So Delta75, can we have a report?

Fall in. Answer up. Be accounted for. Post a memory, photo, greeting or question. If nothing else post that you are still alive because some of us are likely to be glad you did.
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So Delta75, can we have a report?

Postby Niner Alpha » Tue Oct 15, 2002 10:07 pm

A lot of us would like to hear about your latest trip back to Vietnam. Are you going to write another report on the Donut Dollie's site? Could you share with us some of the details?
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My Latest Trip to VN

Postby Delta75 » Wed Oct 16, 2002 12:58 pm

Niner Alpha...I will provide a summary as soon as possible on this Website. It won't be too long.....just a brief summary.

Thanks for the interest.
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My Latest Trip to VN

Postby Delta75 » Fri Oct 18, 2002 7:15 pm

Well this trip wasn't as dynamic as the previous 2 trips, but it was still very enjoyable. I got to practice my Vietnamese. I read and write better than I speak...and I have a difficult time understanding when they speak to me. I have to carry a notepad so that I can communicate via writing. Actually Tam's English is fine...but no one else can speak English. First day....was spent recovering from the 31 hours of fly/wait. The second day... we went to My Tho to buy a larger dinner table for the house. A large wooden table with 8 chairs..plus delivery.... cost $130 USA dollars. The third day we had a van take most of the family to Chou Duc....a religious, mountainous area near Cambodia. We went to see Tam's uncle whom she hadn't seen in 40 years. We left Vinh Kim around 3am...it took 6 hrs to get there. It really wasn't that far...but the roads are not the greatest, and we had to take ferries across several rivers. So an all day trip, with most of her family, including the van cost me about $80USA. The fifth day the whole family went to Vung Tau..none had ever seen the ocean or a beach. Another all day trip by van for about $50USA. Seventh day, we went to Da Lat...most of the family...for 2 days. Van for two days was $100USA, hotel (3 rooms) was $40USA for 2 days. Ninth day we went by motorbike to meet a friend's (of mine at work) mother...east of Can Tho...near the coast. After that, we just stayed around Vinh Kim and visited her friends. Enjoyed the trip....but I was glad to get home. Oh Yes.....now that I know that she was VC, Tam has now pulled her VC Award Certificate our of hiding and now has it displayed on the wall...as do many of the people in Vinh Kim. It is such a strange feeling, if you didn't know that it was a Communist country...a tourist would never know. Absolutely no military/police presence..and apparent freedom of travel for all. BUT...you are not supposed to work outside your province without permission...but everyone does by simply paying a bribe. A number of our directors at work just got back from a trip to China and made similar comments. That's all.....probably too long as it is.
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Re: My Latest Trip to VN

Postby Niner Alpha » Fri Oct 18, 2002 10:14 pm

Interesting account of your trip Jerry. Thanks for taking the time to give us a report.

I know about the nice modern house you had built, but have the living conditions of the people in the villages changed much in thirty years as far as "modern" living? I remember thached hooches with few walls and the only drinking water collected in run off from the roof. Toilets were flimsy constructions over rice paddys and beds were woven mats on wood platforms. There were no electric lights because there was no electricity. Most meals were some form of rice with some fish. That is not to mention the rats raised for food along with scrawny chickens and a few pigs. Has this changed?
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ReturnTrip to VN - answers to questions

Postby Delta75 » Mon Oct 21, 2002 9:17 am

Things have changed a great deal since "the war years"..which is how the people refer ro the VN war period. There are alot of new houses built much like the one that I built for Tam. All of this money is coming from relatives outside VN....most from the USA with some from Australia, France, etc. Even many of the thatched huts have electricity and TVs. They run the electrical wires on anything that will hold a wire and the wire is often dangerously close to the ground..with wire that we would consider rather questionable You would not believe the growth of the areas outside Saigon, basically housing all the way from Saigon to My Tho with very, very few rice paddies. Mostly fruit trees around this area with rice raised now mainly further south around Can Tho. Vinh Kim has a commerical water department with a water tower, but it cost too much for most people. They still prefer to catch rain water in the rainy season and use water from the canals in the dry season. Actually many people now use this water for washing and buy bottled water in the village for drinking. Many of the thatched houses still have the toilets that you referred to, but many of the more modern houses have commodes and septic tanks. Some have water connected via gravity feed systems, some are gravity feed types where you have to pour in the water. As to bathing, most still use the rivers and canals...or in Tam's case, a shower room where you pour water over yourself with a small bucket. Beds. They seem to prefer the wooden beds with a sleeping mat....even in the modern houses. Tam has a more modern bed but only because of me. Food...they eat very well. Lots of fish, shrimp and other sea food along with pork and at times chicken and beef. Believe it or not chicken is the most expensive.....I guess those scrawny chickens are indicative of how difficult they are to raise. Also lots of fresh vegetables, fruits and rice. You still see "rat" in the market but it doesn't seem to be a significant part of their diet. Still lots of pigs.....big ones just like when we were there. Everyone goes to the market in the morning to buy or trade for all the food that they need for the day. Most people have no refrigeration for food. Even the thought of less than fresh food seems to be un-thinkable for most people. In general.....with the money flowing in from other countries, VN is doing much better...I wonder, however, if this external flow of money will continue during later generations when those who actually came from VN are no longer alive. Since the pay is so very low in VN and the prices so cheap...many families who have money coming in from outside VN don't even bother to work. They live very well off the money that they receive from abroad. In summary, the "average" VN is doing much better now that the war is over and they are happy that the killing has stopped. The other change, as I have stated before, is that now instead of paying bribes to the VN government, they pay bribes to the communist government. Interesting point that I will close with...the VC supporters are rather unhappy that the Northerners (Bac Ky) took control of the government and pretty much left them out of all control. In other words, they don't care for the North Vietnamese. They do not, however, seem unhappy enough to fight another war...they are very happy that the wars are, hopefully, over. There is no doubt in my mind that with the population of young men now in the South, that if they were "that" unhappy with their government, they could and would fight. As untrusting as the VN people are and were of their government, I'll bet there are old AK-47s buried all over the country...just in case they are ever needed.

Later
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Re: ReturnTrip to VN - answers to questions

Postby Niner Alpha » Mon Oct 21, 2002 11:15 pm

Thanks Jerry. That told me a lot that I have been curious about for a long while. It is interesting that the change is being caused to a significant extent by the money sent from relatives in the US and elsewhere and not by the new political order of things.
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Present Status in VN

Postby Delta75 » Tue Oct 22, 2002 6:55 pm

There is some change, I am sure, that is not due to external money....but I don't believe that it is really that significant. I could be wrong. In talking to the few college educated people that I was exposed to, they are unhappy with the lack of progress made by their present government. Things have improved since the USA has removed its restrictions; however, the people want more factories and more jobs...but factories/jobs that are more technical than the present Nike shoe and Foster beer factories. Via TV, they all see Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and now China making progress in more technical areas such as semiconductors, and they want those type of jobs. I know that VN is now challenging India for some outsourced computer programing contracts...due to their lower labor rates; however, I am doubtful that the techical education levels exist in VN that are available in these other SE Asian countries. The well educated people are hopeful that when the present "war years" leaders die, they will be replaced by more "forward thinking" leaders. The children of former South Vietnamese officials, officers, supporters, etc. have, however, resolved themselves to the fact that they will never be able to participate in any governmental position. They are without a doubt "black-listed".
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Vinh Kim Police Chief

Postby Thieu Ta Pope » Thu May 15, 2003 8:34 pm

Hi: I was District Senior Advisor in Vinh Kim in 1968-1969. Just happened to run across your comments about Tam in Vinh Kim. I'm trying to find out about the young police chief who was stationed in Vinh Kim in 1968. I was told he was strung up and murdered in the town square when the commies took over. Any info Tam can provide would be welcome. By my knowledge of him, he was a just man but I'm sure Charlie had a different opinion with the atrocities I SAW FROM BOTH SIDES. But, never having abused an enemy P.O.W. nor allowed such abuse, I wonder what happened to my good, young friend. Could you inquire? George at gbonville@earthlink.net
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Vinh Kim Police Chief

Postby daiuyp » Thu May 15, 2003 11:19 pm

This is really a reply to Delta 75 and his trip to Vinh Kim. I was one of the Pope's Cardinals in Long Dinh District; Vinh Kim was the Capital City. I, too would like to know whatever happened to the Police Chief and many of our Viet friends from when we served there. How about the orphanage up the road from VK, about halfway from the town market square and QL 4? Whatever hapened to the priest/brother who tended it? I read the comment how QL 4 is im bad condition and it sounds like it is a lot worse than it was back then. It was in fairly good confition despite the huge mines the VC used to blow up civilian laden buses. When I left, the US engineers, probably from the 9ID, were paving many of the local roads below QL 4. They were using some powdery stuff they mixed in with the mud and then they paved over it. They said it dried up the ground enough to a certain depth to make the pavement last longer before it buckled and cracked due to the wetness of the soil. How did they establish electric power to the town? What happened to the local school ma'rm? Did the bridges to Dong Tam and out of VK get rebuilt when the war ended? So many questions...Is the old District compound used by the new gvt. at all? Is the bridge from VK market across the Sam Giang still there? Is it the one rebuilt in 69 or a new one? How about the Pagoda and the Cao Dai temple? Still there, or were their parishioners sent to re-education camps? How'd they get septic tanks in there? The water table is about 24 inches below ground level. Do they still feed the fish by having the ponds under the latrines? How about the area North of QL 4: Is it developed? How well? Did the elementary school survive? Right across the road from our HQ in 69. Did thw new gvt. get around to building a High School or do the students still have to go to My Tho for that? What's the most used mode of personal transportation?
It was 30" heel base then on Japanese flip-flops. Some bikes and very few motor bikes. Of course, with most of the bridges gone these were not really an advantage especially when carrying the groceries, some of which were on the hoof... and the buses for the trips to My Tho or Can Tho. I do so much want to return for a visit...Probably best not to do so for a while. Our team was very effective in maintaining the peace y'all established in the Tet days of 68 what with our policy, the Pope's, really,of coordination and cooperation with the 9ID and not just military ops but also civil affairs projects of every kind.
Thanks for the opportunity and maybe you can answer at least a few of the questuins and perhaps come up with some answers to others you might anticipate.
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Re: Vinh Kim Police Chief

Postby Delta75 » Fri May 16, 2003 10:10 am

Thieu Ta Pope/daiuyp
Ca'c anh, la`m o*n no'i chuye^.n to^i b(a`ng "email" jerry.white@amd.com. To^i se~ co^' g(a'ng tra? lo*`i ho?i cu?a ca'c anh. Xin lo^~i tie^'ng Vie^.t cu?a to^i kho^ng
gio?i l(a'm ne^n ba^y gio*` to^i se~ vie^'t b(a`ng tie^'ng Anh.
Ha`ng nga`y, to^i ho.c tie^'ng Vie^.t nhu*ng tie^'ng Vie^.t kho' l(a'm vi` no' co' sa'u da^'u va` tie^'ng Anh co' kho^ng.

I need to make sure that we are talking about the same Vinh Kim because I understand that there is another Vinh Kim south of My Tho. The Vinh Kim that I am talking about is a small village not too far northwest across the canal that ran on the west side of Dong Tam. I believe that it was in the Dinh Tuong Province.

I will answer the questions based on the assumption that this is the same Vinh Kim. Since this may not be the same Vinh Kim, I will wait for your response before asking co^ Ta'm the questions for which I presently do not know the answers.

Question from me: What is QL4? To^i kho^ng bie^'t.

(1) Young police chief. I do not know, but if this is the correct Vinh Kim, I can ask.
(2) Orphanage....is this the Catholic church/orphanage that was down the road (and on the other side of the road) from the 9th's firebase? If so, it is still there but not in as good shape as it was in when we left in the summer of 1969.
(3) What happened to the priest/brother? I don't know, but if this is the correct Vinh Kim, I can ask.
(4) Electric power. The power comes, I believe, from My Tho. As stated in my story, the wiring that runs from the main power lines to the houses is very poor.
(5) Local school ma`m. I don't know, but if this is the correct Vinh Kim, I can ask.
(6) Yes, the bridges have been rebuilt. Now much of the traffic from Vinh Kim to My Tho goes by way of the road that goes west from Vinh Kim to the Mekong River. Then they take a road south to My Tho. They have built bridges that cross the river that runs beside Vinh Kim and the canal that runs beside Dong Tam.
(7) District Compound. Yes, it is used by the new government. Bridge over Sam Giang. Again if this is the correct Vinh Kim, yes it is still there and it looks like the same bridge that we crossed in 1969. The area across the river has now overcome the damage from the war. Many people live there now.
(9) Pagoda/Cao Dai temple. There is a temple next to the canal that runs off the river and goes south into Vinh Kim. They were having a ceremony the there the last time I was there. Again, if this is the correct Vinh Kim, I will ask more questions of co^ Ta'm.
(10) Parishioners to re-education camp. Again, I do not know, but if this is the correct Vinh Kim, I can ask.
(11) Septic tanks: I am not sure how they work with the water table, but I will ask.
(12) Fish under latrines. Yes, these are still there...just not as many now that so much US money is flowing into Viet Nam.<br>
(13) Area north of QL4. Again, I am not sure what you mean by QL4. Are you talking about the area toward Cai Lay? The area between Vinh Kim and the highway to Cai Lay? Actually development is happening everywhere along the main highways. People everywhere! Many of the the rice paddies that we used to see are no longer there.
(14) Elementary school. Yes still there, but not in as good a condition.
(15) High School. Again, I am not for sure, but if this is the correct Vinh Kim, I can ask.
(16) Transportation: Main transportation is xe mo^ to^. Small motorcycles are everywhere. Many people pay the "honda riders" to take them to My Tho, etc. Xe dda.p (bicycles) are also very prevalent. They have both good and poor buses and both come to the Vinh Kim market to pick up people. Not too many cars in Vinh Kim.....but quite a few vans that carry people. Lots of people still walking. Not too many xe lam (small three wheel van) left...but a few. Very few xi'ch lo^ (pedicab).

You should return for a visit If you would like, I can put you in touch with a Vietnamese guide friend of mine who might be able to answer any questions related to your safety concerns. From what my Vietnamese friends tell me, there is nothing to worry about now...but I can understand your concerns. I wish that I had returned much sooner than I did, and I could have helped Ta'm sooner after her husband died 12 years ago. I wish that she and I could have stayed in touch. I wish that I had gone back to get her after the war.....but her mother told her that I wasn't coming back and told her that she needed to marry a South Vietnamese Lt. Well, there is nothing that I can do about the past. I talked to Ta'm this morning and she has got to have surgery to remove some shrapnel (mie^?ng tra'i pha') that is moving close to her spine. She is in a great deal of pain. She received this injury when she was hurt in the attempt by the VC to kill me via two chi com command det claymore mines.

If you are interested, you can see pictures and more of my story at http://www.emilydd.com. Look under "Writings", "Writings by Others", Jerry White.

Please feel free to contact me at jerry.white@amd.com with any additional questions. I will await to hear form you.

Cha`o ca'c anh. Ga.p la.i sau.

Jerry
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Re: So Delta75, can we have a report?

Postby Niner Alpha » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:01 pm

This was one of the early posts from 2002. I've edited the Delta forum down to nearly the bottom of page three in what is turning out to be a lot more work than I expected to start with. But one good thing about it, I get to dig some moldy oldies up again.

Maybe somebody new to the site hadn't seen this post. I think it should be closer to the top because it showed what was happening when this internet stuff for the 6/31st was still new.
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Re: So Delta75, can we have a report?

Postby Ron » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:08 pm

Jerry,
I've been following your history lesson on returning to 'Nam, namely Vin Kimh. I was very much surprised on how things have changes over the years like the My Tho area of rice paddies. It's interesting to hear from your own perspective, Jerry, on what we might expect if we were to return Vietnam after being there 40 some years ago. I will be trying to follow continuing postings, if any, by you Jerry. :)
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Re: So Delta75, can we have a report?

Postby Delta75 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:28 am

Ron.....if you were to return to Viet Nam, you would be very surprised by the significant change. I will list a few...please forgive the lack or "order" to these inputs.
(1) The roads are not the greatest; however, they are now paved and light years better than 40 years ago.
(2) Viet Nam has become a vacation spot for much of Europe and Australia. The mountains of Da Lat and the beach areas around Nha Trang and Danang, along with Ha Long Bay in the north being the most popular. It appears that the reasonable prices and the fact that there are no Muslim terrorists to be concerned about are, along with the beauty of the area, most appealing.
(3) Most tourists travel via tourist agency air-conditioned vans with English speaking drivers. The drive up the coast line from Saigon to Nha Trang and the drive from Nha Trang to Da Lat are both beautiful drives. BTW: I prefer Nha Trang (on the beach) to Da Lat. Da Lat is beautiful and very cool and there are alot of tourist attractions; however, Nha Trang has everything....boating ,swimming, islands, scuba diving, snorkeling, water sking, para-saling, vists to mountain tribes, etc.
(4) There is really very little (basically no) militaryor police presence. Apparently most of the VN Army is on the China border, because the VN do not trust the Chinese. To be quite honest, if you didn't know that you were in a communist country, you would never know.
(5) There is still some sign of the war...especially as you fly in and see the bomb craters filled with water. There are still signs of bullet holes on some of the remaining bunkers at the river crossings (many which we guarded at one time or another). When you fly into the airport in Saigon you will see that some of the concrete shelters that helicopters/jets parked under to protect against rocket/mortar attacks still remain. BTW: The airport is now quite nice...much nicer than when I returned in 2001. They pretty much have a "no hassle" approach toward tourists....unless you are Vietnamese/American and they might have to pay a bribe to keep from being delayed by a luggage check.
(6) The women are still beautiful. :D
(7) There has been major building along all highways...specially between Saigon and My Tho. Almost no open space remains along these highways.
(8) Should have placed this first...75% of the people in VN were born "after" 1975. The VN people "really" like Americans and some will practice their English with you. Former US forces employees are "very" happy to see you. I also found that the former enemy was/is very happy to meet the men that they fought against. In other words, you do not have to worry about bad feelings. The VN people have put the war behind them much better than we have. In summary....most of the VN people are very, very friendly toward Americans. They like us and the Australians much better than the French, Germans, Russians, Chinese, Japanese, etc.
(9) Tourist must stay in hotels, hostels, etc. and are not permitted to stay whereever they would like...say like in a small village. Actually....it is posible if you pay a bribe...Yes...somethings never change. The government officials are still corrupt...but now...you have to pay bribes to the communist officials.
(10) Dong Tam is now a snake farm, zoo, and a VN Army post. You can visit the snake farm and zoo but not the army post. Your guide can rent a boat to take a trip up the Dong Tam canal, several rivers (to include Snoopy's Nose and the Vinh Kim river), etc.
(11) Without directions from local people, it is basically impossible to determine the location of Fire Base Moore.
(12) The firebase at Vinh Kim is now an open soccer field. Vinh Kim has grown greatly....no more rice fields...only fruit trees.
(13) A paved road now runs from Vinh Kim to the Mekong River. A paved road also runs along the Mekong River from My Tho...past Dong Tam...and across the Vinh Kim river. Motorbikes are everywhere.
(14) People in VN are pretty much free to travel (but not work...unles they pay a bribe) whereever they want to....Warning: Don't take pictures of their military establishments...even their mud forts. :D
(15) You can travel esaily to Can Tho...across a huge bridge built by Australia. You can also travel to Ben Tre via a ferry at My Tho...not sure if the bridge is finshed yet.
(16) Your guide can take you to VC Island.
(17) Can Giuoc and Can Duc have grown.....I could not determine where the old fire base was, and we did not stop to ask.
(18) Vung Tau is still a very popular beach city....especially with the VN people from Saigon.
(19) Saigon is huge and crowded with much, much traffic. It can take you several hours to travel acros Saigon. Avoid where possible.
(20) My Tho is now a pretty nice city with a nice hotel along the Mekong River.
(21) I didn't spend much time in Tan An or Cai Lay, but both have grown...but....appear rather dirty and unappealing to me.
(22) Lots of great inexpensive food...especially fruit everywhere. Remember to peel the fruit.
(23) Last but not least......if anone plans to go to Vinh Kim, please let me know...I would like for you to visit my house and meet all of my children and grandchildren....as Dave Tyo (Alpha Company) did in 2009.

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