"Phước Vĩnh 1964/65 . . ." Tinh Binh Duong by Nemorino
Tinh Binh Duong Travel Guide: 14 reviews and 22 photos
Phước Vĩnh in 1964/65 was the capital of Phước Thành ("Happiness") province and the headquarters of something called the PBT Special Zone, which started a few miles north of Saigon and extended all the way to the Cambodian border, a distance of eighty to a hundred miles depending on which part of the border you were going to.
I never quite figured out what was so "special" about this Special Zone, but I did learn that the letters PBT stood for the three provinces of Phuoc Long, Binh Long and Phuoc Thanh, as they were called at the time.
There are several places called Phước Vĩnh in Vietnam, but the one I'm talking about is not in the VirtualTourist database, so I am posting this page under the current province name of Tinh Binh Duong. (Tinh meaning "Province".) You can find Phước Vĩnh at 11°17'57.97" North, 106°47'33.08" East, just below the long white runway which was built by the Americans in the late 1960s and is now used by local farmers for drying their rice at harvest time.
I was stationed at Phước Vĩnh from July to October 1964 and again from March to the end of May 1965, both before and after my time in the beautiful village of Tân Ba some twenty miles to the south.
Phước Vĩnh was not nearly as beautiful as Tân Ba, but supposedly safer. At Phước Vĩnh we lived in an American compound, not in the village, and worked in a fortified South Vietnamese army compound across the road.
This photo shows the American compound as seen from the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) compound. In the foreground is a minefield which completely surrounded the ARVN compound, to protect the South Vietnamese Zone Commander presumably.
There really were mines in the minefield, as a young ARVN lieutenant found out to his detriment.
Aside from working shifts in the radio shack I also had to go out and shovel sand for the sandbags sometimes. This provided a bit of much needed exercise, and we were glad to have the sandbag emplacements to hide behind on those few occasions when there was some sort of shooting going on.
In a travelogue on this page I have posted a story of mine called "Evenings in Europe and Asia", which takes place partly in the radio shack a.k.a. commo shop in Phước Vĩnh, though I changed all the names because the war was still going on when the story was first published.
While cleaning house recently (in the year 2010) I came across some old letters that I had sent from Phước Vĩnh in 1964/65 to various people back in North America.
I have quoted from some of these letters in my General Tips on this page, where I have also described my brief re-visit to Phước Vĩnh in 1995.
Unlike Tân Ba, which was basically unchanged when I returned thirty years later, Phước Vĩnh had been thoroughly rearranged in the intervening years, so I didn't recognize much when I went back. This did not surprise me, since I had lived in military compounds, not in the town. The Vietnamese had no particular reason to preserve the old military compounds from the 1960s, and they had long since torn down the old fences and cleared away the minefields.
I suggest that you read my Phước Vĩnh tips in chronological order, starting with Life in the American compound, 1964.
Thanks to my older son Nick for taking the pictures during our travels through Vietnam in 1995 and for scanning my old photos from 1964/65.
-- This is Tanh cutting open a coconut during our visit to his parents' home. As I mentioned in my tip on our visit... more travel advice
-- On our way down route 13 there was a short but heavy monsoon shower, just as I remembered from my time in Vietnam... more travel advice
Nemorino's Related Pages
Tinh Binh Duong Travel Guide
- See All...
Explore the World
- Pulau Perhentian Kecil Hotels
- Cabo San Lucas
- Nigeria Hotels
- Chennai (Madras) Hotels
- Jacksonville Beach Hotels
- Sunny Beach
- Carrabelle Beach Hotels
- Port Dickson
- Legaspi City
- Zimbabwe Hotels
- Sanibel Island
- Peschiera del Garda
Badges & Stats in Tinh Binh Duong
- 14 Reviews
- 22 Photos
- 0 Forum posts
- 0 Cities
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (58)
Have you been to Tinh Binh Duong?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Tinh Binh Duong
Photos in Tinh Binh DuongSee All Photos (22)
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination Paris Intro, 352 reviews, 1452 photos, 3 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Frankfurt am Main Intro, 96 reviews, 234 photos, 6 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Copenhagen Intro, 61 reviews, 222 photos, 2 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Verona Intro, 49 reviews, 175 photos, 2 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Marseille Intro, 45 reviews, 166 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Lyon Intro, 56 reviews, 152 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Toulon Intro, 42 reviews, 156 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Karlsruhe Intro, 32 reviews, 150 photos, 6 travelogues
- Prague Intro, 44 reviews, 125 photos, 1 travelogue
- Zürich Intro, 43 reviews, 126 photos
FriendsSee All Friends (169)
Top Tinh Binh Duong hotels
- Thu Dau Mot Hotels
- See nearby hotels