Friday, November 2, 2007
Ban Me Thuot Bungalow 1964
In 1964, the MACV Advisory team to the ARVN 23rd Division was stationed in Ban Me Thuot, operating out of a set of wooden structures known as the Bungalow. The buildings were said to be a hunting lodge of Bao Dai, modeled after Montangard long houses. Local legend said that Teddy Roosevelt stayed there while hunting tigers. It burned to the ground in December 1969.
The senior adviser of the 23rd Division at the time was Lieutenant Colonel Irving Wendt, whom I wrote about back in June in his role with the War Graves Registration.
This registered cover was sent 0n 11 November 1964 by von Jena from the German Office of the Military, Naval and Air Attache in Saigon.
"Dear Colonel," writes Jena. "Back in Saigon after a smooth flight I wish to thank you very much for your hospitality. I reallly enjoyed your comfortable bungalow. I also wish to thank all the officers of your staff as well as Lieutenant-Colonel Bringham, Chief Adviser to the Province Chief, and his men who looked after me so well. Banmethuot has been a real success for me, and I am particularly happy that right at my first visit I could establish good contacts everywhere.
Would you also remember me to General Lu Lan, Commander of the 23rd Infantry Division, and give my regards and best wishes to the Province Chief, Major Nguyen Dinh Vinh through Lieutenant-Colonel Bringham.
Last but not least, please convey my thanks to Captain Hickman under Lieutenant-Colonel Bringham for having accompanied me to the artillery positions and for his efficient explanations.
I do hope I'll be able to come back again and perhaps have a look at one of the Special Forces Camps."