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Vietnam war era Phoenix Program patch

Started by Patchcollector , Jan 01 2011 07:41 PM

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#26 05B4S

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 08:02 AM

It may have been "secret" to the American people,(at the time)but the Vietnamese people were well aware of what was going on.Each side had their own version of this.Please read the article that I
posted here with the patch
. :thumbsup:



You mean the article that you posted but failed to give credit to it's author?

#27 8240th A.U.

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 09:47 AM

Some time ago,the same kind of controversy went up concerning the "sniper" patches from the VN era. Many people thought that no one would be suicidal enougth to wear such insignias in the field (basic commonsense I would say).

But they were worn ,and photo evidence was posted on this forum.

Yes, the "Phoenix" patches shown here are not the kind of crap that fakers currently crank out nowadays: one point for the genuine theory.
But their very existence is questionable for a covert ops:one point for the fake theory.
But many Special Forces ops were covert...and genuine patches do exist.
Etc,etc,etc.......

Without further evidence maybe we should simply admit that no one definitely knows if there was (or not) a patch made for the Phoenix program during the 4-5 years it went on.... Maybe, maybe not.
But for sure this topics is starting to get quite hot. :pinch:
Eric

Edited by 8240th A.U., 03 January 2011 - 10:05 AM.


#28 all-bull

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 09:49 AM

Gil,
I agree with what you said about these patches. Came out of nowhere...A very thin material...Yet, absolutely stunning hand-embroidery that could only be done by the best..But where or when? And how come there are only a few of these out there?

There are also some period beercan devices with the Phoenix on them. I was going to post them, but now I fear that this topic may become an endless argument which seems to happen more and more on Vietnam related patches and uniforms.

What I would like to share is this propaganda leaflet, which I presume was handed out to Vietnamese civilians. It clearly shows the bird.

It is pictured in Gary Murtha's Phoenix Program book, 1994. A really great book with history, and pictures of propaganda, documents, patches, badges, etc. Not sure how many books he had put out, but I'm sure not many.

I will also include another page of the book, which I found interesting. A patch and a certificate. Just thought I would share.

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#29 all-bull

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 09:51 AM

translation:

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#30 all-bull

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 09:52 AM

Another page of the book. For some reason, my computer would not let me rotate this one.

I also have another leaflet with "Phoenix Program" written on it, but does not have the bird.

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Edited by all-bull, 03 January 2011 - 09:57 AM.


#31 snake36bravo

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 10:01 AM

I'll stay out of everything else and just focus on the patches presented here.

While the two examples shown are nicely done from the front there is just an awful lot of thread on the backs that I typically dont see on wartime hand embroidered pocket patches. The patch makers were capable of producing extremely complex designs from the front but when you turn a patch over you see a minimal use of threading on the back. Even the cruder made patches exhibit this same trait. The Phoenix patches in this thread might look nice and of course the connection the Phoenix Program is selling point but I have serious doubts about their originality.

I'm posting the backs of two well made hand embroidered patches to illustrate my point about what to expect in a hand embroidered pocket patch made during the war. Cobra NETT and 158th AHC.

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  • 158TH_ASSAULT_HELICOPTER_COMPANY__2.jpg


#32 snake36bravo

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 10:06 AM

Contrast two known originals with the details I've mentioned on Hand Embroidered examples with the back of this. Notice the back is just as vibrant as the front where you should expect to see outlines or what amounts to a sort of connect the dots sparing use of line work.

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Edited by snake36bravo, 03 January 2011 - 10:08 AM.


#33 all-bull

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 10:06 AM

Here is another pamphlet. I was not there, and am not going to pretend that I know anything about the Program. But I think that a lot of the Vietnamese civilians knew about this program.

And yes, my patch (the red one) would probably not hold up to much wear....But almost certainly would never be intended for uniform use, either. But it is definitely one of the prettiest patches we have, real or not.

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#34 all-bull

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 10:08 AM

This piece has a third language.

Could J_Andrews please let us know who this language was directed to? I really do love the history of the program, and how much you guys know about it.

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#35 8240th A.U.

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 10:14 AM

This piece has a third language.

Could J_Andrews please let us know who this language was directed to? I really do love the history of the program, and how much you guys know about it.


Korean, I would say.

#36 kriegsmodell

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 10:29 AM

You mean the article that you posted but failed to give credit to it's author?


I think the article came from the scholarly source known as Wikipedia. Forgive my sarcasm ......

#37 2Dogs

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 10:52 AM

When I post patches to the forum I except to see feedback, Good or Bad about the patch. If a person says he was there and done that. I have to give credit where it's due. Stepping on peoples toes today maybe attached to something you have to kiss tomorrow.

#38 J_Andrews

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 10:54 AM

PHOENIX, by that name and under the control of the RVN Natl Police (NOTE: Army participated as JUNIOR partner, not lead.)
started in early 1969. It was drawn down from some time in 1972 and ended in 1973 with the Paris Accords and US troop withdrawal. BUT the Govt of VN (GVN) kept it going, under a new name.

Its roots were the "Counter-Terrorist Program" (CTP) and ICEX efforts, begun in mid-1965, after the start of US troop intervention. It was run unilaterally by US CIA and initially did not involve any Govt of RVN assets/participation; the "hitman" teams were locally-hired civilians, paid and trained by CIA. They were civilians in most cases because they were not RVN citizens or were convicted felons not draftable into the ARVN. TET 68 and its aftermath were "good hubting" days, but then the American media and Congress had heard of it and disapproved. By then, the GVN had been brought in, as liaison (not in charge).

In 1969, CIA dumped it all on DOD, which dumped it on Army MI branch, under MACV CORDS. Consistent with the Nixon era "Vietnamization", the input of Army MI people peaked at the end of 1971, and the following year many slots were decremented.

Many Special Forces people served in Phoenix, especially seconded to CIA in 1965-1969 and especially to superintend the PRU teams involved in raids and "hits". Contrary to conventional wisdom less than half of "business" involved spefically targeted assassinations or even shoot-out fatalities; at least half involved nighttime raids, especially when and where a GROUP of VC could be arrested. Arrested? Yes. Dead ones were not good candidates for INTERROGATION, which counted heavily.

#39 vintageproductions

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 12:03 PM

Wow, this has been an interesting read to say the least.
In all the years I have handled Vietnamese made insignia, I have only handled two vintage Phoenix patches. One was in a group that belonged to a Phoenix advisor, that was given to him when he went home, along with a cased beercan plaque. It was the white background version. The other was one that was in an older Vietnam patch collection. I also believe at one time I have seen a tailor made sports type shirt, that had the Phoenix hand embroidered on the pocket, and nothing else on the shirt.
As per showing the two above helicopter patches and saying that is how a hand embroidered patch should look, is a bit of a stretch. Those two are classic examples of patches that came from the famous shop in Saigon. To say that all hand embroidered patches from Vietnam will only look like that is a major stretch. There were 100's of embroidery shops around Vietnam and the bases, and each did things a little different as there was no issued manual as to how they had to embroider a piece.

#40 all-bull

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 12:27 PM

Here are the beercans I spoke about. Since this is getting back on topic, I think it's OK to put them up for those who would enjoy. And yes, I know at least one of the four is not right. But I hope that's it!

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Edited by all-bull, 03 January 2011 - 12:31 PM.


#41 all-bull

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 12:31 PM

2 more

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#42 itshistory

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 12:31 PM

I have to agree with Vintage Productions on the fact that there was no "manual" on how things got embroidered by Vietnamese, Thai, Indian or Philippine patch makers. Early demand was slow. Things rose as the tempo of the War increased and troops came into the country. It stands completely on it's own that methods would have to be modified to keep pace with the demand. Machine embroidery out paced hand embroidery and that legacy is that there are patches for collectors to pursue. Just because YOU have not seen a certain example in YOUR years of collecting should not immediately make it suspect. I could dig quite a few pieces out of my collection that some of you would swear are bogus. I have the satisfaction of knowing they are not by that ever absolute thing called PROVENANCE. And it's my opinion that the beautiful example of the Phoenix Program patch is quite legit and I can say I've seen the type of embroidery before. I have a few examples done exactly the same way. Hand embroidery has several variations of application. Some are so "ethnic" the makers can be identified. And this spans generations of artisans that predate Vietnam by a long shot.

IH

#43 snake36bravo

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 02:53 PM

I have to agree with Vintage Productions on the fact that there was no "manual" on how things got embroidered by Vietnamese, Thai, Indian or Philippine patch makers.
IH


Well there's also Japanese, Korean and stateside makers too. No manual but common people that made them. You can tell a certain embroiderer when you start handling multiples of the same patches. Even the RT team pocket patches I've seen haven't been so busy on the back either. But I will never say never. If those are good I've got some more learning to do which I'm all for.

Your right I'm basing this on my experience with Vietnam pocket patches from the hundreds of photo references I've compiled and of course the many ones I've owned and handled. I just haven't seen that type of thread detail on back on one yet and like everyone else I provided my opinion. I'm not classed as an expert, haven't written a book or been featured on any shows so all I have is what I've learned and seen for myself as a collector of these.

It's been an educating read anyway on public knowledge both wartime and now of the Phoenix Program.

#44 Saskatoon Light Infantry

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 03:33 PM

The PHUNG HOANG ADVISOR SCHOOL patch is a late war piece (1970-1971) and the several I've seen were machine embroidered. The existence of this patch was confirmed by the late Bill Colby.

Several different agencies and units were involved with the PHOENIX PROGRAM. Some full time and some part time. For instance:

-Some PRU units worked PHOENIX operations full time.
-Some PRU units worked PHOENIX operations part time.
-Some PRU units did not work PHOENIX operations at all.
-To the best of my knowledge, I don't know of any Mountain PRU unit which worked PHOENIX operations.

How rare is PHOENIX insignia, that depends on where and when you were in Viet Nam. You didn't see much PHOENIX insignia being worn in IV Corps, but II Corps was another matter. PHOENIX insignia was quite common in II Corps, particularly in the Northern five provinces (1969-1971).

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#45 2Dogs

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 03:42 PM

What is the insignia on the right / top of the certificate?

#46 itshistory

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 03:57 PM

I'll stay out of everything else and just focus on the patches presented here.

While the two examples shown are nicely done from the front there is just an awful lot of thread on the backs that I typically dont see on wartime hand embroidered pocket patches. The patch makers were capable of producing extremely complex designs from the front but when you turn a patch over you see a minimal use of threading on the back. Even the cruder made patches exhibit this same trait. The Phoenix patches in this thread might look nice and of course the connection the Phoenix Program is selling point but I have serious doubts about their originality.

I'm posting the backs of two well made hand embroidered patches to illustrate my point about what to expect in a hand embroidered pocket patch made during the war. Cobra NETT and 158th AHC.


If the two "minimalist" thread use patches you display are what you think is to be expected of wartime patches, does this mean that these are not "typical" war time patches?

IH
backs_001.jpg

#47 itshistory

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 04:15 PM

I'll stay out of everything else and just focus on the patches presented here.

While the two examples shown are nicely done from the front there is just an awful lot of thread on the backs that I typically dont see on wartime hand embroidered pocket patches. The patch makers were capable of producing extremely complex designs from the front but when you turn a patch over you see a minimal use of threading on the back. Even the cruder made patches exhibit this same trait. The Phoenix patches in this thread might look nice and of course the connection the Phoenix Program is selling point but I have serious doubts about their originality.

I'm posting the backs of two well made hand embroidered patches to illustrate my point about what to expect in a hand embroidered pocket patch made during the war. Cobra NETT and 158th AHC.


Here is some data you may find useful. While I agree that one patch is the back of a design associated with the Cobra NETT, the other patch you identify as the 158th AHC is no such thing. There was no such company. There was an Assault Helicopter Battalion designated the 158th AHB, it belonged to the 101st Abn Div. Yes, their B Company was known as "Ghostrider". The patch design you show the back of is shown here from the front, along with another one which will show the obvious connection. The "Black Bandits" patch is from A Company, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion of the 1st Cavalry Division. The "Black Bandit" in the patch is Rocky Raccoon, from the Beatles song of the same name. The other patch is from the 1st Airlift platoon of the "Black Bandits", they nicknamed themselves "Ghostriders". The "Black Bandit" head of Rocky Raccoon is prominent at the top of the patch which was in keeping with their main identity of A Company/229 AHB.
These two patches were the property of CW4 Gerald Kirkland, A Company, 229th AHB, 1st Cavalry Division, Vietnam 1968-1969.

IH
rocky_001.jpg

#48 Patchcollector

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 05:49 PM

I read the new posts and found them very interesting,and thought that I would reply to some.First,to noexpert,I apologize for not thanking you for the translation,belated thanks!
On your other points,I think that you may have misunderstood me.I was not in any way trying "to put you in your place" by my reply to you.I was trying to clarify the fact that
from the Wiki info I posted,it's clear that both sides were openly targeting each others "civilian" populace.I say "civilian",but many were doing work for the military,just wearing civilian
attire.There were many facets to the Phoenix/Phung Hoang program,not just the assassination squads.I think alot of people (myself included until I read more about it) tend to view the
Phoenix/Phung Hoang program from that perspective,just the death squads,but in fact,there was alot more going on,and I believe that many Vietnamese people knew about the program,because if they did'nt,then the objectives of the program were not being met.In other words,the program was meant to be known about by the populace,maybe not the details,but surely the results,as it was a
pacification program,and the more the people that lived there knew about it,perhaps the less they were willing to join the other side.While it was misused,I think that the term "evil" is a bit strong.
The Communist VCI (Viet Cong infrastructure)and NLF(National Liberation Front)were killing many civilians in South Vietnam,and the Phoenix/Phung Hoang program was created to counter the VCI/NLF.That's the way I understand it,and there are many web sources that have much more info about the Program.To sum it up,I think that the people that were most "in the dark" about the Program during the war were the people outside of Vietnam,i.e, the American public,and most of the other countries as well.
As to the "expert" that I "blew of"(f), I found his response troubling in the sense that whenever I hear someone say "never",I think of the old saying"Never say never"!.While it may be true
that he,in his own experience never saw any insignia,that should not be construed as meaning that there was never any insignia made,but that he just never saw any.Now as I revisit his post,
I realize that he does not come right out and say it,the way I took it is that the implication was no insignia was ever produced anywhere incountry during the war,period.If I am mistaken,
my apologies to the writer.As for my "cleverly" putting up little or no info about the patch itself,it's because I have little to no info on it,so I'm not sure how clever I am in this regard,I plead ignorance!If I have any info or provenance on anything that I post here,I will surely post it!
As for Gil,I respect his input,as he has alot of experience in researching fakes from this war.There's nothing wrong with asking questions,ever!
To jgawne's post,I have to say that "saying a patch belonged to Patton,and saying a patch is original,are two different things.Let's compare apples with apples!As I said before,I have no provenance
on this patch,as probably 95% of the stuff posted on this forum does'nt either.But by studying the construction,doing some research,using common sense brings me to believe that this is a war era,incountry made piece.If you don't want to believe it,that's fine,everyone has opinions.
Do I believe that this was worn?Yes I do,but as to who would have worn it,I do not know.My guess is that they were made up for some staff at an upper level.(?)
I think that Vietnamese wore these,probably not Americans,although an advisor may have brought some home.There are PRU patches,and "Secret" Police patches from
this war as well,and they did essentially the same functions,at times.I even have some OSS patches in my collection!Do I think operatives wore them on missions?Heck no!
But they exist.
To 05b4s,it's a Wiki article, the way Wiki works,sometimes authors are not identified.I chose it because I felt it was a well balanced view of the program.
8240th A.U. you are quite right,many Nam era Special Forces had patches made up,some of them wore them inside their hats,as they were not permitted to wear them on their uniforms!
They were also "secret mission" units.
snake36bravo,just because a patch does'nt match yours,does'nt mean it is not genuine.These things were hand made by many different people using many different methods and materials.
Saskatoon Light,thanks very much for that info!I would love to acquire one of those advisor school patches!
Itshistory,you are right on target!I have examples that are authentic Vietnam war era theatre made that have minimal back threading,and some that are heavily back threaded.

Well,that's it.It's taken me so long to write this that I fear it's now dated,as new posts keep coming in!Thanks to all who posted,admiring the patch,it is a beauty.I realize that when things are
posted on this forum,as another poster said,one should be able to accept all posts,whether positive or negative.Yes,you are right,but as for myself,when looking at other pieces that others post,
I try to be as pleasant as possible and say something positive about their patch,badge,or whatever they feel to display to us here.If I'm not sure about an item that I see,I just bite my tongue and keep it to myself.If the item does turn out to be a fake,then others more qualified than me will present the proof to back up their statements.There are some real experts here,and I appreciate their being here and sharing their knowledge.Thanks again to everyone for making this an interesting thread!

#49 Saskatoon Light Infantry

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 08:41 PM

Both Americans and Vietnamese wore PHOENIX insignia. - - - - - Some of the Australians assigned to PHOENIX also wore such insignia.

Most PHOENIX insignia was worn at the District and Province level. It was worn openly, not hidden away inside a persons hat or beret. I don't ever remember seeing or hearing about a regulation stating such insignia couldn't be worn. A few American advisors at the Corps level also wore such insignia. As a general rule of thumb, most of the cloth insignia was worn by advisors working in the field. Most of the metal insignia was worn by those working in the DIOCCs and PIOCCs.

Even though some PHOENIX insignia has been reproduced (i.e. beer can DIs), all original PHOENIX insignia was made in Viet Nam. I have never seen or heard of anyone who had insignia made out off country. There was no reason too.

With all due respect Patchcollector, don't compare OSS operations to PHOENIX operations. PHOENIX insignia was worn openly by Americans. With that said, there was a time and place. If an American was going on a nighttime operation, he obviously wouldn't be wearing such insignia. If he was going on a day time operation, then he might wear such insignia.

#50 Patchcollector

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 09:15 PM

With all due respect Patchcollector, don't compare OSS operations to PHOENIX operations. PHOENIX insignia was worn openly by Americans. With that said, there was a time and place. If an American was going on a nighttime operation, he obviously wouldn't be wearing such insignia. If he was going on a day time operation, then he might wear such insignia.
[/quote]


The OSS was the precursor to the CIA,which was involved with the project.


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