. He said, "Without support, I refuse to commit my troops into combat." He was a honest general, a general who took great care of his men and virtuous. He deserves my greatest admiration. (Major Khuc Huu Chap, ranger)
331. Thanks for the pictures of Hieu in the days of the II corps. One of those pictures really brings out the extraordinary presence of mind that soldier Hieu had. I think it was the one calling in the artillery or the air strikes.
I did manage to stumble across a book on Vietnam that is very important. It is without any doubt the best book written on the Vietnam war from the American perspectve by an officer and a soldier of the highest caliber. The book is About Face: The Odyssey of An American Warrior, published in 1989 and by Colonel David H. Hackworth, probably the best battalion commander in the war. Hackworth had rose to the rank of Colonel the hard way, from the private ranks to sargeant and to a battlefied commission in Korea. He was gung ho, winner of a silver star, two bronze medals, eight purple hearts, etc. He stood in line to become a general but he turned it down and came out against the war in a Television interview in 1971 when he saw how corrupt the officer corps were and the Pentagon ticket punchers. He knew everyone in the war from the Army chief on down, and he wrote the book on the war called Vietnam Primer. This book was printed by the Army and was given to soldiers in the field. About 2 million copies. The guy was a hero and a great tactician par excellence.
He has a web site that is dedicated to Army veterans and regular and reserve duty personnel.
Hackworth had some experience with the II corps and specifically the 22nd division in 1966 when the commanding general of the division promised to take several bridges for security purposes, but failed to show up when the operation started. This would appeared to have happened just months before Gen. Hieu took over the 22nd division in June 1966. He never again trusted the ARVN officer corps, although he said there were exceptions.
During the early months of 1966 and after he must have come into contact with Hieu if your brother had made it into the field. He also knew Gen. Lan (and gives a photograph of the two shaking hands at command headquarters) and Gen Dung, neither of which he thought much of.
Who Hackworth did know, however, was Col. John Hayes, the advisor who gave your brother a favorable ER (evaluation) at the 5th division. The two of them were close friends and a former commander of Hackworth. He said:
"Hayes was a great officer...and he had four attributes that made him a perfect CO for this particular war, not to mention for me. First, he had a great appreciation for the cutting edge, having fought in Korea for three years as a recon platoon leader and a rifle-company commander and been wounded four times. Second, he'd already spent four years or so in Vietnam, so he had a basic understanding of the Viets and the war itself. Third, having been commissioned as an Armor officer, his tactical orientatin from the earliest days of his career was for shock action and flexibility, which is what I was into and what guerrilla warfare is all about. And finally, in addition to having formed and trained the first Ranger battalion in the Vietnamese Army in 1962, Hayes had had a lot of G experience [guerrilla] of his own in Southeast Asia, with the Special Forces Apache and Project Delta teams. ... John Hayes was a quiet, careful, methodical, and introspective soldier, just like the guerrilla enemy we were tasked to fight, and had, as an added bonus, a keen understanding of the Oriental mind.... Though promoted below the zone to colonel in 1968, when he turned down attendance to War College two years in a row, he was told by the chief of the Colonels' Division that he'd reached the end of the line careerwise. Apparently general officers, this guy said, didn't take kindly to people who considered continual involvement in a combat position in Vietnam more important than going to War College" (681-82).
Hayes then was no slouch, and his evaluation of Gen. Hieu must be taken quite seriously, despite the sometimes exagerrated evaluations to be found in ERs.
I do not know if Hayes is still alive, but Hackworth is, and both probably could give some more information on Gen. Hieu. (James Miguez)
332. I like to read Major General Hieu's webpage because it is very complete, more complete than any writings about Generals. I also pity General Hieu, competent and honest, who did not die by the VC enemy's hands but by those corrupt authorities. You deserve to be proud of your brother, and I am happy for you. (Le My Dung).
333. It was an honor and a pleasure to help out the good Gen. Hieu and yourself in locating Colonel John Hayes. I am glad something good came of the connection. Myself, I have been busy, although I am still sizing up the way to give credit to Gen. Hieu's comparison to Gen. Patton. Also the details of the important battles such as Snoul, etc., are sketchy. I was not there so I have no real first-hand knowledge of the tactical or strategic situation, but must go on research years after the fact, the little we have been able to find. Still the picture is coming more into focus, especially with the help of Col. Hackworth's book on Vietnam. The war had went from a guerrilla war to a full-phased invasion in 1975. Hackworth and Col. Hayes were great on guerrilla warfare at the battalion and company level with a lot of emphasis on the non-commissioned officers at the platoon and squad level. It was these guys who actually fought the war. Your brother however came up through the staff officers channel and bonded with the men however by his genuine empathy and leadership qualities. After all was say and done, he ended up on the Corps level, and rightfully so, (although he should have been commander), so that he was the one person to coordinate the defense of South Vietnam when the phase III of the war commenced in 1972-75. But we know how the corrupt senior officer corps and the political leadership scuttled the whole thing. The debacle at the highlands and the false security vis a vis Cambodia that preceded it. One thing is certain, your brother was the man for the occasion, but even like what happened to some of the fine American officers, your brother was unfortunately sent packing by a unjust political gang. It makes me angry just to think about it. Anyway, please forgive these rantings and accept my good cheer. The picture donated by Col. Hayes was especially a good one. Two fine soldiers and a sense of loyality and honor between them. You could see that these two men were of the highest caliber. With soldiers like Gen. Hieu and Col. Hayes leading the effort, the war would have been a different story. (James Miguez)
334. We have read you website about Major General Nguyen Van Hieu. I greatly admire your work and thank you for posting many invaluable documents on this website so that our generation and the next generation of our children and grand children come to know about an officer of the ARVN who was competent, honest and virtuous.
In 1966 Colonel Nguyen Van Hieu, 22nd Infantry Commander appointed me his press media officer. I worked with him for about a year then was transferred to the Dalat Military Academy. One must say that MG Hieu was very virtuous, kind and taciturn. He never skipped Sunday's mass and communion. Because I did not stay long with him, and besides I was only a First Lieutenant still limited in knowledge, I regretably do not recall General Hieu's well-mounted battles. But I did notice that since General Hieu assumed the command of the 22nd Infantry Division, the pacification program made great progress in the 22nd tactical zone. Each morning I went down to G3 to gather information, especially regarding pacification program, I discovered that we gained control of more and more villages.
Pertaining to his simplicity, I recall one time I accompanied General Hieu on one of his missions by helicopter. When we came back to the headquarters, it was passed one o'clock. We went to the dining hall to be told there were no more foods. General Hieu took the news gleefully and went back to the headquarters to take his siesta. Half and hour later, the telephone rang to invite General Hieu to return to get his dinner. He tagged me along. At the dining hall we were served with a dish of omelette and some boiled vegetable. Since we were very hungry, we ate with great appetite.
In 1970, on my way back from attending Advanced Infantry School at Fort Benning, I met General Hieu at Tan Son Nhat airport and he told me he would become the Superintendent of Dalat Military Academy. But then the assignment was changed. I went to work at G3/HQ/III Corps and met again General Hieu there until the day we heard the news he was accidently shot. I, like everybody at the headquartes was stunned by the gag orders issued by the Corps General Staff.
Those are some of my memories about a General whom I respect and love. (Nguyen Nho)
335. I am a frequent visitor of your website, and had offered my opinion pertaining to Dang Van Nham's article, to which you had responded. Today, I have read the two articles, "The Admirals et Province Chefs", "Dang Van Quang, Thieu's right hand man", that you took from communist documents. I have lived in France and the United States for 23 years and have worked in the field of research and library, and thus I am quite familiar with the comparative of documents of differents avenues method. Nevertheless these above-mentioned articles appearing in a website such as yours do not lend a positive effect for the following reasons: (1) they don't jibe with the spirit of the website, furthermore their tones sound slanderous, insulting and biais; (2) they disparage harshly the army that General Hieu spent his entire life to defend and had died for it. In brief, these articles, because of their low traits, do not contribute at all to the value of the website, unless Mr Nguyen Van Tin yourself, its webmaster, intentionally utilize these articles to attack the personnes that you hate: Dang Van Quang, Ngo Quang Truong, etc. and have collected et posted them for that purpose only.
In saying so I do not intent to attack you, but they are the objective opinion of a reader who has enjoyed certains articles, and at the same time is disappointed by the above-mentioned articles. (Le Anh Dung)
336. First of all, let me introduce myself. I am Nhan Huu Hiep, 35 years old, resettled in Seattle, Washington since ten years.
I must say I love the ARVN soldiers since the days I learned to go to school. The valiant image of an ARVN soldier has always been a beautiful one in my heart. Consequently, even when I lived in the country, until the days I lived overseas, I loved to collect books and magazines pertaining to the ARVN. By mid 1993, after my new life was temporary settled, the first thing I did was to try to establish a name list of the ARVN Generals by researching books, memoirs and documents written by veterans of the ARVN. In particular, these two last years, by a stroke of chance, I found General Nguyen Van Hieu's Page, a General Hieu I have always admired. I thank you very much. These two years, whenever I found times, I visited General Hieu's Page, and you are its webmaster. Through this Page, I have learned a lot and have understood immensely, through your articles in particular, and those of Vietnamese veterans in general.
Recently, I perused the two name lists of ARVN Generals, one by Adam C. Sadowski, updated in 8/2000, another one by Nguyen Huu Tien, updated in 7/2003. After examining these two lists several times, I am happy because from now on I found out that there are others who shared my efforts, I am no more alone. However, in close look, I found out certain points that needed to be adjusted, points that most people would not pay attention. I realize I am still young in age, and knew the ARVN only through books and written documents, but I want to contribute somewhat in attracting more visitors to General Hieu's Page and in honoring General Hieu along with the other ARVN Generals. Therefore, I ask your permission to make some suggestions on these two lists.
Please take some time to make these corrections. And with your permission, I will send you a list of former ARVN colonels along with photos, resumes and main positions of the Generals that I was able to collect. (Nhan Huu Hiep)
337. I must speak up a historical truth of the Snoul battle, to exculpate General Hieu, and to tell the truths about General Hieu's painful feelings in this retreat.
I am a former batallion commander of 1st Battalion/8th Regiment in the Snoul battle, and was in direct communication by helicopter with General Hieu when he courageously flew above the 1st Battalion, which was the spearhead force in this retreat. The historical truth should be returned to history, so that the soul of the general who had died for his country could rest in peace.
Furthermore, I was hand-picked by General Hieu to replace the 1st Battalion Commander who was relatively powerless in 11/1969. This assignment was devoided of all partisanship and profit since General Hieu did not know me before. He acted only based on my military records at the 5th Division, and on the recommendation of my former battalion commander, when I was still a company commander under Colonel Nguyen Van Cua.
I will write to tell you about the truth of the Snoul battle, and about General Hieu's courage, as well as the frustrations of a honest and competent general. (Tran Van Thuong)
338. I am elated to see that readers continue to express their advices (sometimes contradictory even polemical) or memoiries full of sincere feelings. That is the price for the success of this site.
Regarding the opinions, I applaud the complete posting and without exception of thoughts coming from all avenues. The new millenium, but above all the future generations and the democratic debate requires that we accept to listen to everybody's idea, no matter of which inclination... And not only the unique thought, nor the ambiant sectarism. Such is the difference between the free world and its opposite.
I wish wholeheartly to see the majoriy of our compatriotes behave with dignity as true citizens of the world - that is - that they board the train in motion, that they not miss the appointment of history and willingly accept the contemporary reality, that they adapt as much as they can to the evolution of the world and that their spirit remains wide open. In waiting, they must be able to surmount, to forget the internal disputes, to forgo the pass in speaking with one voice. It is at that condition that they can enter the democratic concert of Southeast Asia in the future and counter the regime in place, in leading it to ban its particularity which is the unique party, the poison of democracy and the enemy of progress.
Let us not remain trap in our embellished prison which is our pass, although glorious but outdated and outmoded. The world is in motion, and the politque of the ostrich is strongly ill-advised. In my opinion, no matter what, the globe turn with or without us, resulting in a more beautiful future for our country, more tolerable for the majority of our compatriotes who remain in the country in using the constructive opposition rather that the sterile and unending polemic. (Thach Ngoc Long)
339. My name is LTC Robert Lott Jr, and I have just been searching your website you have put together regarding the life of your brother Gen Hieu. I had to call my father as he served as Deputy Sr Advisor to Gen Hieu, Commander 5th Division, after LTC Couch's death in Feb 1970.
My father, also had very fond memories of your brother and remembered flying with him many times to visit the troops. I will leave his phone number and address if you wish to contact him for any further information. I would like to know if you have any other pictures of the 5th Division officers with the possibility of finding my father in one of them.
I am glad I found your website. I know it is important to your brother's memory, but it is also good for me to understand my father's experience in Vietnam. I am anxious now to purchase your book. (Robert Lott)
340. I have visited General Nguyen Van Hieu. It is indeed quite elaborated with its three language versions: Vietnamese, English and French. The documents and photos are researched and assembled scientifically and the organization and technical design of this site are to be highly commended. It has to be considered a master piece, but if it purpose is to eternalize a beloved brother it ought to be a small work for you. I am sure you also feel that way. (Doan Huu Dinh)
341. General Hieu visited 1/8th Battalion at Snoul a lot of times. 1/8th Battalion was a battalion operating alone at the farthest outpost, the deepest one within enemy sanctuary. General Hieu told me the truth about B52, "Don't believe in the Americans' promise about B52; you must relie on your own resources to survive at this outpost position that ought to be held at all costs if you don't receive the order to withdraw. You must take initiatives in the matter of securing the lives of your battalion and of the armored company which is attached to your unit. If I give the order to withdraw, you must give a make-believe order to hold at all costs in the radio, because the Viet Cong certainly will hear clearly in the radio, and ask Colonel Dzan to have B52 bomb the route along which you plan to withdraw your troops. Afterwards, withdraw swiftly! I had followed General Hieu's plan, and had brought back 1/8th Battalion and the armored compagny intact to the CP/8Reg, with minor losses in the first phase of withdrawal. The CP/8Reg overheard the Viet Cong yelling, "They dupped us well!" (Tran Van Thuong)
342. I was Tiet's friend since the days in Shanghai. In General Hieu's Page, you have found a lot of documents pertaining to General Hieu when he was still in the military school as well as when he commanded division, it would be difficult from someone else to be able to do like that. With these documents, I think that those who want to write about military history would not need to research somewhere else and just have to refer to the page written by you.
The day of the retreat out of Phan Rang, I reached Phan Thiet and encountered a group of air force liaison. They took me up to Ong Hoang hill. One NCO told me: "Lieutenant, go to the TOC building, you might find there something to eat." Upon entering the TOC I encountered a sergeant on duty and asked him for some rice or c-ration because I had not eaten for two days on the way from Nha Trang to here, even the can of water I carried with me was empty. Right at that moment, General Hieu exited from the conference room and entered, the sergeant reported my request, I saw the name tag and the stars and knew it was General Hieu, but under such situation it would take too long to make my identity known, I just saluted militarily and General Hieu shook my hand and instructed the sergeant to do as I requested. That was the first time I met General Hieu and also the last. He hastily exited to board his helicopter to return to his tactical area. He spoke with a gentle voice, unlike the other officers I encountered on my paths. (Tran Trong Thuong)
343. I read through quickly the article The Truth of a Forgotten Battlefield. My first impression is one of admiration for the detailed account of the ground battle of Snoul, the serious and honest aim for historical accuracy in this account, and especially the author's human and patriotic endeavor to show the courage and skills of the military personnel involved in the retreat of Snoul at the battalion, regimental and division levels as well as the author's reaching out to General Minh to obtain all the historical facts related to the Snoul retreat. The write up is thorough, clear, and cogent. The references appear adequate. Besides all the veterans of the Snoul retreat, historians would certainly welcome this systematic account by a battalion commander actually involved in this retreat. This article will no doubt vindicate and honor General Hieu. (Nguyen Van Tri)
344. It has been several months since I saw your website last. I see you are still adding articles and pictures to your site. Unfortunately, I have been busy in the past few months, so I have not got much accomplished, but I want you to know that I still intend to write and finish some articles on your brother, the general and patriot. The trouble is, there has been insufficient information on the battle of Snoul, which was the key to a lot of ARVN and VN history. This is why I was especially pleased to see the article on the Truth of the Battle of Snoul written by the former battalion commander of the 1/8 under the 5 Div. The article in question was well written, had a lot of detail and seemed to be an honest portrayal of those fateful days by an eye witness to the events and by a mid-level commander. The strength of the enemy force is also attested to by VC documents, and the overall disposition of the III Corps leadership, or lack of it, as commanded by Gen. Minh instead of Gen Do Cao Tri, is attested to by Gen Khoi.
It seems to be that military-wise, the Battle of Snoul is the knot holding together subsequent developments in the unfortunate history of the demise of the Republic of South Vietnam. This epic battle and the ramifications that follow upon it certainly requires to be looked at more closely if we truely are to understand what happened at that time, and why Gen Hieu was unfortunately made a scapegoat for political reasons, and the one who had to share the blame, most ironically, for the reemergence of North Vietnamese military action on the border.
There are also publicized accounts of the great corruption and the outright misuse of military forces for smuggling contraband, i.e., everything you can think of, including cattle by helicopter out of Cambodia during these times. Therefore there may be a secret reason for the lack of military support and preparedness against the embattled 1/8 in the Snoul vicinity. It is hardly possible to exaggerate the corruption and smuggling that went on in the military officer corps.
In any case, I plan to work further on your brother's true history. Thanks for all the information, and the continual digging out the truth, in so far as we can see it. Please accept my apologies and my lack of providing further articles. I promise to get one out by the summer. (James Miguez)
345. The new bios on Generals are impressive. Keep it up! (Adam Sadowski)
346. I bought your book over the internet a couple of years ago and it was fantastic. I have a lot of interest in the Vietnam war, I've learnt about most of it by myself through books such as yours because my dad doesn't really like to talk about it much. I was born in Saigon and came to Australia when I was three. (Luu Cam Binh - Michael)
347. Personally, I am French and am closely interested in Vietnam recently. I am married since 15 years to an eurasian born in Saigon in the 60s. Being half Vietnamese, he is always discreet and secretive about his childhood. A couple of months ago, we discovered that General Tran Van Minh was a relalive of my husband's family. That is why we are closely interested in the career of this general and why we search everything that concerns him. Honestly, it is rather me who is passionated toward this country and all that touches South Vietnam. In searching TRAN VAN MINH, je landed often on your site at the curriculum vitae page, I failed to think of going to its root where I would have found valuable information that you have put in it. I glanced through and found it very interesting but I lacked time last evening to read it entirely. I will make it up by going back to your site and will not fail to place a word in your guest book. Thank you for creating this site which helps to reconstitute a part of my husband's past. I search at the present moment all magazines and history books that retrace the fall of Saigon.
I have not had effectively the time to read your site in its entirety but one felt even by just browsing through it a great admiration and a lot of love toward your brother. I found it remarkable that you had the desire to gave tribute to him rightfully. Be assured that I am going to dwelve into it as soon as possible in the reading of this beautiful site. (Martine Dechamboux)
348. I am only of a younger generation. Prior to becoming an in-law of Major General Vo Van Canh, I did not understand clearly the vicissitudes, the great sacrifice of a soldier fighting against the Communist; and in particular the activities of the commanders, the elders of the ARVN. I and my wife are the two off springs who were closest to the General during his 10 last years. During these last ten years, the General kept intimate relationship with Generals Le Nguyen Khang, Nguyen Bao Tri, Lam Quang Thi, Nguyen Van Trung, Nguyen Van Chuc… The General mentioned and praised General Hieu's talents and virtue. I fortuitously entered the website of "Generalhieu.com", which contains in abundance historical data on the Vietnam War and on the life of the military leadership. I read without omitting a word. Pertaining to "ARVN Generals", I read and found that Major General Vo Van Canh is only mentioned in the "Name List" and does not contain any other details. I took the liberty to collect a few data and photos concerning Major General Vo Van Canh's military career so that you can update General Hieu's Page.
In conversations with Major General Vo Van Canh, he told that three quarter of his military career consisted in commanding tactical infantry units. He once undressed in order to show us several wounds, scars on his body caused by different types of enemy bullets during the wartime. His village is next to President Ngo Dinh Diem. He even knew Oncle Can (Ngo Dinh Can), and yet his military career was slow moving under the 1st Republic of Vietnam regime. He only advanced after the coup against President Diem. In 1964, Colonel Pham Ngoc Thao instigated a coup against the government of Nguyen Khanh who fled to Vung Tau. At that time, the General was a Lieutenant Colonel Mayor of Vung Tau. Pham Ngoc Thao, since he was his classmate at the Command and General Staff College in the United States, sent his a hand-delivered letter requesting him to imprison Nguyen Khanh. But the General rejected that request. He told me that "if I caught Nguyen Khanh at that time (1964) and delivered him to Pham Ngoc Thao, Vietnam history might have taken a different turn!"
I enclosed a last photo Major General Vo Van Canh dressed in ARVN's uniform. (Tr?n Van Giang)
349. Thank you Webmaster of www.generalhieu.com for the valuable information about General Hieu. I spent 8 hours last night to read this site, and I have admired his dedication for Viet Nam so much. If Viet Nam had more general likes Mr. Hieu we would not have lost our country. I proudly am a Vietnamese and a United States Sailor. (Bao Huynh)
350. I just visited General Hieu' site, a very interesting site about the General and also a perspective on the Army of South Vietnam. Regarding the 3rd Class Tran Hung Dao of the Natinal Military Academy of Vietnam, based on information I have obtaine, General Hieu had the highest grade in general knowlege and academic subjects but cadet Bui Dzinh was elected Valedictorian of this class due to his good knowlege in military subjects since the two were at the Military Academie, and not at the university of general instruction!
I also read the arguments on this issue (Valedictorian of 3rd Class/Dalat) - one said that Bui Dzinh had been referred by Bao Dai, another said that he originated from the center of Vietnam, the same region as Emperor Bao Dai... I don't think these arguments are correct since there was not only one instructor who judged who was better... mais it was a group of officers and instructors of the Military Academy. The Valedictorians of 1st and 2nd Classes (Nguyen Huu Co et Ho Van To) did not originated from the same region as the Emperor.
I keep contact with Mr. Bui Dzinh in France since I am a relative of his family, il confirmed that General Hieu had a good general education and was a graduated but Bui was elected Valedictorian of his class because of his strong point: military. He was promoted Lieutenant Colonel while residing in the United States with three friends: General Ho Van To, Lieutenant Colonel Tran Thien Khiem and Major Nguyen Duc Xich at the Army Command and General Staff College - Fort Leavenworth - Kansas in 1959. It was President Ngo Dinh Diem's decision based on report of this college.
I don't make the comparison between General Hieu and Mr. Bui Dzinh in terms of their military career since they were brothers-in-arms and cadets of the same class of the Military Academy. Bui put an end to his military career following the coup of 11/1/63 and the assassination of President Ngo Dinh Diem. He was put in "leave of absence without pay" by the decision of the "military revolution committee" in 1963 for serious offense: refuse to collaborate with the "committee" and the Two Stars were proposed to and taken up by Mr. Nhan Minh Trang to the 9th Infantry Division in Sadec on November 2, 1963. Bui said: "We lost the war against the communists since the death of Ngo Dinh Diem."
Concerning Mr. Bui Dzinh, his military career ended in 1963 with the rank of Colonel and not the rank of Brigadier General, since in 1963, this last rank were not yet created in the South Vietnamese Army. Thank you for your willingness to rectify if errors existed.
I am reading documents regarding the life and career of General Hieu, very instructive and better undertanding the fall of Nguyen Van Thieu's regime. (Francois Buis)
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