Pacification Ville. Van Thien (BS 696 804)

Soldiers from the 1st Bn 6th Inf catch a ride on a ferry boat across the Song Ham Giang near
Van Thien (BS 696 804).  1970 photo by Dennis Linn B/1-6 Inf, 70-71.

Official US Amry photo from the National ArchivesII, #SC 660645, "Members of B Co., 1st Bn 6th Inf,
198th Light Infantry Brigade join local Poplar Forces for a patrol near Van Thien.  19 Nov 70." Contrary to
what the caption states, these soldiers probably are returning from an LZ adjacent to the pacification ville
where they received a resupply of ammunition.  Note absence of loadbearing equipment and grenades,
the ammunition box carried by Ray Tyndall and Ray Mendez, the extra M-16 rifle, the radio carried by
Underwood necessary to coordinate with aircraft, and the presence of Vietnamese kids--all indications
that this was not a patrol.

The Combined Unit Pacification Program (CUPP) that brought the soldiers to the village was a concept
to use a rifle company to assist Popular Forces (PF) and People's Self  Defense Forces (PSDF) to
improve security in selected hamlets and protect them from attack.  The US forces were suposed to help
the local forces in perimeter defense, ambushes and patrols, and field sanitation.  The effort was of high
level interest.  In July 1970, the Secretary of the Army, the Hon. Stanley R. Resor, visited the site.

This official US Army photo shows the distinguished guests accompanied by MAJ Robert Proctor, S-3,
1st Bn 6th Inf, (in helmet). Photo from the National Archives II, College Park, MD.

Pacification ville.  Looking south from the American position near the Van Thien pacification ville.  The
hazy outline of the eight hundred meter long dirt fortifications of the old "French fort" are visible in the
distance (looks like a long, high levee).

[In 1970 we thought the structure was an old French fortification designed to protect the inhabitants from
direct fire, much like the berms constructed at Hill 43 to protect land clearing equipment.  The fort was
far older--it was the Chau Sa Citadel, built in the IXth century by the Champa people.  It still had walls 5m
high, and each side of the large square fortification measured over 800m long.  The Champa inhabited
the estuary of the Song Tra Khuc river (flowing past the modern Quang Ngai city) from the IX to the XIV
centuries.  They lived with rice cultivation, made pottery, and exchanged commodities with other areas
of pre-colonial Vietnam.]

Enterprising villagers would wait near the US defensive position to sell cold cokes, noodles and other items
to the soldiers.  Their wares probably were purchased on the black market in Quang Ngai city and then
carried over six miles to the pacification ville.  Photo provided by John Foster (4/B/1-6 Inf 1970-71)

Part of the CUPP involved medical support for the Vietnamese villagers.  Here SP5 Harry Drick,
a medic in B Co., 1st Bn 6th Inf, treats a small boy during a MEDCAP operation in Van Thien
Vietnam, 21 Nov 70. Official US Army photo SC 660646, National Archives II, College Park, MD.

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