-- 1-4--

Partial History of AFVN

[The following appears to be an undated portion of a longer report or thesis.]



The Mission The mission of the American Forces Vietnam Network (AFVN) contains two principal objectives.  The first is similar to that of other American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) facilities while the second is unique to AFVN.  Our mission is:

To provide commanders with a radio and television capability to broadcast information and entertainment programs for US Armed Forces personnel assigned duty in the Republic of Vietnam and to provide engineering assistance to the Joint United States Public Affairs Office (JUSPAO) for the installation of television facilities for the Government of Vietnam.

This Survey will attempt to determine to what degree AFVN is accomplishing the first of objective of its mission.

The History

Armed Forces Radio in Vietnam first went on the air at 0600 hours 15 August 1962 from studios in the Rex Hotel in downtown Saigon.  The fledgling station broadcast for 18 hours a day using a transmitter and broadcasting equipment borrowed from US and Vietnamese military and civilian agencies.  The station was operated by a five-man crew and several volunteer announcers and newsmen.  By the fall of 1964, the station had moved to permanent facilities at the Brink Hotel and had an expanded staff of 17 full-time members.

On 24 December 1965 the Viet Cong struck their first blow at AFVN.  Terrorists set off 250 pounds of explosives at the Brink and damaged a large section of the building.  The station was forced off the air temporarily but was broadcasting again in a matter of hours.  From amid the wreckage AFVN was sending out Christmas carols interspersed with calls for blood donations for those injured in the explosion.

Television made its debut in Vietnam on 7 February 1966 as three C-121 aircraft were outfitted with broadcast equipment. Programs were broadcast from these “Blue Eagles” until improved ground facilities in Qui Nhon and Da Nang and a fixed site in Saigon became operation on 25 September and 21 and 25 October 1966, respectfully.

On Christmas Eve 1966, two years to the day after the explosion at the Brink station, the new Saigon facility came under attack.  Small arms fire ripped holes in the building but no one was injured.

Early 1967 saw television become operation at Pleiku, Hue, Tuy Hoa and Nha Tran’s Hon Tre Island.

On 3 May 1968 the VC struck again.  This time 250 pounds o plastic explosives concealed in a taxi were set off not far from the Saigon station.  No one at AFVN was injured and, though the building was damaged, broadcasting was only temporarily interrupted.

The Hue station was overrun in the 1968 VC Tet offensive. One AFVN man was killed and five captured.

The Hue station was moved to Quang Tri and resumed broadcasting in December 1968.  The Chu Lai station was established in March 1969 and later converted to a television translator operation, rebroadcasting the Da Nan television signal.

The Quang Tri station was closed in July 1971 and was schedule to be relocated in the Hue/Phu Bai area.

The Organization:  Its Capabilities and Facilities:

AFVN’s present locations and facilities are:

Key Station:                 Saigon                           AM 50,000 watts                   540 KHz

                                                                             FM  100,000 watts                99.9 MHz (stereo)

                                                                             TV  240,000 watts                 Ch 11

Detachment 1:           Qui Nhon                      AM 10,000 watts                   770 KHz

                                                                             FM  25,000 watts                  99.9 Mhz

                                                                             TV   40,000 watts                  Ch 11

Detachment 2:           Da Nang                        AM 10,000 watts                   850 KHz

                                                                             FM  25,000 watts                  99.9 MHz (stereo)

                                                                             TV   40,000 watt                    Ch 11

Detachment 3:            Pleiku                            AM 10,000 watts                   560 KHz

                                                                             FM  25,000 watts                   99.9 MHz

                                                                             TV   40,000 watts                  Ch 11

Detachment 4:            Cam Ranh Bay 

                                       Dong Ha This              AM 10,000 watts                   900 KHz

                                       Cam Ranh Bay            FM  25,000 watts                  99.9 MHz

                                                                             TV   40,000 watts                  Ch 11

Detachment 5:            Relocating to Hue/Phu Bai

The AM radio affiliates receive at least 19 hours of programming a day from the Saigon station via a network communications system.  Up to five hours each day are available to the affiliates for local programming.

The Saigon station also originates 23 hours of programming each day for the FM radio affiliates with one hour reserved for local FM broadcasting.  The primary source of FM programming is pre-recorded audio tape provided by AFRTS.  The tapes are aired on automated equipment which automatically inserts spot announcements and other programming.  There are approximately eight hours of live programming on FM each day.  The Da Nang FM station originates all programs locally.  It has the same automated capability as the Saigon Station.