Unsung Hero in the Amazing Rescue of Bat 21 Bravo: Nguyen Van Kiet's courage and courage . . . . . . . .

 
Petty Officer Nguyen Van Kiet
   :       Vietnam War: It was their country. They deserve respect.When Hollywood made a movie about the dramatic rescue of a downed American pilot during the Vietnam War, it left one man out: the South Vietnamese navy officer who was a key member of the rescue team.    

Webmaster's Note:  I first  met Kiet at Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam  when he was undergoing LDNN (SEAL) training.  I was one of the SEAL LDNN Advisors at the LDNN Camp.          LT. Richard Kuhn was our OinC.

 

 

 

Kiet Nguyen 
to  Doc Rio, 
Subj:  There were NO LDNN captured and held as POW !

  Hi Doc,            
Many thanks to you. Ken Conboy wrote this article is interested, but it has some errors. Example: 
1) The LDNN had training in Cam Ranh bay was in May 1970 for class # 4 then there after 4, 5 and 6. Of course you were there too. And I was amongst of first group came to Cam Ranh to clean up and set up the camp before class # 4 begun. 
2) There is no LDNN member have captured by Chinese navy. Indeed three KIA and few guys had wounded. 


Ken wrote: 

When the Vietnam ceasefire went into effect in 1973 the SEALs returned to LDNN Headquarters in Saigon. At the same time the CSS was dissolved, with the Navy contingent given the option of transferring to the LDNN. 

In late December 1973 the government reiterated its territorial claim to the Paracel Island chain off its coast and dispatched a small garrison of militia to occupy the islands. By early January 1974 the Chinese, who also claimed the islands, had sent a naval task force to retake.the Paracels. On 17 January 30 LDNN SEALs were infiltrated on to the western shores of one of the major islands to confront a Chinese landing party. The Chinese had already departed; but two days later, after SEALs landed on a nearby island, Chinese forces attacked with gunboats and naval infantry. Two SEALs members died and the rest were taken prisoner and later repatriated. 



http://www.sealtwo.org/LDNNvietnam.htm 


LDNN CDR,    Larry Bailey CAPT (SEAL) and Kiet Nuyen at 1st LDNN reunion Houston TX


REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM NAVAL SPECIAL FORCES 




In 1960 the South Vietnamese Navy proposed the creation of an Underwater Demolitions Team to improve protection of ships, piers and bridges. Later in the year a navy contingent was sent to Taiwan for UDT training; the one officer and seven men who completed the course became the cadre for a Lien Doi Nguoi Nhai (LDNN), or Frogman Unit, formally established in July 1961. The LDNN, with a proposed strength of 48 officers and men, was given the mission of salvage, obstacle removal, pier protection and special amphibious operations. 

Soon after the creation of the LDNN a second unit was formed: Biet Hai,or 'Special Sea Force', paramilitary commandos under the operational control of Diem's Presidential Liaison Office and given responsibility for amphibious operations against North Vietnam. US Navy SEAL (Sea, Air and Land) commando teams began deploying to South Vietnam in February 1962 and initiated in March a six month course for the first Biet Hai cadre in airborne, reconnaissance and guerrilla warfare training. By October, 62 men had graduated from the firstcycle. A planned second contingent was denied funding. 

In early 1964 the LDNN, numbering only one officer and 41 men, began special operations against VC seabome infiltration attempts. Six Communist junks were destroyed by the LDNN at Ilo Ilo Island in January during Operation 'Sea Dog'. During the following month the LDNN began to be used against North Vietnamese targets as part of Operation Plan 34A, a covert action program designed to pressure the Ha Noi regime. 

In February a team unsuccessfully attempted to sabotage a North Vietnamese ferry on Cape Ron and Swatow patrol craft at Quang Khe. Missions to destroy the Route I bridges below the 18th Parallel were twice aborted. In March most of the LDNN was transferred to Da Nang and colocated with the remaining Biet Hai commandos. During May North Vietnam operations resumed by LDNN teams working with newly trained Biet Hai boat crews. On 27 May they scored their first success with the capture of a North Vietnamese junk. On 30 June a team landed on the North Vietnamese coast near a reservoir pump house. Ile team was discovered and a hand to hand fight ensued; two LDNN commandos lost their lives and three 57mm recoiless rifles were abandoned, but 22 North Vietnamese were killed and the pump house was destroyed. 

In July a second class of 60 LDNN candidates was selected and began training in Nha Trang during September. Training lasted 16 weeks, and included a 'Hell Week' in which students were required to paddle a boat 115 miles, run 75 miles, carry a boat for 21 miles and swim 10 miles. During the training cycle team members salvaged a sunken landing craft at Nha Trang and a downed aircraft in Binh Duong Province. Thirty-three men completed the course in January 1965 and were based at Vung Tau under the direct control of the Vietnamese Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Operations). 

In 1965 the LDNN was given responsibility for amphibious special operations in South Vietnam. Maritime operations against North Vietnam were given exclusively to the Da Nang based Biet Haicommandos and Hai Tuanboat crews, both incorporated into the new seaborne component of the STD, the So Phong Ve Duyen Hai (Coastal Security Service or CSS). The CSS, a joint services unit, was headed by an Army lieutenant colonel until 1966, then by a Navy commander. CSS missions focused almost entirely on short duration sabotage operations lasting one night, and had a high success rate. The CSS relied heavily on special operations teams temporarily seconded from other services. Teams on loan from the Vietnamese Navy considered most effective, were codenamed 'Vega'. Other teams came from the Vietnamese Marine Corps ('Romulus') and Army ('Nimbus'). The CSS also controlled 40 civilian agents ('Cumulus') until the mid 1960s. Unofficialy, the term Biet Hai was used for all CSS forces, regardless of original service affiliation. CSS training was conducted at Da Nang under the auspices of US Navy SEAL, US Marine, and Vietnamese advisors. Further support was provided by the CSS's Da Nang based US counterpart, the Naval Advisory Detachment, a component of MACVSOG. 

By the mid 1960s US Navy SEAL teams were being rotated regularly through South Vietnam on combat tours. Specialists in raids, amphibious reconnaissance and neutralization operations against the VC infrastructure, the SEALs worked closely with the LDNN and began qualifying Vietnamese personnel in basic SEAL tactics. In November 1966 a small cadre of LDNN were brought to Subic Bay in the Philippines for more intensive SEAL training. 

In 1967 a third LDNN class numbering over 400 were selected for SEAL training at Vung Tau. Only 27 students finished the one year course and were kept as a separate Hai Kich ('Special Sea Unit,' the Vietnamese term for SEAL) unit within the LDNN. Shortly after their graduation the Communists launched the Tet Offensive most of the LDNN SEALs were moved to Cam Ranh Bay, where a fourth LDNN class began training during 1968. During the year the Vietnamese SEALs operated closely with the US Navy SEALS. The LDNN SEAL Team maintained its focus on operations within South Vietnam, although some missions did extend into Cambodia. Some missions used parachute infiltration. 


LDNN after Tet 

In 1971, in accordance with increased operational responsibilities under the Vietnamization program, the LDNN was expanded to the Lien Doan Nguoi Nhai (LDNN), or Frogman Group, comprising a SEAL Team, Underwater Demolitions Team, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team and Boat Support Team. Headquarters remained in Saigon. For the remainder of 1971 the SEALs operated in 12 18-man detachments on neutralization operations and raids inside South Vietnam. SEAL launch sites included Ho Anh, north of Da Nang, Hue and Tinh An. 

During the 1972 Easter Offensive the SEALs were transferred to Hue to conduct operations against NVA forces holding Quang Tri; after Quang Tri was retaken some of the SEALs went to Quang Ngai to resume VC neutralization operations. After US Navy SEAL advisors were withdrawn in late 1972 the LDNN SEAL Team, now 200 strong, took over training facilities at Cam Ranh Bay; training, however, was cut in half, with only one fifth given airborne training. The SEALs had been augmented by ten graduates out of 21 LDNN officer candidates sent to the US for SEAL training in 1971. 

When the Vietnam ceasefire went into effect in 1973 the SEALs returned to LDNN Headquarters in Saigon. At the same time the CSS was dissolved, with the Navy contingent given the option of transferring to the LDNN. 

In late December 1973 the government reiterated its territorial claim to the Paracel Island chain off its coast and dispatched a small garrison of militia to occupy the islands. By early January 1974 the Chinese, who also claimed the islands, had sent a naval task force to retake.the Paracels. On 17 January 30 LDNN SEALs were infiltrated on to the western shores of one of the major islands to confront a Chinese landing party. The Chinese had already departed; but two days later, after SEALs landed on a nearby island, Chinese forces attacked with gunboats and naval infantry. Two SEALs died and the rest were taken prisoner and later repatriated. 

During the final days of South Vietnam a 50 man SEAL detachment was sent to Long An; the remainder were kept at LDNN Headquarters in Saigon along with 200 new SEAL trainees. During the early evening of 29 April all SEAL dependents boarded LDNN UDT boats and left Saigon; a few hours later the SEALs departed the capital, linked up with the UDT boats, and were picked up by the US 7th Fleet in international waters. 

By Ken Conboy Reference: http://ngothelinh.tripod.com/History.html 

Vi?t Nam C?ng Ha Mun Nam Ever the Republic of Vietnam

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"Unsung Hero in the Amazing Rescue of Bat 21 Bravo"

Nguyen Van Kiet  LDNN

                   

                            

                     

 

                Vietnamese Powerpoint Collection

                    email:  ktnguyen95  [at]  yahoo.com

 

                 

    

                                                                          

                                                                                   


Lt. Col. Iceal E. Hambleton, USAF electronic warfare officer shot down behind enemy lines.  Hes the Man that Navy SEAL Tom Norris and Kiet Nguyen went in to rescue:
http://www.veterantributes. org/TributeDetail.php? recordID=2060

 

 

 

 

         Erasmo "Doc Rio" Riojas Visits Thuy's and Kiet's home in Kent WA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                    Navy Cross Citation

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to

NGUYEN VAN KIET, PETTY OFFICER THIRD CLASS
NAVY OF THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM

                                                     Citation:

For extraordinary heroism while serving with friendly forces engaged in armed conflict against the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong communist aggressors in the Republic of Vietnam. On 13 April 1972, Petty Officer Kiet participated in an unprecedented recovery operation for a downed United States aviator behind enemy lines in Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam. He courageously volunteered to accompany a United States SEAL Advisor Thomas R. Norris (Medal Of Honor) in an extremely hazardous attempt to reach the aviator, who was physically unable to move toward friendly positions. Using a sampan and traveling throughout the night, they silently made their way deep into enemy territory, past numerous major enemy positions, locating the pilot at dawn. Once, after being spotted by a North Vietnamese patrol, he calmly continued to keep the enemy confused as the small party successfully evaded the patrol. Later, they were suddenly taken under heavy machine gun fire. Thinking first of the pilot, he quickly pulled the sampan to safety behind a bank and camouflaged it while air strikes were called on the enemy position. Due to Petty Officer Kiet's coolness under extremely dangerous conditions and his outstanding courage and professionalism, an American aviator was recovered after an eleven-day ordeal behind enemy lines. His self-discipline, personal courage, and dynamic fighting spirit were an inspiration to all; thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and the Naval Service.

 

                 email:   ktnguyen95  [at] comcast  DOT net

 

                    Navy Cross Citation

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to

NGUYEN VAN KIET, PETTY OFFICER THIRD CLASS
NAVY OF THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM

                                                     Citation:

                               

                                                  Nguyen Van Kiet         

                                            

                                                      

Nguyen Van Kiet was a Petty Officer Third Class in the Republic of Vietnam Navy and is one of only two South Vietnamese, and the only South Vietnamese Navy member, to receive the Navy Cross for actions during the Vietnam WarA book was written about Nguyen's heroism by William Charles Anderson and was later adapted in a movie named Bat*21 is a 1988 movie.

 Navy Cross citation

For extraordinary heroism while serving with friendly forces engaged in armed conflict against the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong communist aggressors in the Republic of Vietnam . On 13 April 1972, Petty Officer Kiet participated in an unprecedented recovery operation for a downed United States aviator behind enemy lines in Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam . He courageously volunteered to accompany a United States SEAL Advisor in an extremely hazardous attempt to reach the aviator, who was physically unable to move toward friendly positions. Using a sampan and traveling throughout the night, they silently made their way deep into enemy territory, past numerous major enemy positions, locating the pilot at dawn. Once, after being spotted by a North Vietnamese patrol, he calmly continued to keep the enemy confused as the small party successfully evaded the patrol. Later, they were suddenly taken under heavy machinegun fire. Thinking first of the pilot, he quickly pulled the sampan to safety behind a bank and camouflaged it while air strikes were called on the enemy position. Due to Petty Officer Kiet's coolness under extremely dangerous conditions and his outstanding courage and professionalism, an American aviator was recovered after an eleven-day ordeal behind enemy lines. His self-discipline, personal courage, and dynamic fighting spirit were an inspiration to all; thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and the Naval Service.

 Also see

Thomas R. Norris

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Thomas R. Norris

born January 14, 1944

Nickname

Tommy, Ratso

Place of birth

Jacksonville, Florida

Service/branch

United States Navy

Battles/wars

Vietnam War

Awards

Medal of Honor

Other work

FBI agent

Thomas R. Norris, USN (Retired) (born 14 January 1944) is a retired a U.S. Navy SEAL awarded the Medal of Honor for his ground rescue of two downed pilots in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam on April 10-April 13, 1972. At the time of the action, Lieutenant Norris was a SEAL Advisor with the Strategic Technical Directorate Assistance Team.

Norris was one of three SEALS to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions during the Vietnam War. [1]

Biography

Thomas Norris was born on January 14, 1944 in Jacksonville, Florida. He earned an Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology with a specialty in criminology from the University of Maryland. While at the University of Maryland , in 1965 and 1966, he was the Atlantic Coast Conference ACC wrestling champion. [2]

He joined the Navy with hopes of flying; however, he had problems with his visual acuity and depth perception that disqualified him from becoming a pilot. He then became a Navy SEAL. Norris struggled during BUD/S training, and the instructors seriously discussed washing him out of the course.[3] He graduated from BUD/S Class 45.

In April 1972, Norris and a Navy SEAL team effected the rescue of two downed pilots in enemy territory. For this action, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Six months later, in October 1972, Norris sustained a near-fatal head wound in action and was rescued by his fellow Navy SEAL, Michael Thornton.[4] As a result of the head injury, Norris was retired from the Navy. To recover from this injury, he spent three years in the hospital and underwent many major surgeries over a six year period.

Norris received the Medal of Honor from President Gerald R. Ford in a White House ceremony on March 6, 1976.

In 1979, Norris decided to join the FBI and requested a waiver for his disabilities. FBI director William Webster responded, "If you can pass the same test as anybody else applying for this organization, I will waiver your disabilities." In September 1979, Norris passed the test and subsequently served as an FBI agent for 20 years.

Tom Norris lost an eye and part of his skull during the operation in which he was rescued by Michael Thornton. Was an original member of the FBI's HRT as an assault team leader.   

                                           Medal of Honor citation

Lieutenant Thomas R. Norris
United States Naval Reserve

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a SEAL Advisor with the Strategic Technical Directorate Assistance Team, Headquarters, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. During the period 10 to 13 April 1972, Lieutenant Norris completed an unprecedented ground rescue of two downed pilots deep within heavily controlled enemy territory in Quang Tri Province . Lieutenant Norris, on the night of 10 April, led a five-man patrol through 2,000 meters of heavily controlled enemy territory, located one of the downed pilots at daybreak, and returned to the Forward Operating Base (FOB). On 11 April, after a devastating mortar and rocket attack on the small FOB, Lieutenant Norris led a three man team on two unsuccessful rescue attempts for the second pilot. On the afternoon of the 12th, a Forward Air Controller located the pilot and notified Lieutenant Norris. Dressed in fishermen disguises and using a sampan, Lieutenant Norris and one Vietnamese traveled throughout that night and found the injured pilot at dawn. Covering the pilot with bamboo and vegetation, they began the return journey, successfully evading a North Vietnamese patrol. Approaching the FOB, they came under heavy machine gun fire. Lieutenant Norris called in an air strike which provided suppression fire and a smoke screen, allowing the rescue party to reach the FOB. By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, undaunted courage, and selfless dedication in the face of extreme danger, Lieutenant Norris enhanced the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service.   

 

 

 

  Honors and RecognitionsThe Naval Special Warfare Group Two in Little Creek, Virginia is located in the Lt. Thomas R. Norris Building.Norris' Medal of Honor actions have been re-told in numerous books and in the feature film Bat*21, which is named for the Air Force code name for the original reconnaissance mission. 

Notes^ Virtual Polygraph. SEC. ^ Alumni Hall of Fame, University of Maryland . 

Retrieved on 2006-07-03. ^ Couch, D (2001). The Warrior Elite: The forging of SEAL Class 228. ISBN 0-609-60710-3.

 Referred to in Couch's speech at graduation of BUD/S Class 228. Couch was in BUD/S Class 45 with Norris. ^ Norris' rescuer, Michael Thornton, received the Medal of Honor for his actions. 

  Thornton was the first person in more than a century to receive that the Medal of Honor for saving the life of another Medal of Honor recipient. Norris and Thornton were able to witness each other's Medal of Honor ceremonies. 

 Thomas R. Norris Citation. Retrieved 2006-07-03. Medal of Honor citation for Norris. Lieutenant Thomas R. Norris, United States Naval Reserve, Vietnam War Medal of Honor Recipients, Naval Historical Center, Department of the Navy. 

Retrieved 2006-07-03. Stories of Valor: Thomas Norris, American Valor, PBS.

 Retrieved 2006-07-03. Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_R._Norris"


                        RESCUE of BAT  21  Bravo

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rescue_of_Bat_21_Bravo   go here for the whole story of the rescue.

USMCCol. Al Gray suggested a covert, land-based rescue operation.[26] and Lt. Col. Andy Anderson, commander of the Joint Search and Rescue Command, ordered a ground rescue. In Saigon, Navy SEAL Lt. j.g. Thomas R. Norris, one of just three SEAL officers and nine enlisted men[1] remaining in Vietnam,[5]  had just completed an assignment in theMekong Delta. He was waiting for orders when the call came in for a commando operation to get Hambleton out. Norris was immediately dispatched to lead an operation to rescue Hambleton. He joined a five Vietnamese frog-men (Lien Doc Nguoi Nhia LDNN) Naval Advisory Detachment, Sea Commando team from Da Nang.

 

                                                                                 

 

Lt Col Iceal E. Hambleton, USAF electronic warfare officer shot down behind enemy lines in Vietnam.  Hes the man that Navy SEAL Tom Norris and Kiet Nguyen went in to rescue:
http://www.veterantributes. org/TributeDetail.php? recordID=2060

 

 

                                                           

 

 

 

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