TAN AN ARMY AIRFIELD
3rd Go Devil Brigade Headquarters
Tan An - Long An Province - III CTZ

3RD BRIGADE GUIDON

HOLD CURSOR ON THUMBNAIL FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
VIEW 1 - TAN AN ARMY AIRFIELD STRAIGHT AHEAD    VIEW 2 - DECREASING ALTITUDE COMING AROUND TAN AN ARMY AIRFIELD    VIEW 3 PASSING WEST OF TAN AN ARMY AIRFIELD
The 3rd Brigade headquarters base camp was divided between Tan An Army Airfield and Tan An South. Tan An South was the 3rd Brigade headquarters southeast of Route QL-4.

The 9th Infantry Division Band traveled to Tan An a total of four times during the Division's last 8 months in-country. First encounters are often the most memorable and so it was for me that sunny, hot, May 1 day back in 1969. The band had left Dong Tam's Reliable Airfield on a US Air Force C-7A Caribou. Although we were more accustomed to flying in helicopters, soaring high above the Mekong Delta in safety and relative comfort was an exhilarating break from our usual routine The Go Devils were receiving a new brigade commander, Colonel Dale J. Crittenberger, to replace the ailing Colonel Levin B. Broughton. (Colonel Crittenberger would be tragically killed in an air crash on September 17, 1969, the anniversary date of his first year in Vietnam.) The band had been ordered to perform at the change of command ceremony. En route to Tan An a flight of fast-moving US Air ForceF-4 Phantom jets crossed the path of our aircraft. The large Caribou hit the turbulent wake the jets had created and began to violently wing-wag while rapidly losing altitude. I imagine that the pilots had their hands full trying to regain control while keeping the plane relatively level. The airplane eventually settled down and we safely landed at Tan An Army Airfield, just a little shaken!

Tan An Army Airfield was a short distance west of the village of Tan An and National Route QL-4. The airfield was constructed early in 1967 to support 3rd Brigade participation in operation Enterprise. Company C - 15th Engineer Battalion and Company D - 86th Engineer Battalion transformed a straight stretch of Communal Route 223 into an asphalt, 2,500x50-foot, fixed-wing runway. The displaced road was rerouted south of the airfield. The installation included a heliport with 28 pads, a MEDIVAC pad, and a Chinook pad. Company C -  9th Medical Battalion operated a 40-bed hospital staffed by 5 doctors and a dentist. The hospital functioned as a clearing station between Tan An and Dong Tam/Long Binh. Airfield assets included a weather detachment, a rearming and refueling team, an air operations detachment from the 361st AOD, Battery C - 5/2 (40mm Duster) Artillery, and Battery H - 29th (Searchlight) Artillery.

 VIEW 4 - CROSSING THE VAM CO TAY (RIVER) AT LOW ATLITUDE     VIEW 5 - COMMUNAL ROUTE 223 OUT OF TAN AN SOUTH     VIEW 6 - APPROACHING THE INTERSECTION OF ROUTES 223 AND QL-4     VIEW 7 - TRAFFIC JAM WAITING TO CROSSING TAN AN BRIDGE    VIEW 8 - ZIG ZAG SOUTH ON QL-4 TO REACH CONTINUATION OF ROUTE 223    VIEW 9 - BUTLER STYLE GRAIN BINS ON ROUTE 223 NEAR AIRFIELD    VIEW 9 - CONTRACT LABORERS WASHING UP WITH POTABLE WATER ON AIRFIELD
 

Although I never photographed Tan An South, I did record the drive from the HQ base to the airfield on the other side of town.

 

INDICATED MONTHS OF COMMAND ARE APPROXIMATE

3RD BRIGADE COMMANDERS

3/39 INFANTRY BATTALION COMMANDERS

JAN 1967 - unknown COL Eldeen H. Kauffman JAN 1967 - APR 1967 LTC William R. Richardson
unknown - APR 1967 COL John H. Barner APR 1967 - OCT 1967 LTC Richard L. Anderson
APR 1967 - AUG 1967 COL Charles P. Murray OCT 1967 - APR 1968 LTC Richard G. Stewart
AUG 1967 - FEB 1968 COL George W. Everett APR 1968 - AUG 1968 LTC Anthony P. De Luca
FEB 1968 - AUG 1968 COL George C. Benson

AUG 1968 - FEB 1969

LTC Thomas D. Ayres
AUG 1968 - unknown LTC John A. Hemphill WIA*

Battalion re-assigned to 1st Brigade in March 1969

    As of NOV 1968

LTC Willard Latham Acting CO FEB 1969 - JUL 1969 LTC John D. Smythe
FEB 1969 - MAY 1969 COL Levin B. Broughton** JUL 1969 - AUG 1969 LTC Leroy W. Dyment
MAY 1969 - SEP 1969 COL Dale J. Crittenberger KIA***
SEP 1969 - MAR 1970 COL Andrew J. Gatsis
MAR 1969 - OCT 1970 COL Walworth F. Williams
* November 1968 - promoted to Colonel on November 21, 1968
** Became ill and relieved
*** September 17, 1969

Background Sound: "House of the Rising Sun" - The Animals 1964                RETURN TO VIETNAM TOUR 365