William Messner


A little bit of history of me and the site on V.C. Hill.

Before going to Vietnam I was an instructor at the Signal School in Ft Monmouth,
New Jersey.  I was in the Television & Tropo Scatter Branch at the school.

When we first arrived in Vung Tau there were a lot of old trees on the site
and every morning the trees were full of Monkeys. I do not know the date that all of that was taken over by the1st Signal Brigade.

When I left Vung Tau we were known as the US Army Regional Communications Group (Vietnam) Long Lines Detachment, Vung Tau, APO 96291.

Anyone remember the Attack on the airfield there??

*   *   *   *

F Troop. Well, that's what we called our unit at that time. I even saw an article in the STRATCOM journal when I was in Germany where the site received one of the original guidons of F Troop from Forrest Tucker. I think he was the star of the television series at that time.

A little history about the site.

I was sent to Vung Tau along with a S/Sgt. I was an SFC at the time. This must have been in December 1965. When we arrived at the site there were, of course, other communications already there. There was an AN/TRC 24 site there. I am not sure but it could have been from the 39th Signal Company. There was also a MRC/98 Van there and it was run my the Air Force and PageComm if I remember right. And also a Tropo Scatter Van that was run I believe by the Philco Company. There was a Tech Rep by the name of Hardy. 

We only stayed at that time 2 or 3 days. We made a list of all that we would need to start setting up our part of the site. We came back to Vung Tau by boat from Saigon with a Jeep and a Squad Tent. We set up the tent and shortly after we started to receive new troops. Then RMK started to do the construction of the site. There was a terrible amount of work to be done. A lot of the top of the hill was blasted off. We took over the MRC/98 site from the Air Force. At that time we received a communication Van. We had a hell of a time getting it up there. We had to use a big fork lift from the Air base there to get it around those hairpin turns. I was in charge of the site at that time. We had an officer that was responsible for us, but he stayed in Saigon and only came to the site once a month for pay call.

A few months later and much to my relief we Got a CO. A 2nd LT Boler. He was very young. But was a very nice fellow. The site was a long way from being completed when I left in Nov 1966.
I do not remember the bull dozer going off the hill. But there was a truck that went off the hill. It was loaded with Vietnamese civilian workers. They were going down after they had finished work for the day. We had to go down the hill to eat because we had no mess hall or any water on the hill at that time. We did get a water trailer. and made the daily run down to the airbase to get our water. We built a shower using 55 gallon drums. 

I do not remember the exact date but the Viet Cong hit the air base with a rocket attack. This was sometime in 1966. Most of us were down town or at French Beach. The MP got us out of the town and we went back up on the hill. We sure had a good view on the attack.

Well that's only a short part of the history of the site. There was so much going on and so much to do. Oh yes the security for the site was done by an Infantry Platoon. And when I left there was also a Guard Dog squad there. Oh by the way I am not French I was born in a little town in Kansas. I met by wife while I was here in France in 1960. We got married in 1961. I retired from the Army in 1968 and have been living here in France since then. 

1st Signal Brigade
United States Army
Republic of Viet Nam
Updated 05/26/2003

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