Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forum' started by Guest, Mar 9, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 333
    (9/14/01 12:13:56 pm)
    | Del All FYI
    Trying to get back to normal,,(me??normal??)

    anyway, thought I would post a little info about some of my (probably boring to most) duties in VN

    Upon arrival of all Army personnel initially assigned to MACV, they were added to a punched-card database. This is where I worked. This database was used for strength accounting as well as unit readiness, personal qualifications, promotions, etc. In some instances, these were classified units. I am sure most of you know all the unit designations (i.e. SOG, etc.). If the GI was attached to a civilian organization or another service unit, that soldier was carried in a TDY status in a separate file set up for that purpose. Now, some people were assigned directly from the States to a “classified” unit or organization, and some of these we had no record of, but in the most part, we had files on almost every GI in MACV. I had a safe behind my desk where I kept these classified card files.

    There were various transaction codes for the status of troops, such as “present for duty”, “wounded, in hospital”, “ill, in hospital”, and of course, “KIA”. These codes were utilized, regarding assignments, departures, TDY, attachments, etc., based on reporting date on orders. The difficult part was if a person was attached to one of the “ghost” units and was KIA, we would get a Morning Report and orders saying he was “relieved from attached and returned to parent unit”. When the soldier failed to return to his parent unit by the “reporting date”, they would have to show him as “MIA” or a term called “assigned, not joined”. This left the soldiers sort of in limbo. I suppose after the war this was resolved by declaring these troops as KIA. Not sure.

    For those assigned or attached directly from the states to a “spook” unit, there were no morning reports for verification of the individual’s status. On numerous occasions, a senior officer (usually the same one) would come by and give me a name to remove from file. The individual files on these soldiers were very small, containing relatively little information. Usually, just name, perhaps rank and MOS, and unit. I always figured even this info was probably bogus. With these files, we never used any of the above transaction codes. I just pulled the cards and destroyed them. If a person returned to the states, I would get a memo from the officer, but he always came in person to notify me of a death.
    We produced a lot of reports on these files, some of which were forwarded to DA, some for HQ, MACV, and some for commanders of the smaller units. The small classified files I maintained were used sparingly. I would only run about 3 reports per month on them and those reports were hand carried (by me most of the time) directly to the DCSOPS, MACV (Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations-MACV).

    By the way, yes, this is all unclassified now!!

    I guess the main point of this comment is it always made me uneasy when that officer would walk into my office. It had to mean a person had died. I think this LTC had a sense of duty and respect towards those he had to “send in harms way”. That is why, I believe, he personally came to take care of the job.

    Just a little info for you

    Stan H ,, nighthawk

    Senior Chief Moderator II
    Posts: 1172
    (9/14/01 12:44:35 pm)
    | Del
    Re: FYI
    Would think that knowledge of unit codes, status, and designation would be helpful should you discuss such things with a wannabe. Stolen Valor brought to light the fact that there are probably far more fakes and wannabes around than we realize.

    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 335
    (9/14/01 1:51:13 pm)
    | Del Re: FYI
    very true, dap...see my comments on Wannabes--Fire for Effect board


    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 200
    (9/14/01 11:12:28 pm)
    | Del Re: FYI
    Very interesting, Stan. I can imagine that keeping track of all the folks over there was a very difficult task.

    Posts: 616
    (9/15/01 7:03:35 pm)
    | Del Re: FYI

    I know what you mean about keeping good records.

    Whenever our ship would get underway, we had to type a new up-to-date ship's roster and put it in the mail. In those days we didn't have computers, so everything had to be typed by hand. If you made a typo, you had to retype the entire form all over again.

    Once in a while we would carry soldiers and sailors from other units from point A to point B. Each time, we had to add them to our list before we got underway. Our ship seldom stayed in one place more than a few days.

    Then our ship was decommissioned on July 1, 1970, in Taiwan. Talk about a ton of paperwork!

    Stan Lambert
    St. Clair Shores, Michigan

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