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Infantrymen Aid The Construction Of The Tu My Resettlement Area from the Southern Cross for October 15, 1969

Electronic copy of article provided by Leslie Hines

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By PFC Mark Geiser

LZ 4-11 — A flurry of activity has entered east of here as a joint Division-GVN operation begins to take hold.

The result is Tu My Resettlement Village. Located five miles west of Quang Ngai City, the village has a present population of 4,289 people. The number is expected to push close to the 5,000 mark before the end of the year.

The operation had its beginning in early July when the 3rd Bn., 1st Inf., 11th Inf. Bde., working with the 4th ARVN Regiment, was moved into the Quang Ngai Valley to set up a fire support base.

Apparent To The People

It soon became apparent to the people that this was their chance to move from VC-controlled areas. According to District Senior Advisor Ken Gould, "There were three reasons why the people decided to come under government control."

"The VC had taken all their young people from them and had enlisted them as soldiers and as porters; and they knew that the presence of the U.S. forces would provide security for the movement."

The first group of people to pack up their belongings and move were 300 Montagnards who came in to the outskirts of Quang Ngai. They were closely followed by another 500 lowland Vietnamese.

1969 Pacification Program

Because the new village was not part of the 1969 pacification program, special permission had to be granted by the Saigon and Provincial government for the construction of the village.

Rather than having the people set up permanent homes near Quang Ngai, it was decided to make special plans for the village to be relocated near the new firebase. Special allocations provided food and other supplies. Shelters were built for the people until they were to move again.

In late July the District Chief, MAJ Hoa, conferred with the then battalion commander, LTC George V. Ellis (Kent, Ohio), as to when the people would be moved to the new village. Due to the amount of enemy activity during this time, it was decided to wait until the area was secure for the big move.

By the middle of September, the move was fully coordinated, 800 people began their trek to their new homes. Construction started immediately upon arrival.

People Increasing Daily

With the number of people increasing daily, buildings were erected to allow for expansion. Tin for roofing and food supplies were sent in to fulfill the needs of the people. Cement was brought in to reinforce the sides of the wells. Rice-gathering parties were sent out to gather the crops of rice in the area.

In the early stages of settlement, two MEDCAP teams a week were sent from FSB 4-11 to administer medical aid to the people. Since that time the need has diminished to a point where one team is needed a week. Vietnamese nurses have helped to decrease the need for U.S. assistance.

The village has been a significant rallying point for Hoi Chanhs. In the last two months, 136 have "chieu hoied" at Tu My. One of these recently led C Co. of the 3rd Bn., 1st Inf., to a large cache of 36 weapons.

As the District Senior Advisor stated, "The reason for the high number is attributed to the Revolutionary Development cadre in the area who are getting the word out to the people in the village and they in turn are contracting those not under GVN control."

Evidence Of Freedom

Evidence of the freedom that the people have acquired is exemplified by the free election that will be held before the end of the year to select village leaders.

Defense and security of the village is provided jointly by U.S. personnel and ARVN forces. PF platoons are also working in the area. The People's Self Defense Force personnel are being trained by the U.S. and ARVN forces in the defense of the village.

Explaining the role of the 3rd Bn., 1st Inf. Battalion Commander LTC Leslie J. Stottle (Clarksville, Tenn.), stated that "we have a twofold mission: providing security and defense for the village and working with the village cadre in meeting their needs."

Greater Chance For Survival

The colonel added, "The people are now under the control of the Vietnamese government. Security has been reestablished in the are and there by a complete turnover has taken place."

District Senior Advisor Gould explained, "the people now live much better than they did before. They have a much greater chance for survival, for the village has given them a 'new hope'." (11th IO)

(11th IO)

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The original copy of this document was a personal purchase from the Carlisle Barracks Military History Institute by Leslie Hines.

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