Phu Quoc Island - Vietnam - 2016

Topics of a general nature that relate to anything to do with the 6th Battalion 31st Infantry that served in Vietnam.
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Delta75
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Phu Quoc Island - Vietnam - 2016

Postby Delta75 » Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:31 am

I just returned from a tour to Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam. I was the only non-Vietnamese on the 30 person tour. While on the tour, I was honored to finally meet a soldier, who had served with the 18th ARVN Division at Xuan Loc in April, 1975. I had previously read about this battle, and had hoped someday to meet someone who had served there so that I could shake their hand and let them know how impressed I was with their performance at Xuan Loc. The day finally came while on the tour. One of the men (Tam) on the tour asked one of my sons if I had served in the war, and my son told him that I had served as an infantry sergeant. My wife was not with me at the time; therefore, I could not ask him if he had served, and if so, with whom. Later the next day, as we waited to leave for the next tour, I asked my wife to ask Tam if he had served. When she replied that had told her that he served with the 18th ARVN Division, I almost fell off my chair. I asked her to ask him if he was at Xuan Loc in April, 1975, and he replied that he was. Just to be sure, I asked her to ask him his general’s name……he correctly replied….General Dao. I jumped up and hugged him and shook his hand. I told my wife to tell him why I had done that…and she told him about how impressed I had been with both the men of the 18th, as well as their outstanding general. I will attach a picture of Tam and me from Phu Quoc.

For those not knowing about the Battle of Xuan, I will attach a link.

http://vnafmamn.com/xuanloc_battle.html

When the north invaded in Mar 1975, the 18th is the only unit that I am aware of that didn’t run. As most who have studied the war know, the south had very few competent officers….especially generals. Most were awarded these positions based on connections with the president of Vietnam and “not” based on any military skills. General Dao was indeed an exception. Makes one wonder what the south could have done with more leaders like him. It clearly showed that the South Vietnamese soldier would stand and fight under a leader that they respected. The 18th held off 3 – 4 NVA divisions for 2 weeks. The north finally went around Xuan Loc…straight to Saigon. News reporters interviewed Dao during the battle, and he told them that he was glad that they were there so that they could show the rest of the world that he and his men were not going to run, and that they would show the world that South Vietnamese soldiers could fight and die well. By now the 18th was decimated and was ordered to Long Binh where they surrendered shortly thereafter, after the South Vietnamese government surrendered. General Dao was asked at his surrender why he did not leave the country as did most of the other South Vietnamese generals. He responded that he would not leave his men who had fought so bravely for him and that if he were imprisoned, he would not accept release until the very last of his men had been released. This resulted in him being imprisoned for 17 years. He moved to the US about a year after his release. As far as I know, he is still alive.

I told Tam that he should be very proud of his General, because I am not sure that any of our generals would have stayed with us. He said that “Yes”, he is very proud of his general.

Phu Quoc 2016 101.JPG
Phu Quoc 2016 087.JPG
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Delta75
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Re: Phu Quoc Island - Vietnam - 2016

Postby Delta75 » Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:09 pm

Aside from Brigadier General Trần Quang Khôi, who commanded the III Corps Armored Task Force, Đảo was the only ARVN commander who stood and fought to save Saigon, before the city finally fell on 30 April 1975.
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Niner Alpha
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Re: Phu Quoc Island - Vietnam - 2016

Postby Niner Alpha » Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:37 pm

Good to know that there were such men.

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