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From: Dick Flagg
Date: 16 Dec 1999
Remote Name: 126.96.36.199
I don't know the story of the "bank building" being hit in 1967, but it doesn't surprise me that it was a VC target. In early 1963 it was considered to be a symbool of the of the power of the "corrrupt puppet regime" of President Ngo Dinh Diem and his sister - in - law Madam Nu. Most of the Vietnamese in Can Tho didn't earn enough money to have need for a bank, except for the high ranking military, government officials, black market dealer and landlords. Of course some of the local Vietnamese qualified as all of the above.
If I recall correctly, the "bank building" was one of the most solid and important looking buildings in town - all stone or granite and either 2 or 3 stories tall with trees all around it. I understand it was built as a bank , probably by the French just before or after WW II. I don't remember the bank floor ( bottom floor) ever being in use. The top floor, which could be reached by seperate steps on the outside, had some apartments. In early 1963 they were rented to a civilian medical team of 1 or 2 doctors and 3 or 4 nurses. They told us they were from some American Medical Organization that sent medical teams to many 3rd world nations. Shortly after we opened the ASOC in Feb 1963 all we "fly boys" were invited one evening for cockytails at their apartment. Needless to say, an invitation for drinks with female "round eyes" in Can Tho was a very special treat.
They were a very dedicated group of doctors and nurses, but they made it very clear to us that they were in Vietnam to work with the Vietnamese hospital and the Vietnamese people. They were not in Vietname to treat Americans - especially the American military. We were told in very clear terms that if we had a medical problemn, it was not their problem. We were to see the medic at the compound or go to a Flight Surgeon in Saigon. We were shocked at this attiude at first, but we soon appreciated their honesty. I later had a tour of the Vietnamese hospital in Can Tho and it became very apparent that this small medical team from the "bank building" had far more problems then they - or any other medical team could handle. They were a group of medical professionals trying to do an impossible job. I hope they all had an enjoyable and rewarding life.