Photo from "145th CAB, A Pictorial History, Vol 1"
1965-66, WO unknown

Americans are the most giving, unselfish and compassionate people on earth! Whenever Americans have been at war on foreign soil, they have freely and openly shown their compassion to the native people. Americans did this in WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Don't ever let ill advised world opinion or the US media tell you otherwise.

United States forces in Vietnam carried out thousands of CIVIC ACTION projects which directly helped the Vietnamese people. It is unclear who started the programs and or exactly when. However, from the earliest days, US forces helped to provided aide to the people in their local area. Many units actively sought and tackled projects primarily aimed at improving the environment, health and way of life for the Vietnamese. In fact, much of the money and/or clothing used in CIVIC ACTION projects was donated by the U.S. forces and their families back home.

Most CIVIC ACTION projects went unheralded or reported back in the States. Our media considered the war "immoral" and instead, reported the sensational and negative aspects of the US military involvement. World television and newspapers were filled each day with stories of what the "baby killers" were doing. How unfortunate that many, many CIVIC ACTION projects performed by compassionate Americans for the Vietnamese people were never reported. But, as we have seen since 1975, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese people never forgot!

According to official statistics published by the INS( Immigration and Naturalization Service), for over 20 years, immigrants from Vietnam have consistently been in the top 5 nations LEGALLY immigrating to the US......even more than E. Block Communist countries.

Check it out at the web site of the INS at:

1998 6th 17,649
1997 4th 38,519
1996 3rd 42,067
1995 3rd 41,752
1994 5th 41,344
1993 4th 59,613
1992 2nd 77,728

Cumulatively, for the 15 years, 1981-1996, Vietnam ranked 3rd with 719,239 LEGAL immigrants. This was behind only Mexico who was first and the Philippines which was 2nd. In 1996 Vietnam ranked 3rd in persons naturalized with a percentage of 70.2 percent becoming US Citizens!

Vietnam does not even show up on the list of countries with illegal aliens! However, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Canada, Haiti, Philippines, Honduras, The Bahamas, Nicaragua and Poland do.

In short, Vietnamese people come to the United States because of the many opportunities they are offered. The American soldier, sailor and airman, through Civic Action, no doubt, gave them the dream!! Vietnamese come to the United States looking for FREEDOM and a chance to succeed. And, Vietnamese usually arrive without their hands out, asking only for a chance. In the end, the majority of Vietnamese become successful U.S. citizens and adapt quickly to the American way of life. Most have become good citizens.


Photo from "145th CAB, A Pictorial History,
Vol 1" Captured Rice and other food items being delivered to adopted orphanage in Bien Hoa.
EM unknown


Ted Jambon, Glen Weber and Fred Cooper talking to Sister Louise, head Nun of the Bien Hoa Oprhanage.(66) Note bags of rice probably delivered from captured sources.
(Photo courtesy Tommy Thornton)


After the North over-ran the South, turning the "unified" Vietnamese nation into a communist government, thousands of Russian military and economic advisors entered the country. The Vietnamese people did NOT like the Russians! So, it is not surprising that we hear of very few, if any, Vietnamese fleeing to Russia for a new life. We did, however, see hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese people fleeing their home country to come to the United States of America. Millions did, however, flee to the U.S. and that is why Vietnamese immigrants are still in the top five groups to come to the U.S., yearly. The Vietnamese had had a glimpse of a better way of life and the FREEDOM and opportunity America offered.

Could US CIVIC ACTION have been a factor in the mass migrations to the United States? There is no did!

This part of the web site will try to show, in a small way, how the 118th Assault Helicopter Company participated in CIVIC ACTION. Included will be some information showing how the next higher command, the 145th CAB, was involved and what they reported up the chain of command that subordinate units did in CIVIC ACTION. You will be amazed and your heart warmed by the wonderful things done for the Vietnamese people in the Bien Hoa and III Corps area. The CIVIC ACTION story must to be told.

Every major command, such as the 145th CAB and higher, had a Staff Officer (S-5)assigned to CIVIC ACTION. Their job was to oversee the involvement of United States forces within the command in carrying out projects directly to the Vietnamese people. Any direct contact with the Vietnamese people was coordinated through the S-5. Then, each month, commanders reported to higher headquarters the details of CIVIC ACTION involvement. It is from some of these reports that the following information came.

118th Commander's Report on Civic Action


Bien Hoa Orphanage

The 118th Aviation Company (AML) of the 145th Aviation Battalion has undertaken as a
Civic Action Project, a program of assistance to an orphanage in the City of Bien Hoa, Republic
of Vietnam. Since Undertaking this project, we have been contacted by various private and
organizational groups for information on the orphanage and the manner in which they can be of
help. In this interest, therefore, this letter on information has been prepared. While it is no the
intention of this letter to solicit help, there are several areas in which we are unable to function
due to lack of resources in this country. This is particularly true where the need of infants is
The Orphanage is operated by the Order of French Catholic Nuns. The official name of
the Orphanage is "Orphelinat Des Soeurs De St. Paul De Chartres" (The Orphanage of the Sisters
of St. Paul of Chartres-Chartres being the region south of Paris where one of France's best
known Cathedrals is located).
The Orphanage was established in 1912 and has occupied several locations in and around
Bien Hoa. It finally moved next to the Bien Hoa Catholic Church where it remains today.
Initially, it was part of the Church parish, but eventually the church was no longer able to support
the Order of Nuns or the Orphanage. It then came under government control, though still
operated by the Nuns. This government control actually amounts only to limited financial
support, which prior to the war was sufficient. However as is inevitable in a war climate,
inflation has drastically reduced the buying power of money and the number of orphans and
orphanages has steadily increased.
The orphanage owns all of its building though the property still belongs to the church.
The main building houses the Nuns, the administrative offices and several classrooms, a nursery
for the infants and small children up to two years of age, a small dispensary in the nursery
building, a small building housing the kitchen and one long building which contains the dining
room, the quarters for the older children and five classrooms. There are several small buildings
that house equipment and tools.
The staff consists of a French Nun, Sister Louise Yuen, five Vietnamese Nuns and three
to five workers. While the Vietnamese Nuns are rotated to various other duty assignments, Sister
Louise has been in charge of the Orphanage for 38 years, and has only been back to France twice
during this time to visit her family.
The Orphanage normally has space for only 75 children and the budget can support only
about a maximum of 80 children. At the present time there are 76 children. Most of these are
girls since the government limits the age of boys in church operated orphanages to 7 years of age.
The present breakdown of children by age is as follows:

10 to 16 years old
7 to 10 years old
2 to 7 years old
One week to 2 yrs.


In addition to operating the orphanage, the Nuns operate a school, which goes to the
equivalent of our 6th grade. The school presently has about 350 students, but has handled up to
500. School laws being what they are, enforced attendance does not exist, nor are public schools
free. The nuns operate their school on a donation per student basis. In addition, Vietnamese
children start to work at an early age, so for that reason the school attendance figures vary daily.
Our primary area of interest however, is the orphanage. In order to effectively care for
the children under the present circumstances, the orphanage need outside help. The government
allowance per month is only equivalent to $20.00 and each orphan receives about .05 for food
each day. While this may seem low to you, prior to the war it was sufficient. However, it is
much too low to provide an adequate diet at this time. So our main efforts have been to provide
food for the orphanage. We average a donation of 10 sack of rice weekly, plus any other food
stables we are able to locate. We have also been very successful in providing canned goods and
treats for the children. Or families and friends are helping wit clothes and toys
The orphanage maintains various types of fruit trees, particularly bananas. These are a
great help in providing some variety to the children's' diet. There are also various other fruit
trees native to this area that serve to provide some desserts for the children.
We also provide needed labor in order to save the Nuns the cost of having to hire
woodcutters and repairman. However, all our efforts still fall short in some areas. This is due
primarily to the nonavailability of these items in this country, or due to the excessively high price
that must be paid for the items.
The children receive clothing from various agencies but it is mostly adult clothes and
requires extensive alteration. There is also a lack of clothing for the babies.
The older children clothes, school supplies, face towels, toothbrushes and soap are
needed. For the younger children, clothes, toys, face towels and soap. For the infants we are
unable to be much help except tin the way of medical care and medicine. The biggest needs here
are for infant clothing, light blankets, baby bottles and nipples and any other items normally
needed for the care of babies.
This letter was prepared with the intention of answering questions asked of us concerning
the orphanage and not for the purpose of soliciting help. However, should anyone read it have a
desire to help, it will be gladly received and acknowledged. Our address is listed below.

Commanding Officer
118th Aviation Company (AML)
APO San Francisco, Calif 96227

(Below are reprinted Summaries of Civic Actions within the 145th CAB for about a month and a half in 1966 and a few weeks in 1969. The 118th is highlighted in "white" and will show the relationship of the work done by the 118th compared to other units within the 145th CAB)




The 145th Aviation Battalion
accomplished a variety of Civic Actions in its effort to expand the Civil
Affairs Program. In the area of commerce, the Battalion and subordinate
units provided approximately 300 jobs for the local populace on a
continuous basis, broken down as follows:
Bn HQ & HHD - 30, 118th Avn Co - 70
68th Avn Co - 50, 197th Avn Co - 50
74th Avn Co - 28, A/501st Avn Bn - 41

The 68th AVN CO relocated 201 ARVN and refugees on three separate
operations conducted in the Xuan Loc, Tay Ninh area. In addition they
transported 3,500 lbs of food and personal belongings associated with the
move. Preliminary planning was accomplished with U.S. Advisors at Can Co
for the company's sponsorship. The 68th has also extended an offer to help
the An Phong welfare organization when assistance is needed.

The 74th accomplished initial coordination with the Phu Loi Civic
Actions Coordinator and it is anticipated that work will begin very soon.
Help is needed in the education, Community Relations and Construction


An American GI from the 118th Thunderbirds surrounded by orphanage children in Bien Hoa. The children always crowded around the Americans, especially if they had gum. (65)
(Photo courtesy Warren George)


118th Commander, MAJ Orlie J. Underwood giving American "Bit-O-Honey" candy bars to Bien Hoa Orphanage children.(65)
(Photo courtesy Ted Jambon)

The 118th accomplished Civic Actions in virtually all areas. One
hundred civilians were evacuated from a village in the Song Be area that
was supposed to be over-run by Viet Cong. At the same time two gun ships
evacuated two civilians that needed immediate medical attention. Both of
these operations were done under extreme hazardous conditions and in only a
few hours duration. The gun ships received several rounds of small arms fire
while completing the medical evacuation. Twenty-two bags of rice which were
located on a search and destroy mission in the operational area north of
Phu Loi were lifted to home station. The rice was donated to help relieve
some financial burden of the Bien Hoa Orphanage. In addition the officers
and men have volunteered their off-duty time to help construct plywood and
tin-lined cupboards at the orphanage.

Donations for the week were: Two
cases of jam, 50 cans of bread, 12 lbs of sugar, 100 lbs of peanuts, 600
lbs of white rice,200 lbs of powdered milk, 1 case of bath soap, 1 dozen
wash clothes, 15 tooth brushes and tooth paste packs, 6 dozen diapers,
assorted children's clothes, 10 lbs of salt, and 2 cases of candies. The
following medical supplies and cleaning products were donated by the
officers: 1 case of chlorine bleach, 1 case of insect spray, 1 case of
auromycin eye ointment, and 2 boxes of assorted vitamins to fulfill their
daily needs.

Two photos showing rice and flour and basic food stacked on the porch of the Bien Hoa orphanage by men of the 118th Thunderbirds. (65)
(Photo courtesy Warren George)


The 118th also flew a psychological warfare mission for three
hours duration. During the mission the Voice of America and leaflets
offered the words of freedom and safety from the South Vietnamese
Government in the Tan Uyen area. Doctor Altamonte treated patients again at
the Leper Colony for various illness other than leprosy. This assistance
has greatly helped in isolating the disease and has lessened the suffering
of those afflicted with leprosy. SP4 Amisano has been giving English
classes to the children around Cong-Ly. He is affectionately known as the
"teacher" and this kind of people to people program is the very foundation
of our civic actions here in Vietnam.

The 197th continued to provide support to the An Loc Orphanage in the
areas of Health and Sanitation, and Community Relations. Donations included
1 case of body soap, 5 lbs of tooth brushes and tooth paste, 40 lbs of
flour, 15 lbs of sugar and 20 lbs of candy. Emphasis is being placed on
improving the cleanliness of the children. Civic organizations in the U.S.
supporting the 197th sponsoring of the orphanage have indicated that 80 lbs
of clothes is on the way and it will be a continuous program from then on.

A/501st Avn Bn was active in the areas of Community Relations,
Transportation and Education. An English class was taught for the National
Police of Bien Hoa. The officers and men donated 12,875 $VN worth of
clothes, writing pads, readers, and coloring books which were presented to
the Catholic Orphanage of Bien Hoa. On 13 March two helicopters assisted
the 5th ARVN Division in relocating 45 civilians, bag and baggage, from
Song Be to Duc Phoung. Also during the course of normal missions 300 lbs of
US AID rice and 200 lbs of school supplies were transported to a remote
village northeast of Song Be.

The effort to expand civic action activities has shown some real
progress in the last week (11-17 March 1966) despite the loss of the 120th
Aviation Company which was very active in Civil Affairs.

Horst K. Joost Lt. Col Inf

The dentist above is CPT Lewis Lorton of HQ, 145th Combat Aviation Bn in Bien Hoa.
Photo is from "145th CAB, A Pictorial History, Vol 2."

(Personal Remembrance)

 Ted Jambon, who served in the 118th from Nov 65-Nov 66 remembers his first encounter with CIVIC ACTION, " When I arrived in the unit, one of MAJ Salazar's first questions was, 'Do you speak French?' When I said I did, he had me get into his jeep and we drove directly to the Catholic orphanage. He explained that the unit supported the orphanage, but there was no one there who spoke English, only French. The head Nun was Sister Louise, A Frenchwoman. When I introduced myself to her in French she broke out in tears, repeating, 'God, you've answered my prayers; you finally sent me someone who speaks French.'

Ted Jambon with other officers from 118th talking to Sister Louise at the Bien Hoa orphanage(65)
(Photo courtesy Warren George)

Then MAJ Salazar wanted to know what it was Sister Louise had been trying to ask for that no one could understand. What it was was, she wanted penicillin for the babies with syphilis; babies that had been left at the door of the orphanage by prostitute mothers. We soon returned with Doc. Altamonte, our Flight Surgeon and some treatment for the babies, plus a lot of other medical stuff."

Sister Louise, the French Nun in charge of the Bien Hoa Orphanage.(65)
(Photo courtesy Ted Jambon)



The 145th Aviation Battalion Hq and Hq Det conducted its biggest
operation to date, in the area of Community Relations. 30,000 pounds of
bulgur wheat were obtained from the Catholic Relief Society through
coordination with the III Corps G-5. The bulgur was transported to the Bui
Vinh refugee village during a two day operation. This donation constitutes
the basic staple for approximately 2000 refugees for one month. The bulgur
will be distributed to the needy by members of the Hq and Hq Det and
members of the community under the supervision of the GVN. A fund was
established by the Battalion Headquarters to provide money for
approximately 60 school children to attend the elementary school, and also
buy school supplies. Contributions received on March 31st amounted to
17,000 piasters, enough to sustain the program for the remaining school
year. 2000 piasters were turned over to the Parish Chief for March and April.

In the area of communication, 150 pounds of books, magazines and
leaflets were obtained through JUSPAO and donated to the Bui Vinh refugee
center. These materials will be used to stock a reading room and will
contribute to the psychological warfare effort.

In addition to normal missions the 68th Aviation Company evacuated or
relocated 119 ARVN dependents and refugees on four separate operations.
11,500 pounds of personal belongings and foodstuffs were also transported
in conjunction with these movements. In coordination with the Korean
Hospital, four Vietnamese civilians were transported from Phu My to the
Korean Hospital for surgery. Aircraft returning from normal missions
provided this transportation. On the spot first aid was also administered
by a gun ship crew, on a normal mission at Vo Dat, to two small children
with severe cuts.

The 74th Aviation Company was active in the areas of Community
Relations, Sanitation, Health, and Construction. The officers and men
donated 20 cartons of Dixie cups to the Phu Cuong school. In addition, 1
case of tooth paste was donated to the school along with instructions for
its use. Two volunteers continued to assist a Regional Forces Platoon in
the construction of new living quarters.

The 118th Aviation Company was very active this week in civic action
activities. Armed elements evacuated two injured children and one woman
from a village over-run by the Viet Cong, thus saving their lives. The
Officers and men donated the following to the Bien Hoa orphanage: Brown
sugar, powdered soup, assorted jams, canned vanilla pudding, raisins, corn
beef, canned beef, peanut butter, egg noodles, white rice, powdered milk,
boxes of clothing, and toys. Doctor Altamonte made his weekly visit to the
Leper Colony and treated fifteen patients for common illnesses. A project
was also completed at the orphanage to improve the sanitation of the toilet
area. SP/4 Amisano again held Conversational English classes for the local
residents of Cong Ly Street. In addition to normal missions, the air mobile
elements relocated approximately 50 refugees from a Viet Cong controlled
outlying area of Song Be to a New Life Hamlet in Song Be.


Bien Hoa orphanage cooking stove(L) and (R) cook stir-frying huge skillet of rice. Note stove is wood burner.(65)
(Photo courtesy Warren George)

The 197th Aviation Company was busy this week completing its move to
Bien Hoa. However, on 25 March the home of one of its Vietnamese employees
was completely destroyed by fire. The 197th immediately responded by
donating food and clothing for the family and construction material for a
new house. In the area of commerce the unit has provided employment for
approximately 20 local Vietnamese in the Bien Hoa area.

A/501st Aviation Battalion, although on an operational mission near Ban
Me Thuot for most of the period, continued its Conversational English class
for the National Police of Bien Hoa. Representatives of the company visited
a Montagnard village in the operation area when it was learned that the

Horst K. Joost Lt. Col Inf

American Doctor examining Vietnamese boy.(66)
Photo from "145th CAB, A Pictorial History, Vol 2."


(1 April - 7 April 1966)

The Hq & Hq Detachment donated 4500 pounds of rolled wheat, candy and
canned goods to the Bui Vinh refugee center.
The 68th Aviation Company evacuated or relocated 114 ARVN dependents
and refugees in the VO DAT, XUAN LOC area. 10,000 pounds of personal
belongings and foodstuffs were airlifted concurrently with the dependents
and refugees. Final coordination was made at Can Gio by representatives of
the 68th Aviation Company, in an effort to begin several projects in that
The officers and men of the 74th Aviation Company distributed Kool Aid
to the children of the 5th ARVN Division Dependents School at Phu Loi. In
addition, Kool Aid, orange juice, candy and cookies were donated to the
HIET BINH XA School. Lt Ebert and SP/4 Montey conducted a conversational
English Language Seminar for the faculty of the HIET BINH XA School.

The 118th Aviation Company evacuated twenty-five refugees from a 25th
Inf Div operational area. Armed elements medically evacuated five
Montagnards from a V.C. controlled area to HON QUAN. As a result of this
evacuation, intelligence was gained, and later the same day armed elements
made strikes based upon this intelligence. Here is another example of an
immediate pay-off of Civic Action efforts. Donations to the Bien Hoa
Orphanage this week consisted of a large amount of foodstuffs, assorted
toys, plastic baby bottles with nipples, and clothing for infants and
children. In addition, the following items were donated to the Catholic
Orphanage in TU DUC: Preserves and jellies, peanut butter, tooth paste and
brushes, and assorted children's clothing. Doctor Altamonte made his weekly
visit to the Leper Colony at TAN UYEN and treated twenty-five patients.
Doctor Altamonte also donated medical supplies to the Bien Hoa Orphanage in
an effort to improve the health and sanitation level. SP/4 Amisano
continued his conversational English instruction each day this week to the
children of Cong Ly street and several Bien Hoa National Police.


One of the Nuns in kitchen at stove making tea and children waiting around the table for meal.
(Photo courtesy Warren George)

A/501st Aviation Battalion was active in Refugee Assistance,
Transportation, Education, and Community Relations. On 6 April, air mobile
elements evacuated 125 refugees from near a the Cambodian border to Bien
Soi. The refugees, mostly women and children, had been rendered homeless by
a search and destroy operation. Transportation was also provided for the
Bien Hoa JUSPAO representative, Mr. Martin, in support of psychological
warfare. The officers and men made the following donations: 1500 pounds of
rice to the Catholic Orphanage, and 17,478 piasters to a private Bien Hoa
school for the purchase of school supplies. Conversational English classes
were conducted for members of the Bien Hoa National Police.

American Doctor listening to heart of old lady.
Photo from "145th CAB, A Pictorial History, Vol 2."




(8 April - 14 April 1966)

On 14 April, the HQ & HQ Detachment, 145th Aviation Battalion donated
3000$VN piasters to purchase school furniture for a self help construction
project in the Bui Vinh Parish. In the psy-war effort, thirty pounds of
reading material were placed in the community reading room.

The 68th Aviation Company was active in the area of transportation. On
12 April, an air mobile element medically evacuated a wounded child to Bien
Hoa Provincial Hospital for immediate attention. In addition, the company
evacuated or relocated 62 ARVN dependents and refugees and 2500 pounds of
personal belongings and foodstuffs in the course of normal missions.
In the area of Community Relations, the officers and men of the 74th
Aviation Company donated a case of fresh eggs to Regional Forces dependents
on Easter, 500 pounds of clothing collected by the Washington States
Highway Patrol to the Duc Hoa Refugee Center, and foodstuffs to an employee
with a recent death in his family. 5900$VN piasters were turned over to the
Phu Cuong orphanage for the purchase of supplies and materials.


(L) the washing room of the Bien Hoa orphanage in full swing. (R) three pilots from 118th Thunderbirds (Tommy Thornton on right) in the nursery of the orphanage.(65)
(Photo courtesy Warren George)

The 118th Aviation Company made significant contributions in the civic
actions in support of 25th Division operations at Cu Chi. air mobile
elements medically evacuated a total of 15 GVN civilians to medical
facilities at Trung Lap. In addition, approximately 50 refugees were
evacuated from search and destroy areas to the Cu Chi District Headquarters
for immediate refugee assistance. The officers and men donated over 1000
pounds of foodstuff, 9 boxes of assorted clothing and sanitation items to
the Bui Vinh Refugee Center, and the Bien Hoa Orphanage. Captain Cooper
personally donated 1200 pencils inscribed "From an American Soldier of the
118th Aviation Company", to the Bien Hoa and Bui Vinh School children in a
friendship gesture. SP/4 Amisano conducted English classes for the
residents of Cong Ly Street. Doctor Altamonte treated approximately thirty
patients and local civilians during his weekly visit to the Tan Uyen Leper
Colony. Doctor Altomonte's effort at Tan Uyen were cited by the District
Chief as a major contribution in the pacification effort in this Viet Cong
influenced area.

Actual pencil

(When I was in the 118th, I found several of these pencils in a drawer in my room. I gave several to the hooch maids and kept a few. I still have some.(Tom Payne, Bandit 32.)


The officers and men of the 197th Aviation Company donated 100 pounds
of clothing and health and sanitation items to the An Loc Orphanage on
Easter Sunday. An armed element of the company branched out in the
communications field when it dropped psy-war leaflets in the Run Sat
Special Zone at the request of the NHA BE District Chief.

This week, A/501st Aviation Battalion accepted limited sponsorship of
the Bui Hiep Refugee Center. In addition, 9 refugees were evacuated in the
Ham Tam area by air mobile elements on 11 April. Ten Bien Hoa National
police attended the weekly conversational English class conducted by
members of the unit.

Horst K. Joost Lt. Col Inf

Dr. Altamonte listening to heart/lungs of infant.(66)
Photo from "145th CAB, A Pictorial History, Vol 2."



(15 April - 21 April 1966)

The Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment donated soap to the nearby
Refugee Village School.

The 68th Aviation Company re-located 12 refugees, 23 ARVN dependents,
and 2600 pounds of personal belongings. A company delegation was sent to
the fishing village of Can Gio. The party took along a donation of soap,
toothpaste, clothes, toilet articles, school supplies, and miscellaneous
items which were obtained by Captain Gore from the American Legion in his
home town. Four enlisted members have volunteered to teach English classes
and a medical aid program is being planned.

The 74th Aviation Company continued its activities started last week.
English classes were taught to children in Phu Cuong. Volunteers aided a
Regional Forces Platoon in construction of new living quarters in Phu
Cuong. Officers and men donated more condensed milk, fresh milk, canned
hams, and orange juice to local school to supplement the children's diet.

The 118th Aviation Company was active in many areas of civil affairs.
Fifty pounds of clothing was gathered and donated by the Officers and
Enlisted men of the 118th Aviation Company and distributed to the refugee
center at Binh Vinh. Captain Glen R. Weber donated Vietnamese ice cream
cones to the local children at Hung Trung Province while on a joint service
operation on 19 April 66. These children were combat refugees and were
greatly taken by this act. SP/4 Amisano conducted conversational English
classes for the eighth straight week on Cong-Ly Street. His classes now
range to 25 students or more counting the Bien Hoa National Police
attending. The Officers of the 118th Aviation Company, contributed
donations to the Bien Hoa Orphanage of the following items: Blankets,
towels, infant playsuits, toys, soap, tooth paste, talcum powder, tooth
brushes, hair brushes, combs, boxes of clothes, adhesive tape, childrens'
shampoo, boxes of crayons, coloring books, surgical soap, infant shoes, and
assorted childrens' clothing and a good supply of food stuff. The Company
also made donations of food stuffs and clothing to the Tu Duc Orphanage.
Doctor Altamonte made his weekly visit to the Tan Uyen Leper Colony and
treated twenty patients and local civilians.


Two of the Nuns in classroom with children.(65)
(Photo courtesy Warren George)

Personal Remembrance

 Ted Jambon, who served in the 118th from Nov 65-Nov 66 remembers, "A short time after MAJ. Orlie J. Underwood became CO, he decided that we should all write letters home to our wives and families and try to get the children at the orphanage better clothing, soap, tooth brushes and toothpaste, among other things. Within a month, boxes began to arrive from all over the US with all sorts of items. Some families got their local schools to run drives for things like school supplies, shoes socks, diapers, etc. MAJ Underwood had his wife go to motels and ask for the used soap bars. As a result, the motels contacted their suppliers and new soap began arriving by the crate. Mrs. Underwood also sent boxes of candy called, 'Bit-o-Honey' which the MAJ. would give away to the children of the orphanage.

When the orphanage refrigerator went out, some of the men in the unit 'liberated' one from somewhere in Saigon.

The Nuns had little material things to offer and share with us in return for our help. However, they did keep us supplied with jellies and preserves made from the mangoes that grew in the yard of the orphanage."

The 197th Aviation Company provided additional support to the An Loc
Orphanage in Saigon by donating 1000 pounds of rice and a case of One-a-day

A/501st Aviation Battalion's Officers donated 6,785$VN piasters to
purchase school furniture for a self help project at Bui Vinh Refugee
Center. Three volunteers conducted a two hour conversational English class
for forty residents of Tam Hiep. This was followed by another class on 21
April 66 for approximately fifty residents. Six bags of cement and several
types of school supplies were donated to Tam Hiep. A USAF Lieutenant was
transported to Due Tu for coordination with the District Chief in making a
short film about refugees. A new project was begun by making initial
contact with Due Tu Sub-Sector Chief and Tam Hiep Hamlet Chief.


Horst K. Joost Lt. Col Inf

EDCAP Kids in the English classes taught by SP4 Amisano on Cong Ly Street.(66)
Photo from "145th CAB, A Pictorial History, Vol 2."


(22 April - 28 April 1966)

This Battalion should be proud of the dynamic civic action program that
it is promoting. Many worthwhile and lasting contributions are made that
are vivid demonstrations of the motives of the United States Forces in
Vietnam. Each unit of this Battalion feels a responsibility for segment of
Vietnamese Life and each active participant obtains personal satisfaction
that he is doing just a little more than he was expected to do. In
transacting all civic action projects through GVN province officials we are
assured that the need for assistance is valid and it strengthens the tie of
the people to the government. We are thankful for the generous assistance
that we have received from a number of wives, families, and organizations
in the United States in the form of contributions. I am certain that their
efforts are well rewarded by observing the expression of gratitude in the
face of a bare-cheeked-behind, Vietnamese youngster receiving a good set of

On 26 April the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 145th
Aviation Battalion donated 2715$VN piasters to purchase school furniture
for the self help construction project at Bui Vinh. In addition, a water
truck with driver supported the school construction project for three days.
Thirty pounds of clothing received from supporters in the United States
were distributed to sixty refugee families in Bui Vinh. Chaplin Barnes
distributed approximately 400 pounds of foodstuffs and sanitation items at
the Don Bosco school in Saigon.

The 68th Aviation Company was active in the area of transportation.
During the week, air mobile elements evacuated and relocated 86 refugees and
ARVN dependents and 5000 pounds of foodstuff and household goods.

The Officers and men of the 74th Aviation Company donated approximately
300 pounds of foodstuffs to the 5th ARVN Division dependents. In addition,
the officers donated 3 cases of soap to the children at Thu Dan Mot through
the local GVN official. Members of the 4th Platoon accomplished an
emergency medical evacuation of a refugee mother and daughter to the Phu
Cuong Hospital.

The 118th Aviation Company donated foodstuff, clothing and sanitation
items to the orphanage, evacuated refugees at Song Ben and was active in
the Health & Sanitation, and Education fields. The officers and men donated
2000 pounds of foodstuffs, and 200 pounds of clothing, cleaning products
and medical supplies to the Bien Hoa Orphanage. SP/4Amisano conducted
conversational English classes for residents of Cong Ly Street. air mobile
elements evacuated 37 refugees on two separate occasions from search and
destroy areas to refugee centers at Song Be and Duc Hoa. Doctor Altamonte
treated approximately 25 patients on his weekly visit to the Tan Uyen Leper


Bien Hoa orphanage nursery showing individual cribs and smaller children.
Older girls were expected to help attend to the smaller children in the nursery.(65)
(Photo courtesy Warren George)

The 197th Aviation Company continued its support to the An Loc
Orphanage. Thirty pounds of clothing received from supporters in the United
States, and two cases of soap were donated to the orphanage. SP/4-5 Geary, a
medic, gave on the spot medical aid to include a tetanus shot to a
Vietnamese National who had stepped on a nail. The officers assisted the
orphanage in obtaining water during this critical period by providing a
pump and an operator to fill the water reservoir at the orphanage.

A/501st Aviation Battalion accomplished a variety of task in their
support of Bui Heip refugee center. At the request of the Chief, a truck
was provided to transport building material for the self-help school
project. Conversational English classes were conducted on the 25th and 28th
and as a result of the interest generated, classes will be given four days
per week starting 2 May. In addition, air mobile elements evacuated a total
of 50 refugees from a search and destroy area west of Tay Ninh.


Horst K. Joost Lt. Col Inf

Photo from "145th CAB, A Pictorial History, Vol 2."
Could one of these children have fled to the US and be in your town?


Sister Louise, the French Nun in charge of the Bien Hoa Orphanage.(66)
(Photo courtesy Tommy Thornton)


(29 April - 5 May 1966)

On 5 May the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 145th Aviation
Battalion donated 2,000$VN piasters to provide elementary school fees for
approximately sixty (60) refugee children for the month of May. In
addition, transportation was provided for the Duc Tu District Vietnamese
Information Service Representative who visited an outlying area for the
purpose of psychological warfare activities and to deliver 400 pounds of
relief supplies.

The officers and men of the 68th Aviation Company donated clothing,
soap, and school supplies to Can Gio. air mobile elements of the company
evacuated 40 refugees and ARVN dependents, and airlifted 1500 pounds of
personal belongings and foodstuffs on two separate operations. The 74th
Aviation Company gave two baskets of flowers for a memorial service to the
Phu Cuong hospital. The officers and men donated 220 pounds of foodstuffs
to the widows of the 5th ARVN Division Dependents and 500 pounds to the Phu
Cuong Orphanage.


Very small new born babies being bottle fed. They were often left on the door step of the Bien Hoa
orphanage by prostitute mothers in the local area.(65)
(Photo courtesy Warren George)

The officers and men of the 118th Aviation Company donated 600 pounds
of foodstuff and a variety of childrens' clothing (200) pounds to the Bien
Hoa Orphanage. While on an operational mission with the 1st Infantry
Division, the company mess fed 100 children A rations for a two day period.
The children had been displaced as a result of search and destroy
operations and were waiting relocating assistance. Doctor Altamonte treated
25 patients at the Tan Uyen Leper Colony. In addition, two officers
accompanied Doctor Altamonte on his visit and distributed food and clothing
to the patients. SP/4 Amisano initiated another class of conversational
English for the residents of Cong-Ly Street. air mobile elements evacuated
25 refugees and 2100 pounds of personal belongings from an outlying area to
Xuan Loc. USOM Relief were also airlifted from Duc Hoa to the Cu Chi area
for refugee assistance.



Lou Palumbo(R) and Mal Schryer(L) visiting the Bien Hoa Orphanage.(65)
(Photo courtesy Ted Jambon)


CPT Glen Weber giving away chewing gun to children at Bien Hoa Orphanage.(65)
(Photo courtesy Ted Jambon)

The 197th Aviation Company continued their support of the An Loc
Orphanage in Saigon and expanded their program to include the An Loc
Orphanage Farm in Bien Hoa Province. 700 pounds of foodstuff were donated
to the farm, and 4500$VN piasters were donated to the orphanage in Saigon.
A water pump and operator were provided to the An Loc farm which pumped
over 3000 gallons of water to allow showers and other hygiene measures, the
first in several months. Doctor Balette initiated medical program
assistance for 583 Nationals. Accompanied by two Air Force doctors he drove
to Vinh Long, where they explained and treated over 200 Vietnamese of all
ages. On 1 May Doctor Balette examined each child at the An Loc farm. On 3
May he returned with two nurses from the 93rd Evacuation Hospital and
treated 183 children. On 4 May Doctor Balette spent the afternoon at An Loc
orphanage in Saigon where he treated over 200 children.

A/501st Aviation Battalion conducted four (4) two (2) hour
conversational English classes for the residents of Bui Hiep. The class
consisted of approximately fifty (50) students each. air mobile elements
evacuated 28 refugees from operational areas.

Horst K. Joost

Lt. Col. Infantry

Christmas Time--American Style

The three photos below show a Christmas party provided by the men of the 118th Thunderbirds and their families back home for an orphanage in Bien Hoa on 24 Dec 1966, Christmas Eve.

Santa (SGT Richard H. Stevens) driving a 2 1/2 Truck half full of candy, food
and toys and clothing to the orphanage on Christmas Eve.(1966)
(Photo courtesy Richard H. Stevens)

Santa arriving at the Bien Hoa orphanage with some of the people
(Photo courtesy Richard H. Stevens)

Santa(SGT Richard H. Stevens)begins to distribute the gifts donated by men and families
back in the States for the Vietnamese children. (66)
(Photo courtesy Richard H. Stevens)


During the period units of the battalion were active in the areas of
Community Relations, Education and Training, Health and Sanitary,
Construction and Communications.

Personnel from the 197th Aviation Company
constructed a fence within the An Loc Orphanage, along with organizing a
drive to obtain materials to repair a perimeter fence damaged by Viet Cong.
In addition, the officers and men donated 400 pounds of cookies and candy, 1
case of body soap and 1/2 case of mosquito repellent. The majority of these
donations were sent to members of the unit from supporters in the United

The 118th Aviation Company performed loudspeaker and leaflet
support for Psychological Welfare operations for Voice of America for a
period of three hours. The officers and men also donated 3,000 $VN to the
Bien Hoa Orphanage along with 300 pounds of rice, 10 pounds of sugar and
1/2 case of wash soap. Doctor Altamonte attended to the sick at the

Members of the 120th Aviation Company continued to provide
support to the Go Vap Orphanage in the form of $47.50 MPC, and 2,540 $VN,
one-hundred bags of cement for building projects, 2 cases of cornmeal, 4
cases of evaporated milk and 60 pounds of beans. Captain Wurster from the
129th Med Det surveyed the health needs at the orphanage and concluded that
the children receive adequate treatment from their own doctor.

A conversational English class was conducted by A/501st Aviation Battalion
for the Bien Hoa National Police. Coordination has been made with the MACV
Sector Advisor to sponsor a Now Life Hamlet in the Ho Nai Refugee area.
Many units work in this area but with 80,000 refugees and more arriving,

Sector Advisor to sponsor a Now Life Hamlet in the Ho Nai Refugee area.
Many units work in this area but with 80,000 refugees and more arriving
each day, there is a tremendous opportunity to help in the traditional
American spirit. Our first project will be to field a MEDCAP team.


AVBACA-BC 13 May 1969
SUBJECT: Operational Report of 145th Combat Aviation Battalion for Period
Ending 30 April 1969 (RCS CSFOR-65) (RI) (U) (UIC: WCYNAA)



(1) The 145th CAB procured and distributed 569 pounds of pediatric foods and formula to the Tan Mai Orphanage, Bien Hoa. The water supply of the Tan Mai Orphanage was tested, found to be contaminated and corrective measures are being taken. Supplementary potable water was provided which involved securing tankage for transportation and storage. A program was instituted to avoid future contamination, and the spread of communicable diseases among the infants and children.

(2) At the Tan Mai Orphanage, a program of medical and dental visitation was established. The medical programs included diagnosis, treatment, and preventative measures. The dental programs included fluoridation treatment, dental examination, and providing personal individual dental hygiene items. Approximately 150 infants and children received aid through the over-all program.

(3) The children of the Dan Minh Orphanage were entertained at an Easter egg hunt and dinner on 6 April. This project was organized and funded by the 68th Avn Co (Assault Helicopter). The 68th Avn Co (Assault Helicopter) undertook sponsorship of the Dan Minh Orphanage with plans to provide personal hygiene items and to give aid to their present construction program.

(5) The 190th Avn Co (Assault Helicopter) assumed sponsorship of a baseball team with the Vietnamese Boy Scouts of Bien Hoa Air Base. This program encompasses the provision of training, equipment, uniforms and social functions for the boys, of whom approximately 35 Scouts are currently involved.

(6) Members of the 118th Aviation Company continued to provide support to Bien Hoa orphanage in the form of 320 lbs of rice, 100 lbs of peanuts, powered milk, cooking oil, condiments and various cleaning products. In addition, two doctors visited the Leprosy
colony for the purpose of treating patients.

Letters received by members of
the 68th Aviation Company indicate that local drives in their hometowns are
making progress and donations for distribution to the local populace will
be forthcoming.



A sick baby in the Bien Hoa orphanage. This baby either suffered from
malnutrition or the effects of syphilis.(66)
(Photo courtesy Warren George)




The Thunderbirds were still providing Civic Action projects to the people of Vietnam, even up to the end of their time in Vietnam. The following photos show a Christmas party held at a Bien Hoa area orphanage and school on Christmas, 1970



Thunderbird CO, MAJ Robert Smith with hand on leg
and 145th CAB SMAJ Karringon on far right
at the orphanage Christmas party.(70)
(Photo courtesy James Tipton)


Unidentified officer presenting gifts to orphanage boy. (70)
(Photo courtesy James Tipton)


LTC Kenyon visits with one of the Catholic Nuns
who worked at the orphanage. (70)
(Photo courtesy James Tipton)


Approx. 1-2 week old baby at the orphanage
being held by unidentified USAF Nurse. (70)
(Photo courtesy James Tipton)


This page gives only a small glimpse in time of the CIVIC ACTION efforts of the 145th CAB and its subordinate units. Multiply this work, done in only a couple of months, to the entire time the 145th CAB was in Vietnam(approx. 9 years), and then again by the hundreds of other similar units, and you have an idea of the impact US military men and women had on the Vietnamese people. Again, no wonder the Vietnamese people came by the millions to the US after the fall of Vietnam in 1975.