The War and Peace Military Show tribute display, 
Beltring, England, 21st - 25th July 2010

This year tribute display is to honor MAT I-27 one of the forgotten small advisor team
which served in the I CORPS. 

The reconstructed scene was inspired by Cpt Hensler recollection of
the December 1970 Pru's mission bellow. 
This represent Cpt R Hensler, SFC J Hollis and
SSG Cu'u passing through one of the small Buddhist temple
on the coast. This display was part of a much bigger one from Rolling Thunder, The Vietnam Experience.
A Society dedicated
to keep alive the memory of the 50.000 + American lives and the countless lives of its allies, including Vietnamese and French lives lost during the two Vietnam conflicts.

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I like to thanks Cpt R Hensler who shared with me his recollection of his time in Vietnam.
This Tribute display would have never be possible without all his e-mails and also two friends of mine
Jim Barr and Joe Burton who helped me to bring this display together.

Jean-Luc Delauve (Gia-Vuc & Ha Thanh webmaster)

23RD December 1970
One mission I recall fairly well was executed on the evening of 23 December '70 . It occurred only a KM or two south of the big Americal Div base at Chu Lai near the coast. It was in a relatively small area isolated by several inlets from the S. China Sea and a river flowing into the inlets. It was a good place for VC/NVA to hide or simply "chill out" in present day vernacular. I believe the mission was to locate some tunnel complexes, hopefully bag some NVA hiding in same and also weapons and equipment.
I took Jim Hollis and SSG Cu'u with me. The PRU numbered maybe 15-20 max.

We were airlifted by helicopter in to an isolated PF outpost to the east of the general objective area in mid afternoon. We waited till well after dark then moved out on foot toward the area that intel indicated where the tunnel complexes were. We moved slowly stopping frequently to verify approximate location then would continue. I do not remember who was responsible for guiding us to the complexes. I believe there was an agent who had been to the complexes before.

We were guided directly to two or three tunnels from which we pulled several weapons, rice and other assorted equipment. No personnel were encountered. One of the weapons was a U.S. M1 Garand semi auto rifle. It had seen some very tough use. The stock was quite worn and almost black in color. The receiver was badly rusted. It appeared that it would still fire - didn't try.

The operation took all night and we didn't get back to the outpost until after daylight. I don't recall how we got back to our team house. It was Christmas Eve.  

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Text and photos below were from display boards  are are additional information to the display


 



Bob Hensler own
103RD RF patch

 

My MAT Team looked pretty much like regular troops when we were on operations. We mainly wore the OD jungle fatigues with the MAC-V patch and usual US insignia as well as the 103RD Regional Forces patch on our breast as a sign of respect for our counterpart. It was also for them a status symbol to have US soldiers wearing the same patch.

While on operation with the PRU we wore the
US standard issue cammies (ERDL) jungle uniform, my cammie jacket had name and US army tapes and a shoulder Ranger tab. We always wore the flop jungle hat

We had the Standard US Load Bearing equipment with two to three ammo pouches and one or 2 water canteens on our belt. I also carried a colt 45 in the standard belt black holster and a Korean War K bar knife given to me by my uncle. Our rucksacks were the standard issue lightweight frame type, with the ruck attached to the top and equipment strapped under. I usually had another two canteen attached to my ruck. Our team weapons were the standard issue M16, but we also had one CAR-15 in our team and one M79 grenade launcher(carried by my interpreter SSG Cuu) and an M60 (probably scrounged) this was not taken on mission as our Vietnamese troops had plenty). Sometime we carried our own PC25 Radio or it was carried by a  RF trooper.


What we took on operation varied according to length of it, but I always carried in the top of my ruck two M16  bandoleers giving me an extra 16 mags.  On some of the shorter raids with the Pru , I only took my LBE with an extra ammo bandoleer strapped over my chest.

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