Recollections of Vietnam

Outside the Cam Ranh Front Gate

There was a Montagnard (from the French for "mountain people") village just a short distance up in the foothills which our squadron had "adopted". The Montagnards, although they were native to the area, were ethnically separate from the Vietnamese (or Annamese from the older name for Vietnam) and generally were treated as inferiors by the Vietnamese. We found them to be more reliable as allies than the Vietnamese and utterly devoted to the defeat of the communist invaders from the north.

We would load up the squadron truck with beer and food and drive to the village, where our arrival was cause for great celebration. The Montagnards loved American beer and loved to play volley ball. Although there was scarcely anyone in the village over the height of five feet and our squadron had a number of six foot plus Texas Aggie jocks, they always beat us, to the delight of everyone in the village. Communication could be difficult at times because only a few spoke any English, although many spoke French, which put my two years of high school French to the test. We also tried to help them out by buying things from them. The favorite item among most of the visitors was a Montagnard crossbow, fashioned from wood with a bowstring cleverly made from a strip of bamboo. The bolts for the crossbow were also made of dry bamboo. These weapons were quite lethal - on the one occasion I fired mine, the bamboo bolt penetrated a piece of 3/4" plywood without difficulty.

The People of Vietnam
Father and Son Mother and Daughter The Kid
Montagnard Children Montagnards Party Time
ARVN Troops Caribou Passengers Girls at Šuc Huč
ARVN Troops?    

Scenes Outside Cam Ranh
Bridge to Ba Ngoi Ba Ngoi Village Cam Ranh Bay
MACV-CORDS Office    

Revised: 04 May 1999