Memorial for Det 5, Hue from Facebook, January 31, 2021 

January 2021

AFVN Group Conversations

AFVN DET 5 came under attack on Jan 31, 1968.
On Feb 5th following a fierce firefight, six men assigned to AFVN DET 5 were captured. Five became POWs. The sixth, SPC 5Steven Stroub was executed shortly after capture. Two other men also died during the defensive action...KIA included: USMC SGT Thomas Young and Courtney Miles, a civilian (10 year Army Vet) with NBC International. One staff member escaped...SPC 4 John Bagwell.

The five remaining members of Det 5 were each wounded and didn't know if they would survive the day. Drawing on unknown stores of personal strength, they survived February 5th and every subsequent day for the next five years as prisoners of war in North Vietnam, suffering unspeakable torture and depredations at the hands of their captors. They were finally released on March 3rd, 1973.

Detachment 5, America Forces Vietnam Network was inducted into the U.S. ARMY PUBLIC AFFAIRS HALL OF 2007...the induction citation states: "Their mission changed from broadcasting radio and television to protecting the right to broadcast radio and television. During the attack, the men of AFVN Hue were protecting the very essence of command information.

The events of that day will forever be in the history of public affairs. The men of AFVN Hue may not have won the battle but they did win a far greater war. Their heroic call duty has forever left a lasting legacy to all public affairs troops in the past and in the future."

US Army SFC John Thomas Anderson, DET 5 NCOIC - POW
US Army SP 4John Bagwell - Escaped
US Marine Corps 1 LT James V. Di Bernardo, DET 5 OIC - POW
U.S. Marine Corps SSG John A. Deering - POW
US Army SP5 Harry Lawrence Ettmueller - POW
US Army SFC Donat J. Gouin - POW
Courtney Niles, Civilian Contractor - Killed in Action
US Army SP 5 Steven J. Stroub - Captured and Executed
US Marine Corps SGT Thomas Franklin Young - Killed in Action
"TRAPPED, SOLDIERS ENDURE BRUTAL FIREFIGHT DURING THE SIEGE OF HUE". More details about AFVN Det 5 and the TET Combat Action is provided in the article below.

Robert Morecook
On Thursday, February 6, 2020, 10:17:21 AM CST, John Bagwell <> wrote: {and posted to the AFVN Yahoo Group]
I was talking to Harry Ettmuller last night on the anniversary of Detachment 5 being taken by the North Vietnamese. Harry and I are the only ones left from the nine that were there in 1968.

By this morning (on the 6th of February) Harry and four others were on their way as POWs to North Vietnam. There were six that were captured. Steve Stroub was pulled out of the line and shot, perhaps to prove a point to the others that they should not try to escape. Harry thinks it was because they saw the First Air Cavalry patch on Steve. Both Steve and I had been with the Cav and were transferred up to Hue.

I had escaped and was working my way back to friendly territory by the morning of the 6th. I spent the night of the 5th in a Catholic Church nearby and I was still behind enemy lines. It would be the next day before I could get to an American signal group and eventually get medical help when I was shot in the foot.

I found out at that time that the others were dead or captured. I was surprised that they had taken prisoner. When I was leaving the house I was sure they were going to kill us all. Becoming a prisoner was the last thing I thought would happen. Harry told me last night that he also thought they were all going to be shot.

Once I got back to safety I had another 45 days in-country before they sent me home. When I was checking out at the airfield near Saigon, I met an Air Force Photographer that was assigned to a group of Marines that actually came to rescue us. Turns out they arrive a couple of hours after everyone was killed or captured. If we had held out another hour or so, we may have been rescued. They arrive about noon on the 5th. Harry said they were captured at about 10:50 that morning. Cortney Niles and I escaped a few minutes prior to that. Cortney was fatally shot a few minutes later. As badly as everyone was wounded and the house was in such a condition from rocket attacks it was doubtful we could have made it another hour.

One of the pictures attached to the previous tread was of the house we were staying at. All that damage was done with us inside. The second picture was taken by the Air Force Photographer and sent to me after we made a connection there in Saigon. I am not sure where the first picture (with the Vietnamese walking in front of the house) came from.

The last picture shows me (on the left) and Harry at the ceremony in Washington several years ago to honor Detachment 5.
By the time I got back to Camp Evans, I had been shot at or should have been killed at least a dozen times. Six of those by the Vietnamese and six by Americans who thought I was the enemy. I saw an article later that a Catholic Priest that hid an American in a church was executed by the North Vietnamese. It probably was the Priest that hid me.
Harry and the other four were released in the big POW swap in 1973.
Hard to believe 52 years have gone by. I Hope Harry and I are here to remember 53 years.

   Taken from Facebook posting by 1LT Bruce Eaton, USA, OIC, NhTrang (67-68)

DETACHMENT 5.... HUE, South Vietnam...TET OFFENSIVE... JANUARY 31 - FEBRUARY 5, 1968.

Trapped, Soldiers Endure Brutal FIrefight During Siege of Hue

Click on the above for another perspective taken from