Gia Vuc Camp Layout

The layout of A-103 was typical for Special Forces encampments

A-103 Gia Vuc Layout

The only means of access to most of the A-teams was the chopper. Many, if not most, rural bridges had been destroyed during the French Indochina war. Even if the roads were not impassable, vehicular travel to rural Vietnam locations (such as SF camps) was extremely hazzardous!

I took the following two photos while enroute back to camp. This oblique view shows the camp as the chopper approaches parallel to the runway.


This view of A-103 was taken almost directly over the camp. The colored smoke was used by the pilots to gauge wind direction and speed. We didn't have a sophisticated airport system.

The large (horizontal) rectangular building almost directly to the left of the yellow/red smoke was the 'team house'. Directly below that -- the oval area -- was the roof of the underground 'commo bunker'. The long, vertical roof to the right of the commo bunker was the generator shed. This building housed 55-gallon drums of fuel, the generators that provided electricity for the camp, and the biggest damn rat I have ever seen! [More on that in another page]

The Special Forces (SF) camps were really 'camps within camps', much like concentric circles. The actual American compound was the inner area. It usually had some degree of perimeter protection separating it from the CIDG portion of the camp. The CIDG was our own private army. It was made up of Vietnamese whom we paid.

There were other groups frequently associated with Special Forces, such as 'Mike Force' and LLDB. I must profess that I did not, nor do I now, understand the relationships between SF and these groups. The LLDB were the Vietnamese equivalent to SF; the acronym resulted from the Vietnamese words. However, to many cynical SF'ers, the letters stood for Look Long, Duck Back. Many of its members seemed "reluctant" to go into battle. Anyway, back to the point!

The CIDG camp encircled the American compound. The thinking was that the enemy had to overrun the CIDG before they could get to the Americans. This thinking was flawed, since most camps were aware of at least a half-dozen VC sympathizers within the ranks of the CIDG. I remember an incident at A-105 [Kam Duc] wherein the VC sympathizers opened the perimeter gates -- allowing a company of VC/NVA to run right through the camp! It was one American KIA and two WIA in that incident, I believe.

When I arrived at Gia Vuc I heard rumors about a rebellion -- that the CIDG had ?thought about/tried to? take over the camp. I cannot attest to these rumors. But I do know that at many of the A-Teams the machine guns mounted on/in the CIDG perimeter had their barrels chained in concrete so that the guns could not swivel 360 degrees. The guns could not be fired at the inner American compound.

The Gia Vuc Tribute website has more information about the insurrection at A-103. [See SF Links page]