44TH SPECIAL TACTICAL ZONE HQ
MACV Advisory Team 50 - Crum Compound
Cao Lanh - Kien Phong Province - IV CTZ

REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM NATIONAL FLAG    44TH SPECIAL TACTICAL ZONE INSIGNIA

HOLD CURSOR ON THUMBNAIL FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

NORTHBOUND ON ROUTE 145 BETWEEN TAN TICH AND CAO LANH - 25 MAR 69 APPROACHING VILLAGE OF CAO LANH - 25 MAR 69   INTERSECTION OF ROUTE 145 AND LOCAL STREET - 25 MAR 69 1965 MAP OF CAO LANH AREA GUARD POST RACH CAO LANH (STREAM) BRIDGE - 25 MAR 69    WATCH TOWER ON ROUTE 145 IN CAO LANH - 25 MAR 69

Cao Lanh reflected 100 years of French colonialism in architecture and civil engineering. On January 1, 1968, the 44th Special Tactical Zone was carved out of three IV CTZ provinces bordering on Cambodia to reduce the operating area of the overburdened 7th, 9th, and 21st ARVN Divisions. Each division relinquished one province to the 44th STZ who was made up of CIDGs (Civilian Irregular Defense Group), RF/PF (Regional Forces/Popular Forces), and mercenaries under command of an ARVN colonel and the guidance of MACV Advisory Team 50 headed by a US senior advisor.

A standing, French-built, Eiffel, wood truss bridge was somewhat of a rarity in IV CTZ during 1969. Communist sappers liked to blow them up. This bridge over the Rach Cao Lanh was elevated in the center, which made for a bumpy ride. A sign in Vietnamese on the bridge guard shack probably read NO SWIMMING OR FISHING FROM BRIDGE. The concrete watch tower on the north side of the bridge had been built by the French to protect their guards from the Vietminh. The French built many of this style fortification with some variation in design along roads and bridges throughout IV CTZ. They are often mistaken for water towers.
"CRUM COMPOUND" AT CAO LANH - 25 MAR 69

The HQ and TOC of the 44th STZ was housed in an installation named Crum Compound in honor of US Army Senior Advisor Major Edward Waldren Crum who was KIA on February 6, 1968, while attempted to drag one of his wounded soldiers to safety. A later senior adviser and former CO of the 4/39 Infantry Battalion who hadn't liked the name "Crum" requested through official channels that it be changed. His request had been summarily denied!

The Army airfield was south of Cao Lanh in an area known as Tan Tich. The airfield was connected to town by local Route 145. Cao Lanh was the province capital and in addition to ARVN and militia hosted several US Army units including Special Forces, MACV Advisory Team 50, and a detachment from the 52nd Signal Group. It was situated on the southern edge of the Plain of Reeds, a few miles north of the Mekong River.

RACH CAO LANH (STREAM) NORTH OF ROUTE 145 BRIDGE - 25 MAR 69

VIETNAMESE HOOTCH ON THE RACH BA KHIA AND RACH CA SAU - 25 MAR 69

The 9th Infantry Division Band had been in Cao Lanh for a 44th STZ awards ceremony. When the truck picked us up for the drive bank to the airfield at Tan Tich, the sun had already begun to set. At the airfield a Caribou was waiting for us with its motors running. As we approached both copilot and crew chief were on the runway with M-16s waving for us to hurry aboard. I surmised that the pilot didn't like his aircraft sitting in the open. The airfield at Tan Tich had been a rather exposed place.

   

VIEW 1 - AERIAL OF NEW MACV ADVISORY TEAM 50 COMPOUND AT CAO LANH   VIEW 2 - AERIAL OF NEW MACV ADVISORY TEAM 50 COMPOUND AT CAO LANH   VIEW 3 - AERIAL OF NEW MACV ADVISORY TEAM 50 COMPOUND AT CAO LANH   VIEW 4 - ARVN ARMORED COMPANY IN CAO LANH   VIEW 5 - ARVN ACAV IN FRONT OF CAO LANH MOVIE THEATER   VIEW 6 - VIETNAMESE ARMORED CAR ASSIGNED TO 44TH STZ   VIEW 7 - ARVN ENGINEER COMPOUND CAO LANH   VIEW 8 - US CAVALRY AERO-SCOUT LOACH AT CAO LANH

View 1 - This aerial view of Crum Compound and the new MACV Advisory Team 50 compound was taken from the west above the Rach Cao Lanh. The old French Eiffel bridge over the Rach Cao Lanh on Route 145 through town is out of view to the right. View 2 - The helicopter has swung around and is now on a northwest heading. The Rack Cao Lanh Route 145 bridge and old French watchtower are in the lower left corner. View 3 - The new Team 50 compound is directly below the helicopter (lower left quadrant of scene). The old French artillery parade ground and shed fills the lower left corner. View 4 - A column of ARVN APCs have stopped alongside the Team 50 Compound in Cao Lanh. View 5 - An ARVN ACAV sits in front of the movie theater where the Communist launched their February 8, 1968, attack against the MACV Advisory Team 50 compound. View 6 - A Vietnamese armored car used by the 44th STZ. View 7 - This ARVN engineers' road grader was knocked out during a Communist attack on February 7, 1968. The ARVN's dug their fortifications under and around it. This crude facility doubled as enlisted quarters for several months until a suitable place could be acquired to move the Vietnamese. View 8 - This unidentified Cavalry aero-scout LOACH has alighted in the Team 50 construction area.- courtesy LTC James Pyle (US Army Retired)

 
MACV IV CORPS NEWPAPER

The Delta Advisor  was a newspaper circulated amongst MACV troops assigned to IV Corps Tactical Zone. This issue's lead story covered Quyet Chien (determined to fight and obtain victory against the enemy) - a Delta-wide combined US and Vietnamese military campaign intended to wrestle control from Communist forces operating in the western provinces of IV CTZ. The 44th STZ, under the guidance of MACV Advisory Team 50, participated in several operations to secure the Seven Mountains area of South Vietnam. The Seven Mountains, situated near the Cambodian border, were stepped in Buddhist mysticism and considered lucky by virtue of their number. The individual mounts of the Seven Mountains rose beyond the western edge of the Plain of Reeds, a few klicks southwest of where the mighty Mekong River flowed from Cambodia into Vietnam . - courtesy LTC James Pyle, US Army (Retired)

 

NUI COTO IN THE SEVEN MOUNTAINS AREA OF SOUTH VIETNAM    44TH STZ FIRE SUPPORT BASE - SEVEN MOUNTAINS AREA    44TH STZ SPECIAL FORCES - SEVEN MOUNTAINS AREA

Left - Nui Coto, the southernmost prominence of the Seven Mountains, looms over the southwestern edge of the Plain of Reeds in Chau Doc Province. In this view a 44th STZ Vietnamese infantry unit, along with its MACV Advisory Team 50 advisors, moves forward. Center - An Vietnamese, towed, 105mm howitzer, artillery unit assigned to the 44th STZ is emplaced in a temporary fire support base at the foot of Nui Coto.  Right - A Vietnamese Strike Force detachment prepares to move out of the fire support base. The French called South Vietnam's great expanse of reeds the Plaine des Joncs. The Seven Mountains  area was at the end of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.  - photographs LTC James Pyle (US Army Retired)

VIEW 1 - THE OLD MACV ADVISORY TEAM 50 COMPOUND AT CAO LANH   VIEW 2 - MACV ADVISIORY TEAM 50 MESS IN OLD COMPOUND   VIEW 3 - MACV ADVISORY TEAM 50 TENT IN OLD COMPOUND   VIEW 4 - CRUM COMPOUND SOON AFTER IT BECAME 44TH STZ HQ

MACV NEWSPAPER ARTICLE EXPLAINING SYMBOLISM OF NEW 44TH STZ PATCH

ADVISORY TEAM 50 COMMANDER COLONEL GERACI RECEIVING VIETNAMESE CROSS OF GALANTRY W/PALM    COLONELS HANH AND GERACI    44TH STZ COMMAND PERSONNEL

View 1 - The 44th STZ had been created in January 1968. When MACV Advisory Team 50 arrived on January 1, they occupied the southwest portion of an unfortified site in downtown Cao Lanh that had once housed a French artillery battery. In this overall view of the compound, the parade field and HQ building are to the extreme right. The old French barracks, mess hall, offices, and shops fill much of the scene. In the immediate foreground is the construction site of MACV Advisory Team 50's new compound. Partially visible jutting above center right of the photograph is the movie theater from where the Communist launched their attack of February 6, 1968. View 2 - The officer's mess in the old dining room reflected an earlier era of French colonialism. View 3 - The accommodations at the unimproved compound had been inadequate for MACV Advisory Team 50 and several tents had to be pitched. View 4 - The French artillery HQ building off the parade ground was later hardened by the 44th STZ after they move in. - photographs LTC James Pyle (US Army Retired)

Left & Center - The gruff 9th Infantry Division 1st Brigade commander with the bad-ass call sign Mal-Hombre, COL John P.  Geraci, would initially be MACV Team 50 Senior Advisor to the 44th STZ prior to his coming to the 9th Infantry Division on October 23, 1968. Later in his tour he would prematurely relinquish his command of the 1st Brigade and return to the USA after the tragic loss of his wife. Right - Vietnamese MAJ Triet and COL Hanh of the 44th STZ pose for a photograph with LTC Colonel Kelly of MACV Advisory Team 50 during 1968. - photographs LTC James Pyle (US Army Retired)

   
 

On February 18, 1968, the Team 50 compound was again attacked necessitating an expedient air drop of ammunition and other supplies. In this view a USAF Caribou has just released a parachute drop. - photographs LTC James Pyle (US Army Retired)

 
Unknown, CPT Ragland, PFC Tanner, MAJ Pyle, unknown
 

Military Assistance Command Vietnam (Saigon) had authority over all branches of service operating in the Republic of Vietnam. US Army advisors were under the direct command of MACV and were administered independently from the United States Army Vietnam (Long Binh). Most advisory teams were comprised of approximately 35 US advisors under the local command of a senior advisor. These advisors fought alongside Vietnamese ARVN and militia units. Although they did not share in the public limelight of their USARV counterparts, their mission was an integral part of US strategy in Vietnam. MACV arrived in-country on February 8, 1962, and departed over a decade later on March 29, 1973. - photographs LTC James Pyle (US Army Retired)

Background Sound: "Tales of the Green Beret" - SGT Barry Sadler and Robin Moore 1966                                                                 RETURN TO VIETNAM TOUR 365