Luis Reyna goes back to Vietnam

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Niner Alpha
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Luis Reyna goes back to Vietnam

Postby Niner Alpha » Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:29 pm

Robert, could you please place the following in the 6th/31st site, once is in the site I could add the pictures. Thank Louie

Return to Vietnam Sept 13 - Sept 27, 2015, Vietnam Battlefield Tours.

Dear brothers, war combat veterans from the 6th Battalion / 31st Regiment, family and friends. I returned to Vietnam with 13 other veterans and 2 news men from Denver Colorado. We left Lax with a short layover in Taipei, we departed for Vietnam and arrived at Ho Chi Minh city, Tan Son Nhut airport. As we departed the airport we passed by the old MACV HQ & U.S. Army 3rd field hospital.

We headed into the center of Saigon (still call Saigon by most Vietnamese). That evening we enjoyed our welcome diner. Vietnam Battlefield Tours provided us with maps, pictures and a pamphlet with a lot of information and for us to make notes.

Sept 16, the morning was devoted to touring sites in Ho Chi Minh, war Memorial remnant museum, reunification hall (the old Presidential Palace) and Norte Dame cathedral (approximately 19-20% of Vietnamese are Catholic). After lunch we proceed to Tan Son Nhut airport for our flight to Qui Nhon.

Sept 17, we visited sites around Qui Nhon to Nha Trang they had beautiful beaches in which the marines first landed in 1965. We visited Army Depot, 85th Evac Hospital, LSU Ramps. We only found remnants, the city has expanded that homes and city streets were built. After lunch we continue by bus along Highway 1.

Sept 18, Nha Trang to Phan Thiet, we drove south to the Phan Rang area along Highway 1, passing through Cam Ranh Bay, we visited the 22nd Replacement Battalion (now is used by the Vietnamese Army) we could not go in but took a lot of pictures along the way. We visited 6th Convalescent Hospital and Cam Ranh Bay airport, the airport is mostly used by Russian and Europeans tourist. Before we arrived in Phan Thiet we drove by the Dimond Bay Golf Course by the ocean (the golf course is owned by Donald Trump) actually Americans cannot buy property in Vietnam however we are dealing with Donald Trump he found the way to be a partner with a American Vietnamese friend.

Sept 19, Phan Thiet we spent two days in the hotel resort area in which we had access to the beach and walked around the city. I played golf with 3 other veterans from the tour, it was a resort we had a wonderful time.

Sept 20 - 21 we drove to Vung Tau and spent the night, it is a beautiful city, we visited the Light House Mountain (they have a big statue of Jesus on top of the mountain we took pictures from below. They also have around the same area a large statue of Mary and baby Jesus. ) The statue is approximately 30 - 40 feet tall it is amazing to see something like this in a communist country.

We also see PSP Perforated Steel Platform from Vung Tao airbase, the PSP was used in runways for aircrafts to land and take off. Vung Tao was a 3 day R&R center for in country soldiers, I was here in the summer of 1968 for R&R.

We visited Long Bien and Bien Hoa Air Force base runway (the area is occupied by the Vietnamese army and we were not allowed to enter. Then turn west back to Ho Chi Minh city.

22 Sept, we visited Cu Chi on the way to Saigon. We visited the Cu Chi Vietnamese Army based (home of the 25th Infantry Division). We took pictures of the entrance but we were stopped by the Vietnamese Army and recommended that pictures were not allowed. Then we visited the Cu Chi tunnels complex and the airfield. We went inside of some the tunnels but I could not properly fit. For some of veterans that never new how many VC were killed. We stop by a VC cemetery in Cu Chi of more than 11,000 plots. They did not have cemeteries of South Vietnam Soldiers only NVA and VC soldiers. We were informed that only South Vietnam soldiers with a degree, nurses, teachers or doctors were allowed to work for the government after the war. Any other soldier without a trade were sent to the fields or labor/construction work. They indicated that most of them have died, they did not have medical or benefits from the new government.

Sept 23 - 24 Ho Chi Minh city to Can Tho, finally we went through the delta, we visited the town of My Tho in the Mekong Delta. We took a boa trip on the Mekong River to visit Thoi Son Island. As you probably remember the humidity was very high, we took a ride on small boats (Sam Pan) through the waterways of Toi Son Island and workshops. After lunch we visited My Tho PBR Base, and Dong Tam Base. I forgot about the television crew Jeremy and Sean from Denver Colorado they filmed and interviewed each and everyone of us. We had four soldiers from the DC or Maryland they were Army officers, four from Texas, one from Wisconsin, one from Virginia, and one from Seattle.

We stop at Dong Tam base, now is occupied by the Vietnamese Army. They did not let us go in but I took pictures from the outside. We visited a snake farm next to Dong Tam, the area looked very nice but I had miss emotions (as you all know we lost a lot good young soldiers, friends, and Army brothers).

The television crew interview me by the base, Here is what I said. The 9th Inf Div had several Infantry Battalions. They also had several Artillery Battalions, Aviation, Medical, Engineers, MP's, and so many other support groups. I indicated that I was assigned to the 6th Battalion/31st Regiment, Bravo Company. My Battalion was formed/established in October 1967 at Ft Lewis Washington. 975 soldiers left Ft Lewis in early 1968 to the Republic of Vietnam. Since we trained for several months together, we actually new each other by the last name. I indicated that Bravo Company made the first major contact with the enemy in May 10, 1968 in Cholon District 5. We lost several soldiers and several critical wounded, we stayed in Cholon fighting for approximately 14 days and that it was very scary and nervous time.

Sept 24, Can Tho that morning we board a boat to visit the Cai Rang Floating Market to sample local fruits and cruise thru the market on the Mekong. From there we continue west and visited some sites around Can Tho.

Sept 25 - 26 Ho Chi Minh city, we spent the night and the next day we had a free time to go around to Saigon, several guys and I walked to the Ben Thanh Market which is the main shopping zone in the city. We bought a lot of souvenirs, We also visited Cholon District 5 by bus. Cholon is the Chinese district or a sort of Chinatown in Hi Chi Minh city. On the West Bank of the Saigon River, Cho Lon spans across two districts 5 and 6. Literally translated Cholon means "Big Markets" in Chinese.

Sept 27, we departed from Tan Son Nhut airport to Taipei. Then departed from Taipei to the USA arriving in Los Angeles.

With this I close my chapter with Vietnam, I learned that the people in Vietnam are very simple, humble and very forgiving must of them don't remember the Vietnam/American war. As we all know Vietnam is a communist country but it looks like a democratic country. The police don't carry guns, the people don't own guns, only the military carry weapons. You could be robbed by pick packets or people driving motorcycles or scouters can take your wallets, cell phones or purses. In other words no body is perfect in this world.

Hope you enjoyed the attached pictures in the 6th/31st site.

Luis a Reyna
Bravo Company
Vietnam 1968 - 1969
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Delta75
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Re: Luis Reyna goes back to Vietnam

Postby Delta75 » Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:21 am

Luis...so glad that you enjoyed your trip. My wife leaves Oct 13 to visit her family in Vietnam, and I will join her in Jan. Wish more of our Brothers could return for a visit. As you say, most (+80%) of the present Vietnamese population were not even born in what they refer to as "the war years". The young people don't even want to talk about it...to them it is ancient history. They prefer to buzz around on their small motorcycles talking on their cell phones...or...sitting in a corner restaurant using their I-pads or I-phones. I have found most of our former enemy to be very friendly...they just wonder why we can't put the war behind us as they have done. It is very clear that most Vietnamese people like Americans much more than they do the Chinese (who they hate) or the Russians. As you mentioned...no guns are allowed; therefore, other than a few quick snatch thieves in the cities, you are safer in Vietnam than you are in the USA.

BTW: As you mentioned, there are VC cemeteries everywhere, but none to the ARVN. The ARVN cemeteries were all dug up and the families were told to remove the bodies or they would be destroyed. The communists really blew it with this action along with their re-education camps and employment black-lists which prevented most ARVN and all South Vietnam government employees from obtaining decent jobs. I personally believe that the former South Vietnamese army and government personnel were tired of war, and could have been absorbed into the new government with no problem. However, the communist actions resulted in the loss of thousands of highly trained people who left as "boat people". If these people had been absorbed, the famine and poor performing government. that existed until as late as 1990 could have been avoided.

As you mentioned....today's Vietnam is communist basically in government only...other than the government, due to all of the capitalism, one would think that they were in a democratic country. I guess one could say that it is much like China.

In summary....as most of the other people in the world have discovered, Vietnam is a great vacation spot. The Vietnamese people are very friendly, they love Americans, and they have some beautiful beach and mountain resorts. The prices are lower than most resort areas, crime is very low, and there are no terrorists to worry about.
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Niner Alpha
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Re: Luis Reyna goes back to Vietnam

Postby Niner Alpha » Tue Oct 13, 2015 6:18 pm

More photos.
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Niner Alpha
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Re: Luis Reyna goes back to Vietnam

Postby Niner Alpha » Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:50 am

More photos added in the Album section. Follow this link. Best viewed in slide mode...see the choices to the left of the open page or click on any photo to make larger.

Click here :


http://6thofthe31st.com/gallery/index.p ... ects/Reyna
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Charlie Salisbury
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Re: Luis Reyna goes back to Vietnam

Postby Charlie Salisbury » Sun Oct 25, 2015 2:24 pm

Luis, thought the pictures were really good and interesting. Might go with some of the vets from the 1st Cav, just don't know if I could handle it, but enjoyed the info and pictures you had!
Charlie "Tripper" Salisbury
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Re: Luis Reyna goes back to Vietnam

Postby Niner Alpha » Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:07 am

"Here is one of the Vietnam videos from KDVR-TV, hope you will enjoy it." Luis.

Luis,

Hi everyone…



It’s Jeremy Hubbard, the reporter who journeyed to Vietnam with you all! Hope all is well with you. Sean and I are still hard at work putting together our material from the trip. We got some great elements, thanks to all of you.



We have a rough-cut of two of our stories, and I wanted you to see them. You can watch them here: https://vimeo.com/143216192. I think you’ll enjoy the “flycam” video. J



Keep in mind, we have much more to do… so if you don’t see yourself in these stories (or only see a few seconds of yourself), don’t panic! We still have several more stories to produce.



Thanks

Jeremy
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Re: Luis Reyna goes back to Vietnam

Postby Niner Alpha » Sun Nov 01, 2015 11:30 am

In case you didn't notice in the above information, Luis's album is here:

http://6thofthe31st.com/gallery/index.p ... ects/Reyna

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