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Vietnam war era Phoenix Program patch

Started by Patchcollector , Jan 01 2011 07:41 PM

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#51 River Patrol

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 06:16 AM

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


If it was worn, there are probably pictures of it being worn. Do you have any of these photos or have you seen photographic evidence of this patch on a uniform? or , at least an interview with a former member that recalls the patch?

Edited by River Patrol, 04 January 2011 - 06:33 AM.


#52 jgawne

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 08:43 AM

Given that the logic of how classified ops are run make such a patch very, very unliely, I think the burden of proof lies to prove it is a period made item, not the other way around.

And as you mentioned you wouldn't want to have somone show up at your house wearing a patch like this at night, you indicated that you thought it was worn on ops. Those were your words and inference.

I think that, before people start claiming this is a period made design, some simple research be done on it. It strains credibility that anyoen would make it up during the actual operation period, so until you come up with some evidence that some were made, logic has to come down on the side of it being very questionable.

I've tracked classified insignia from WW2. You find one guy in the program, (which you now have) and follow the threads. Maybe its a far more interesting story than anyone thinks.

All I am saying is that lack of evidence is not evidence. And there is evidence that it was not made in the operational period ( claims it was never seen until 7 years ago, a vet of the program saying no way), and a lot of people saying that the Vietnamese have been faking every single thing they can to make money. Then the burden falls on those who feel it is real to find some proof. There's entire books on the program. Not just a Wikkipedia article. Have the papers been declassified and made available yet? I don't know. Have you filed a FOIA request?

Was there a cover "Phoenix program" that did something totally different set up in case the name was heard? If so was that something the designs may have been made for? Was phoenix even used by the members at the time? or was it a classified name that no one was allowed to even mention? or were they hollywood style cowboys that did go around wearing insdignia that said "I murder vietnamese."

There is a lot of research to be done before claims really can be made about such a super duper spook secret insignia.

#53 8240th A.U.

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 10:24 AM

Well,
For what I've read in the thread, is seems that the Phoenix program was not so secret...at least to the Vietnamese . It was an "official" program that tried to fight communist cadre (an illegal organisation ....) on the RVN territory.
Phoenix operatives were the "good ones", communists were the "bad ones" . VC had to hide (more or less) and the Phoenix operatives involved in intelligence collection from Vietnamese populace, obviously,had to have some visibility (I understand that there was a number of permanent Phoenix offices in SVN, correct?).

Of course, it was a different story for the US operative/military involved in the program: "elimination" of the VC was not seen as politically correct by the US public.So, "plausible denial" had to be just that:plausible.No direct obvious link (like insignias...) between US military and the Phoenix program was a good thing.

And, by the way, the patch doesn't say "I murder Vietnamese", but "I fight Communism". I think that the Vietnamese that suffered "liberation" by the VC were quite happy that someone tried to stop them.

I would add that the context of the war on the SVN territory was totally different from WW2 allied operations in the occupied Europe (or SEA):
WW2 was an anhiliation war, there was no such things as bombing restrictions,or limitation in what could be done to defeat the enemy,Vietnam had to be an "acceptable, limited" conflict, that could be admitted by US public opinion.
There was no such question during WW2 (neither during Korean War, I guess the fate of the communist guerrillas in South Korea wouldn't have raised outrage in the USA, at the time :rolleyes: ).
Eric

Edited by 8240th A.U., 04 January 2011 - 10:37 AM.


#54 itshistory

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 10:26 AM

Given that the logic of how classified ops are run make such a patch very, very unliely, I think the burden of proof lies to prove it is a period made item, not the other way around.

And as you mentioned you wouldn't want to have somone show up at your house wearing a patch like this at night, you indicated that you thought it was worn on ops. Those were your words and inference.

I think that, before people start claiming this is a period made design, some simple research be done on it. It strains credibility that anyoen would make it up during the actual operation period, so until you come up with some evidence that some were made, logic has to come down on the side of it being very questionable.

I've tracked classified insignia from WW2. You find one guy in the program, (which you now have) and follow the threads. Maybe its a far more interesting story than anyone thinks.

All I am saying is that lack of evidence is not evidence. And there is evidence that it was not made in the operational period ( claims it was never seen until 7 years ago, a vet of the program saying no way), and a lot of people saying that the Vietnamese have been faking every single thing they can to make money. Then the burden falls on those who feel it is real to find some proof. There's entire books on the program. Not just a Wikkipedia article. Have the papers been declassified and made available yet? I don't know. Have you filed a FOIA request?

Was there a cover "Phoenix program" that did something totally different set up in case the name was heard? If so was that something the designs may have been made for? Was phoenix even used by the members at the time? or was it a classified name that no one was allowed to even mention? or were they hollywood style cowboys that did go around wearing insdignia that said "I murder vietnamese."

There is a lot of research to be done before claims really can be made about such a super duper spook secret insignia.



While there is plenty of common sense in this line of thought, and plenty of evidence that security is common place, it has been shown that human nature can easily defeat common sense with bravado. Very informative publications in the last decade have shown that in spite of common sense, bravado trumped it with many servicemen of several of the branches having made and wore insignia that touted their inclusion in such units. While they surely avoided such display while out in the bush or running up the river, they did display those patches on "rear echelon" bases.
It has been shown that yes they did wear insignia that promoted the necessity behind what they did. To document the Phoenix to the same level that SF units have been documented will take time, now that the idea has been raised. But in the past the same nay saying attitude about the Recon and Delta insignia ran rampant until it was shown that indeed, common sense had been set aside by soldierly pride.

IH

Edited by itshistory, 04 January 2011 - 10:28 AM.


#55 MFT3

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 11:38 AM

Here is the Vietnamese PRU document given to Maxwell Scott, a American member of a PRU unit. If the United States did not officially recognize the PRU, it appears that the Vietnamese government did. I will try to ask Mr. Scott if his unit wore patches. Sorry for the poor image; I was only able to get a photocopy.

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#56 snake36bravo

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 11:59 AM

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


To quote myself, "But I will never say never. If those are good I've got some more learning to do which I'm all for." I was given this general advice on what to expect in Vietnam pocket patches by Lee Jackson who helped me sort some of my collection which he purchased. I dont claim to know it all and he was just helping me to learn more which is no reflection on him. I took it as gospel. :rolleyes:

This is just my general opinion but to go back and look through my photos of items I've owned I'll display an early Flying Dragons pocket patch. You can see there is more thread there than on the other two aviation patches I showed. The other early pocket patch I owned was a 57th Med Co and it had more thread as well.

My thoughts are that the Vietnamese, I'm focusing on Vietnamese made patches, got more refined. Looking at my early patches to mid to late I can see a change.

I've obviously got some more to learn and like I said, I am all for gaining more knowledge.

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Edited by snake36bravo, 04 January 2011 - 12:10 PM.


#57 itshistory

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 12:40 PM

To quote myself, "But I will never say never. If those are good I've got some more learning to do which I'm all for." I was given this general advice on what to expect in Vietnam pocket patches by Lee Jackson who helped me sort some of my collection which he purchased. I dont claim to know it all and he was just helping me to learn more which is no reflection on him. I took it as gospel. :rolleyes:

This is just my general opinion but to go back and look through my photos of items I've owned I'll display an early Flying Dragons pocket patch. You can see there is more thread there than on the other two aviation patches I showed. The other early pocket patch I owned was a 57th Med Co and it had more thread as well.

My thoughts are that the Vietnamese, I'm focusing on Vietnamese made patches, got more refined. Looking at my early patches to mid to late I can see a change.

I've obviously got some more to learn and like I said, I am all for gaining more knowledge.


Be cautious when dealing with persons whose intentions are to "purchase" from you. They can be less than candid. And take advantage of your lack of overall knowledge. Not all, mind you, but some.
The change you see in construction type may possibly lie in "progress", as you allude to. Refined may well be that using less material has two advantages: savings on expended materials and faster turnaround in product. Both of these factors have much validity to the makers. Those patches which have the "through and through" embroidery seem to me like they would take a bit longer to make because of the stitch style. The quick loop stitch of the "thrifty" patches were surely faster to make.

IH

#58 vintageproductions

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 02:10 PM

SOG-SEALS-Force Recon-Phoenix, etc. All special operation type units and all had insignia. Like IH said above, they did not wear them in the field or on OPS, but they wore them in camp or in the compounds.

#59 River Patrol

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 02:36 PM

SOG-SEALS-Force Recon-Phoenix, etc. All special operation type units and all had insignia. Like IH said above, they did not wear them in the field or on OPS, but they wore them in camp or in the compounds.


Exactly.....so there should be pictures!

But, generally, these will be found from the unit members, and they can be difficult to locate, however, it should be attempted.

#60 noexpert

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 02:56 PM

I'm thinkin' River Patrol that your insistence on photographic documentation is being met with that old saw from the Liberty Valance movie...when the legend becomes fact, print the legend. ;)

I heard it was done, it probably was done, I would have done it, it's as good as done...

#61 vintageproductions

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 04:24 PM

Exactly.....so there should be pictures!

But, generally, these will be found from the unit members, and they can be difficult to locate, however, it should be attempted.


Steve-Do you not remember two SOS's ago, the large Phoenix grouping that Joe Tonelli had just one block of tables away from you and Scott? All the guy's photos, berets, uniforms, and the incredible silk hand embroidered unit guidon. All were named and well documented. I believe he sold the group to Bill Scott on Saturday.

Edited by vintageproductions, 04 January 2011 - 04:25 PM.


#62 River Patrol

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 05:14 PM

Steve-Do you not remember two SOS's ago, the large Phoenix grouping that Joe Tonelli had just one block of tables away from you and Scott? All the guy's photos, berets, uniforms, and the incredible silk hand embroidered unit guidon. All were named and well documented. I believe he sold the group to Bill Scott on Saturday.


Yes....I remember the group (and the price). I was going to bring this up too. There were photos but I don't remember seeing any uniform photos with the Phoenix patch. I do recall the giant (and I mean GIANT - maybe 12 x 12 foot - that's just a guess) flag/wall covering with the embroidered Phoenix. It was a stunning group! This certainly lends credence to the fact that the symbols were used in a variety of materials wherever he was stationed.

That same year I got a chance to look at some photos from a guy that managed a PRU unit. I asked if he recalled any patch use by the team. He said no - except for the winged scimitar. While looking through the photos I spotted one guy wearing something like a dark colored shirt with a patch that had a vulture or bird on it. I burned that patch image into my brain -- still looking for that one. But it told me that not all the advisor were so concerned with patches/uniforms as we are today. They (naturally) had other things on their minds.

#63 kriegsmodell

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 06:13 PM

I remember that group from the SOS as well. It was unreal. I though it went unsold but I never saw it again so maybe you are correct that Scott ended up with it. If I remember correctly it had a 5 digit asking price.

I by no means have the largest or most extensive reference library but I have been in the hobby for a while and I am a firm believer in the value of investment in books, journals, etc. So over the last two evenings I have poured through every reference and source book that I could think of in the hunt for a period photograph of the Phoenix symbol in wear be it patch, beer can, or whatever. I found nothing of the sort. Several photos of US and SVN troops wearing Provincial Reconnaissance Unit (PRU) patches, more wearing PRU "Winged Sword" metal insignia on berets, etc. I did find a couple of interesting photgraphs that I am posting here. The first is captioned with a note indicating an Operation Phoenix wanted poster listing the names of VCI in Tri Ton District, Chau Doc Province. Photo below:

1_043.jpg

1_045.jpg

And a closer view (best I could do). Note the Phoenix symbol superimposed over what appears top be the SVN flag at the top of the poster.

Edited by kriegsmodell, 04 January 2011 - 06:28 PM.


#64 all-bull

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 06:17 PM

Picture of PRU patch worn by a U.S. CSM. Also have one of Ian Sutherland wearing a different one on his chest pocket, and will picture it upon request

Thought you guys might enjoy.

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#65 all-bull

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 06:18 PM

PRU patch worn by ARVN

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#66 kriegsmodell

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 06:25 PM

One more photograph found of interest. This is captioned "Phoenix program insignia showing the mythical Vietnamese Phung Hoang was never authorized for wear by US Army personnel, but many Phoenix advisers chose to wear it." These are both beer can type insignia. This photgraph as well as the photograph above are attributed to Frank C. Brown who served as a province adviser in the program.

1_044.jpg

The photograph in this post and #63 as well as the caption quoted above are from: Ashes to Ashes - The Phoenix Program in the Vietnam War by Dale Andrage, 1990, Lexington Books.

Edited by kriegsmodell, 04 January 2011 - 06:27 PM.


#67 vintageproductions

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 07:25 PM

That group was amazing. I don't remember the flag being that big, but it was cool.
Jason Hardy and I went over on a few different occasions trying to figure out how to go in as partners on it to keep the group together, but we never pulled the trigger. I believe Joe told me Scotty bought it.

#68 Bookie

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 09:19 PM

Patch Collector, I used to be Phoenix 62 and had a patch similar to this remake. Do you have any originals laying around? Cheers, BookiePhoenix_Patch.jpg

#69 Patchcollector

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 10:27 PM

Patch Collector, I used to be Phoenix 62 and had a patch similar to this remake. Do you have any originals laying around? Cheers, BookiePhoenix_Patch.jpg


Hey Bookie,
I do not,but I'll remember that one and keep my eyes open for it,that's one cool patch!You may want to check with the forum members "Itshistory" and "Howard Kelley"
too,they have alot of Army Aviation stuff!

Edited by Patchcollector, 04 January 2011 - 10:28 PM.


#70 all-bull

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 06:05 AM

Here Bookie...

A long time ago I think I read the history about the design of this patch. But can't remember it now, and don't think it had anything to do with the Phoenix Program. Anyway, here are some real ones.

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#71 itshistory

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 07:33 AM

Patch Collector, I used to be Phoenix 62 and had a patch similar to this remake. Do you have any originals laying around? Cheers, BookiePhoenix_Patch.jpg

Here is a platoon guidon that hung in the "Thunderducks" hooch. They were the 2nd platoon of C Company, 158th Avn Bn. I got this from the estate of the individual who had it made. I have found pictures on the reunion association website of the guidon and it's owner in Vietnam during the time owner was there.

IH
W5U2JE6MY264.jpg

#72 Bookie

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 11:56 AM

Thanks for the feed back, guys. I have a photo of one of out original patches. What several folks don't know about them is that soketimes you'll find extra numerals on them. These are usually located off to one side of the Phoenix's wing tips or one number on each side. The two numbers make up the owner's call sign. There is a round variation (early 69) plus the cleverly disguised and obscene thing patch. The Phoenix were the Penises and the Redskin guns next door, were the Foreskins. Each patch is quite rare and was back then, too. Those crazy Thunder Ducks also had a duck bill on the Phoenix as a beak. Thanks, again. Cheers, Bookie

#73 Spike

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 09:41 PM

I have a copy of a blank Phoenix Advisors course cert that I knew I had somewhere. The signature on this one is different than the one that is pictured in Murtha's book. I also have another of these certificates named to a SEAL Team 2 member that went through the course on 4-9 Jan 1971. I was going to post it but I'm afraid that it'll end up being copied. I need to learn how to put watermarks on my pics.

Edited by Spike, 05 January 2011 - 09:42 PM.


#74 kriegsmodell

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 06:44 AM

I was going to post it but I'm afraid that it'll end up being copied. I need to learn how to put watermarks on my pics.


Yes, I need a primer on how to make a watermark as well! Perhaps someone can help with a posting and "pin it" in the reference area?

#75 noexpert

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 09:14 AM

I have a copy of a blank Phoenix Advisors course cert that I knew I had somewhere. The signature on this one is different than the one that is pictured in Murtha's book. I also have another of these certificates named to a SEAL Team 2 member that went through the course on 4-9 Jan 1971. I was going to post it but I'm afraid that it'll end up being copied. I need to learn how to put watermarks on my pics.



Just remember Spike, any watermark you can put on...someone with a little knowledge can figure out how to take off...as I've learned to my chagrin. So just be careful and think carefully whenever you put anything up. That's not a reflection on the Forum...that's just how it is out "there." :unsure:


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