A Short and Possibly Very General Summary

[Please submit any corrections and or additions to the Webmaster.]


          The officers were most likely billeted in the Rex or the Brink Hotel during AFVN's earliest days, and then in the Brink BOQ, the Splendid BOQ and the Myerkord BOQ until AFVN closed down.

          During AFVN's earliest days, the enlisted men were also billeted in either the Rex or the Brink Hotel.   But as AFVN grew, they were moved to other locations--mostly to the Ky Son and the Ky Son Annex and the Plaza Hotel BEQs, but a few were in the Bryant BEQ, the St. George BEQ, the Hung Dao BEQ, the Wabash Inn BEQ,  the Walling BEQ, the Town House BEQ, the Bui Vien BEQ, the Princeton BEQ,  the Simmons BEQ, and the Dai Nam BEQ.

          Following the censorship problem in late 1969 and early 1970, all of the enlisted E-5s and below were moved to a barracks on Tan Son Nhut (MACV Compound) and all of the E-6s and above (with the exception for of some of the higher ranking enlisted Marines and Navy?) were moved to the Iowa BEQ not too far from Tan Son Nhut.   In October/November 1970 all of the enlisted men were moved to the Plaza Hotel, but then in May 1971 they were again all moved to the Ky Son Annex.   The last major move was in May 1972 when all of the enlisted men were moved to the Walling BEQ (although some were there as as early as January 1968).  The Walling was the last enlisted billet used by AFVN enlisted personnel.  However, a very few at the very end (just prior to March 22, 1973), lived in the Brink--almost making a full circle.  (The Plaza Hotel closed as a billet on March 15, 1973.)

    From:  Ron Turner

     Date:  January 16, 2014

Subject:  Senior Occupant Ky Son Annex / Walling BEQ

Movement to Walling BEQ. After we (the Enlisted men) of AFVN got our marching orders to go to the Walling  BEQ, one of the early movers came into my office and told me the some Navy Chief welcomed him into the BEQ and put him on duty tonight while the other personnel (Navy) present were laughing.  Being somewhat familiar with the newest guy next on duty Navy concept, I sat and considered what to do.  I got someone to check on the senior occupants DOR and found he was my junior in TIG.  Then suggested (to the station) that no one else move to the Walling until I was settled in.  Some persons were already there.  I packed up and drove over with someone to help me (watch my stuff while I unloaded) and walked through the front entrance.  The CPO and some other PO's were lounging around the front door area waiting for the "new fish".   He immediately informed me that I had duty tomorrow while his buffoon colleagues were snickering.  I asked to talk to him somewhere privately which I think was in the empty mess hall.  I asked him if he liked being the senior occupant to which he replied in the affirmative although showing some slight apprehensive-ness.  I told him I was the new senior occupant but I did not really want the job badly in that I was leaving in about a month.  I further indicated that I would give up my claim to his job if he changed the duty roster procedures to immediately conform to Army practices and provided me a nice private room.  He agreed somewhat gratefully.  Shortly after this Ed Gliesberg got on board and I got my orders changed and left (11 months and a couple of days)  a little early.  I'm pretty sure, on the 30th of May 72.  Our move [to the Walling] was almost certainly in early May.

    From: Dick Ellis

     Date:  April 24, 2013

Subject:  Ky Son Annex January 1965

JoeC... I went to Pleiku and we visited a "yard" village up in the hills.  The Chief asked us to search his village to make sure it was safe as they had been chased out a couple of days before by the VC.  This was a chicken coup....  We didn't find any devices!!!  And I didn't shoot any chickens with my M-2 Carbine.  They told us we had to wear a .45 when ever we flew!!

Dick

    From: Dick Ellis

     Date:  April 23, 2013

Subject:  What I Remember Ky Son

The CQ at the Ky Son had an old M-1 Gerand if I recall.  We got to the station about two days later and they issued us M-1 Carbines still in the tin-foil sleeves packed in Cosmoline from the Korean war.  We had to strip them down and clean them and set up an assembly line in the electronics shop. Dickie

    From: Joe Ciokon

     Date:  April 24, 2013

Subject:  What I Remember Ky Son Dickie,

Your memory is fuzzy.  I had the M-1 Garand which I bought from “Dirty Dan’s” predecessor.  I think it was Manchester?  I had two bandoliers of ammo which I wore like Zapata.   I would ride on the back of Nick Palladino’s Yamaha through Cholon to his wife’s house.   He had a Beretta.  Yeah, we were nuts. [The] Ky Son BEQ CQ was issued a shotgun and backed up the MP outside who had an M-60.  What a deal.  Back at the station when they opened the “war pack”, we were issued M-2 carbines.  I also wore a .45 with a shoulder holster.  Got photos which I may download someday.  One shows me cleaning my Garand.

JoeC

    From: Dick Ellis

     Date:  April 22, 2013

Subject:  What I Remember Ky Son

I lived in the Ky Son from July 67 to August 68 (Annex, 3rd floor).  With me were Preston Cluff, John Mikesch, Barry, Nick Palladano had a military room there.  A bunch of the Kiwis were there also.  The senior NCO hotel was the Capital on the same side of the street about two blocks back toward the center of town.  If you walked out of the front door of the Ky Son a theater was across the street and if you turned left (away from down town and toward Cholon) this is what you saw.  The hospital or medical facility was on the left in the next block from us across from the Esso.  We were asked to volunteer to help unload some wounded one afternoon and JoeC and several of us ran out to help.  I think they were 25th Inf. who had been wounded in the cemetery protecting the Air Base.  If one walked into the lobby of the Ky Son, there was a small elevator at the back of the lobby...past that was a small bar and a few slots...to the left was a chow hall with milk machines in the middle.   The annex was attached to the left-rear of the hotel and was 3 floors tall.  You had to go into the hotel lobby to get into it...there was no separate entrance.  We were trapped for several days after Tet...and went up on top of the hotel at night to see what was going on.  Several of the guys lit smokes and brought a hail of sniper fire at us.  Cluff held up a lighter if I recall and you could hear the "Bumble Bees" buzzing by!  The VC never took over the annex but an apartment complex about 1/2 block behind the hotel.  I think down that street is where the famous Saigon Police Chief shooting the VC took place.  General Loan (sp)  I knew him later in Arlington, Va. where he owned a restaurant.  My memory fades each year!!!

Dickie

    From:  Jim White

     Date:  April 22, 2013

Subject:  Ky Son Annex January 1965

The Plaza had a club on the top floor but no other type of dining facilities.  I went there for dinner fairly often when I lived in the Plaza between October 1970 and May 1971.  There was a mess hall in either the Ky Son Annex or the Ky Son immediately next door.  As I recall, the Ky Son was more "behind the Ky Son Annex" (i.e., further back from the main road rather than "down the street.")  I went there just a few  times when I lived in the Ky Son Annex in May/June 197.  I don't remember it as being much worse than many other Army mess halls I ate in over the years.  The 218th Medical Dispensary was very close to the Ky Son Annex.

Jim

    From:  Bob Nelson   

     Date:  April 22, 2013

Subject:  Ky Son Annex January 1965

Yup, that was it.  Also saw some good shows there when I was in town.   Kept a room there for the longest time as a place to park my “stuff.”

    From:  Ann Kelsey

     Date:  April 22, 2013

Subject:  Ky Son Annex January 1965

I think there was a mess hall at the Plaza, and I think there might have been a dispensary there too or very close to it.  I know I was there a couple of times in fall 1969.

​    From:  Steve Sevits

     Date:  April 29, 2013

Subject:  Saigon Billets

In 1963 they stashed me at the North Pole Hotel next to the An Dong market in Chinatown. There was a suite of two rooms each with a couple of beds, window air conditioners a full bathroom and a refrigerator.  The problem was taking a shower, there was a water tank on the roof and they refilled it every day and if you timed it wrong you were full of soap when the water ran out.  This happened to me only once.  I can’t remember what we did to brush our teeth but I know we weren’t supposed to drink the water. Every AM the station driver would pick me up and when I was done for the day getting back to the North Pole was on my own. Arising on time presented problems. The technological difficulties arising on time were brought home to me in great graphic detail.   Quartered in a comfortable hotel it was necessary to use an alarm clock to assure arising on time as I worked an early morning shift at the radio station.  I had no talent so I did news.  My American alarm clock dragged along from Okinawa was pressed into service.  Analog alarm clocks have a tiny motor which propels the hands around the dial at a given, predictable and usually reliable rate.  An interesting feature of these clocks is that they are, so I am told, keyed more to the frequency of the electricity rather than the voltage.  How or why this works, I don’t know nor do I particularly care. My American alarm clock had worked fine on Okinawa which ran on 60 cycle current.  Vietnam, on the other hand, had an electricity supply which was 50 cycles.  The frequency of the electric current was only 5/6 of what the clock wanted and expected.  It regularly and reliably lost 12 minutes for every hour it ran.  What’s more the clock ran so hot, it was impossible to touch. If my intent was to sleep six hours, the routine was to set the clock ahead 12 minutes for each hour of intended slumber.  A six hour sleep necessitated that the clock be set one hour and twelve minutes [72 minutes] fast so that when the alarm went off, the clock would momentarily be indicating the correct time.  The simplest route would have been to buy a local alarm clock or even better yet a wind up alarm clock.  Why this occurs to me only now, nearly 50 years later, stands in testimony to the fact that either I was cheap or am slow to arrive at solutions.

Steve


---Some comments regarding Steve's message--


Steve 's problem was that the old plug-in electric clocks were based upon the electricity's cycles.  Japan, to include Okinawa, suffers from a multiple-personality disorder when it comes to cycles.   During the early days of modernization, a company in Tokyo imported an electrical generator from Germany, and Germany uses 50-cycles.   Around the same time a company in Osaka imported one from the U.S., and the U.S. uses 60-cycles.   Today, Japan is still divided into as far as electrical power is concerned.  The dividing line is just south of Nagoya.  North of that is 50-cycle, south of it is 60-cycle.  (I don't know how Okinawa ended up with 50-cycle.)   Steve came to AFVN on TDY from Okinawa so his clock would have been 50-cycle. 

This is a very minor problem today with so many things being battery powered and those that are not are designed to automatically adjust for the which area they are in.   but in the 1960's, whenever someone new joined a unit in the Tokyo area, one could usually  count on him/her being late for work his first day on the job. 

Any electrical appliance with a motor suffered this problem--to include electric fans, record players, tape recorders, etc.  Thank goodness all this is now behind us.  

Jim W

From:  Joe Ciokon

Sent:  April 29, 2012 Subject: 

Saigon Billets

I was billeted with Marine Sgt Dan Ziegler and an Army SP4 at the Ky Son Annex on the corner of Tran Hung Dao and that triangle intersection next to the Shell gas station.  The Ky Son was around the corner to the left and across the street.  It was temporarily occupied by the VC during TET and we exchanged sniper fire from the rooftop.  The Plaza was in the middle of the block towards the market and the Brinks and away from Cholon which is where Ziegler and I were first billeted.  The MP compound was also near there as well as the Army Dispensary.  Does anyone remember the designation of that medical unit and the MP company?  Dickie and I helped unload a medevac helo there.

AFVN Group Conversations

Perhaps a new coat of paint. The old Plaza is reportedly in very poor condition, but doesn't look much worse

than I recall during my visit 20 years ago.  Note all the laundry hanging in the windows.


Facebook Comments

Tom Watson:  WOW ! What a flashback.  Spent 12 Months.  On the 9th floor of the Plaza.

Toney Brooks:  Can't remember what floor I was on.  Third or fourth, I think.  Nick Palladino was my roommate.

Rick Fredericksen:  I was in 434...Lawrence and Sinkovitz were one floor up.

Tom Watson:  I remember one night/moring in 1970, just before we were moved to the MACV compound, around 3:00 in AM a

          Vietcong 122 rocket grazed the roof of the Plaza. had water coming through my room ceiling and down the stair well.

Toney Brooks:  In 1968, I moved from the Dai Nam to the Plaza.  I'd been in country less than a month.  The Dai Nam was a magnet for rockets, it seemed.  After the 1st Airborne was deployed to the Saigon area, the indiscriminate rocket attacks

           all but ceased to be a problem.

David Esch:  Home sweet home for 17 months.  Roommates were Thomas Steinbeck, Roger Steffens, and Scott Manning. 

           (Not all at once.)

Jim White:   [Not posted to Facebook]  I was in Room 201 (3rd floor, far right in the above photo.  My roommates included

          Paul Van Dyke and then Garry Lyon--plus a number of short-term or overnight stays when an NCO would come down

          from a detachment and needed a bed.  I didn't realize until it was almost time to move to the Ky Son that my room

          was just above the ammo storage area.   I'm sure the VC knew where it was!

The front entrance to the Plaza Hotel - 2014.

    From:   Rick Fredericksen

     Date:   May 2, 2014

[Posted to Facebook]

GREAT NEWS: The Plaza Hotel lives on! This photo is 24 hours old.  The Plaza is now a dormitory for students at HCMC University of Economics.  We never imagined the North Vietnamese flag would be flying out the front door, did we?  Many thanks to a dear friend.

From: Frank Burke

Date:  April 23, 2013

Subject:  What I Remember Ky Son

I too lived in the Ky Son August 1967 - March 1968 and recall Korean sailors making kimchee in the hallway. After spending a couple of days in the hotel during Tet, an Army MSG and I walked (across the city) from the KySon to our job sites--he was with the outfit that took in VC who had defected.  We got shot at near Tu Do street but were escorted across by some MPs.  Remember, we had no weapons!

Semper Fi,

Frank Burke AFVN-FM Saigon

    From: Joe Ciokon

     Date:  April 23, 2013

Subject:  Ky Son Annex January 1965

The Annex had the mess hall.  I used to fill my cami pants pockets with apples and oranges and let the kids outside pick my pockets as we boarded our bus to AFVN.  Tran Hung Dao was the main drag.  I still have my Saigon map from the MACV orientation briefing.  I remember the Shell station on the left corner and further down the street was the MP compound with the dispensary across the street from there.  Further down was the Can Saht (“White Mice”) headquarters and all the way down to Cholon and the Phu Tho racetrack.  I remember our intersection reminded me of Times Square because it came to a V-shape with three streets crossing there.  I did have steak and lobster for my birthday, hosted by JOCS Jim Gordon at the “Chiefs Club” on the other street across from the Plaza hotel.  I don’t remember the real name of that hotel but all the senior NCOs either lived there or dined there.  No one under E-7 was allowed in unless, as in my case, hosted by one of the members.  The women that went there were mostly civilian employees at MACV, the Embassy, and other official workers and military.  There were some Special Forces officers and NCOs who came in on R&R periodically with all their weapons fresh from the bush.  Weird.

JoeC

    From: Bob Nelson

     Date:  April 22, 2013

Subject:  Ky Son Annex January 1965

Thanks for the clarification - I remember that a lot of the groups were from the PI.   Anybody remember a guy named Joe Sage?  I've got a picture of him somewhere, huge guy.

    From: Ron Hesketh

     Date:  April 22, 2013

Subject:  Ky Son Annex January 1965

The Plaza’s top floor was a Navy mess during the day and at night it was converted into a nightclub where, in 1965, a band called “The Swooners” played.  Here is a picture of me and the band taken the night of June 25, 1965, the night the My Canh floating restaurant was bombed.

    From: Bob Nelson

     Date:  April 22, 2013

Subject:  Ky Son Annex January 1965

The annex was at the corner with its entrance on the side street.  I remember a club of some kind on the first floor of the main Ky Son... Booze and slots.  Where and what was the hotel by Hai Ba Trung (Three Sisters) that did steaks every Sunday?  They were good.

    From:  Bob Nelson

     Date:  April 22, 2013

Subject:  Ky Son Annex January 1965

The dispensary was down the block toward Cholon right at the fork in the road.  There was a BEQ above it that was hit by a car bomb.  Don't know if it stayed open or not.

    From:  Garry Brill

     Date:  April 22, 2013

Subject:  Ky Son Annex January 1965

Was it the Plaza?  That's where I stayed.

    From:  John Thomas

     Date:  April 22, 2013

Subject:  Ky Son Annex January 1965

Was that the place that everyone stayed in during '71?  If so it seems like there was an Army? mess hall right around the corner.  I believe that I went in there once and never went back.  It was terrible and hot as a swamp.

    From:  Joe Ciokon

     Date:  April 22, 2013

Subject:  Ky Son Annex January 1965

During TET ’68, the VC temporarily occupied the Ky Son Hotel around the corner from the Annex where I observed the action from the rooftop.  We slept in these Army cots with mosquito netting to fend of all the bugs, which is why we invested heavily in those window air conditioners.  One steamy night the ac went out and I woke up with one of those huge cockroaches attached to my hand.  It flipped me out of the bunk onto the floor.   Years later I was in a similar cot when the Hezbollah truck bomb in Beirut tossed me out onto the floor.  De'ja` Vu all over again.

Joe

AFVN Billets  (Ky Son Annex BEQ, Etc.) - Page 1

April 2012, April 2013, October 2015 & May 2016

Includes a Map of the Immediate Downtown Saigon as of 1971.

Also a little about security when traveling in South Vietnam.