596 Signal Company

Veterans

                                       

Viet Nam

Here, with the help of some of the Nam vets, I hope to pass on some of the experiences of the 596th at war.

Below is a map of the general area around Phu Bai where the unit was deployed.  It is in the northern part of South Viet Nam.

 

To War

The 596 Signal Company (Support) received orders dated 13 Dec. 1967 for a Permanent Change Of Station with a ready date of 29 Jan 1968.  Authorized strength at the time was 350 officers & enlisted.  All of their equipment was loaded on RR flatcars and shipped to the port.  In January 1968 the men of the 596th, carrying their duffle bags, web gear and weapons, went to the Tucson, AZ airport and flew to Long Beach, CA where they boarded the MSTS Upshur for the 2 week cruise to Viet Nam.  They dropped off an aviation outfit at Da Nang then continued on to Qui Nhon where they debarked and convoyed to An Khe where they spent a couple of weeks doing nothing.  Then they were flown to Phu Bai where they found their equipment and set up shop.

They were initially assigned to the 459th Signal Battalion (Provisional) where they supported the 1st Cav and the Marines in the relief of Khe Sahn and the recapture of Hue.  They were then assigned to the 63rd Signal Battalion for the remainder of their time in Viet Nam.  They had sites at Camp Eagle, Gar Lai combat base, Firebases Birmingham, Bastogne.

 

 

1968 Stars & Strips article on the arrival of the 596th at Phu Bai, Viet Nam.  Thanks to Joe Dempsey

Dempsey-67.jpg (225648 bytes)

596 soldiers arrive in Viet Nam
Stars & Strips

SSG Dempsey sworn in by CPT Berkley C Whipple on re-enlistment around June 1967

Here are part of the orders that sent the 596th to Viet Nam.

Orders-1.gif (204237 bytes)

Orders-2.gif (175879 bytes)

Orders-3.gif (162977 bytes)

Orders-4.gif (147533 bytes)

At-sea.jpg (21694 bytes) Upshur-interior.jpg (55429 bytes) DaNang-ships.jpg (15587 bytes) NCOs-on-Upshur.jpg (116209 bytes)

L to R2LT Larry Reynolds,
SSG Bob Ulner, SSG Joe Dempsey

596 troops on Upshur

Ships in DaNang harbor 
from Upshur

Stand L-R: SSG Joe Dempsey, Unknown, Unknown, SSG Jack Faux, Unknown. Kneel L-R: Unknown, SFC Pete Cox

2LT-Reynolds.jpg (44264 bytes) SSG-Dempsey.jpg (42870 bytes) Da-Nang-Harbor.jpg (37070 bytes) Jungle-Patch.jpg (79484 bytes)
2LT Reynolds on Upshur 1968 SSG Dempsey on Upshur 1968 Da Nang Harbor 1968 Dempsey's Jungle Expert Patch
Deck.jpg (84920 bytes) Building.jpg (113582 bytes) Burning.jpg (106197 bytes) Tank.jpg (68144 bytes)
A view from the deck of the Upshur - Jan 1968 596th Building at Phu Bai Unknown soldier burning documents - Phu Bai 1968 1st Cav Armor at Camp Hockmuth 1968
Poliwogs.jpg (39501 bytes) Gar-Lai-barracks.jpg (30714 bytes) Shower.jpg (36714 bytes) Fill-shower.jpg (77704 bytes)
Crossing the dateline initiation
on the Upshur
Platoon barracks at Gar Lai combat base The Shower Refilling the shower
1SG Teel leaning on truck
Sandbags.jpg (42965 bytes) Haircut.jpg (51726 bytes) Ammo-dump.jpg (26626 bytes) Dempsey-Nam68.jpg (55425 bytes)

Troops sandbagging building at Phu Bai

SSG Bob Ulner gets haircut from SPC Escalante

Ammo dump blows up
Burned for 4 days

SSG Joe Dempsey 
@ Phu Bai Signal Site 1968

NCO-group.jpg (64207 bytes) Unknown-SSG.jpg (43073 bytes) SSG-Ulner.jpg (51125 bytes)
NCO group photo Phu Bai 1968  Anybody know these guys? SSG Grubaugh
Radio Platoon Sgt
SSG Bob Ulner
Below are some photos from "Long Island Ron" Valastin"
Replacement sign.jpg (52998 bytes) Supply.jpg (32617 bytes) Comm site sign.jpg (15356 bytes) HF radio site.jpg (49507 bytes)
No explanation needed
Ron Valastin
Supply run to Da Nang
Ron Valastin
596 Comm Site sign
Ron Valastin
Part of HF Radio site
Ron Valastin

 

 

 

 


In Memoriam

596 soldiers who have died in the line of duty

Spc Seth was killed one night while standing perimeter guard duty. I don't know if they called it a KIA, though.  I believe it went down as an accidental shooting, friendly fire from another GI.  I remember talking to the guy who was "the shooter."  He said it was all very confusing out there.  There were reports of "something in the wire" and flares going off all over the place.  He said he saw someone coming across the berm and challenged him three times but the intruder did not answer. He just kept advancing, so the guy fired three shots and ran out.  The reactionary force came out and found Seth dead.  The shooter's ammo clip showed that he was three shells shy of a full load, but other witnesses said they heard seven shots. Nobody knows where those shots came from.  There was an inquiry and the shooter returned to duty and finished out his tour, but you could tell he was rattled from the experience.  God rest his soul.
Name withheld.

CHARLES WILLIAM SETH



SP4 - E4 - Army - Regular
1st Signal Brigade
26 year old Married, Caucasian, Male
Born on Sep 24, 1941
From AMBRIDGE, PENNSYLVANIA
Length of service 4 years.
His tour of duty began on Jan 23, 1968
Casualty was on Sep 14, 1968
in THUA THIEN, SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
MISADVENTURE
Body was recovered
Religion
ROMAN CATHOLIC

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EDWARD LEWIS NIX



SP4 - E4 - Army - Regular
1st Signal Brigade
21 year old Married, Negro, Male
Born on Aug 12, 1946
From ALPINE, ALABAMA
Length of service 2 years.
His tour of duty began on May 29, 1967
Casualty was on May 16, 1968
SOUTH VIETNAM
Non-Hostile, died of illness/injury
GROUND CASUALTY
ILLNESS, DISEASE
Body was recovered
Religion
BAPTIST

Panel 61E - - Line 15



 

RANDY LEE HANSEN



SP4 - E4 - Army - Regular
1st Signal Brigade
20 year old Single, Caucasian, Male
Born on Oct 23, 1948
From WILLISTON, NORTH DAKOTA
Length of service 2 years.
His tour of duty began on Feb 01, 1968
Casualty was on Apr 06, 1969
in THUA THIEN, SOUTH VIETNAM
NON-HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
VEHICLE CRASH
Body was recovered
Religion
METHODIST

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GEORGE WILLIAM WINKLES JR



PFC - E3 - Army - Regular
1st Signal Brigade
21 year old Single, Caucasian, Male
Born on Oct 29, 1949
From COLLEGE PLACE, WASHINGTON
His tour of duty began on Jan 29, 1971
Casualty was on May 11, 1971
in GIA DINH, SOUTH VIETNAM
Non-Hostile, died of illness/injury
GROUND CASUALTY
ACCIDENTAL SELF-DESTRUCTION
Body was recovered
Religion
PROTESTANT

Panel 03W - - Line 32



13 Jan 04 - If there is anyone who knew SFC Squarrell in Viet Nam please contact me
His granddaughter would like more information about him.


SFC Squarell was a Platoon Sergeant of Sig Cntr 2 at Fort Huachuca in 1964 & 1965

SAMUEL LUVENE SQUARRELL SFC



SFC - E7 - Army - Regular
1st Signal Brigade
44 year old Married, Negro, Male
Born on Jul 27, 1923
From BALTIMORE, MARYLAND
Length of service 18 years.
His tour of duty began on Aug 03, 1967
Casualty was on Feb 07, 1968
in HUA NGHIA, SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
ARTILLERY, ROCKET, or MORTAR
Body was recovered
Religion
METHODIST

Panel 38E - - Line 15

 

Updated   01.09.06 22:21

Webmaster:  John Osbeck