AFVN Timeline (Narrative & Graph)
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July 6 - Radio Hanoi begins sending propaganda broadcasts targeting the American troops numbering around 6,000.
August 15 - AFRS signs on at the Rex hotel using a WWII transmitter that had been stored in the Philippines.
February 11 - AFRTS stations worldwide are ordered to broadcast a program prepared by the United States Information Service titled
“Today’s Analysis of Events from Washington.” Most stations disliked the obvious propaganda and the threat of news management.
November - AFRS moves to the Brink Hotel.
November 22 - President Kennedy assassinated. AFRTS stations around the world carry the continuous information from the U.S. by
either cable or short-wave throughout the funeral; the mood remains quiet for several days afterward.
February 21 - Secretary McNamara issues the charter for the Information School to open.
October - The staff at AFRS now reached a strength of 17 full-time personnel
December 24 - The VC set off a bomb and destroys the studio, killing two and injuring others. The Radio begins transmitting 20 minutes
later using backup equipment.
February - AFRS went from 18 to 24 hrs a day.
May - Work begins on the Blue Eagle’s (Project Jenny), flying radio and television stations for use in Vietnam using C-121 Super
September - Department of Defense Information School opens at Fort Benjamin Harrision.
October - At MACV request, Blue Eagle I deploys to Saigon to perform an airborne radio relay broadcast of the World Series. Audio
originated at AFRTS-LA, then by landline to VOA transmitters at Delano, Cal., then by short-wave to Vietnam, picked up aboard
Blue Eagle I while flying orbit around Saigon then re-broadcast on AFRS AM broadcast frequency.
November - Blue Eagle II conducts worlds first airborne TV broadcast while flying around the DC beltway. In preparation for Vietnam TV
broadcasts and in conjunction with DC WRC-TV (channel 4) two thirds of a movie was broadcast from WRC-TV at which time
WRC-TV dropped off the air, the remainder of the movie was broadcast from Blue Eagle II.
December 2 - Deputy Secretary of Defense Cyrus Vance approves plans for the establishment of ground television facilities in Saigon and
on December 24, the U.S. and Vietnamese governments officially authorize AFRTS to begin operations.
December - Blue Eagle II (first TV bird) arrives in Saigon, but testing is delayed due to the Vietnamese Government required a channel
change in the allocated frequency band for U.S./South Vietnamese TV operations.
January - Blue Eagle III (the second TV bird) arrives in Saigon and conducts the first operational dual channel TV broadcast in Vietnam.
January 30 - Blue Eagle III is used to record the intro TV broadcast for AFVN. The aircraft was placed next to the Tan Son Nhut Operations
building and camera cables were connected from inside the aircraft to the operations center. U.S. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge,
RVN Premier Nguyen Cao Ky and General Westmoreland taped a opening message for the first AFVN & THVN broadcast flight.
February 5 - Cyrus Vance approves four high powered radio ground stations in Vietnam February 7 - The Blue Eagles, which arrived in
early January, begin daily flights transmitting to the U.S. troops on Channel 11 (AFRTS) and Channel 9 (THVN).
March 24 - AFRTS in Saigon is connected to AFRTS Los Angeles by undersea cable, providing the ability to receive broadcast quality news
and sports. Prior to that short-wave was used and was not as reliable. The cable also allowed two way transmissions, providing a
means for Saigon to transmit material back to the United States.
April 13 -The Viet Cong (VC) attack Ton Son Nhut air base with mortars, damaging three Blue Eagle aircraft. Only one plane is still able to
fly, requiring limiting the hours of operations. It is not until May 11 (28 days after the attack) is a full schedule resumed.
May - Electronics Illustrated does a article on the Blue Eagles referring to them as a “Pirate Radio Station”
September 26 - Several radio and TV broadcast vans arrive in Vietnam. The first one is sent to Qui Nhon, where the PX sells
1,000 televisions in anticipation of the start of TV.
October 21 - The second broadcast van begins transmitting in Da Nang.
October 25 - Television goes on the air in Saigon, the Headquarters for AFVN, The Blue Eagles continue to fly in order to cover the delta
region areas in the south.
December 23 - Snipers attack the Saigon Station during its Christmas party. No casualties reported, but the party is quickly ended.
January - The final move of Radio and News section from the Brink BOQ to the new AFRTS facilities at 9 Hong Thap Tu begins.
January 9 - NAS Patuxent River newspaper “The Testor” does a article on “Blue Eagle flights”
February 1 - The third television van becomes operational at Pleiku.
February 8 - Accidental small arms fired in Saigon Station. Light damage and no causalities sustained.
February 11 - TV guide does a article on AFVN about early TV in Vietnam.
March - Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) orders AFRTS to submit for approval all quotes by certain politicians who are
against the war. At the same time Secretary of Defense McNamara reaffirms his position that DOD policy is that there will be
maximum disclosure with minimum delay. His policy insists on a free flow of information. After a year, complaints to Congress
by the staff result in a number of investigations and poor morale.
March 13 - The fourth Television Van becomes operational at Nha Trang.
May 15 - The fifth Television station goes on air at Hue.
May 26 - The sixth Television station goes operational at Tuy Hoa.
June 1 - First 10,000-watt radio transmitter AFRTS became operational at Da Nang.
July 1 - Name changed from AFRT (AFRTS) to AFVN (American Forces Vietnam Network).
September - TV “In Town Tonight” began and many movie stars came to the Hong Thap Tu studios over the next two years to do guest
shots. Martha Raye appeared on the show four times.
October - The World Series game was kinescoped in California and flown to Saigon to be re-broadcast on TV within 24 hours. The game
was broadcast live on radio at 1 AM or 2 AM. The TV broadcast was the next afternoon.
October 22 ? Un-manned repeater becomes operational in Phan Rang. “Field Strength” reports that 85% of U.S. Forces can receive
November - The 1st Division moves to Lai Khe. The rumor was that the Division would assume the KLIK station.
November - CBS television network recorded two “Face the Nation” shows in the Hong Hap Tu studio. One was with U.S. Ambassador
Ellsworth Bunker and the other was with Vietnamese President Nguyn Van Thou. The tapes were copied and one copy was
flown by civilian aircraft to New York and the other copy was placed on a separate airplane to California (so, in case one
plane crashed, there would still be a copy)
December - Holiday season marked by production activities to include the recording of the Bob Hope Christmas Special.
December - KLIK sets up a feeds a Division wide network to broadcast the Bob Hope Christmas show to everyone in the Big Red One
(1330 KHZ) and, at the same time, in Phouc Vinh by using VHF links to Quan Loi and Dian. The show was even transmitted to
field radios Frequencies to the entire 1st Division Area of Operations.
December 11 - The station at Nha Trang (Hon Tre) is attacked by enemy mortar fire. No damage is reported to the broadcast
equipment, the mess hall and lounge are destroyed but no casualties were reported.
January 7 - The Red Beach transmitter at Da Nang is hit by enemy fire. They are off the air for only two hours. There were over
200 holes in the facility from fragments as a result of the attack but no causalities sustained.
January 31 - The Station at Hue is attacked during the TET offensive. The staff holds off the NVA regulars who control most of the city.
The stand off lasts for the next five days. Two are killed in action, one is executed after surrendering and all of the
other members are wounded in various degrees. Running out of ammunition and supplies, the men make a break for safety
but are captured. Sergeant John Anderson (Station Manager) and the others spend five years as POW’s in North Vietnam
January 31 - Detachment 1 at Qui Nhon receives enemy fire to the mess hall.
January 31 - KLIK changes it hours of operation from 0600-2400 to 24 hours a day due to the TET offensive.
February - A 122 mm rocket lands directly in front of the KLIK studio blowing out all the windows but no casualties were reported.
March - KLIK builds a “bunker studio” to be used during attacks. The TET offensive provides lots of those situations.
April - KLIK returns to the 0600-2400 schedule.
May - KLIK’s 50-watt Bauer transmitter goes down making the FM station continue on 104.5 MHz using an Army VHF transmitter.
May 3 - The AFVN Headquarters suffers heavy damage form a car bomb. The estimates are that the Taxi contained over 100
pounds of explosives.
December - AFVN News is instrumental in the release of three U.S. POW’s by broadcasting messages to the VC concerning the
proposed date, time and place for the release.
December - AFVN wins award for “The Counterpart”
December 24 - Live broadcast of a Christmas Eve Mass from a church near Saigon.
December 25 - Live feed broadcast of Billy Graham from Tan Son Nhut Air Base.
December 31 - (New Years Eve) Live coverage from New York’s Times Square.
March 14 - Detachment 7 at Chu Lai goes on the air.
April 1 - Detachment 3 begins FM broadcasts.
April 25, 26, 27 - A 48-hour history of Rock & Roll is aired.
April 28 - AFVN begins regular use of Walter Cronkite’s news show from CBS.
June 8 - Three AFVN newsmen killed by a landmine south of Da Nang. The crew had just completed a 6-part documentary on Military
Chaplins in Vietnam.
July - Daily broadcasts (using tape recordings) of the Apollo 11 mission are aired.
August - Detachments receives studio cameras so they have the capability to do live broadcasts.
September 20 - AFVN aired the “Nixon and Laird special”
September 27 - President Nixon’s speech on troop cutback’s in Vietnam and the new draft system aired on AFVN is broadcast.
October 14 - Saigon station begins broadcasting FM stereo music.
November 11 - Detachment 2, Da Nang begins stereo FM music broadcasts.
November 24 - With prior arrangement with the affiliate AFVN (Philippines) thousands of U.S. serviceman are able to view Apollo 12’s
Splashdown within a few hours of the actual event via delayed videotape.
December 28 - The Bob Hope Christmas special produced and broadcast as a live remote from Long Binh. Neil Armstrong was part
of the show.
December 31 - Live broadcast of “You’re a good man Charlie Brown.” Pianist was Tom Salisbury.
January 3 - Sp5 Bob Lawrence makes a remark on AFVN-TV charging the U.S. Command with censoring the news.
April 10 - After a mission over, Vietnam a F-4 Phantom fighter crashes into the AFRTS station at Udorn, Thailand. Several AFRTS members
die when the station is consumed in the resulting fire.
May-June - Award winning, “Anything you want to know about drugs but don’t know who to ask” and “Cambodia: 60 days”, are produced.
June 15 - Student protesters demonstrate near the AFVN compound. One U.S. serviceman is rescued by AFVN personnel after a fire
August - AFVN sends out a survey covering AM, FM and TV to find out what U.S. servicemen liked to watch and listen to. The results were
used to revamp the program schedule. A total of nine changes were the made.
September - Blue Eagle (Project Jenny) are no longer required and were returned to the Navy Oceanographic Air Survey Unit at
Patuxent River, Maryland.
January 9 - 24-hour FM broadcasting initiated at Da Nang.
July-September - The Tuy Hoa and Can Tho stations are closed and re-broadcast transmitter equipment installed.
Detachment 4(Hon Tre Island) is moved to Cam Ranh Bay Air base.
September 24 - Television on the air at Cam Ranh Bay
October 23 - Typhoon Hester causes considerable damage to Detachment 2 Da Nang.
November 7 - Cam Ranh Bay FM broadcasting begins and the AM service is continued uninterrupted.
November 24 - Detachment 5, Quang Tri is moved to Hue and is operational for only limited FM and Television broadcasting.
December - A special production “1971: GI Christmas” was produced and forwarded to all detachments.
February - U.S. troops begin the withdrawal from South Vietnam. As a result AFVN begins to close a number of stations. The Hue and
Qui Nhon Stations are the first to go off the air and the equipment is turned over to THVN (Vietnamese Government TV).
April - Cam Ranh Bay closes down its operation
June - The Nha Trang transmitter is shut down.
Much of the equipment from the deactivated stations is turned over to the Vietnamese Government or returned to the United States.
The Saigon Station is the last AFVN station to close. On March 23, 1973, LTC Harold Hutchison, the last commander of AFVN
transmitted a final message to AFRTS stating that the “AFVN ceased as of 2400 hours 22 March, 1973.”
March - American Radio Service (ARS) continued broadcasting on FM only out of the old AFVN studios at 9 Hong Tap Tu. It had four
American employees, two handling broadcasting and two handling engineering along with several Vietnamese employees.
Over the next two years they were able to "rebuild" the AFVN (ARS) Network by putting in 10-watt FM stations at Da Nang,
Nha Trang, Qui Nhon and Phon Pemh.
American Radio Service out of the old AFVN studios continued until the fall of Saigon on April 29th, 1975. SEE "I'm Dreaming of a
White Christmas" (AFVN History, Section 16-2).