ARVN (Army, Republic of Vietnam), our allies.

We lived among ARVN infantry soldiers at the ATSB camp near Go Dau Ha, a basic training camp near Ben Soi and later at a little camp near Loc Giang. Initially, I didn’t think one way or the other about them until we had to live with them. We quickly learned the hard way that they would steal us blind if we didn’t watch them like hawks. With our pressing duties, it was impossible for us to watch them every moment of the day and night. There were only 5 of us and over 100 of them. Other than our very small and cramped radar van, we had no place to lock up personal items, or much of anything else for that matter. They stole C-rations, gasoline, my treasured little RCA pocket radio that my dad had given me, plus my much needed poncho liner.

While based at the ATSB camp near Go Dau Ha, they repeatedly trashed the gasoline engine powered water pump for our water well. The Navy Seabees put a lot of effort into that project, yet the ARVN’s seemed to have little regard for what we were trying to do to help them. When we were based with a Green Beret adviser team near Ben Soi, the ARVN cadre stood on the toilet the Green Berets had built, resulting in mud and crap on everything. The Green Berets finally put a padlock on the door after it was obvious that the ARVN’s were untrainable. Their commanding officer, a Colonel, brazenly sold new US Government issue supplies out of a shack near the front gate to the camp.

By the time my 12 month tour ended, I had developed a pretty strong resentment towards the ARVN’s. Not only were many common thieves, their lack of motivation at times was unbelievable.