~ 720th Military Police Battalion Vietnam History Project ~

Vung Tau Detachment & Convoys

This Page Last Updated   30 January 2018
   if you served at this detachment or on the convoy escorts and would like to contribute any information, personal stories, documents, media articles, photographs, or can provide information on any events not listed in the Battalion Timeline, please take a moment to contact the History Project Manager at the Email Link provided on this page. Your contributions are important to the recording of the Battalion history and always welcomed here.
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This Timeline has been reduced to a summary. All specific significant dated events and corresponding photographs of this detachment-convoy Timeline have been incorporated into the Battalion Timeline pages. To assist in locating the detachment-convoy events, each entree on the Battalion Timeline pages is proceeded by the event designation Vung Tau Detachment & Convoys. To review your tour of this dual mission in the Battalion Timeline, use the Main Index link above.

     In addition, the majority of undated miscellaneous photographs and photograph thumb nail links for this page have been deleted and moved to the Miscellaneous Photograph Index. All event specific dated photographs have been moved to their appropirate place in the main Battalion Timeline.

   From 1965 through 1972 many of the units mentioned in this website were at one time subordinate to the 720th MP Battalion, and had elements assigned to military police and security duties at Vung Tau, Phuoc Tuy Province, III Corps Tactical Zone separately or jointly.

   As a result, the Vung Tau Detachment histories of the 188th MP Company, 615th MP Company, 146th MP Platoon,  88th MP Company (K9, 212th MP Company (Sentry Dog) and 720th MP Battalion have been combined in this detachment section.

    Vung Tau was also home to elements of the Australian Army who were encamped at Nu Dat in Phuoc Tuy Province to the northeast of the city. As their troop buildup continued support elements were stationed within Vung Tau proper. The Australian Military Police section was the 1st Division Provost Company (1 DIV PRO COY). They were part of the Australian Force Vietnam HQ (AFV HQ), Saigon.

18th MP
89th MP
720th MP

   The Australian Military Police in South Vietnam were all members of the Royal Australian Army Provost Corp (RAA PRO) and belonged to the only Australian MP unit in South Vietnam, known as the Australian Force Vietnam Provost Unit (AFV PRO). The AFVPRO staffed an MP desk, stockade and Provost Marshal Office in Vung Tau.

   They were also joined by members of the Royal New Zealand Corps of Military Police (RNCMP).

   Vung Tau City sits on a peninsula jutting out from South Vietnam into the South China Sea in III Corps Tactical Zone. Vung Tau was a natural site for the U.S. Naval facilities developed during the war. In addition, the resort town overlooked the South China Sea entrance to the serpentine river approach to Saigon the capital of South Vietnam and its main port.

   Since Vung Tau was not a deep water port and ships had to anchor off shore at large floating docks, it was used primarily as a troop drop off for incoming Allied units. Their heavy cargo and vehicles were then shipped to the ports at Saigon and Newport.

Convoy Operations Overview

   Major vehicular convoys were primarily outgoing rather than incoming. The majority of the early war convoys were to transport the soldiers of newly arrived U.S. military units to their assigned base camps. In later years incoming supply convoys would be needed when Vietnamization of naval docking operations eliminated water borne resupply of the few remaining U.S. military and allied units in the area.

   The trip from Long Binh Post to Vung Tau began when the convoys exited Long Binh Post and turned south on Highway #316 to the southwest end of the post, turned left (east) onto Highway #317 that paralleled the southern perimeter of the post to Gate #11. At Gate #11 the convoy turned right (south) on to Highway QL-15 over the small Buong River Bridge past the Phuoc Cang MACV Outpost.

   It continued on pass the Bearcat base camp, and through the villages of Long Than, Quan Tre, Phu Lai, Tam Phuoc, Than Thien, Thai Thien, Phu My, Gieng Moi and at Long Cat the highway turned to the left (east) around Hill #504. Once on the southern side of Hill #504 the highway passed through Long Xuan and into the City of Phuoc Le where Highway QL-15 intersects with Highways LTL-2 (north east) and TL-44 (south). The convoy remained on QL-15 where it exits the city in a southwesterly direction into the Vung Tau delta area until entering the City of Vung Tau.

   The Vietnamese Army Military Police [Quan Canh] Training School was located in Vung Tau. It was the only one of its kind in Vietnam, and was patterned after the United States Army Military Police School in Fort Gordon, Georgia.

   Because of it's costal resort status, Vung Tau was also utilized as an in-country Rest & Recreation (R&R) location for U.S. and allied troops. Later in 1970 the status would change from an open to closed city for troops unless on authorized business.

   In addition to its costal resort status the city also depended on fishing to bolster its economy and with the pleasant weather local farmers provided fresh produce and meats for the populace.

   Within weeks after their arrival in Vietnam the 615th MP Company sent a platoon of MPs from "Tent City" outside of Saigon to Vung Tau. Upon their arrival they found that the Vung Tau area was already being policed by another MP company believed to the the 560th MP Company (716th MP Battalion). The platoon stayed for approximately thirty days before being reassigned back to their company headquarters at Tent City.

Personal Reflections

"I was part of the 615th. MP platoon that was assigned to Vung Tau. It was a very interesting place.  There was a Special Forces group based there as well as Australians, New Zealanders and South Koreans.  It was a typical situation where we controlled the area in the daytime and the night belonged to the Viet Cong but I do not recall any major events during the time we spent there. It was standard town patrol and security. Our free time was spent in town or mostly at the beach." SP/4 Richard C. "Dick" Jones, 615th MP Company, 716th MP Battalion, Military Assistance Command Vietnam, Vung Tau and Tent City Saigon, August-December 1965.

   The 88th MP Company (K9) subordinate to MACV, and soon to be reflagged as the 212th MP Company (Sentry Dog), also staffed a detachment of approximately 18 to 20 teams commanded by a Sergeant. Before the formal kennels were constructed the K9's lived in command tents with sand floors. The unit also ate C Rations until mess facilities could be constructed.
Miscellaneous Detachment Photographs
The Vung Tau Sub-Port Detachment
July Within weeks of the 188th MP Company arriving at Pershing Field in Saigon, they were assigned the mission of augmenting the 560th MP Company already performing on board ship security at the port of Vung Tau. A platoon of approximately sixty MPs from the 188th was formed and sent as a detachment to the city.

   The detachment was first billeted in three canvas tents located on a compound that also housed the 148th Ordnance Company, the 511th Transportation Company, the 560th MP Company and the 212th MP Company (Sentry Dog) Detachment.

   The compound was bordered on one side by the Vung Tau Army Air Base, a Petroleum-Oil-Lubrucants (POL) depot, and an Ordinance Supply depot. The Vung Tau Sub-Port was located approximately one mile from the compound. Overlooking the post was VC Mountain where MP's pulled security duty at a Radio Signal Relay Station compound.

The Ship Security Detachment assignment was to detail three man MP teams to ride with the cargo ships and provide security as they traveled up the river to the docks at Saigon. The team would remain with the ship, joined by members of the company that worked the dock security detail while they were being unloaded and then return with the ship on its voyage back to Vung Tau.
From White Linen to Fish Heads & Rice SP/4 Lawrence D. Brown, 188th & 560th MP Company, January 1966 to June 1967.
23 August Viet Cong divers attached a limpet mine on the merchant marine ship, the Baton Rouge Victory as it traveled on the Long Tao river, about 22 miles southeast of Saigon resulting in the death of seven crewman. Shortly after that incident the detachment started assigning MP security teams to the civilian contracted Tug Boats hauling ammunition barges on the water ways.
The Patrick, The Joseph, And The Michael, Tug Boat MPs SP/4 Lawrence D. Brown, 188th & 560th MP Company, January 1966 to June 1967.
   They also worked the Main gate at the sub-port. All Vietnamese stevedores that worked on the docks were required to enter and exit by the gate. Incoming employees had their identifications verified and they were searched for contraband to prevent sabotage. Outgoing they were searched again for contraband to prevent cargo pilferage.

   Lambretta Taxi's lined up outside the main gate at the Vung Tau Sub-Port waiting for the sailors from the Navy ships anchored in Vung Tau Bay to come ashore on "liberty".

   The sailors were usually allowed in town from noon to 1700 hours [5:00PM], one day a week. They always stayed in a group and a squad of Navy Shore Patrol [SP], accompanied them into town. The MPs called it the "Five O'clock Floor Show" when the Lambretta's returned with their very relaxed, inebriated and liberated navy passengers. They were always an entertaining group.

19 October The 720th MP Battalion disembarked from the USNS Daniel L. Sultan in Vung Tau to begin their tour in Vietnam.
188th Cantonment & Vung Tau
Miscellaneous Detachment Photographs
 The Radio Relay Security assignment on VC Mountain.
 The Radio Relay Security assignment on VC Mountain.
Miscellaneous Convoy Photographs
G2282 ?
 C Company: PFC Cecil Rhodes and unidentified partner on convoy escort.

3 through 24 January One platoon of MPs from A Company were committed in support of Operation Deckhouse V, a clearing operation conducted by U.S. Marine Corps and ARVN (Army of The Republic of South Vietnam) elements.

The Vung Tau Sub-Port Detachment is reduced in size, then terminated

April The platoon size detachment of the 188th MP Company was recalled to the company compound at Pershing Field, and was replaced in Vung Tau by a new smaller ten man detachment. The new detachment took possession of the former detachments billets and vehicles.

        They kept one tent for a billet and used the other two empty tent pads for vehicle parking. The vehicles consisted of two jeeps, one 1/2 ton truck and one 2&1/2 ton (deuce and a half) truck.

June The 188th MP Company Vung Tau Detachment assignment at the Sub-Port was terminated and the ten MPs were permanently reassigned to the 560th MP Company.
Miscellaneous Detachment Photographs
 BH Harley L. Moore, briage commander, visits the 8th CID Group detachment at Vung Tau.
 PFC Mike McKeegan, 188th MP Company, inside the gate shack, Vung Tau Sub-Port.
 PFC Bill Dowling, 188th MP Company, inside the gate shack, Vung Tau Sub-Port.
 SP/4 Tom Bisio, 188th MP Company, and Ton (ARVN) on an LCM in the harbor in April or May.
   WANTED: If you have any information on the unit of authority or photographs of military police activity for 1968, please notify the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of the page.
Miscellaneous Detachment Photographs
 R&R Center.
 View from the beach to the Chian Sea.
 Costal fishing village.
 Vung Tau Market.
 Shrimp vendor in the market.
 Meat vendor in the market.
29 March CPT Jimmie H. Rich was reassigned from Commander of Bravo Company, 720th MP Battalion to the 95th MP Battalion and Provost Marshal of the Vung Tau area.

Personal Reflections

     "During our convoy layovers at Vung Tau, just like a bunch of kids we would explore the “Off Limits” area of VC Mountain. Originally built by the Japanese Army during their occupation in WWII, the shore gun batteries were also held by the French Army during the First Indochina War in the 1950's. In the mountain were cement tunnels that provided a very ingenious rail system where ammunition was stored along with areas providing for personnel, bunk rooms and store rooms. The powder and projectiles were delivered on a rail system to within a few feet of the guns and mortars. Although we explored the tunnels a little, we did not venture in much past our comfort zone. If we didn’t do something like this, we would hang out at the Aussie MP Detachment Dayroom and drink their Fosters Beer." SP/4 Norman R. Bresinski, A Company, 1969-1970.

   WANTED: If you have any information on the unit of authority or photographs of military police activity for 1969, please notify the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of the page.
Miscellaneous Detachment Photographs
   The 146th MP Platoon is reassigned from the 504th MP Battalion to the 89th MP Group for operational control, and the 720th MP Battalion for administrative and logistical support, with assignment in Vung Tau.
Spring Once the Miami Beach of in-country R&R's, Vung Tau was closed to U.S. Military personnel as the Intensive Vietnamization Program was initiated. The city was off limits to all U.S. Military personnel not permanently assigned at the Army Airfield. All U.S. personnel authorized to be in the city on official business had to be in uniform, only the Australian and New Zealand troops were permitted to wear civilian clothing when off duty. The police problems remained for American, Vietnamese, Australian and Korean military police in the southern coastal city.

   As a result of the cosmopolitan make-up of Vung Tau, a system of combined patrols and liaison between the different allied provost marshals was instituted.

   Participating in this program of combined assistance were personnel from Company A, 720th MP Battalion, the U.S. Navy, the Australian forces, New Zealand forces, Korean Army and Vietnamese National Police and Army MPs.

   The combined police station was shared between the U.S. Provost Marshal, and the Vietnamese Provost Marshal, Military and National Police. An Australian MP was also on duty at the MP Desk. The U.S. Provost Marshal from September 1970 through April 1971 was CPT Nicholas T. Boyko of A Company. All criminal investigations were coordinated with the Vietnamese National Police, the office of the Mayor of Vung Tau, and the local city district attorney.

4 April MAJ John R. Tomberlin, Jr. Commanding Officer of the 22nd Provost Marshal Detachment and Provost Marshal, Vung Tau Special Zone, departed.

21 May CPT Kenneth A. Eusner was assigned as the new Assistant Provost Marshal, Vung Tau.

17 October SP/4 David C. Cooper, A Company, 720th MP Battalion, Vung Tau Detachment, investigates an accident at the corner of Tran Hung Dao and Phan Thanh.

     < Click on the icon to visit David Coopers 720th MP Battalion Vung Tau Website for more information on the Detachment.

   The A Company Detachment also provided manpower for harbor security working on PBR's and Boston Whalers of the 18th MP Brigades, 458th US Army Transportation Company. NCOIC from A Company was SGT Michael W. Wheat. The combined unit constructed their own three-section floating dock by hand.

23 December The 720th MP Battalion Civic Action Council and Vung Tau Detachment members presented a Christmas party to the Khiet Tan Orphanage children during which time food and gifts consisting of clothing, toys and candy were made available for each child. A Christmas pageant was performed by the younger children for the MPs.

Miscellaneous Detachment Photographs
  An unidentified Australian and two U.S. MPs from A Company at a former WWII Japanese gun emplacement.
February-March-April The Long Binh - Vung Tau Convoy was being run every other day.
18 May The Battalion realigned the combat support and combat service support missions within Military Region III (III CTZ) which were previously accomplished by A and C Company. As a result, C Company assumed responsibility and assimilated all personnel and equipment for all A Company convoy escort duties including the Long Binh-Vung Tau Convoy.
Realignment of Drug Violation Enforcement
26 May The responsibility for drug violations reverted from CID to the road MPs, including processing all evidence and reports. One additional clerk had to be added to the Vung Tau PMO to handle the additional workload.
4 July As a result of a crackdown black marketing activities the Battalion was required to position one MP at the entrance and exit to the post exchange facilities at Vung Tau to insure that only authorized personnel used the exchange and that customers did not abuse their rations privileges.
21 July 1LT Edward L. Pledger, A Company, assumed the duties of 720th MP Battalion Provost Marshal [PM], Vung Tau, III Corps, from CPT Gary R. Gracon.
24 July The escort and security for the Vung Tau Convoy was terminated due to an increase in overnight convoys and the loss of Battalion personnel assigned to the Detoxification Center and Drug Abuse Holding Facility at the USARV Installation Stockade on Long Binh Post.
22 August Discipline, law and order patrol and convoy escort activities were curtailed at the detachment due to the assignment of forty Battalion enlisted men and one officer in support of the Drug Abuse Treatment/Holding Center (DAHC) on Long Binh Post.
29 August The 720th MP Battalion Harbor Patrol waterway security mission and all its assets in the Vung Tau Harbor were transferred to the Vietnamese Navy. The preparation of the Boston Whalers [skimmers] and Patrol Boat Riverine [PBR’s] for turnover commenced from June to 15 August.
Miscellaneous Detachment Photographs
  SP/4 Black, detachment clerk.
Summer As the 720th prepared for stand down on Long Binh Post, members of A Company still maintained a detachment at Vung Tau sharing duties with the Royal Australian and Quan Canh Military Police Units.
Miscellaneous Detachment Photographs
   WANTED: The History Project has information but no details of a platoon size detachment of the 615th MP Company being stationed at Vung Tau to replace the A Company Detachment when it and the 720th MP Battalion stood down.
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