Copy of article provided by Dave Eckberg

FSB 4-11, (11th Inf. Bde. IO) — For the Vietnamese who heeds the Viet Cong promises for a better way of life and whose illusions are subsequently shattered, rallying to the Government of Vietnam side is often the only course of action left.

Captain Rial V. Coleman, Washington, D.C., 11th Brigade S-5, explains the enemy decides to change sides for many reasons.

"Often these people are given arms and equipment by the VC or NVA," he said.  "They get to use them for a short while, then the weapons are taken away.  When the combined strength of GVN and American forces falls on them in retaliation they have nothing to fight with.  They feel cheated and decide to come over to us."

One area of the 11th Brigade area of operation in particular has been very productive lately, Coleman says.  This region, bordered on three sides by a large bend of the Song Tra Khuc River, is known to "Jungle Warriors" as the "Horseshoe" and is controlled by the 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry.

Recently government intelligence sources reported that a group of 15 insurgents in this area wished to rally under the "Chieu Hoi" program.  It was decided that American lift ships would be used to extract the group while gunships provided protection.

"On the day of the extraction the would-be ralliers were told to watch for the arrival of these helicopters at Firebase 4-11," said Captain Coleman.  "When they saw the ships on station a prearranged signal was given and a successful pickup was made without trouble."

This group included several guerilla fighters, a teacher, and an information specialist.  The reasons they gave for their decision were varied but all agreed the Communist cause, as put forth by the VC infrastructure, is not worth the struggle.

Later, six of their comrades in the same area decided to follow their example.  After an aborted pickup attempt they walked in and surrendered themselves to allied forces.  Although no weapons were brought in, valuable information was received from the Chieu Hois on both occasions.

Putting aside a familiar way of life, ignoring Communist propaganda, and coming over to work for the GVN is a big step and often dangerous, but it is made willingly by people with hope for betterment of themselves and their country.